American Cesar - Review


American CesarDouglas MacArthur is one of the most famous generals in American history. Few people on earth have wielded the same amount of influence over war, culture, and politics. William Manchester describes the life of this twentieth century icon in his book American Cesar. His life as a West Point cadet, Five Star General, and Supreme Commander of Allied Forces lacks for peers. MacArthur's relentless destruction and reconstruction of Japan offers a glimpse at this dualistic, and often conflicted, man of extreme power. Manchester begins with the Douglas' soldierly lineage which foreshadows a haunting and influential line of patriots. The rest of the story unfolds in chronological order and describes MacArthur's time at West Point, World War I, and later in the Philippians. The family life of the General takes a back seat to the events of his day and we follow the man of war from island to island as he helps to secure a victory for the United States in World War II. The story of MacArthur is heroic and, at times, tragic. He was a man of great hubris and secured admiration and despise from those in his shadow. Manchester describes the General's vanity and insecurity amid his great courage and sacrifice.

The story of MacArthur is heroic and tragic.

I would recommend reading this book. Manchester does a great job to describe the complex times of a complex man. Understanding the social and economic world of post war Japan is fascinating and sheds light on current points of geopolitical tension in places like Korea, Taiwan, and greater China. All historians have an opinion about Douglas MacArthur and Manchester is no exception. The tone of the book does well to represent the wisdom and folly, joy and sorrow, sacrifice and pride of this American Cesar.

Brent Colby1 Comment