Wednesday, April 18, 2012

MacArthur in the Pacific

MacArthur in the Pacific
From the Philippines to the Fall of Japan
Michael Green, Motorbooks International,
Osceola, WI 1996
ISBN 0-7603-0311-8

I am a great admirer of General Douglas Mac Arthur.  In WWI he received five silver star medals for heroism.  He often demonstrated his creativity and insight in developing new strategies in war.  The pre-war plan for the defense of the Philippines called for US forces to hold out for six months when the US Navy would return and defeat the Japanese.  Under Mac Arthur the Philippines held out for almost six months.  This without any significant reinforcement or resupply from the US, the troops were essentially out of food, medicine and ammunition.  The Japanese threatened to kill their prisoners of war and so the islands surrendered.

General Mac Arthur finally left the Philippines only in obedience to orders from President Roosevelt. In the event he stalled as long as he could before carrying out those orders.  Even then he left in a few PT boats with only his wife, child, the President of the Philippines and a few staff members.  They had to transfer in one of the southern islands into a B-17 bomber to get to Australia.  I found many important facts overlooked in this book.  I also found much of the text to be contradictory and at least two the photo captions were wrong.  I can only recommend this book for the photos.  The text is vague, anti-Mac Arthur in that the author makes several opinionated comments about the General that I felt were unnecessary and disrespectful. 

The author writes of the Generals friends in the media, always giving him good press, but he names no names and provides no examples.  The author says that lives were lost because the General failed to listen to his intelligence staff officers and then goes on to tell of at least three significant failures of intelligence.  This included the attack to retake Corregidor which was said to have only 1,000 Japanese soldiers, when there were close to 5,000 on the island.  The book never discusses the assault to retake Ft. Drum which was a very innovative attack.  The photos in the book are clear and large.  I am not familiar with many of them and so this book will stay in my library, but I can't recommend the text.


The Warrior said...

I too admire MacArthur. Am reading "Inchon Landing" by Michael Langley just now.

Bunkermeister said...