Synopses & Reviews
He is the most decorated general in American history—the only five-star general to receive the Medal of Honor. Yet Douglas MacArthur's greatest victory was not in war, but in peace.
As Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers in postwar Japan, General Douglas MacArthur was charged with transforming the defeated militarist empire into a beacon of peace and democracy, a task he called "the greatest gamble ever attempted." A career military man, MacArthur had no experience in politics, diplomacy, or economics. Vain, reclusive, and self-centered, he had many enemies in Washington who considered him a flaming peacock. Few thought he could succeed, not even President Harry Truman's closest advisors. But MacArthur did succeed—brilliantly—defying timetables and expectations. He announced eleven objectives and achieved them all, establishing a bond between two countries that survives to this day.
Supreme Commander combines political history and military biography, to tell for the first time how MacArthur achieved a nation-building feat never before attempted, nor replicated since. Seymour Morris Jr. reveals this flawed man at his best—as one who treated a defeated enemy with respect; made informed, thoughtful decisions; yet could also be brash and stubborn when necessary, leading the occupation with intelligence, class, and compassion.
Reviewing MacArthur's key tactical choices and accomplishments, Morris presents a detailed, intimate portrait of a great American—a patriot and a man of strong conviction—who proved to be an outstanding and effective leader under extraordinary circumstances.
"Businessman and historian Morris (American History Revised) argues that success of the occupation of Japan after WWII was primarily due to the enlightened leadership of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, the only American to ever receive the 'majestic title' of 'Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers.' Mostly derived from first person accounts and secondary sources, Morris examines all of the major achievements of the occupation including MacArthur's triumphant arrival in Tokyo, his first meeting with the Emperor, the forging of the Japanese Constitution, the Japanese war crimes trials, and the shift in U.S. policy toward economic revival. He analyzes events from the perspective of MacArthur's decision making and concludes that MacArthur's actions were most impressive for their effectiveness, stating that 'for his performance in Japan, Douglas MacArthur rates a seat of honor.' The book also addresses MacArthur's personal flaws, most notably his incredible ego and the general disdain he held for and which was reciprocated by most of his contemporaries. The conclusion reached is that MacArthur's successes are that much more incredible because they were accomplished despite his abrasive personality. Morris has produced not just a good general history of the occupation, but a powerful argument that MacArthur continues to warrant his place as one of the great generals in American history. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“A fascinating study of the greatest success of Douglas MacArthur, one of the most consequential and controversial Americans of the twentieth century.” Evan Thomas, author of Ike's Bluff
“Morris tells in dramatic fashion how this ultimate warrior, almost overnight, became the ultimate peacemaker, turning a devastated, militarized Japan into a functioning democracy in five years without firing a shot.” James Bamford, author of Body of Secrets and The Shadow Factory
“Seymour Morris Jr. has done General MacArthurs reputation a great favor by spotlighting his now nearly forgotten service as the American viceroy in postwar Japan. With entertaining prose and good research, he shows us how MacArthur brilliantly midwifed devastated Japans rebirth as a modern, democratic state.” John Steele Gordon, author of Empire of Wealth
“The story he tells is a fascinating one” The New York Times Book Review
“MacArthur was more right than wrong as the post-war ruler of occupied Japan. A very readable and instructional treatment of a misunderstood figure. ” Evan Thomas, author of Ike's Bluff
Seymour Morris Jr. combines political history, military biography, and business management to tell the story of General Douglas MacArthur's tremendous success in rebuilding Japan after World War II in Supreme Commander, a lively, in-depth work of biographical history complementary to The Generals, The Storm of War, and Truman.
He is the most decorated general in American history and the only five five-star general to receive the Medal of Honor. Yet Douglas MacArthur's greatest victory was not in war but in peace.
As the uniquely titled Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers, he was charged with transforming a defeated, militarist empire into a beacon of peace and democracy the greatest gamble ever attempted, he called it. A career military man, MacArthur had no experience in politics, diplomacy, or economics. A vain, reclusive, and self-centered man, his many enemies in Washington thought he was a flaming peacock, and few, including President Harry Truman's closest advisors, gave him a chance of succeeding. Yet MacArthur did so brilliantly, defying timetables and expectations.
Supreme Commander tells for the first time, the story of how MacArthur's leadership achieved a nation-building success that had never been attempted before and never replicated since. Seymour Morris Jr. reveals this flawed man at his best who treated a defeated enemy with respect; who made informed and thoughtful decisions yet could be brash and stubborn when necessary, and who lead the Occupation with intelligence, class, and compassion.
Morris analyzes MacArthur's key tactical choices, explaining how each contributed to his accomplishment, and paints a detailed picture of a true patriot a man of conviction who proved to be an outstanding and effective leader in the most extraordinary circumstances."
About the Author
Seymour Morris Jr. is the author of American History Revised: 200 Startling Facts That Never Made It into the Textbooks. He is also an international business entrepreneur and the former head of corporate communications for the world's largest management consulting firm. A resident of New York City, he holds an A.B. and M.B.A. from Harvard University.