The best Douglas MacArthur books 📚

Browse the best books on Douglas MacArthur as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of They Were Expendable

They Were Expendable

By W. L. White

Why this book?

The author recreated as a novel the adventures of a handful of Navy officers whose tiny Patrol Torpedo Boats more than held their own against the full might of the Japanese Navy during the fall of the Philippines. Told in the first person by three of the principal characters, we meet Douglas MacArthur, seasick and soaking wet, as he flees Manila in an overloaded PT Boat, and eventually reaches a smaller island from which he is flown to safety in Australia. And we see and are in awe, of these young naval officers. In 1951, when I was ten and…

From the list:

The best books to safely satisfy your lust for action and mystery

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Book cover of MacArthur at War: World War II in the Pacific

MacArthur at War: World War II in the Pacific

By Walter R. Borneman

Why this book?

In view of the numerous controversies and varied views of General MacArthur’s actions and policies in the Pacific War, it is great to have a balanced and very carefully researched and presented account of a commander who was in it from Japan’s attack on the United States to Japan’s surrender. While dealing fairly with some of the criticisms of the general, Borneman does note his repeated announcements of battles being ended when they were not as well as the hopeless incompetence of his intelligence chief.

From the list:

The best books on WW2 from a military historian

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Book cover of A History of Tokyo 1867-1989: From EDO to Showa: The Emergence of the World's Greatest City

A History of Tokyo 1867-1989: From EDO to Showa: The Emergence of the World's Greatest City

By Edward G. Seidensticker

Why this book?

This new edition combines under one cover Edward Seidensticker’s colossal Low City: Tokyo from Edo to the Earthquake and Tokyo Rising.  Few cities have been so fortunate as to have such erudite-yet-accessible books written about them; by an outsider, no less. A towering figure on late twentieth-century Japanese studies and letters, Seidensticker arrived in Tokyo weeks after General Douglas MacArthur had assumed control of the country. His work on major twentieth-century Japanese writers earned him graduate degrees and faculty appointments at major American universities; his freelance writing on Japanese life extended the reach of his work well beyond the…

From the list:

The best books for understanding Japanese urban history

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Book cover of The American Way of Empire: How America Won a World--But Lost Her Way

The American Way of Empire: How America Won a World--But Lost Her Way

By James Kurth

Why this book?

This work is different from previous books suggested here. It is only recently published, but it presents revised versions of essays that sometimes date back a decade or more. Superbly written with great clarity, its strong points are the detail and care with which it spells out how economic factors are woven into American foreign policy and national security strategies.

The author’s subtle understanding of how nuclear weapons dilemmas, historical choices, industrial structures, and bureaucratic competition combine in actual policymaking puts most literature on international relations to shame. In a multi-polar world that is becoming ever more dangerous and in…

From the list:

The best golden oldies books for understanding money and power in the United States

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Book cover of War at the End of the World: Douglas MacArthur and the Forgotten Fight For New Guinea, 1942-1945

War at the End of the World: Douglas MacArthur and the Forgotten Fight For New Guinea, 1942-1945

By James P. Duffy

Why this book?

I thought I knew a thing or two about the history of World War II. Somehow, the battle for New Guinea escaped me, despite the role played by the American General, Douglas MacArthur. Significant as a turning point in the war and enabling MacArthur's return to the Philippines, the fight in New Guinea deserves mention in the same breath as the stepping-stone battles of the Pacific islands. The fighting was brutal and the conditions for both Japanese and Allied troops were horrid—trails ascending rugged mountains, supply-chain difficulties, diseases that diminished the abilities of troops to fight. I have been to…

From the list:

The best books about the history we never learned

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Book cover of The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War

The Coldest Winter: America and the Korean War

By David Halberstam

Why this book?

This is an interesting early description of events occurring during the beginning days of the Korean War.  The author also addressed the prominent battle at Chipyongni three months later.  The book also covers the entrance of the Chinese into the war to support North Koreans. He focuses upon the extremely cold temperatures-- dropping to a minus forty degrees. He also provides a perspective on the reasons and causes of the Korean War.

From the list:

The best books on the Korean War from someone who served there

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