Old Soldiers Never Die:: The Life and Legend of Douglas MacArthur

Geoffrey Perret, Author
Geoffrey Perret, Author Random House (NY) $32.5 (30p) ISBN 978-0-679-42882-4
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
Perret (A Country Made by War) interprets Douglas MacArthur here as someone whose temperament was intellectual and who, like U.S. Grant, became a soldier by the constant exercise of willpower. In this context, MacArthur's vanity and authoritarianism reflected an underlying insecurity that remained uncompensated for by the ever-greater successes he achieved until his 1950 dismissal by President Truman. Perret's angst-ridden protagonist is very much a MacArthur for the '90s--neither a warrior nor a charlatan but a person who sought and overcame himself as he did his country's enemies. Perret's narrative of MacArthur's career, though comprehensively researched, is less nuanced than D. Clayton James's still standard three-volume The Years of MacArthur. Yet the present work, well written and provocative, stands as the best single volume on its complex subject. Photos. (May)
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