Richard Connaughton, Author, R. M. Connaughton, Author
Richard Connaughton, Author, R. M. Connaughton, Author . Overlook $35 (394p) ISBN 978-1-58567-118-2
Reviewed on: 05/14/2001
Release date: 09/01/2001

A retired colonel in the British army, Connaughton (The Battle for Manila) finds the famed WWII general was so governed by his flaws that even when faced with evidence to the contrary, MacArthur persisted in his belief that the Japanese military was both undertrained and inferior and that the Philippine army was a superior fighting force. The truth of the islands' perilous situation came to a tragic end, with the Philippines' defenders vanquished by the Japanese, literally wasting away from starvation. MacArthur's own memoirs are filled with pathos when describing those desperate days on Bataan and Corregidor, but, Connaughton writes, the wrenching scenes recalled by the general were "mostly fabrication." Not everyone will accept this Englishman's entire view of America and its history. American Indians, for example, might take issue with Connaughton's claim that the United States' 19th-century expansionist policy known as Manifest Destiny "was not a militaristic concept." Overall, though, this is a thoughtful and refreshing work that adds a worthwhile telling to a familiar American tale, but its restricted subject should make for a restricted audience. Photos and maps not seen by PW. (June)

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