Rampage: MacArthur, Yamashita, and the Battle of Manila

James M. Scott. Norton, $32.95 (640p) ISBN 978-0-393-24694-0
Historian and Pulitzer Prize finalist Scott (Target Tokyo) vividly captures the mayhem and horrors that took place during the 29-day Battle of Manila in the closing months of WWII—more than 100,000 civilians were killed, many of them massacred by Japanese fighters, and most historic buildings were destroyed before Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s troops and Filipino forces took the city. Scott draws on such primary sources as diaries, letters, news dispatches, investigator records, and survivor testimony to create a compelling human picture. As one contemporaneous observer wrote, “In Manila they have piled outrage on outrage, infamy on infamy, until it has become a city of nightmarish horrors.” Although the stories of opposing generals MacArthur and Tomoyuki Yamashita bookend the narrative and the battle is recreated in dramatic detail, this is not purely a military history: the stories of Filipinos and expatriates caught in the crossfire are thoughtfully told. Violent and harrowing atrocities are interspersed with brief moments of humanity and humor, such as when a U.S. soldier gives a Manila-born youngster a stick of gum and her father has to teach her how to chew it. Told with rich layers of perspective and cinematic immediacy that transports the reader to the streets of Manila, this is a gut-wrenching and rewarding reading experience. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/27/2018
Release date: 10/02/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
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