MacArthur’s Spies: The Soldier, the Singer, and the Spymaster Who Defied the Japanese in World War II

Peter Eisner. Viking, $28 (368p) ISBN 978-0-525-42965-4
Veteran foreign correspondent Eisner (The Pope’s Last Crusade) describes how an American woman, Claire Phillips, supported U.S. prisoners of war and anti-Japanese guerrillas during the WWII occupation of the Philippines. In spite of its subtitle, this fast-moving history of the Manila resistance to the Japanese focuses on the role played by Phillips, a failed entertainer who was trapped in the occupied city for the duration of the war while her Filipino husband was in the U.S. Eisner highlights the very real contributions Phillips made to the resistance to Japanese occupation while revealing the numerous flaws in Phillips’s character (she romanced and married an American soldier in the Philippines without divorcing her husband). Phillips worked against the Japanese occupation in several different ways, including funneling money, medicine, and supplies to American prisoners of the Japanese and to American and Philippine guerrillas as she ran a high-end nightclub, the Tsubaki Club, for the Japanese elite. She used the club to make money for the guerrillas and to glean military information from inebriated Japanese officers. The guerrilla network then passed the information to Gen. MacArthur’s headquarters. Eisner’s history is a well-researched, entertaining, and informative look at the resistance to the Japanese occupation. (May)
Reviewed on: 03/27/2017
Release date: 05/02/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 624 pages - 978-1-5247-5637-6
Ebook - 978-0-698-40752-7
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-14-312884-7
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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