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Review of American Ceasar - an Autobiography of Douglas Macarthur

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American Caesar

American Caesar is a National Bestseller biography about the public and private life of Douglas MacArthur. It was first published in 1978 by Back Bay books. Douglas MacArthur was one of the most decorated people to ever serve in the US Armed forces. Serving in both World Wars and the Korean War, he was one of only five people in US history to earn the rank of 5-Star General: General of the Army. He was instrumental in the Allied victory in the Pacific theater during World War II.

On January 26, 1880, at the Arsenal Barracks in Little Rock, Arkansas, Douglas MacArthur is born to Arthur MacArthur Jr. and Mary MacArthur (“Pinky”). The youngest of three boys, Doug’s early life consisted of living on a chain of Army posts in the “Old West”. As they faced vicious conditions, his second brother, Malcolm died of measles in 1883. Moving to Washington D.C. and then to San Antonio, Texas brought the ever-present military into the forefront of his life, with Douglas enrolling in the West Texas Military Academy where he excelled in many sports and eventually graduated as valedictorian. Shortly after, he was accepted into the US Military Academy at West Point. Four years passed, and Douglas had earned the rank of First Captain by his final year and had also achieved the third highest score seen at West Point of 98.14. Now a second lieutenant in the US Army Corps of Engineering, he spent his time between 1903 and 1915 inspecting forts all around the Pacific and even led a daring expedition into occupied territory to validate reports of locomotives available in Veracruz. However, this was just the beginning of his career.

After being promoted to the rank of major in 1915, Douglas MacArthur became the first official Army press officer. Following the US’ declaration of war on the Axis Powers on April 6, 1917, MacArthur and the Secretary of War, Newton Baker, created a division from the National Guards of many states to prevent the appearance of favoritism toward any of the states. As MacArthur states, “Fine, that will stretch over the whole country like a rainbow.” Thus, the 42nd Division got its name and its commander, The Rainbow Division, headed by Colonel Douglas MacArthur. During 1918, he and the 42nd were key to the Allied victories at Champagne-Marne, St. Mihiel, Meuse-Argonne, and Sedan. During this time, he was promoted to Brigadier General and earned dozens of awards including seven Silver Stars, two Wound Chevrons (Purple Hearts of WWI), two Distinguished Service Crosses, and a handful of foreign military awards. After the end of WWI, Douglas was named Superintendent of his Alma Matter, West Point, where he instilled many modernizations, some of which still stand today. In 1922, he married Louise Brooks and had two children with her. He was then stationed in the Philippines where he helped to bring peace to the islands and was subsequently promoted to major general at 44 years old, making him the youngest individual to ever achieve this rank. He then returned to the US and took command of the IV Corps and III Corps Areas. Around this time, MacArthur and his wife separated and the American Olympic Committee, needing a new president after the sudden death of William Prout, elected Douglas to prepare the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam. In 1930, he was sworn in as Chief of Staff of the US Army and was promoted to general. During this time, he led the police against the Bonus Army of Veterans in an anti-riot operation in Washington D.C. and was awarded the first ever Purple Heart for his actions in WWI. He then was stationed in the Philippines again, where he was given the title of Field Marshal of the Philippine Army. MacArthur then helped to train and equip the Philippine military with new and improved gear. On December 31, 1937, MacArthur retired from the army as a major general.

When the United States federalized the Philippine Army on July 26, 1941, President Roosevelt recalled MacArthur to active duty in the army, named him commander of the U.S. Army Forces in the Far East, and promoted him to lieutenant general. He was promoted to general shortly after this. About 9 hours after the Pearl Harbor attack, the Japanese 11th Air Fleet began the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, destroying nearly half of the Philippine Air Force, and damaging a handful of nearby bases with a total casualty count of 80 dead and 150 wounded in the first battle. As the invasion continued, Douglas MacArthur and a select group of individuals were ordered to retreat to Australia by President Roosevelt in March of 1942. It was here where he made his famous speech in which he said, “I came through and I shall return.” In April 1942, MacArthur was appointed Supreme Commander of Allied forces in the Southwest Pacific and was finally awarded the Medal of Honor, this time for his defense of the Philippines. He spent the next two and a half years leading an island-hopping campaign in the Pacific during which he saw about victories on Guadalcanal, Papuan, New Guinea, and the Solomon, Gilbert, and Wake Islands. He then returned to liberate the Philippines in October 1944. Striding ashore at Leyte, he announced, “I have returned. By the grace of Almighty God, our forces stand again on Philippine soil.” In December 1944, he was promoted to the rank of General of the Army and given command of all Army forces in the Pacific. He then moved on to capture the place where he had served while in the Corps of Engineers, Manila. Shortly after this, the Japanese surrender in August 1945. On September 2, 1945, MacArthur accepted the formal surrender of Japanese forces aboard the battleship USS Missouri, concluding WWII.

With the surrender of Japan, MacArthur was instructed to apply authority throughout the Japanese government to put it on the road to recovery. MacArthur and his staff helped Japan to restore itself, eliminating militarism and ultra-nationalism, encouraging political civil

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