The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979 Page: 459
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sense, Dorris Clayton James's-Manchester's is the most bardic and easy
to read. Manchester pulled up short of a psychobiography, but left
enough innuendos to suggest how interesting such an approach might
be. He looks deeply at MacArthur's origins, his father's clash with
W. H. Taft, his frontier boyhood, and the home from which he went
to West Point, the Milwaukee which also spawned Golda Mier and
Billy Mitchell, a city as ripe and bawdy as gold rush San Francisco un-
derneath a socialist patina. Insomuch as MacArthur's "socialism" in
Japan had more than a little progressivism in it, Manchester's uneven
sense of historical context served him ill here. He also passes lightly
over the tantalizing fact that when young MacArthur visited India in
19o5, Lord Kitchener had just demonstrated, when he toppled the vice-
roy, the Marquis Curzon, how a soldier could prevail over civil author-
ity on the frontier of empire.
Military historians may wince at Manchester's comparison of Mac-
Arthur's casualties with the European theater of operations, ignoring
such variables as time in contact, artillery, crew-served weapons, and
tank density, visibility, and terrain. In the way of further technical criti-
cism, Manchester relies too much on Lewis H. Brereton's version of the
Clark Field Affair. Wesley F. Craven and James L. Cate's history of the
USAAF notes that crucial evidence is missing from the archives, but
Manchester let his disdain for Richard K. Sutherland, MacArthur's
chief of staff, blur perspective.
Overall, Manchester portrays how MacArthur, in the mode of Lord
Clive, T. E. Lawrence, and Sir Francis R. Wingate, became aware of
the power of posturing in exotic settings. MacArthur's dazzling feats of
physical courage contrasted with his nervous vomiting attacks reflect a
kind of sinusoidal curve, a yinyang pattern that characterized his career:
brilliance at West Point, subsequent low efficiency ratings, success with
the Rainbow division, frustration as West Point superintendent, a turn
as a boy-wonder "Chief of Staff," the Anacostia Flats debacle, the fum-
bling of Philippine defense, the dazzling triphibious strategy in World
War II, rebuilding Japan, triumph at Inchon, disaster in Korea, and the
embarrassing try at politics. Freudians might see such oscillations as by-
products of ambivalent feelings toward his parents (and especially the
dominance of his mother, a la Viscount Montgomery). In any event,
MacArthur strove to be larger than life, and Manchester has grasped
that, consciously following the structure of a Greek tragedy, until the
book peaks with the Korean controversy, and trails in rather wide and
hurried brush strokes, artfully impressionistic but a bit too skeletal and
Here’s what’s next.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 82, July 1978 - April, 1979, periodical, 1978/1979; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101206/m1/521/: accessed March 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.