American Caesar was one of those books that once you pick it up, you will find yourself flipping through pages deep into the night. Without keeping any suspense, I will flat out say that it was easily among one of the best books I have read.
The author, William Manchester had done extensive research on Douglas MacArthur for this book, detailing every event from his birth at an army fort through his funeral; the bibliography section of the book alone was twenty pages long. The facts dug as deep as the fact that Sarah Barney Belcher of Taunton, Massachusetts was a common ancestor of Douglas MacArthur, Winston Churchill, and Franklin Roosevelt. However, Manchester did not capture readers by merely loading his book with facts. Instead, he captivated readers with his beautiful narratives. Under his penmanship, the horrors of WW1 trench warfare came alive with two simple description sentences at the beginning of chapter two.
What Manchester was most notably successful with this book was the carefully laid correlation between minute details with the big picture, leaving the reader in complete understanding of how seemingly small events weaved into the fabric of MacArthur's life. MacArthur was one of the most controversial public figures of the 20th century, and Manchester succeeded in explaining how each step he had taken in his life developed his unique personality, and in turn how MacArhurs’ personality and persona shaped the history of Asia and the United States; however, my observation by the end of the book Manchester had become so much a worshipful fan of MacArthur that as the book went on, critiques of MacArthur appeared less and less. When critiques were popped up, they often only in form of a small-fonted footnote. Nevertheless, Manchester's writing alone was worth the time I invested in reading this 700-page volume. Reading about MacArthurs adventures in WW1 and WW2, I found myself rooting for him in his... [continues]
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