A new biography examines the many sides of the versatile American general.
Of all the great American captains of World War II, none remains more controversial than General Douglas MacArthur, whose genius and folly have taken on mythic proportions. MacArthur alone among them fought in all of America’s major 20th-century wars as a general — World War I, World War II, and Korea — and he was the most versatile military figure since Ulysses S. Grant, as a combined tactician, strategist, geostrategist, diplomat, and politician.
Yet history has not with the same zeal sought to balance the strengths and weaknesses of the often hard-to-like MacArthur as it has with, for example, Dwight D. Eisenhower, who was a brilliant organizer but often strategically obtuse; George S. Patton, who was a dazzling field general but mercurial; and Omar Bradley, who was a media favorite but often plodding.
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