Book Reviews

Book Review: “MacArthur: America’s General” by Mitchell Yockelson

MacArthurWhen it comes to leadership, in the church as much as the secular world, a lot can be learned from the great leaders of history. Most of us know General Douglas MacArthur for his leadership during World War II. MacArthur may have been one of the greatest leaders of the twentieth century, but there is far more to his story than the Pacific Theater in WWII. In MacArthur: America’s General, author Yockelson helps show us what experiences built the man who defeated imperial Japan and built democratic Japan, friend of the United States.

If you are hoping for a detailed account of the Pacific campaign during WWII, this book will disappoint you. While there are a couple of chapters about the Pacific war, they are more rapid-fire than they are exhaustive. This is just one sign that there is more to MacArthur than most know him for.

MacArthur begins with describing the family heritage that he was born into. His grandfather was a judge, and his father also had a successful military career. In fact, MacArthur and his father were the first father-son to both receive the Medal of Honor.

MacArthur led his troops from the front, from WWI to WWII, from France to the Philippines. Like many leaders, he knew what he needed to do, but could allow his desire for recognition or even the simple need to be “right” get him into trouble. At the same time, these qualities, along with determination, drove him to take action when others wouldn’t and to stand up against injustice. Though bestowed the moniker of “Dugout Doug” that would label him as a commander afraid of the front, he was quite fearless. At one point when bullets were flying and he was encouraged to take cover, MacArthur confidently stated, “Those bullets are not meant for me.”

The book recounts MacArthur’s career from his days joining his father with troop inspections to his appointment to West Point, from his appointment to a Five Star General and his leadership of United Nations forces in Korea.

There is more to leadership than giving orders to military units. MacArthur understood his role as a public servant, but also as a servant of Almighty God. He frequently referred to God in his powerful speeches, read his Bible regularly, and in his retirement was a member of an Episcopal church in New York.

Do you enjoy biographies, unveiling the foundation of our great heroes? Then MacArthur: America’s General is for you. It covers a life and career with a vast amount of information, communicated easily and quickly. You will be surprised how fast half a century can go. This is a good, casual read, full of information and inspiration.