MacArthur (book review)

General Douglas MacArthur was popularly called “America’s General,” and Mitchell Yockelson’s biography—MacArthur: America’s General—does an admirable job in telling us how he earned this well-deserved moniker.

(As an aside: I have really enjoyed all of the books in the Thomas Nelson Generals series. You can read my reviews of George S. Patton here, and Robert E. Lee here.)

MacArthur’s influence is still being felt at West Point as we train our future military officers, and around the world, where General MacArthur had a prominent role in three wars. And, if his advice about Vietnam had been heeded, perhaps his influence would have extended through four wars.

How did he achieve such prominence? It’s the classic debate: are great leaders born or made? In Douglas MacArthur’s case the answer is a resounding “Yes!” Yes, he was born into a family with a strong military heritage. MacArthur certainly benefited from the influence of his grandfather (a judge), his father (a decorated, combat veteran and general), and his mother (who used her charm to sway many influential people). But these family members could only open doors; it was up to MacArthur to march through them.

And, yes, march through them he did! At every opportunity he pressed forward. Sometimes with unconventional tactics, sometimes in opposition to his leadership, and sometimes through sheer willpower. But the results speak for themselves: Without a General Douglas MacArthur to lead our troops in perilous times, the outcome in three wars could have been disastrously different.

The United States of America is viewed as the world’s superpower (and rightly so). It is very likely that without MacArthur’s influence we would not be the prominent power that we are now. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to God for blessing us with the MacArthur family.

A lively and informative read for military buffs and students of leadership. Highly recommended!

I am a Thomas Nelson book reviewer.

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