The General vs. the President: MacArthur and Truman at the Brink of Nuclear War

By H. W. Brands
Read by Scott Brick

15.38 Hours 10/11/2016 unabridged
Format: Digital Download
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    ISBN: 9780735284968

From master storyteller and historian H. W. Brands comes the riveting story of how President Harry Truman and General Douglas MacArthur squared off to decide America's future in the aftermath of World War II. At the height of the Korean War, President Harry S. Truman committed a gaffe that sent shock waves around the world. When asked by a reporter about the possible use of atomic weapons in response to China's entry into the war, Truman replied testily, "The military commander in the field will have charge of the use of the weapons, as he always has." This suggested that General Douglas MacArthur, the willful, fearless, and highly decorated commander of the American and U.N. forces, had his finger on the nuclear trigger. A correction quickly followed, but the damage was done; two visions for America's path forward were clearly in opposition, and one man would have to make way.      Truman was one of the most unpopular presidents in American history. Heir to a struggling economy, a ruined Europe, and increasing tension with the Soviet Union, on no issue was the path ahead clear and easy. General MacArthur, by contrast, was incredibly popular, as untouchable as any officer has ever been in America. The lessons he drew from World War II were absolute: appeasement leads to disaster and a showdown with the communists was inevitable--the sooner the better. In the nuclear era, when the Soviets, too, had the bomb, the specter of a catastrophic third World War lurked menacingly close on the horizon.      The contest of wills between these two titanic characters unfolds against the turbulent backdrop of a faraway war and terrors conjured at home by Joseph McCarthy. From the drama of Stalin's blockade of West Berlin to the daring landing of MacArthur's forces at Inchon to the shocking entrance of China into the war, The General and the President vividly evokes the making of a new American era. From the Hardcover edition.

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Summary

Summary

A New York Times Bestseller

A Kirkus Reviews Pick for Best Biographies of 2016

From master storyteller and historian H. W. Brands comes the riveting story of how President Harry Truman and General Douglas MacArthur squared off to decide America's future in the aftermath of World War II.

At the height of the Korean War, President Harry S. Truman committed a gaffe that sent shock waves around the world. When asked by a reporter about the possible use of atomic weapons in response to China's entry into the war, Truman replied testily, "The military commander in the field will have charge of the use of the weapons, as he always has." This suggested that General Douglas MacArthur, the willful, fearless, and highly decorated commander of the American and U.N. forces, had his finger on the nuclear trigger. A correction quickly followed, but the damage was done; two visions for America's path forward were clearly in opposition, and one man would have to make way.
     Truman was one of the most unpopular presidents in American history. Heir to a struggling economy, a ruined Europe, and increasing tension with the Soviet Union, on no issue was the path ahead clear and easy. General MacArthur, by contrast, was incredibly popular, as untouchable as any officer has ever been in America. The lessons he drew from World War II were absolute: appeasement leads to disaster and a showdown with the communists was inevitable--the sooner the better. In the nuclear era, when the Soviets, too, had the bomb, the specter of a catastrophic third World War lurked menacingly close on the horizon.
     The contest of wills between these two titanic characters unfolds against the turbulent backdrop of a faraway war and terrors conjured at home by Joseph McCarthy. From the drama of Stalin's blockade of West Berlin to the daring landing of MacArthur's forces at Inchon to the shocking entrance of China into the war, The General and the President vividly evokes the making of a new American era.


From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

Editorial Reviews

A highly readable take on the clash of two titanic figures in a period of hair-trigger nuclear tensions . . . History offers few antagonists with such dramatic contrasts, and Brands brings these two to life. Los Angeles Times
Two American heroes tested and tried at their most inspired hours . . . An exciting, well-written comparison study of two American leaders at loggerheads during the Korean War crisis. Kirkus Reviews, starred review
Brands spikes the shadowboxing between [Truman and MacArthur] with vivid dispatches from the battlefield that give his tale a get-along kick. TIME
A vivid accounting of an event that was, on the surface, a personality conflict between two strong-minded figures and, at the bottom, a courageous act that solidified civilian authority over the military in wartime. Dallas Morning News
The General vs. The President is that rare military chronicle that becomes an instant page-turning classic. San Antonio Express-News
Fast-paced, dramatic, and amply illustrates why Truman’s stock has been on the rise in recent decades. Boston Globe
“Scott Brick’s narration shines…An even-toned delivery and moderated pace allow Brick to provide smooth passage through the convoluted events of this turbulent time when escalating hostilities in Korea made nuclear war a real threat. Brick’s wise choice of calm understatement allows the natural drama created by these tensions to take center stage. Thanks to the talents of narrator and author, a broad audience will find this a riveting listen.” AudioFile

Reviews

Reviews

Author

Author Bio: H. W. Brands

H. W. Brands is the bestselling author and editor of more than twenty books. He has been a professor at Vanderbilt and Texas A&M universities, and he is currently the Dickson Allen Anderson Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. Two of his books, Traitor to His Class and The First American, were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. His other works include Andrew Jackson, Age of Gold, and TR. He lectures frequently on historical and current events and has appeared on numerous national radio and television programs. He resides in Austin, Texas.

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Details

Details

Available Formats : Digital Download
Category: Nonfiction/History
Runtime: 15.38
Audience: Adult
Language: English