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The general vs. the president : MacArthur and Truman at the brink of nuclear war

by Brands, H. W. (Author)

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"From master storyteller and historian H.W. Brands, twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, 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... Full description

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Summary: "From master storyteller and historian H.W. Brands, twice a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, 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"--Provided by publisher.
Physical Description: 437 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN: 9780385540575
0385540574
Author Notes: H.W. Brands was born Henry William Brands in Oregon. He graduated from Stanford University in 1975 with a B.A. in history, and from Jesuit High School in Portland, Oregon. He went on to earn his graduate degree in mathematics and history in Oregon and Texas. He taught at Vanderbilt University and Texas A&M University before he joined the faculty at the University of Texas at Austin. He acquired the title of Dickson Allen Anderson Centennial Professor of History at the U of Texas. He specializes in American History and politics, with books including Traitor to His Class, Andrew Jackson, The Age of Gold, the First American, and TR. Several of his books have been best sellers, including one recently published, The General vs. the President. Two of them - Traitor to His Class and The First American were finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He lectures often on historical and current events and he can be seen and heard on national television and radio programs.

(Bowker Author Biography) H. W. Brands lives in Austin, Texas.

(Publisher Provided) H. W. Brands is Distinguished Professor of History and Ralph R. Thomas '21 Professor in Liberal Arts, Texas A&M University.

(Bowker Author Biography)

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