MacArthur's Jungle War: The 1944 New Guinea Campaign

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When General Douglas MacArthur led Allied troops into the jungles of New Guinea in World War II, he was already looking ahead. By successfully leapfrogging Japanese forces on that island, he placed his armies in a position to fulfill his personal promise to liberate the Philippines.
The New Guinea campaign has gone down in history as one of MacArthur's shining successes. Stephen Taaffe has written the definitive history of that assault, showing why it succeeded and what it contributed to the overall strategy against Japan. His book tells not only how victory was gained through a combination of technology, tactics, and Army-Navy cooperation, but also how the New Guinea campaign exemplified the strategic differences that plagued the Pacific War, since many high-ranking officers considered it a diversionary tactic rather than a key offensive.
MacArthur's Jungle War examines the campaign's strategic background and individual operations, describing the enormous challenges posed by jungle and amphibious warfare. Perhaps more important, it offers a balanced assessment of MacArthur's leadership and limitations, revealing his reliance on familiar battle plans and showing the vital role that subordinates played in his victory. Taaffe tells how MacArthur played the difficulties of the New Guinea campaign by maintaining his undivided attention on reaching the Philippines. He also discloses how MacArthur frequently deceived both his superiors and the public in order to promote his own agenda, and examines errors the general would later repeat on a larger scale up through the Korean War.
MacArthur's Jungle War offers historians a more analytical treatment of the New Guinea campaign than is found in previous works, and is written with a dramatic flair that will appeal to military buffs. By revealing the interaction among American military planning, interservice politics, MacArthur's generalship, and the American way of war, Taaffe's account provides a clearer understanding of America's Pacific war strategy and shows that the New Guinea offensive was not a mere backwater affair, but a critical part of the war against Japan.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
In nine chapters edited by Theoharis J. Edgar Hoover, Sex & Crime, LJ 2/1/95, ten scholars, journalists, and attorneys explore the ways that democratic government is undermined by the inclination to secrecy of presidents, bureaucrats, legislators, and judges. As Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan D-NY has stated, Americans have been placed in the ironic position of relying on Soviet archives in Moscow to unravel American history during the Cold War. The contributors describe the imperial presidency from Franklin Roosevelt through Bill Clinton, with emphasis on the FBI, CIA, NSA, Department of State, and National Security Council. Included are John Lennon's FBI files, J. Edgar Hoover's Supreme Court files, files on the Kennedy assassination, and the Nixon tapes. One need not be Oliver Stone to conclude from these stories that the federal government's cult of secrecy has overstepped legitimate national security needs to contribute to the imperial presidency at the expense of democratic government. Recommended for academic collections.William D. Pederson, Louisiana State Univ., Shreveport
Describing the enormous challenges posed by jungle and amphibious warfare, the author examines the campaign's strategic background and individual operations. By revealing the interaction among American military planning, interservice politics, MacArthur's generalship, and the American way of war, he provides a clearer understanding of America's Pacific war strategy and shows that the New Guinea offensive was not a mere backwater affair but a critical part of the war against Japan. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780700608706
  • Publisher: University Press of Kansas
  • Publication date: 1/28/1998
  • Series: Modern War Studies Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 328
  • Sales rank: 1,507,195
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Table of Contents


List of Abbreviations



1. Strategic Background

2. MacArthur Gears Up

3. The Admiralties: An Unnecessary Risk?

4. Hollandia: A Great Leap Forward

5. Combat and Survival in a Hostile Environment

6. Waske-Sarmi: Whoever Heard of Lone Tree Hill?

7. Biak: A Belated and Unhappy Victory

8. Noemfoor: Moving Closer to the Target

9. Driniumor River: A Strategically Worthless Operation?

10. Sansapor-Mar and Morotai: Mopping Up the Campaign





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  • Posted June 22, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Rarely covered part of World War II

    MacArthur's Southwest Pacific Theatre is rarely covered i history and this book successfully attempts to shed light on the 1944 New Guinea Campaign. While the book could have used more maps, it is an essential book for anyone who claims to have knowledge of the Pacific theatre.

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