MacArthur, Yamashita, and the Battle of Manila

James M. Scott (Author)


The definitive history of one of the most brutal campaigns of the war in the Pacific.

Before World War II, Manila was a slice of America in Asia, populated with elegant neoclassical buildings, spacious parks, and home to thousands of U.S. servicemen and business executives who enjoyed the relaxed pace of the tropics. The outbreak of the war, however, brought an end to the good life. General Douglas MacArthur, hoping to protect the Pearl of the Orient, declared the Philippine capital an open city and evacuated his forces. The Japanese seized Manila on January 2, 1942, rounding up and interning thousands of Americans.

MacArthur, who escaped soon after to Australia, famously vowed to return. For nearly three years, he clawed his way north, obsessed with redeeming his promise and turning his earlier defeat into victory. By early 1945, he prepared to liberate Manila, a city whose residents by then faced widespread starvation. Convinced the Japanese would abandon the city as he did, MacArthur planned a victory parade down Dewey Boulevard. But the enemy had other plans. Determined to fight to the death, Japanese marines barricaded intersections, converted buildings into fortresses, and booby-trapped stores, graveyards, and even dead bodies.

The twenty-nine-day battle to liberate Manila resulted in the catastrophic destruction of the city and a rampage by Japanese forces that brutalized the civilian population. Landmarks were demolished, houses were torched, suspected resistance fighters were tortured and killed, countless women were raped, and their husbands and children were murdered. American troops had no choice but to battle the enemy, floor by floor and even room by room, through schools, hospitals, and even sports stadiums. In the end, an estimated 100,000 civilians lost their lives in a massacre as heinous as the Rape of Nanking.

Based on extensive research in the United States and the Philippines, including war-crimes testimony, after-action reports, and survivor interviews, Rampage recounts one of the most heartbreaking chapters of Pacific war history.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • Forthcoming October 2018
  • ISBN 978-0-393-24694-0
  • 6.1 × 9.3 in / 640 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Endorsements & Reviews

“What Iris Chang did for our understanding of the Rape of Nanking, James M. Scott has now done for the Battle of Manila. Here is a sweeping tale of frenzied fighting and heartbreaking devastation, written by a meticulous historian who has unflinchingly probed the truth of this largely forgotten episode from the Pacific.” — Hampton Sides, New York Times best-selling author of Ghost Soldiers and On Desperate Ground

“A masterpiece of historical reportage, brilliantly bringing to life the savage battle for Manila—one of the most dramatic and disturbing episodes of World War II.” — Alex Kershaw, New York Times best-selling author of Avenue of Spies

“This is General Douglas MacArthur as you have not heard him; this is World War II as you have not seen it before; this is history written with a wide sweep and deep focus, the prose and reporting falling in aching rhythms on scenes of beauty, despair, defiance, the terrible trespasses people make, and their striving to endure. James Scott’s skill as a reporter and his precision as a stylist make this story unstoppable from the very first scene. Across these pages falls the shadow of a history we thought we knew well, but in Scott’s telling, so much is revealed and illuminated. A bold surprise of a history book. A treasure for lovers of stories beautifully told. Transcendent.” — Doug Stanton, New York Times best-selling author of The Odyssey of Echo Company and 12 Strong

Rampage confirms Scott’s place in the first rank of American World War II historians.” — Nigel Hamilton, author of the FDR at War trilogy

“A relentless narrative of one of the darkest chapters of the Pacific War....Deeply researched and superbly written.” — Ian W. Toll, New York Times best-selling author of The Conquering Tide

“James M. Scott knows how to search long and hard for the personal details that make up a gripping narrative. Admirers of his Target Tokyo will find the same skills at work in Rampage. And parts of the story he tells, particularly about the Battle of Manila, are little known, even to those of us who can never stop reading about World War II.” — Adam Hoschschild, New York Times best-selling author of Spain in Our Hearts: Americans in the Spanish Civil War, 1936–1939

“In Rampage, James M. Scott tells a story of tenacity and heroism; but it is also a record of near-unbelievable savagery that would make hard reading were it not for the vivid, forceful prose and a narrative drive that never falters. Scott draws on hundreds of first-hand accounts to give life and urgency to a wholly engrossing tale freighted with the greatest moral and historical significance. When one civilian internee who survived the Battle of Manila toured the leveled city afterward, she wrote, ‘I listened all those weeks to the guns. Now I see what they did. Everyone should see it and learn one lesson forever.’ Scott’s wrenching epic lets us see it with searing clarity.” — Richard Snow, author of Iron Dawn: The Monitor, the Merrimack, and the Civil War Sea Battle that Changed History

“Painful but necessary reading for students of World War II.” — Kirkus (starred review)

“Told with rich layers of perspective and cinematic immediacy that transports the reader to the streets of Manila, this is a gut-wrenching and rewarding reading experience.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“[A] riveting, often shocking, and defining account of the Battle of Manila.” — Booklist

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