The Fifties

Halberstam, David

Villard, 1993

pp. 80 - 81

WW II General Douglas MacArthur was brilliant. He seemed to have a sixth sense about where to attack the Japanese, and where to skip over islands where the dug-in Japanese were so strong that to defeat them would exact too high a cost. He was also a petulant, manipulative narcissist who insisted on taking credit for the work of others. He was a hungry hound for publicity, an automythologist who never went anywhere “without his chosen coterie of journalists and photographers. It was virtually impossible to take a photo of him that was not posed; he was aware every moment of where the light was best, of how his jaw should jut, and how his cap could be displayed at the most rakish angle.” When other generals wrote home about him during the war his code name was “Sarah,” as in the actress Sarah Bernhardt. When a woman once asked Dwight Eisenhower if he had ever met MacArthur, Eisenhower replied, “’Not only have I met him, Ma’am; I studied dramatics under him for five years in Washington and for four years in the Philippines.’”