History in Review
MacArthur's Undercover War
Spies, Saboteurs, Guerrillas, and Secret Missions.
By William B. Breuer.
(Castle Books: 2005. Pg. 257.)
Reviewed by Rochelle Caviness - March 10, 2002
In this intriguing narrative, William B. Breuer, a respected military historian, investigates the secret methods used to wage war, such as the use of spies, saboteurs, propaganda, and guerrilla tactics. In MacArthur's Undercover War, Breuer confines his study to the methods and methodologies used by General Douglas MacArthur during his prosecution of the War in the Pacific. MacArthur was forced to flee from the Philippines in 1942 in order to avoid capture by the Japanese. As he left, he vowed that "I shall return," and return he did, but the struggle was long and bloody.
If you knew nothing about World War II, you would be hard press to imagine that this was not a work of fiction. Breuer writes with the skill of a novelist, and the events that he recounts are often so unbelievable that it is hard to believe that they really happened. Yet they did, and Breuer's work is well documented and includes many first hand accounts of the events and situations that he describes.
Offering intriguing tidbits and many previously unpublished details, takes the reader on a tour of all the major battle fields of the War in the Pacific, including Guadalcanal, Midway, and the battle for the Philippines. He illustrates how the long-running covert war that MacArthur commanded in the Pacific aided the Allied victory against the Japanese. It is also the story of the men who actually carried out the secret missions, and who slipped behind enemy lines in order to obtain information vital to the war effort. These 'secret agents' included coast watchers, double agents, and resistance fighters to name but a few. While MacArthur may have created and commanded the Allied Intelligence Bureau (AIB), the true heros of MacArthur's undercover war were the unsung heroes who risked their lives fighting behind enemy lines. This book tells the story of their heroic efforts.
This is an excellent, all around history of the shadow war in the Pacific. This book will be of interest to general readers, as well as to military and World War II historians.
The Jedburghs: The Secret History of the Allied Special Forces, France 1944, by Lt. Col. Will Irwin (Ret).
Irwin not only provides a general overview of the Jedburghs history and their training, but he also provides riveting accounts of their hair-raising missions, battles, and close-calls where they had to dodge not only German troops and the Gestapo, but also collaborators who could easily have blown their cover.
Secret Agent: The True Story of the Covert War Against Hitler, by David Stafford.
This riveting book offers the readers an in-depth look at ultra-secret World War II 'spy' organization called the Special Operations Executive. Details range from the groups formation, to the work that it carried out during the war, along with detailed profiles of its agents and auxiliary staff.
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