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Rampage: MacArthur, Yamashita, and the Battle of Manila

4.37  ·  Rating details ·  212 ratings  ·  44 reviews
In early 1945, General Douglas MacArthur prepared to reclaim Manila, America’s Pearl of the Orient, which had been seized by the Japanese in 1942. Convinced the Japanese would abandon the city, he planned a victory parade down Dewey Boulevard—but the enemy had other plans. The Japanese were determined to fight to the death. The battle to liberate Manila resulted in the ...more
Paperback, 672 pages
Published November 5th 2019 by W. W. Norton Company (first published October 30th 2018)
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Jul 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With this release, Mr. Scott has delivered a superb look at one of the most brutal and destructive battles in the Pacific Theater in World War II – the American “liberation” of Manila in February of 1945. In telling the story of the liberation, the author also gives some insight to the commanders, MacArthur (MacA) and Yamashita. He tells of just why MacA so loved the Philippines and considered them, esp Manila, his home. He covers the Japanese invasion in 1942, the reasons MacA declared it an ...more
Steven Z.
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most iconic statements in American military history was uttered by General Douglas MacArthur as he fled the Philippine Island of Corregidor on March 11, 1942 and reached Australia. Upon his arrival, MacArthur remarked that “I came through and I shall return,” a promise he would keep in February 1945, a promise that was kept because of MacArthur’s enormous ego and refusal to accept existing American intelligence estimates concerning Japanese capabilities, particularly as it effected ...more
In January of 1945, American forces were preparing for the invasion of the island of Luzon in the Philippines, with the ultimate goals of defeating the Japanese in the Philippines and freeing the capital city of Manila. General MacArthur was fairly obsessed with Manila and the Philippines as it held a very special place in his heart and in his family's history. Opposing him was General Yamashita, known as "The Tiger of Malaya" for his earlier campaign against the British in Malaya and Singapore. ...more
Mar 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Less a traditional military history of the Battle of Manila and more of a record of the horrific suffering of the civilian population during the battle where an estimated 100,000 people died, many as the result of Japanese atrocities. Be forewarned this a grim and depressing read. The last section of the book covers the war crimes trial of General Tomoyuki Yamashita and the thorny issue of command accountability. Yamashita was the overall commander of Japan's dispersed Philippine forces in the ...more
Jack H.
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although World War II in the Pacific had been brutal enough since the United States' entry in December 1941, the last eight months--not even counting Hiroshima and Nagasaki--were truly barbaric. In many respects, the savagery of that war was on full display during the month-long liberation of Manila in early 1945, as amply depicted in "Rampage" by James Scott.

In keeping with the book's subtitle, two of the major personalities who were absolutely critical to the series of battles involving the
Bob Mobley
Jan 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
James Scott has written a well-researched and insightful look and examination of Douglas MacArthur’s campaign to free Manila, Philippines, in order to keep his promise and vow to himself, and those who believe in him at Bataan, and Corregidor, and the people of Manila, that “I shall return.” This is more than a military history of this bloody, violent and ruthless battle between Japanese and United States forces. It is a look into the unbelievable and unimaginable cruelty and violence with which ...more
Tony Bartelme
Dec 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
James Scott's new book, Rampage, is a stunning and brutally honest look at one of the most important and somewhat-forgotten battles of World War II. As he showed in his previous book, Target Tokyo, Scott is a master at weaving dialogue and psychology into a story that keeps you glued to the page. Great books are often about people's personal struggles amid grand public events, and Rampage is a prime example. Scott's focus is General Douglas MacArthur and the roots of MacArthur's obsession with ...more
Jan 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourite-reads
One of the best books I have read, which painstakingly details a battle that I think is often forgotten outside of the S.E. Asian region, or overshadowed by other wartime travesties. Indeed, I did not know anything about the role of Manila in the Pacific War, but Scott's narration and surplus of primary resources had me hooked every page. Definitely deserving of its rank as one of the best books of 2018. Highly recommend especially to those who have an interest in Asian and/or colonial history, ...more
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
I received this book as part of the Goodreads Giveaway. A very detailed and documented accounting of the horrible and devastating battle for the city of Manila. Tragic accounts of the enormous toll in civilian casualties caused by the occupying Japanese forces was horrific and sad. A must read in order to learn and understand the times in which this war took place.
Dec 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was really harrowing to read. To say James M. Scott did extensive research on this gruesome yet comparatively little-known chapter in World War II would be an understatement. “Atrocity” doesn’t even begin to describe the horrible things the Japanese military did.

One thing I would have liked to see, however, is accounts from Filipino guerrilla fighters. In this book, Filipinos were portrayed mostly as helpless victims, while the Japanese and the Americans are the main fighters. It reminded
Mar 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“ Rampage: MacArthur, Yamashita, and the Battle of Manila” is an excellent, never before told in this detail, history.
Beautifully written and throughly researched history the book is comprised of 500 pages of text and nearly 100 pages of sources and notes. I do wish the book had more maps to depict the battlefield. There are photographs, though. What happened when General MacArthur’s returned, as promised , to his beloved Phillipenes and to his home town of Manila, is a tale that had to be
Justin Tapp
Feb 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: war, philippines, history
This is apparently the first comprehensive book on the Battle of Manila written by an American author, making it essential to any WWII history buff's shelf. I met the author when he gave a presentation of his work at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, his book contributed greatly to the information that we give visitors about the Battle of Manila. I was aware from other media that times were tough in Manila during the war, but I did not grasp the totality of the barbarity until reading this book. I ...more
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WW2 is marked by great, global tragedy. Some of the most horrific parts are well studied (Holocaust); others have seen some study (Rape of Nanking); others are not as well known.
James Scott offers a well written, well researched book that looks at the destruction of Manila in 1945. The Japanese commander in the Philippines, Yamashita (the Tiger of Singapore), gave orders for Japanese troops to remove or destroy all supplies and withdraw from Manila before the Allied advance, but the local,
Jeff Francis
Like with most books, I learned just enough about James M. Scott’s “Rampage: MacArthur, Yamashita, and the Battle of Manilla” to know I wanted to read it, and then purposefully avoided any further information before digging in, even the book description (this approach leads to the most rewarding reading experience, IMO).

Point being, I went into “Rampage” pretty fresh. For the first quarter or so I was pleasantly impressed by the story of MacArthur fleeing the Philippines and then returning
Dec 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In general two themes run through Rampage . The first is the indescribable suffering of the civilian population of Manila during the battle. This suffering resulted not only from the deliberate, directed and sadistic efforts of the Japanese troops, but also through the indiscriminate and anonymous destruction caused by US shelling.

The second theme is that of command responsibility. Yamashita was tried, found guilty and executed although, per James M. Scott, there was no evidence presented
Paul Langenwalter
Rampage is thoroughly researched, well written and touches on important events that do not have as prominent a place in the collective US psyche as they deserve. That said, to say this is a book about a grand battle between two generals and their respective war machines is slightly misleading. The majority of this story is about suffering, that of innocent Filipinos, interned POW's and foreign nationals. Id say approximately 2/3 is related solely to their degradation and the wanton murder, rape ...more
Clara Patricia
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
An interesting book about the invasion, occupation, and return of US forces to the Philippines, with a focus on the Battle of Manila. After a brief biography of the two generals, MacArthur, whose extensive ties to Manila I hadn't realized, and Yamashita, this book focuses on the brutal Battle of Manila. I was familiar with the brutality of the Bataan Death March, but the Battle of Manila was worse, destroying the city as the Japanese fought to the death terrorizing the prisoners and civilians ...more
J.P. Mac
May 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With its emphasis on atrocities, the book examines the butchery committed by Japanese troops against the Filipino population of Manila during the fighting there in February 1945. Brutal as the SS in Poland, the deliberate murder and rape of civilians is augmented by the haphazard rain of artillery fire employed by the attacking Americans. Survival in certain neighborhoods was problematic and whole families up to several generations were annihilated.

Decisions by commanding generals MacArthur and
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1-own
This book tells the story of the battle for Manila in an easy-to-read manner. It tells a story with enough detail and description without becoming cumbersome. Around page 400 the author begins to tell how MacArthur was saddened after seeing what he'd lost in his former residence. That's part of the story and this isn't a criticism of the book, it's more a criticism of MacArthur that he felt saddened by losing a few material items which doesn't compare to what others lost and endured who lived ...more
Dec 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just like his previous book I have read Target Tokyo, This one did not disappoint. A very interesting as well as a great read. This book focuses on the Japanese occupation of Manila during World War II after Douglas MacArthur fled to Australia in 1942, But two years later returned to liberate the Philippines. This book describes and sometimes in horrific detail the barbaric acts of Japanese soldiers to the Filipinos as well as American and Filipino POW's.
bibliotekker Holman
At a time when autocrats and neo-fascists are once again stepping onto the world stage with boldness, we need to be reminded of the horror and catastrophe that engulfed the world not so many years ago. Manila, in many ways at that time an American city, was literally flattened by the struggle that ensued between Japanese and American forces. The catalog of atrocity and destruction recounted within this book becomes somewhat repetitive, but it sears the mind with an imprint not soon forgotten. ...more
Annette Eliason
Jan 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was very interesting. It tells of the liberation of Manila from the Japanese. It is full of terrible things that happened. Hundreds of thousands of people died and more were terribly tortured and injured. Many times I wanted to stop reading because the things that happened were so terrible, but I was still interested in what happened. I am glad to know that today Manila is a free place. There are problems politically, but nothing like the things that happened in that book.
Jeffrey Edwards
May 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Anthony Nelson
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Meticulously detailed and relentlessly horrifying, this narrative details the massacre of civilians and prisoners of war that occurred during the battle for Manila at the end of World War II. I rated it four stars as an achievement of research, but I don't know that I would recommend it as reading it is a grim cavalcade of atrocity.
Erik Ryberg
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book does complement, in a way, Iris Chang's "Rape of Nanking". Similar theme and stories told with Scott concluding with the trial of Yamashita, which to Scott's credit, he does not involve his own opinion in as it is a very gray zone. Many sad stories of murdered civilians and less focus on Yamashita and Macarthur which benefits the story to be told.
Rob Alexander
Dec 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Sobering, heartbreaking, compelling. The battle of Manila is most usually only briefly mentioned or described in most histories of the Pacific war. This in-depth depiction of the horrors that took place and the unbelievable destruction of that city is a must read for students of WWII.
Ryan Panzer
Jul 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Grisly and shocking, Rampage tells the brutal history behind the destruction of the Pearl of the Orient. Scott vividly depicts Yamashita and MacArthur in an epic clash of two of the war's strongest personalities. Important reading for anyone who would understand the Pacific Theater.
Logan Young
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Outstanding history of a corner of the Second World War that often goes overlooked - MacArthur’s return to the Philippines and the unimaginable suffering of the inhabitants of Manila as well as the international civilian internees.
I found this tough going. I wanted and expected more of a military history. Instead, this is mostly a catalog of murder, mutilation, rape, torture, starvation, and other terrible atrocities. It clearly was a horrific battle and over 100,000 Filipinos died during this struggle in 1945.
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