The emperor's general : a novel

James Webb.

From the bestselling author ofFields of Firecomes a provocative novel of historical intrigue, gripping drama, and haunting romance suffused with the mystery and seduction of the Orient. 1997.  Jay Marsh, Wall Street millionaire and grand old man of the diplomatic corps, takes a sentimental journey to the scene of his first triumphs and agonies, Manila, where as a brash young captain during World War Two he served as aide-de-camp and confidant to General Douglas MacArthur.  Marsh sees beyond the glittery capital of today to the horrifying days of 1945.  The retreating Japanese army had devastated everything in its wake.  The city was set ablaze and one hundred thousand innocents were slaughtered.  Marsh was forced to leave behind his Filipino fiancée and accompany MacArthur to Japan.  Now, as the senior statesman stands in the serene garden of the ambassador's residence, his mind reels back in time. . . . In the final days of the war in the Pacific, the Philippines are retaken by the Allies under the command of General MacArthur, paving the way for Japan's surrender.  But for MacArthur, victory over Japan is only a stepping-stone to greater glory: supreme rule over the conquered country and its eighty-three million inhabitants who, until then, were his blood enemies.  MacArthur enlists Captain Marsh to be his emissary to the imperial government, a mission that takes the junior officer into the shadow world of postwar Tokyo.  As Marsh undertakes the delicate task of opening a dialogue with the emperor, he becomes ensnared in a web of deceit, witnesses a grave injustice, commits a life-altering act of betrayal--and discovers shocking truths about MacArthur the world was never meant to know. Masterfully written and highly evocative,The Emperor's Generalis the story of MacArthur's bold and calculating transition from wartime general to "American Caesar," and of his enormous ego, his personal demons, and the glaring miscalculations he made in bargaining with the Japanese.  It is the story of Japan's dominant ruling class manipulating the American occupiers as they enter an arcane country whose rules and traditions have always baffled Westerners; of frantic scrambling on both sides to assign accountability for aggression and war crimes that approached those of the Nazis; and, in the person of narrator Jay Marsh, it is the all too human story of a young man's bitter coming of age--and of the conflicting demands of duty, honor, and love. From the battlefields and command posts of the Philippines to the royal palaces and geisha houses of Japan,The Emperor's Generalis an extraordinary saga of a spellbinding chapter in American history.


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