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The Fate of the Generals

MacArthur, Wainwright, and the Epic Battle for the Philippines

About The Book

In the tradition of Hampton Sides’s bestseller Ghost Soldiers comes a World War II story of bravery and sacrifice—the vow Douglas MacArthur made to return to the Philippines and the oath his fellow general Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright made to stay with his men there whatever the cost.

For the doomed stand American forces made in the Philippines at the start of World War II, two generals received their country’s highest military award, the Medal of Honor. One was the charismatic and controversial Douglas MacArthur, whose orders forced him to leave his soldiers on the islands to starvation and surrender but whose vow to return echoed around the globe. The other was the gritty Jonathan Mayhew Wainwright, who became a hero to the troops whose fate he insisted on sharing even when it meant becoming the highest-ranking American prisoner of the Japanese.

In The Fate of the Generals, bestselling author Jonathan Horn brings together the story of two men who won the same medal but found honor on very different paths. MacArthur’s journey would require a daring escape with his wife and young child to Australia and then years of fighting over the thousands of miles needed to make it back to the Philippines, where he would fulfill his famous vow only to see the city he called home burn. Wainwright’s journey would take him from the Philippines to Taiwan and Manchuria as his captors tortured him in prisons and left him to wonder whether his countrymen would ever understand the choice he had made to surrender for the sake of his men.

A story of war made personal based on meticulous research into letters and diaries including boxes of previously unexplored papers, The Fate of the Generals is a vivid account that raises timely questions about how we define honor and how we choose our heroes, and is destined to become a classic of World War II history.

About The Author

© Eli Turner

Jonathan Horn is the author of Washington’s End and the Robert E. Lee biography The Man Who Would Not Be Washington, which was a Washington Post bestseller. Earlier in his career, he served at the White House as a presidential speechwriter. He has written for outlets including The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New York Times Disunion series, New York Post, The Daily Beast, National Review, and POLITICO, and has appeared on CBS Sunday Morning, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and PBS NewsHour. A graduate of Yale, he lives in Bethesda, Maryland, with his wife, two children, and dog.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Scribner (April 15, 2025)
  • Length: 352 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781668010099

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