“To The End of the Earth” is the last installment in Professor John McManus’ trilogy about the US Army in the Pacific during World War II. This book chronicles the events beginning with the retaking of the Philippines and takes readers through the final capitulation of the Japanese empire.
McManus is Curator’s Distinguished Professor of military history at the Missouri University of Science and Technology. He is a prolific writer, with 15 published works and is often called upon by national media as a subject matter expert. He previously appeared on American Warrior Radio to discuss some of the more bizarre battles of World War II.
He decided to write this series because even though the Army did most of the ground fighting in the Pacific, much of current literature has focused on the roles of the Navy and Marines.
The lead actor for the Army in the Pacific was General Douglas MacArthur. McManus describes MacArthur as a complex figure. He was certainly vain glorious but also deeply insecure and loyal. We also discuss two other principal commanders who had distinctly different styles; General Walter Krueger and General Robert Eichelberger.
Krueger was an immigrant who began his Army career as a private in the Spanish American War. He was very methodical, often frustrating MacArthur with the pace of his advances. Eichelberger was the exact opposite. A WestPoint classmate of George Patton, he was a “quick dash” commander often “leading from the front with a tommy gun in hand.”
McManus’ books are always excellently researched and “To the End of the Earth” is no exception. He takes pride in the fact that he was able to represent the perspective of the average soldiers on both sides of the conflict. Readers will come to appreciate the tremendous logistical effort that was involved in supporting the island hopping campaign against Japan. The armada being assembled for the invasion of the Japanese homeland would have been the largest fleet ever assembled.