MacArthur's Spies
"MacArthur's Spiesreads like Casablancaset in the Pacific, filled with brave and daring characters caught up in the intrigue of war and the best part is that it's all true!" Tom Maier, author of Masters of Sex A thrilling story of espionage, daring and deception set in the exotic landscape of occupied Manila during World War II. On January 2, 1942, Japanese troops marched into Manila unopposed by U.S. forces. Manila was a strategic port, a romantic American outpost and a jewel of a city. Tokyo saw its conquest of the Philippines as the key in its plan to control all of Asia, including Australia. Thousands of soldiers surrendered and were sent on the notorious eighty-mile Bataan Death March. But thousands of other Filipinos and Americans refused to surrender and hid in the Luzon hills above Bataan and Manila. MacArthur's Spies is the story of three of them, and how they successfully foiled the Japanese for more than two years, sabotaging Japanese efforts and preparing the way for MacArthur s return. From a jungle hideout, Colonel John Boone, an enlisted American soldier, led an insurgent force of Filipino fighters who infiltrated Manila as workers and servants to stage demolitions and attacks. Chick Parsons, an American businessman, polo player, and expatriate in Manila, was also a U.S. Navy intelligence officer. He escaped in the guise of a Panamanian diplomat, and returned as MacArthur s spymaster, coordinating the guerrilla efforts with the planned Allied invasion. And, finally, there was Claire Phillips, an itinerant American torch singer with many names and almost as many husbands. Her nightclub in Manila served as a cover for supplying food to Americans in the hills and to thousands of prisoners of war. She and the men and women who worked with her gathered information from the collaborating Filipino businessmen; the homesick, English-speaking Japanese officers; and the spies who mingled in the crowd. Readers of Alan Furst and Ben Macintyre and anyone who loves Casablanca will relish this true tale of heroism when it counted the most."

MacArthur's Spies Details

TitleMacArthur's Spies
Author
FormatHardcover
ReleaseMay 2nd, 2017
PublisherViking
ISBN0525429654
ISBN-139780525429654
Number of pages368 pages
Rating
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, War, World War II, North American Hi..., American History, Cultural, Japan

MacArthur's Spies Review

  • Paromjit
    May 15, 2017
    This is an unusual history book that sheds light on the brutal occupation of Manila and the Philippines by the Japanese in the Second World War. The Japanese were not expected to invade, perhaps explains why the Japanese took over so easily, with huge numbers of soldiers surrendering and set on the harrowing eighty mile Bataan Death March. This books looks at three expatriate Americans who played a central role in garnering and co-ordinating the resistance against the Japanese. The author, Peter This is an unusual history book that sheds light on the brutal occupation of Manila and the Philippines by the Japanese in the Second World War. The Japanese were not expected to invade, perhaps explains why the Japanese took over so easily, with huge numbers of soldiers surrendering and set on the harrowing eighty mile Bataan Death March. This books looks at three expatriate Americans who played a central role in garnering and co-ordinating the resistance against the Japanese. The author, Peter Eisner, is particularly interested and obsessed in the life of singer, Clare Philips, a woman with a multitude of names and a talent for deception that renders her an able spy. There is much myth and untruths about Clare, much of it perpetrated by her. Eisner untangles the truth and finds a story that deserves to be told as he uncovers material hidden in the National Archives in Washington DC and Maryland through sheer persistence.The Japanese invaded in January 1942, with the strategic aims of cutting supplies to the Allied Forces and to give them a key position in Asia. Eisner looks at the role played by enlisted soldier, Corporal John Boone, who led the guerrilla resistance with attacks and sabotage in Manila. Businessman and Naval Intelligence Officer, Chick Parsons, is an important spy for MacArthur in paving his return with the planned Allied invasion. Parsons shows real chutzpah in posing as a Panamanian diplomat of a fake Panamanian Embassy. The men occupy a minor role in a story that revolves around Clare who also has a daughter to look after. Clare, known as High Pockets, opens a nightclub, the Tsubaki Club, catering for Japanese officers. She gained and collated intelligence from her girls and passed it on to the resistance. She supplied the resistance and those in the prisoner of war camps with food as well. Eisner paints a picture of the privations, deaths and suffering in Manila with detailed descriptions and at the end gives us information on what happened to key individuals after the war.Perhaps the greatest shortcomings of the book is the too brief look at the efforts of the key local individuals who played a major role in undermining the Japanese regime. This is not an area of history I am overly familiar with and I was surprised at the ease in which Eisner draws me into the characters and this period of history. I particularly enjoyed the black and white photographs in the book of the characters, Manila, detainees and the return of the Americans. Eisner does a good job of placing the Philippines resistance amidst the broader canvas of World War Two. I recommend this book strongly for those interested in espionage, history and the role women played in the conflict. Many thanks to Nora Alice and Random House Viking for an ARC.
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  • Sherwood Smith
    April 20, 2017
    With meticulous, sometimes bulldoggishly exhausting detail of minor points, Eisner paints a vivid picture of Manila before the war, a jewel of a city, cosmopolitan and pleasant to live in, cultured and beautiful. Business people from all over the world, including the USA traded there—and many settled to live.Especially relevant today, Eisner shows how at first no one can believe that the peace will be disturbed—Japan won’t make it that far—and when that is proved wrong, just how unsettlingly fas With meticulous, sometimes bulldoggishly exhausting detail of minor points, Eisner paints a vivid picture of Manila before the war, a jewel of a city, cosmopolitan and pleasant to live in, cultured and beautiful. Business people from all over the world, including the USA traded there—and many settled to live.Especially relevant today, Eisner shows how at first no one can believe that the peace will be disturbed—Japan won’t make it that far—and when that is proved wrong, just how unsettlingly fast the fragile infrastructure of a city can fall apart, leaving people scrabbling for food and clean water, and medicine as the conquerors stride among them slapping and striking anyone who doesn’t bow, or get out of the way, or who looks suspicious. He also describes what happened when the defeated forces surrendered—the lies the Japanese commanders told, before the atrocity called the Bataan death march. And at the end of the war, with equally vivid description, he shows how the POWs under the Japanese were either slaughtered or forced into hell ships to be taken to labor camps in Japan; many of those ships were bombed, as no one knew that thousands of men were jammed knee to knee in the hold. He estimates 21,000 American POWs died this way.So the rescue action to try to liberate the prisons became extra tense, as MacArthur’s forces fought, inch by inch, building by building (sometimes floor by floor) to retake Manila.But that’s the general shape of the book. The main focus are the colorful figures who ended up as resistors and spies.Central is the enigmatic Claire Phillips, a not-quite-professional American torch singer who had as many aliases as she did husbands—married serially, without benefit of divorce. She went back to Manila in 1941, with her adopted two year old daughter, and when Japan struck, at first she stayed with relations of one of her husbands, then she ended up a fugitive in the hills, working as a nurse until she was too ill to move.After she ended up back in Manila, she eventually started a nightclub, which served as a cover for supplying food to Americans in the hills and to thousands of starved, beaten, an abused prisoners of war. The girls who worked for her elicited info from the Japanese officers who visited the club, and she conveyed the info as well as what supplies she could garner to Colonel John Boone, an American soldier, who led a force of Filipino guerrilla fighters, most of whom hid in the hills under great privation, but many of whom sneaked into Manila under cover as workers, to fight back with covert strikes. Then there was Chick Parsons of the U.S. Navy intelligence, who was also a businessman, polo player, and expat living in Manila. When Japan took over, he managed to escape by faking an entire embassy—he became the envoy from Panama, and pulled it off! When he returned, it was as a spy for MacArthur, coordinating the guerrilla efforts with the planned Allied invasion.A host of others get less attention, such as Peggy Utinsky, who courageously followed her husband to Manila when he was ordered to report. She ended up taking care of Claire’s little daughter while Claire was acting under cover, and when Claire got violently ill. When he was killed in action, Peggy became an alcoholic, but still kept working undercover; in the brutal last days of the war, when Claire was captured and taken for interrogation and torture, she ran to the hills, where she began to break down. Later she ended up in prison with Claire, and the two women’s relationship unraveled, to the point that after the war, they each accused the other of various things.Also with less attention were the Filipino heroes working against the conquerors, many alongside the foreigners caught there: the Roxas brothers, famous in Manila, who maintained a dangerous line between cooperation with the conquerors and secretly helping the resistance. Then there was Fely Corcuera, who faithfully helped Claire and acted as courier; Lorenza Amusategui, whose husband Ramon was a real hero, working tirelessly for the underground resistance, and in the last days of the war, when the Japanese commander became even more savage at hunting down resistance, insisted that all his contacts, including Claire, blame him for everything, as he knew he would get caught and eventually killed. And he did. Naomi Flores was another largely unsung hero, then there was Roy C. Bennett, who endured over a year of torture and privation.Eisner shows how complex these people were: heroism comes in many types, and it can have its fallout. The after war story is particularly messy, as after war stories often are. Overall, it makes absorbing reading, touching on the heroism of the Filipinos under horrible conditions, and relevant today, what with self-absorbed pirates masquerading as politicians thumping their chests and threatening to make war into a game.Copy courtesy NetGalley
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  • Elizabeth
    February 24, 2017
    MacArthur's Spies: The Soldier, the Singer, and the Spymaster Who Defied the Japanese in World War IIby:Peter Eisner4.5what is it about:MacArthur's Spiesreads like Casablancaset in the Pacific, filled with brave and daring characters caught up in the intrigue of war and the best part is that it's all true!" Tom Maier, author of Masters of Sex A thrilling story of espionage, daring and deception set in the exotic landscape of occupied Manila during World War II. On January 2, 1942, Japanese troo MacArthur's Spies: The Soldier, the Singer, and the Spymaster Who Defied the Japanese in World War IIby:Peter Eisner4.5what is it about:MacArthur's Spiesreads like Casablancaset in the Pacific, filled with brave and daring characters caught up in the intrigue of war and the best part is that it's all true!" Tom Maier, author of Masters of Sex A thrilling story of espionage, daring and deception set in the exotic landscape of occupied Manila during World War II. On January 2, 1942, Japanese troops marched into Manila unopposed by U.S. forces. Manila was a strategic port, a romantic American outpost and a jewel of a city. Tokyo saw its conquest of the Philippines as the key in its plan to control all of Asia, including Australia. Thousands of soldiers surrendered and were sent on the notorious eighty-mile Bataan Death March. But thousands of other Filipinos and Americans refused to surrender and hid in the Luzon hills above Bataan and Manila. MacArthur's Spies is the story of three of them, and how they successfully foiled the Japanese for more than two years, sabotaging Japanese efforts and preparing the way for MacArthur s return. From a jungle hideout, Colonel John Boone, an enlisted American soldier, led an insurgent force of Filipino fighters who infiltrated Manila as workers and servants to stage demolitions and attacks. Chick Parsons, an American businessman, polo player, and expatriate in Manila, was also a U.S. Navy intelligence officer. He escaped in the guise of a Panamanian diplomat, and returned as MacArthur s spymaster, coordinating the guerrilla efforts with the planned Allied invasion. And, finally, there was Claire Phillips, an itinerant American torch singer with many names and almost as many husbands. Her nightclub in Manila served as a cover for supplying food to Americans in the hills and to thousands of prisoners of war. She and the men and women who worked with her gathered information from the collaborating Filipino businessmen; the homesick, English-speaking Japanese officers; and the spies who mingled in the crowd. Readers of Alan Furst and Ben Macintyre and anyone who loves Casablanca will relish this true tale of heroism when it counted the most."what I thought of it:Peter Eisner has a way of bring to life the characters that was and are in this book , as I was reading it felt like I could feel and hear everything his characters went though, it shows how strong and how brave and resourceful the people in the Philippines were during this time as they were in the face of danger ,knowing that if they were caught they could lose their very lives , how the Japanese were cruel ,and how they forced march the prisoners of war with the intent to kill, brutalize ,weaken and or demoralize the prisoners as possible along the way. This is a book that I think everyone should at lest pick up and read , so with that said I would love to say thinks to Netgalley for giving me a change at read and review this book in a change for my honest opinion. Will be picking up an actual copy when I can.
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  • Ben
    May 14, 2017
    "McArthur's Spies" by Peter Eisner is an engrossing and informative account of those people in the Philipines, and there were many, who risked their lives working as spies against the Japanese who occupied their country.Although the subtitle mentions " the Soldier, the Singer, and the Spymaster" the greater part of the narrative is about the singer, Claire Phillips, an American born woman of mixed parentage. A woman of numerous names and many invented personal histories, she found herself in Man "McArthur's Spies" by Peter Eisner is an engrossing and informative account of those people in the Philipines, and there were many, who risked their lives working as spies against the Japanese who occupied their country.Although the subtitle mentions " the Soldier, the Singer, and the Spymaster" the greater part of the narrative is about the singer, Claire Phillips, an American born woman of mixed parentage. A woman of numerous names and many invented personal histories, she found herself in Manila at the star of the war. Mr.Eisner begins his book with a brief overview of the beginning of the war in the Pacific, focusing on the defeat of the Allied forces in the Philipines and the beginning of the long and brutal occupation. The book's pages illustrate the daily brutalities the people faced. He also relates in chilling detail life in the POW camps and internment camps. This is done by focusing mainly on Claire Phillips, though the author does include stories of other important resistance leaders.After the Japanese victory, Claire, now calling herself Dorothy, eventually set herself up as a nightclub owner. She designed the Tsubaki Club to cater to Japanese officers. Claire ( to use her most commonly attributed name) used the club to mine the Japanese clientele for informstion. Claire was also an important part of the local network worked to supply whatever food and medicine that could be scrounged to POWS. This was exceedingly dangerous work. If arrested by the Japaneses, members of the underground seldom survived imprisonment.Claire Apperars as an enigmatic figure. Her background was full of holes. She was hardly honest or forthcoming about her many husbands and lovers. She admittedly embroidered her exploits to sell her book. But, she was a hero. What she did in the Philipines as a spy, and as part of the resistance to aprovide food and medicine to starving POWs and safeguard their stories of brutal treatment in the prison camps was a great danger to her life.The book is mainly her story. It is about a forgotten woman who should be remembered, as all those who put themselves in danger to help others survive and achieve victory.Recommended not only to those interested in WW2 history, but to anyone who would enjoy a biography a how a coo on woman became an uncommon hero.
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  • Casey Wheeler
    May 28, 2017
    I received a free Kindle copy of MacArthur's Spies by Peter Isner courtesy of Net Galley and Penguin Group Viking, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my history book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.I requested this book as I have read a great deal about World War II and the description presented something that I had not read about. This is the first bo I received a free Kindle copy of MacArthur's Spies by Peter Isner courtesy of Net Galley and Penguin Group Viking, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my history book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.I requested this book as I have read a great deal about World War II and the description presented something that I had not read about. This is the first book by Peter Eisner that I have read.While the premise of the book, The Soldier, the Singer and the Spymaster Who Defied the Japanese In World War II, is interesting, the author's writing style leaves something to be desired. The book tends to be herky jerky with abrupt endings to chapters and no smooth transition from one subject to the next. The content is good, although it gets a little tedious at times in exhaustive detail that adds little to the story.My prejudice is that I have read other books dealing with World War II where the author's style makes it very engaging and the book progresses like a piece of fiction versus a somewhat dry recitation of facts.I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in World War II and especially what occured in the Philipines, but be ready for a challenging read.
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  • Kori Morris
    February 27, 2017
    Many complain (with good reasontory book) about the lack of women in history books. This is not one of those books. Eisner's focus is exciting: an American woman named Claire who aided the Filipino resistance to Imperial Japan after American surrender in WWII. The author has clearly researched, and this book would serve as an exceptional resource for an essay about said woman, and one of many resources for an essay on the resistance. EXCEPT:I removed 2 stars for what I feel to be strong exceptio Many complain (with good reasontory book) about the lack of women in history books. This is not one of those books. Eisner's focus is exciting: an American woman named Claire who aided the Filipino resistance to Imperial Japan after American surrender in WWII. The author has clearly researched, and this book would serve as an exceptional resource for an essay about said woman, and one of many resources for an essay on the resistance. EXCEPT:I removed 2 stars for what I feel to be strong exceptions to the book's promise. The first star comes off because the sections ended and began jerkily, in many cases. The entire book reads as a far too extended newspaper feature - considering Eisner's background for the Post, it's not too surprising.The second star came off because, despite dedicating the book to 50,000 Filipinos who found with these guerilla tactics, there is little mention of individual Filipinos. They exist if you look...but be ready to look for a while. Redeeming feature for keeping it at three stars: One of the starts of the piece is an American naval officer who faked an embassy to avoid detention camps.Yeah, an embassy. He faked one. What type? A Panamian embassy. Is that what you say? A Panamanium embassy? A Panam Embassy? ...An embassy for Panama.
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  • Michael Ritchie
    May 26, 2017
    (3-1/2 stars) The title of this book would have you believe it's about three Americans who engaged in espionage for the Allies in the Philippines during World War II. As per the subtitle, the soldier is John Boone, who remained behind after the fall of Bataan, living in the jungle and heading up resistance forces. The spymaster is Chick Parsons who managed to get in and out of the occupied territories and got intelligence back to the Allies. The singer is Claire Phillips who, left behind in Mani (3-1/2 stars) The title of this book would have you believe it's about three Americans who engaged in espionage for the Allies in the Philippines during World War II. As per the subtitle, the soldier is John Boone, who remained behind after the fall of Bataan, living in the jungle and heading up resistance forces. The spymaster is Chick Parsons who managed to get in and out of the occupied territories and got intelligence back to the Allies. The singer is Claire Phillips who, left behind in Manila while her husband was in the States, starts a nightclub, the main purpose of which was to have young women ply Japanese officers with booze and affection to get information out of them that could be passed along via a spy network. She was also instrumental in getting money, food and clothes in to Allied prisoners of war in the area. The parts of the book about Phillips make for compelling reading; some of her adventures have the aura of a real-life "Casablanca." But the stories of the two men feel artificially shoehorned into her narrative. An interesting but flawed book worth reading.
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  • Emily
    June 1, 2017
    Thanks to First to Read for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. MacArthur's Spies was an informative book on the underground system that gathered information and supplies for the POWs during the occupation of the Philippines during World War II. Full of facts and things I didn't know about the Pacific setting of the war, but was extremely dry and sometimes confusing with the dates being out of order. Unfortunately I had a really hard time keeping my interest in the book, but I pushed throu Thanks to First to Read for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. MacArthur's Spies was an informative book on the underground system that gathered information and supplies for the POWs during the occupation of the Philippines during World War II. Full of facts and things I didn't know about the Pacific setting of the war, but was extremely dry and sometimes confusing with the dates being out of order. Unfortunately I had a really hard time keeping my interest in the book, but I pushed through it to find out what happens to the people in the story.
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  • Bkwmlee
    April 3, 2017
    Nonfiction books are usually hit and miss for me, with the likelihood of me going down the DNF route a lot greater than with fiction, which is why I generally choose my non-fiction reads very carefully. Fortunately, MacArthur's Spies: The Soldier, the Singer, and the Spymaster Who Defied the Japanese in World War II proved to be a worthy read and is a book I would definitely recommend to anyone interested in World War II history.As this was essentially a “history” book, I didn’t expect it to be Nonfiction books are usually hit and miss for me, with the likelihood of me going down the DNF route a lot greater than with fiction, which is why I generally choose my non-fiction reads very carefully. Fortunately, MacArthur's Spies: The Soldier, the Singer, and the Spymaster Who Defied the Japanese in World War II proved to be a worthy read and is a book I would definitely recommend to anyone interested in World War II history.As this was essentially a “history” book, I didn’t expect it to be as well-written as it was. The editing was top notch and despite reading an advance galley copy of the book, I found very little to complain about in this area. While I agree with some reviewers who felt that certain parts of the book came across sounding like newspaper reports, this really didn’t bother me too much given that enough of the book was written like “fiction” that everything balanced out in the end, at least for me. Of course, having read up on the author Peter Eisner’s extensive background in journalism after finishing this book, I am not surprised that the writing and editing were as good as they were. It was also obvious that Eisner had done extensive and meticulous research, as the amount of detail he gave was indicative of the exhaustive efforts he put into reviewing National Archive records and extracting factual evidence that others may have ignored or considered not important. I definitely appreciated getting a different perspective of the war, from a country that is not often mentioned in most mainstream WWII historical and literary works. Before reading this book, I had no clue about the importance of the Philippines as a strategic, coveted base for both the Axis and Allied countries during the war. The book also brought to light many of the atrocities suffered by Filipinos (both civilian and military) as well as American and other foreign prisoners of war during the 3 year Japanese occupation. The horrific atrocities described in the book were hard to read and more than a few times I was floored by the staggering number of people who had died in those 3 years, whether from torture, starvation, or for merely being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Despite how difficult some of these details were to read through, I feel it is necessary for us to read and understand and remember the devastating effects that war has, regardless of which country.One of the things that made this book stand out from other “history” books about the war was the story revolving around espionage and the three figures described in the title who were the main focus of the book: John Boone, the American soldier who set up guerilla operations in the jungle and prepared them to fight against the Japanese; Chick Parsons, the American businessman and U.S. Navy intelligence officer who eventually became MacArthur’s spymaster, bringing together the guerilla and underground network to support Allied war effort in the Philippines; and Claire Philips, a little-known American singer living in the Philippines who becomes a key figure in the underground guerilla network, gathering intelligence for the Americans while trying to help the countless prisoners of war suffering various atrocities at the hands of the Japanese occupation troops. Despite the title, this book at its core is actually more focused on Claire and the author’s attempt to bring her true story to light (I highly recommend reading the Preface to the book where Eisner explains the basis of his research in great detail and also the reason why he chose to make Claire the focus of the book). There are not a whole lot of books out there that focus on the contributions of women to the war effort, so I especially appreciated this aspect of the book. Claire Philips was indeed an interesting woman and despite her questionable background and ethics as well as extremely messy relationships, there is no doubt in my mind that she should be remembered as a heroine who willingly put her life on the line for the Allied war effort (as should all the other people mentioned in the book who were also part of the underground network providing food and medicine to POWs and defying the Japanese at any opportunity they could). This is a highly recommended read that gives not only a detailed account of the war effort in the Philippines, but also a fascinating story about the intricacies of espionage involving ordinary people. It is also a tale of courage and heroism in the face of untold suffering and horrific war atrocities. I learned a lot from reading this book, but more importantly, I have a newfound appreciation and gratitude for all of those men and women who put their lives on the line to serve our country, whether on the front lines via military service or behind-the-scenes contributions such as ordinary citizens providing needed support to prisoners of war or other efforts. Definitely a good book that deserves to be read!Received ARC from Viking Press via Penguin First-to-Read program.
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  • Denise
    May 16, 2017
    Overall it was very difficult for me to get interested in this book. It was very good. There were a lot of facts about the Japanese occupation of the Phillipines during WWII. The spy network that the revolutionaries (Americans and locals) set up was genius. The writing was just dry.
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  • Steve
    May 19, 2017
    An interesting book on the Japanese occupation of the Philippines in 1942 and how a few American spies helped in the effort for General Douglas MacArthur's Allied victory in the Philippines. These people who were spies risked their lives in the war effort against Japanese control in the Philippines. Some were tortured and imprisoned. This also details the Bataan Death March were many American and Filipino prisoners were shot or bayoneted to death, Many were also forced in air raid shelters and b An interesting book on the Japanese occupation of the Philippines in 1942 and how a few American spies helped in the effort for General Douglas MacArthur's Allied victory in the Philippines. These people who were spies risked their lives in the war effort against Japanese control in the Philippines. Some were tortured and imprisoned. This also details the Bataan Death March were many American and Filipino prisoners were shot or bayoneted to death, Many were also forced in air raid shelters and burned alived.
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  • Lucy Meeker
    May 22, 2017
    Fascinating read. A slow read, but excellent. I received a free copy of this book from FirstReads.
  • Daniel Ligon
    April 23, 2017
    A well-written book on a fascinating period of history! Before reading this book, I was somewhat familiar with the European Resistance to the Nazis during World War II but knew little about the resistance to the Japanese in the Philippines. "MacArthur's Spies" shed light on some of the players in that movement. The title, I feel, is a bit misleading. While MacArthur and some of the other spies and guerillas are peripheral characters, the book really focuses on the story of Claire Phillips, an Am A well-written book on a fascinating period of history! Before reading this book, I was somewhat familiar with the European Resistance to the Nazis during World War II but knew little about the resistance to the Japanese in the Philippines. "MacArthur's Spies" shed light on some of the players in that movement. The title, I feel, is a bit misleading. While MacArthur and some of the other spies and guerillas are peripheral characters, the book really focuses on the story of Claire Phillips, an American woman who spied on the Japanese while running a nightclub in Manila. Her story is certainly an interesting one, from how she got to Manila in the first place, to her activities with the underground network both in spying and in helping American P.O.W.s, to her imprisonment and eventual rescue.Although this book does suffer a bit from a lack of structure, it is nonetheless interesting to read and clearly well researched. I would recommend it to anyone interested in World War II or history in general.I received a digital copy of this book for free from the publisher and was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are entirely my own.
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  • Lynne
    March 10, 2017
    Wow, what a fascinating book. I haven't read much about the war in the Pacific. I knew the Japanese were cruel, but I didn't understand the culture of why. It amazed me how brave and resourceful the people in the Philippines were during this time. I had to get through the first several pages -- the early life of "Claire" before the book really got my attention. At first I didn't care for Claire, but she did a lot of good for the POW's and the Americans. The courage it took for all these people t Wow, what a fascinating book. I haven't read much about the war in the Pacific. I knew the Japanese were cruel, but I didn't understand the culture of why. It amazed me how brave and resourceful the people in the Philippines were during this time. I had to get through the first several pages -- the early life of "Claire" before the book really got my attention. At first I didn't care for Claire, but she did a lot of good for the POW's and the Americans. The courage it took for all these people to do what they did, boggles the mind. Many ultimately sacrificed their lives. I learned a lot and would highly recommend this book to others who enjoy History and reading about WW II.I received this book from NetGalley for an honest review.
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  • Amy
    February 25, 2017
    Hawaii was not the only Pacific island threatened in December, 1941. Other islands were also attacked, including the Philippines. The American forces retreated to Bataan and the Japanese invaded Manila on January 2, 1942. In the months to follow, life for all in those islands was turmoil. Civilians fled, troops fought until they had nothing left. Then when surrender came, some chose to fight on and that is the heart of this narrative.Eisner tells the tale of three individuals who helped to lead Hawaii was not the only Pacific island threatened in December, 1941. Other islands were also attacked, including the Philippines. The American forces retreated to Bataan and the Japanese invaded Manila on January 2, 1942. In the months to follow, life for all in those islands was turmoil. Civilians fled, troops fought until they had nothing left. Then when surrender came, some chose to fight on and that is the heart of this narrative.Eisner tells the tale of three individuals who helped to lead this struggle. John Boone, a former enlisted soldier, became a guerilla colonel operating out of the jungle. His men would stage attacks both in the jungle and in Manila itself. Claire Fuentes, known to most of the guerilla network as Claire Phillips (taking her lover’s name), was a civilian who opened a nightclub from while she gathered intelligence information to pass along to the guerillas. Together with others still in Manila, they also gathered supplies to send both to the guerilla fighters and those in the POW camps. She also still managed to raise her daughter amid this. Lastly, Chick Parsons escaped the occupation in the guise of a Panamanian diplomat only to return to coordinate guerilla efforts and pass along information directly to MacArthur. All were American expatriates who chose to make Manila their home. And each did what they could to pave the way for MacArthur’s promised return.Overall, this book provides a good overview of life in Japanese-occupied Philippines. I think readers will be able to see the struggle many went through. However, I do think the subtitle picked was not the best as the book noticeably focused on Claire the most. The others were always mentioned either in regards to her interaction with them or to provided backstory for those interactions. A publisher summary I read compares the story to that of Casablanca. I do disagree as other than the nightclub setting for parts of the story and both cities being under occupation, the focuses of each were vastly different. MacArthur’s Spies was all about the struggles faced under enemy threat, espionage, and black marketeering. Casablanca,/i> was a love story featuring several of those elements, but the romance was undeniably the main focus. I do think that reading this book gave me more insight to life under the Japanese for those occupied, much like other works I have read with a European focus. The determination of those of Filipino or American origin does remind me of a novel I read that focuses on interned European civilians in the Dutch East Indies a few years back, Thief of Glory,/i> by Sigmund Brouwer.This review was based on a digital advanced reader copy provided by NetGalley.
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  • Jim Razinha
    March 4, 2017
    I got a pre-publication look at this from NetGalley.I can't imagine the occupation, but between this, and the part of The Rape of Nanking that I read before losing the book to a fire, I can imagine a little more. Eisner put a lot into his research...trying to find divorce decrees from the early 1930s? sifting through FBI files? ...telling... And he writes a strong, flowing narrative. This is a good story of something known to a few, and rapidly being eclipsed by time.
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  • Paul Franco
    May 1, 2017
    An American woman in invaded Manila convinces the Japanese she’s no danger, and is allowed to open a nightclub, where she plays spy as she gathers supplies for the POWs and resistance.That was a difficult slog, ending with a marathon session lasting till after three in the morning. In those four hours I read the entire second half, taking the story through the aftereffects of the invasion and all the way to silly McArthur’s triumphant return.So after all that happened in those three years, what An American woman in invaded Manila convinces the Japanese she’s no danger, and is allowed to open a nightclub, where she plays spy as she gathers supplies for the POWs and resistance.That was a difficult slog, ending with a marathon session lasting till after three in the morning. In those four hours I read the entire second half, taking the story through the aftereffects of the invasion and all the way to silly McArthur’s triumphant return.So after all that happened in those three years, what is there to say? This quote pretty much encapsulates it: “Good spies and heroes are not necessarily Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts. Claire Phillips was deceptive and foolish at times, but she also fought on behalf of the United States to defeat Japan in occupied Manila.”The last part deals with the aftermath of her ego; had she told the truth about her exploits instead of embellishing, the FBI wouldn’t have been so skeptical and made things really bad for her. The book she “wrote” was bad enough, but there’s a passage about the movie’s publicity that was ridiculous in its hyperbole. A sad ending.Meticulously researched, full of interesting and amazing anecdotes. Most of the book treated her like a hero, but to the author’s credit the last part brought her down to earth. Do wish there’d been more on Boone and Parsons, though.3.5 pushed up to 4/5
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  • Nancy Oakes
    May 13, 2017
    thank you to Nora @ Viking.
  • The Library Lady
    April 13, 2017
    Well written, well researched history. My father-in-law was one of the Filipino survivors of the Bataan Death March, so this had especial interest for me. Fascinating characters.
  • Aletha Pagett
    April 27, 2017
    A fascinating look at WWII Philippines and and exploration of an intriguing American woman who spied for the Allies. This was an utterly fascinating book-tough to put down! I received this through Goodreads.
  • MDM
    April 16, 2017
    MacArthur’s Spies is a fascinating tale of World War II in the Philippines. Focusing on the life and career of Claire Phillips, known as High Pockets, the book tells the almost novelistic story of the American and pro-American Filipino resistance during the war.
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