MacArthur's War: A Novel of the Invasion of Japan

This is one of those “what-if” novels about World War II, but it's a lot more than that, too. It starts off with the Battle of Midway and assumes that the U.S. did not manage to destroy the Japanese carriers, and suffered more carrier damage than it did in the real battle. This sets back the war effort, and the novel goes on from there.

A lot of the novel deals with the rivalry between the Army and the Navy which was actually similar to the rivalry between the Japanese Army and Navy, but not quite as bad. A lot of the novel deals with MacArthur's personality, primarily his ego, and his attempt to get almost total control of all aspects of the war in the Pacific.

There are things that go differently, of course. In this case, there is a severe accident at Los Alamos, and the U.S. does not get the atomic bomb. The U.S. island-hopping approach is somewhat different, also. When an island is invaded, the U.S. takes the airfields and anything else that is critical, then throws up defensive lines around those rather than trying to clear the entire island of Japanese, which holds down the U.S. casualty rate quite a bit.

There is no use of kamikaze until the U.S. actually attacks Kyushu in Operation Olympic, and the reaction on the part of the soldiers to that form of attack is well handled.

George Patton is transferred from the European theater to Japan, where he basically runs amok again, getting the job done in his own style.

The novel is also very readable, the type that you want to continue reading page after page to see what is going to happen. This is a really, really good alternative history-type of book.

Main Index
Japan main page
Japanese-American Internment Camps index page
Japan and World War II index page