It is powerful narrative history, one almost too painful to read in places but impossible to put down ... Although some of those stories are familiar, he adds a heart-rending portrayal of the brutal life they endured. But Scott breaks new ground by mining war crimes records, after-action military reports and other primary sources for the agonizing testimony of Philippine survivors and witnesses of more than two dozen major Japanese atrocities during the battle—and the ferocious American response ... Those still fascinated by World War II will find much new to ponder in Rampage.
Battles in World War II’s Pacific Theater tended to be more savage than those in Western Europe. The struggle for Manila was the cruelest of them all ... A month after Pearl Harbor, Japanese troops swarmed down Manila’s boulevards, bayonets fixed. Gen. Douglas MacArthur quickly abandoned the city, then the archipelago, vowing to return. For three grim years, Manila’s citizens endured starvation, disease, humiliation, rape and repression as they waited for MacArthur to fulfill his promise ... Mr. Scott does one of the finest jobs in recent memory of cutting out the middleman and letting the participants—hundreds of them—tell their harrowing bits of a kaleidoscopic wartime tragedy. The result is an eloquent testament to a doomed city and its people. Rampage is a moving, passionate monument to one of humanity’s darkest moments.
The atrocities committed by Japanese troops during WWII have been well documented, especially the mistreatment of American POWs during the Bataan Death March and the slaughter of Chinese civilians during the Rape of Nanking. Less well known but just as detestable was the behavior of some Japanese troops during the American effort to regain control of Manila ... Scott graphically describes the savagery of urban warfare and asserts that the slaughter of civilians was a Japanese strategy rather than a spontaneous reaction ... Scott provides insights into MacArthur and his counterparts in this riveting, often-shocking, and defining account of the Battle of Manila.
Rampage is a horrifyingly unforgettable book ... reminds us once again that man’s inhumanity to man belies the notion of human progress. The massacres in Manila that he so painstakingly details, take their place among the 20th century’s most monstrous and lurid crimes.
James M. Scott’s third book on the Pacific Theater of the Second World War, is by far his most immediate and intimate ... With thorough research and vivid writing, Scott has managed to make incarnate many of these haunting spirits, and honor their lives, their struggles and their dignity.
... a chilling, sometimes horrifying narrative of some of the fiercest urban fighting of World War II ... Scott, in the early chapters of the book, offers a compelling portrait of MacArthur ... I found the hardest reading to be the graphic accounts of the slaughter of women and babies. Scott gives voices to the victims, and that is an important service to history. And it is all meticulously footnoted from sources that include archived eyewitness accounts in the Philippines and the U.S. as well as the author’s interviews with survivors. Fortunately, Scott... is a fine writer, and he musters his considerable talents to move the storyline forward, and keep Rampage from bogging down into a grim catalog of wartime atrocities.
Historian and Pulitzer Prize finalist Scott vividly captures the mayhem and horrors that took place during the 29-day Battle of Manila in the closing months of WWII—more than 100,000 civilians were killed, many of them massacred by Japanese fighters, and most historic buildings were destroyed before Gen. Douglas MacArthur’s troops and Filipino forces took the city. Scott draws on such primary sources as diaries, letters, news dispatches, investigator records, and survivor testimony to create a compelling human picture ... Told with rich layers of perspective and cinematic immediacy that transports the reader to the streets of Manila, this is a gut-wrenching and rewarding reading experience.
In 1945, Douglas MacArthur returned to the Philippines as he had promised, wanting nothing more than a spectacular military parade through the streets of Manila. The Japanese commander of forces in the field, Tomoyuki Yamashita, the Tiger of Malaya, intended to oblige by withdrawing his soldiers from the city, but an admiral named Sanji Iwabuchi had other ideas ... Scott’s narrative, studded with nearly unimaginable atrocity, makes for difficult reading, but one cannot argue with that thesis after reading about babies bayoneted in the face, women gang-raped by squadrons of soldiers, and men burned alive. Iwabuchi killed himself rather than face justice, and not many Japanese soldiers survived the relentless American siege. As for Yamashita, though there is some evidence to suggest that he truly had no control over the rogue commander and his troops, he was hanged as a war criminal, a fate that few readers will lament ... Painful but necessary reading for students of World War II.