BOOK REVIEW: “RAMPAGE – MACARTHUR, YAMASHITA AND THE BATTLE OF MANILA” – A brilliantly written book on the RAMPAGE in Manila, Philippines by Japanese forces in February 1945

"I have returned" – General MacArthur returns to the Philippines with Philippine President Sergio Osmeña to his right, Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Carlos P. Romulo at his rear, and Sutherland on his left. Photo taken by Gaetano Faillace.
RAMPAGE: MacArthur, Yamashita, and the Battle of Manila
Title: RAMPAGE: MacArthur, Yamashita, and the Battle of Manila
ISBN: 0393246949
The twenty-nine-day battle to liberate Manila resulted in the catastrophic destruction of the city and a rampage by Japanese forces that brutalized the civilian population. Landmarks were demolished, houses were torched, suspected resistance fighters were tortured and killed, countless women were raped, and their husbands and children were murdered. In the end, an estimated 100,000 civilians lost their lives. We must never forget that we always need to confront evil.


REVIEW by Major Glenn MacDonald:

Well, this will be one book you won’t see reviewed in ASAHI SHIMBUN, the “New York Times” of Japan. But it deserves to be praised in every publication possible. It’s that good. And the story brilliant, young author James M. Scott tells is long overdue.

In early 1945, as General of the Army Douglas MacArthur’s forces moved ever closer to Manila in the Philippines, he hoped to avenge America’s stunning defeat three years earlier when the island nation fell to the Japanese war machine.

The nightmare of thousands of POW’s slaughtered on the Bataan Death March, the fall of Corregidor, and our men left to die without proper food and medical care in prison camps like Cabanatuan, might be in some small way be paid back by a triumphant entry into Manila by Gen. MacArthur.

A victory parade down Dewey Boulevard was not to be, however. Horror and mass murder was on the menu, as Japanese Marines stubbornly fought to hold the city, house-by-house, block-by-block.

Many of you have heard or read of the “Rape of Nanking,” in China where the Japanese military committed barbarous acts against the civilian population. The RAMPAGE in Manila was an equally horrific war crime. More than 100,000 civilians were slain and wide areas of the Philippine metropolis was turned into rubble.

It took nearly 30 days for American troops to clear out Manila and liberate her citizens. Innocent Filipino men, women and even babies paid with their lives. Hell was indeed in season there.

James Scott first impressed us several years back with his politically-incorrect THE ATTACK ON THE LIBERTY, which exposed the cover-up of one of the shameful incident of “friendly fire” during the 1967 war in the Middle East. We know the LIBERTY was meant to be sunk with all hands aboard, but thank God, the captain (later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor) and members of his gallant crew survived to tell the tale.

Scott’s next hit tome was TARGET TOKYO on Gen. Jimmy Doolittle’s daring raid on Tokyo in the early days of WWII, followed by another excellent read – THE WAR BELOW – on U.S. submarines’ deadly war on Japan. We look forward to this South Carolina writer’s next book – maybe on the fall of Bataan and Corregidor.

You are going to need a strong stomach to keep going through the more than 600 pages of excruciating detail on Japanese war crimes in Manila. Nuns are raped and killed; babies tossed in the air and caught on the ends of rifle bayonets. Some civilian victims were burned to death. But the story has needed to be told. And now it has.

We are proud to give RAMPAGE a four-star rating, for this is a meticulously-researched work that belongs on the bookshelf of every serious WWII buff and historian.

Kudos to W. W. Norton for publishing it.

4.0Overall Score

RAMPAGE: MacArthur, Yamashita, and the Battle of Manila

  • Major MacDonald Rating