Peter Eisner

MacArthur's Spies

The Soldier, the Singer, and the Spymaster Who Defied the Japanese in World War II

Viking 2017

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The conquest of the Philippines in 1942 brought thousands of Americans under the control of the empire of Japan. While most of them were...

The conquest of the Philippines in 1942 brought thousands of Americans under the control of the empire of Japan. While most of them were interned or imprisoned for the duration of the war, a remarkable few evaded capture and fought on against the Japanese. In MacArthur’s Spies: The Soldier, the Singer, and the Spymaster Who Defied the Japanese in World War II (Viking, 2017), Peter Eisner describes the efforts of three of them John Boone, Claire Phillips, and Chick Parsons to incite an insurgency against the Japanese occupation. Facing long odds, they risked their lives to undermine Japan’s control, with Claire’s Manila nightclub supplying resources and information to Boone in the nearby countryside and the intelligence passed on to Chick and other officers working towards America’s return to the Philippines. Their efforts in association with that of others provided American and Filipino guerrillas with much-needed material, and smuggled in food and supplies to thousands of prisoners of war the Japanese held on Luzon. As Eisner reveals, while their efforts aided America’s eventual reconquest of the islands, it came at personal cost to them as it did for so many others, who faced detention, torture, and even death for their actions.

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