MacArthur's Spies by Peter Eisner

MacArthur's Spies

Peter Eisner

Readers of Alan Furst and Ben Macintyre—and anyone who loves Casablanca—will relish this true tale of heroism when it counted the most.

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"MacArthur's Spies reads like Casablanca set 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.

Advance Galley Reviews

An Interesting angle on the fight in Manila, considering a woman is one of the main spies featured in the network. The main character has many aliases and identities, but mainly Claire or her cover name High Pockets and has had a questionable background even before her involvement in the network. She has been married several times and used different aliases when she ends up in Manila during the Japanese invasion and occupation. Claire suffered physical abuse as well as emotional, loss of loved ones, starvation, disease and humiliation. Through it all she prevailed, first starting a club called Tsubaki, where she and her girls plied Japanese soldiers with drinks to get information to pass to American solders and Filipino guerillas in the mountains, hopefully being routed to MacArthur. She and her group also collected supplies and food to send to prisoners in the camps by several couriers risking capture and death. Cast of several brave and unusual characters working together to take down the Japanese force. Only detraction was the writing was dry as a textbook. Great choice and informative about unsung heroes. Also highlights Claire's subsequent fame and long time effort to get recompensation for her aid during the war.


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