New military war history book covers final months of WWII in the Pacific

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On July 20, 2023

The final book in a World War II Pacific theater trilogy will focus on the Allied victory – from the liberation of the Philippines to the Japanese surrender. Military historian Dr. John C. McManus’s new book, To the End of the Earth: The U.S. Army and the Downfall of Japan, 1945, published by Penguin Random House, will be available on May 2.

McManus’s newest book opens on the island of Luzon in the Philippines, at the beginning of a months-long campaign to liberate the country from Japanese occupation. Even as fighting raged in the Philippines, Allied strategists also turned their eyes to China, Iwo Jima, Okinawa and eventually the Japanese islands. Because McManus draws from first-hand accounts of the war, readers can follow the perspective of several American soldiers and officers who fought not just enemy soldiers, but the climate, diseases and more.

“As I read through the American soldiers’ and even generals’ personal writings, you get a sense that none of them fully knew what would happen at the end of this war,” says McManus. “I also include a lot of Japanese soldiers’ perspectives and writings – I really wanted to bring their accounts of the war to light, as well, to show the human perspective of the events. The Japanese soldiers in particular wrote in incredibly vivid and descriptive diaries that need to be shared with wider audiences.”

The book also covers Pacific theater general Douglas MacArthur and the challenges he faced during Japan’s surrender and America’s occupation.

“MacArthur was a very complex individual to study – I have found him both selfless and selfish as a leader,” says McManus. “Throughout this project, I have visited the National Archives and looked extensively through MacArthur’s papers to learn more about his leadership style, beliefs and lasting impact on the war in the Pacific.”

McManus’ research for the three-volume series was supported in part through a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar award. McManus received the grant in 2015.

His first book in this series, “Fire and Fortitude,” earned McManus the Gilder Lehrman Prize for Military History. The $50,000 prize is awarded by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History to recognize the best book in the field of military history published in English during the previous calendar year.

McManus is currently researching a major new biography of Gen. Matthew Ridgway – a senior Army officer and airborne pioneer who commanded the 82nd Airborne Division and XVIII Airborne Corps in World War II, the Eighth Army in Korea, and served as supreme Allied commander in the Far East and Europe before eventually finishing his career as the Army’s 19th chief of staff.

McManus has authored 15 non-fiction historical books about the American military experience. He is in frequent demand as a speaker and expert commentator on 20th and 21st century American war, and has appeared on Fox News, C-Span, the Military Channel, the Discovery Channel, the Smithsonian Network, History and PBS. He also hosts two World War II-related podcasts that have generated more than seven million downloads.

McManus joined the Missouri S&T faculty in 2000. He holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Tennessee. He also holds a master of arts degree in history and a bachelor of journalism degree, both from the University of Missouri-Columbia. He received the 2012 Missouri Governor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and in 2014 he was named Curators’ Distinguished Professor of history and political science by the University of Missouri System – the first S&T faculty member in a humanities or social sciences field to achieve that distinction.

McManus was named to the UM System’s 2019-20 class of Presidential Engagement Fellows based on his demonstrated excellence and ability to communicate his research to the public.

About Missouri S&T

Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a STEM-focused research university of over 7,000 students. Part of the four-campus University of Missouri System and located in Rolla, Missouri, Missouri S&T offers 101 degrees in 40 areas of study and is among the nation’s top 10 universities for return on investment, according to Business Insider. For more information about Missouri S&T, visit

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