Book Review: The Question of MacArthur's Reputation: Côte de Chátillon, October 14-16, 1918


by Robert H. Ferrell

Columbus, Mo.: University of Missouri Press, 2008. Pp. xiv, 111. Illus., maps, notes, biblio., index. $19.95. ISBN:082621830X

Having previously written very well-received and ground-braking studies of the "Lost Battalion" and of the 35th Division in World War I, Professor Ferrell (Emeritus, Indiana) here takes a hard look at the Battle of Côte de Chátillon.

The battle, though short, was significant in establishing the reputation of Douglas MacArthur, then commanding a brigade in the 42nd "Rainbow" Division, as a brilliant officer who "led from the front."  In a meticulous reconstruction, Ferrell concludes that the accepted narrative of the battle is flawed. He presents evidence that the regimental commander, after examining the general's plans, which Ferrell terms "dramatically silly," quietly substituted more workable ones of their own. In short, the battle was won not by any brilliance on MacArthur's part, but by the actions of the regimental commanders and their staffs

An important book for anyone interested in the AEF and American military leadership.

Reviewer: A. A. Nofi   

Buy it at



Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close