According to the description of Truman
and MacArthur: Adversaries for a Common Cause, “The author's purpose in writing this book was to tell
a story of events which occurred during a brief but momentous period in American history, involving two extraordinary men,
President Harry S. Truman and General of the Army, Douglas MacArthur. The story tells of their interaction during a time of
grave national crisis, how they veered badly off course and ultimately collided head-on. It was a collision which both altered
the course of history and irreparably changed their personal destinies.
What is related here is first and foremost
a human story, but one that plays out against the panorama of the Korean War—a nasty, brutish and fearsome slice of
hell where what was at stake was nothing less than the determination of whether the Communist Sino-Soviet alliance would gain
dominion by force over large regions of the continent of Asia or be contained and held in check by a coalition of United Nations
Forces led by the United States.
As the drama unfolded during a critical
period of approximately ten months in 1950 and 1951, the all-pervasive tension holding the principal players in its grip was
the ever-present threat of nuclear war looming over all of humankind.
Other larger-than-life personalities
also emerge in this epic tale and are interspersed with the two main characters. They include Eighth Army Commander Matthew
B. Ridgway, Secretary of State Dean Acheson, Secretary of Defense George C. Marshall, South Korean President Syngman Rhee,
NATO Commander Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ambassador Averell Harriman, Army General Walton W. Walker, Marine General O.P. Smith,
Army Chief of Staff J. Lawton Collins, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Omar Bradley, and Marine Colonel “Chesty”
Puller. Every one of them played an integral role in the drama and some of them such as Ridgway, Acheson, Marshall and Eisenhower
actually changed the course of history. But, the overarching giants of this tale are Truman and MacArthur. Their saga of 1950-1951
underscores the fact that no matter what the magnitude of events, history is still primarily a collection of stories about
people. This is one of those stories—one that is part of the larger framework of the forty-five year-long Cold War,
but one that is surpassed in importance by none other in that singularly perilous epoch of world history.”