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Race of Aces: WWII's Elite Airmen and the Epic Battle to Become the Master of the Sky

Race of Aces: WWII's Elite Airmen and the Epic Battle to Become the Master of the Sky cover

Race of Aces: WWII's Elite Airmen and the Epic Battle to Become the Master of the Sky

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The astonishing untold story of the WWII airmen who risked it all in the deadly race to become the greatest American fighter pilot.

In 1942, America's deadliest fighter pilot, or "ace of aces" -- the legendary Eddie Rickenbacker -- offered a bottle of bourbon to the first U.S. fighter pilot to break his record of twenty-six enemy planes shot down. Seizing on the challenge to motivate his men, General George Kenney promoted what they would come to call the "race of aces" as a way of boosting the spirits of his war-weary command.

What developed was a wild three-year sprint for fame and glory, and the chance to be called America's greatest fighter pilot. The story has never been told until now.

Based on new research and full of revelations, John Bruning's brilliant, original book tells the story of how five American pilots contended for personal glory in the Pacific while leading Kenney's resurgent air force against the most formidable enemy America ever faced.

The pilots -- Richard Bong, Tommy McGuire, Neel Kearby, Charles MacDonald and Gerald Johnson -- riveted the nation as they contended for Rickenbacker's crown. As their scores mounted, they transformed themselves from farm boys and aspiring dentists into artists of the modern dogfight.

But as the race reached its climax, some of the pilots began to see how the spotlight warped their sense of duty. They emerged as leaders, beloved by their men as they chose selfless devotion over national accolades.

Teeming with action all across the vast Pacific theater, Race of Aces is a fascinating exploration of the boundary between honorable duty, personal glory, and the complex landscape of the human heart.

"Brings you into the cockpit of the lethal, fast-paced world of fighter pilots . . . Fascinating." -- Sara Vladic
"Extraordinary . . . a must-read." -- US Navy Captain Dan Pedersen
"A heart-pounding narrative of the courage, sacrifice, and tragedy of America's elite fighter pilots." -- James M. Scott
"Vivid and gripping . . . Confirms Bruning's status as the premier war historian of the air." -- Saul David

John R. Bruning is the author or collaborating writer of the national bestseller, Indestructible, as well as Outlaw Platoon written with Sean Parnell, Shadow of the Sword with Jeremiah Workman, How to Break a Terrorist with Matthew Alexander, House to House with David Bellavia, The Devil's Sandbox, and Ghost: Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent with Fred Burton. Bruning is well traveled as an embedded combat correspondent. For his reporting in Afghanistan, the Department of Defense presented him with the Thomas Jefferson Award in 2010. For his work with the Oregon National Guard, he was inducted into the 162nd Infantry Regiment in September 2011 as an honorary member. John lives in Independence, Oregon, and has two children.

ISBN: 9780316508629

ISBN-10: 9780316508629

Publisher: Hachette Books

Publication Date: 01/14/2020 - 12:00am

On Sale: 01/14/2020 - 12:00am

Pages: 544

Categories

History / Military / World War II

Biography & Autobiography / Aviation & Nautical

History / Military / United States

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