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

Race of Aces: WWIIs Elite Airmen and the Epic Battle to Become the Master of the Sky Audiobook, by John R. Bruning Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: John R. Bruning Narrator: Brian Troxell Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: January 2020 ISBN: 9781478921608
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"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


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.
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Quotes & Awards

  • The riveting and emotional story of five American fighter pilots caught up in a deadly competition to claim the title of our nation's Ace of Aces, this book is so powerfully written that you can almost smell the engine exhaust and feel the G-forces in those furious dogfights. Race of Aces is quite simply is one of the best books ever written on World War II and cements Bruning's place as one of our generation's best combat historians. David Bellavia, Medal of Honor Recipient and author of House to House: A Soldier's Memoir
  • Race of Aces brings you into the cockpit of the lethal, fast-paced world of fighter pilots as they strive to achieve ace-level status...Bruning's unique and intimate look at the struggles of these men to balance honor, duty to country, and their pursuit to be the best makes this account even more fascinating. This is a book you can't put down, and a story you will reflect upon long after turning the last page. Sara Vladic, New York Times bestselling coauthor of Indianapolis
  • Race of Aces is a superb read, taking us through the high-stakes world of our great Aces and the WWII air war...Extraordinary. Wear your G suit and hang on -- this must-read will become a classic. Dan Pedersen, Founder of the Topgun program and bestselling author of Topgun: An American Story
  • “Extraordinary. Wear your G suit and hang on—this must-read will become a classic.”

    Dan Pedersen, Founder of the Topgun program and bestselling author of Topgun: An American Story

  • “Satisfying…Combat aviation buffs will enjoy Bruning’s explorations of a little-known history.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • In Race of Aces, John R. Bruning brilliantly recreates the excitement and terror of one of the greatest untold stories of World War II: the nerve-shredding three-year contest to become America's deadliest fighter pilot. Exhaustively researched and expertly written -- with dogfights as vivid and gripping as any I've read -- the book confirms Bruning's status as the premier war historian of the air. Saul David, author of The Force and Operation Thunderbolt
  • A heart-pounding narrative of the courage, sacrifice, and tragedy of America's elite fighter pilots during World War II. With a cockpit view of the fight, readers will hear the roar of the engines, feel the surge of adrenaline, and wrestle with the exhaustion that gripped these aviators in the marathon battle to become America's top fighter pilot. James M. Scott, Pulitzer Prize finalist and bestselling author of Target Tokyo and Rampage
  • Satisfying...Combat aviation buffs will enjoy Bruning's explorations of a little-known history. Kirkus Reviews
  • This thriller-like narrative not only reveals the disturbing plight of courageous American families held in Japanese interment camps, but also delivers a gripping portrait of a uniquely American hero, Pappy Gunn, who fought two wars -- one for his country and one to rescue his wife and children. James Bradley, New York Times bestselling author of Flags of Our Fathers, Flyboys, The Imperial Cruise, and The China Mirage
  • Set against the sprawling and violent Pacific War, Indestructible is the incredible story of one man's courage, tenacity, and dogged fight to rescue his family caught behind enemy lines. The book left me with chills. James M. Scott, bestselling author of Target Tokyo: James Doolittle and the Raid that Avenged Pearl Harbor
  • Here is a true story with something for everyone. Love, war, treachery, adventure, and above all an intimate portrait of the made-for-Hollywood life of a man who broke all the rules and remade them to his liking...Bruning shows us a big-hearted man determined to save his family -- and a brilliant scientist-pilot who was determined to win the war along the way. Adam Makos, New York Times bestselling author of A Higher Call and Devotion
  • From the opening pages, Bruning grabs you by the collar and pulls you into the story, not letting go as he masterfully guides you through a part of World War II that is largely unknown. This is the work of a skilled wordsmith who knows how to tell a story. Gregory A. Freeman, bestselling author of The Forgotten 500
  • This is a beautifully told story of a faimly separated by war, and of an extraordinary father, driven to avenge his family, who by sheer force of character changed the nature of warfare. A superbly told tale of love, honor, courage, and devotion. Alex Kershaw, New York Times bestselling author of Avenue of Spies

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About the Author

John R. Bruning is the author or coauthor of more than a dozen nonfiction books, including the critically acclaimed Shadow of the Sword and House to House. He lives in Oregon with his wife and two children.

About the Narrator

Brian Troxell is an audiobook narrator and Atlanta-based actor and voice talent who can be seen and heard on television, film, radio, podcasts, and the live stage. He is a regular cast member of the Sketchworks sketch comedy troupe and performs regularly with the Atlanta Radio Theatre Company. He can also be heard as a cast member of the Harry Strange Radio Drama.