Race of Aces: WWII's Elite Airmen and the Epic Battle to Become the Masters of the Sky
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 ...more
John Bruning has ...more
"RACE OF ACES" is a story that begins during the dark days of the Pacific War in the summer of 1942. From the attack on the U.S. Pacific Fleet at Pearl Harbor (December 7th, 1941) to the middle of 1942, Japan's military machine had run riot in the ...more
It was disheartening to read about the many pilots that never made it into war because they were ...more
That we won the war in the Pacific is a near on miracle. Our guys were fighting in inhospitable places, outnumbered, against a foe that did not tolerate frailty or failure. What did we have? A bunch of crazy brave young men willing to hurl themselves into the sky flying unpredictable machines into fierce battles with the odds ...more
Aerial warfare is a curious thing. Official counts are kept of enemy planes downed (called “kills” although the pilot may survive). Pilots either receive official credit, or credited with a 'probable', or uncredited when ...more
The book is a record of the heroics of the Pacific War, but also a warning about the popularization of individual achievements in combat. The media, as well as the ambition of the ...more
The book which is set in the South West Pacific, begins as Gen. George Kenney takes command of the battered Fifth Air Force. American pilots fly the outmoded P-39 a heavy, slow and ungainly aircraft , and the P-40 which was a bit better . Both , however, were ...more
This was a great book, with a focused lens that kept us connected to the larger tides of World War II while helping us better understand the specific Pacific theater that the aces were fighting in. What I like most about the book is that it helps us visualize the setting of the fighters' story, from the sensation of taking off to the ...more
The south Pacific was a grim place. The European war received the lion’s share of supplies. The men of the Fifth Air Force had to cope with bad food, bad living conditions, diseases, and not enough planes and parts.
Several fighter pilots...more
The good: Very interesting story about men whose names are known only to those in "the community" - Bong, McGwire, etc al. I consider myself one a peripheral member of said community (Former AF crew chief) and my biggest thrill at the Smithsonian Air and Space annex was seeing Dick Bong's last P-38 - utterly unrestored, gun smoke still on the nose. Gave ...more
The discussions of the brutalities by the Japanese, just like ...more
Anyone interested in military aviation, particularly during WWII will find this book of great interest.
My typical fare is Sci-Fi/Fantasy but I have an abiding love of history, particularly military history. This checked so many blocks for me.
Reading a pre-release version, there were a few small things that I am sure will be caught and corrected before publication so I won't even count those as a negative. Towards the positive, it is apparent that Bruning has done his research (quite extensively based on his listed resources). ...more
In 2011, he received a Thomas Jefferson Award for his photojournalism and reporting in Afghanistan ...more