• Kangaroo Squadron

  • American Courage in the Darkest Days of World War II
  • By: Bruce Gamble
  • Narrated by: Mark Boyett
  • Length: 14 hrs and 20 mins
  • Categories: History, Asia
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (54 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In early 1942, while the American military was still in disarray from the devastating attacks on Pearl Harbor and the Philippines, a single US Army squadron advanced to the far side of the world to face America's new enemy.

Based in Australia with inadequate supplies and no ground support, the squadron's pilots and combat crew endured tropical diseases while confronting numerically superior Japanese forces. Yet the outfit, dubbed the Kangaroo Squadron, proved remarkably resilient and successful, conducting long-range bombing raids, carrying out armed reconnaissance missions, and rescuing General MacArthur and his staff from the Philippines.

Before now, the story of their courage and determination in the face of overwhelming odds has largely been untold. Using eyewitness accounts from diaries, letters, interviews, and memoirs, as well as Japanese sources, historian Bruce Gamble brings to vivid life this dramatic true account.

But the Kangaroo Squadron's story doesn't end in World War II. One of the squadron's B-17 bombers, which crash-landed on its first mission, was recovered from New Guinea after almost 70 years in a jungle swamp. The intertwined stories of the Kangaroo Squadron and the "Swamp Ghost" are filled with thrilling accounts of aerial combat, an epic survival story, and the powerful mystique of an invaluable war relic. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2018 Bruce Gamble (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"With his exquisite eye for detail and spellbinding talent as a stroyteller, Bruce Gamble takes readers on an unforgettable journey through the perilous early months of World War II in the Southwest Pacific." (Colonel Walter Boyne, author and former director of the National Air and Space Museum)

"Bruce Gamble has beautifully captured the dark early days of World War II - and the brave American airmen willing to take the fight to the enemy. With a novelist's gift for storytelling, Gamble takes readers into cockpits over Japanese bases, drops them waist-deep in malarial swamps, and lets them unwind in dusty outback bars. Kangaroo Squadron is a soaring story and a triumph of the American spirit." (James M. Scott, Pulitzer Prize finalist and author of Rampage and Target Tokyo)

"Bruce Gamble demonstrates again why he is one of the best aviation historians in the business. In Kangaroo Squadron he has crafted a fascinating account of men and machines, painting a compelling picture of what it was like to fight as an American aviator during the very darkest days of the Pacific War. Outstanding!" (Jonathan Parshall, coauthor of Shattered Sword: The Untold Story of the Battle of Midway)

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What listeners say about Kangaroo Squadron

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  • Overall
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Well told piece of little known aviation history

Really enjoyed this book. It did a great job of detailing early WW2 in the South Pacific, the role US aviation played in it, and how important the geography was to what the aviators had to accomplish. Mr Gamble does a magnificent job describing not only the big picture but also providing first-person details about individual missions that read like great historical fiction. I was captivated by the individual stories in this book but also felt like I learned a ton about the fighting in areas that I frequently hear about but never really understood how they fit into the bigger picture of the war in the South Pacific. I read a lot of aviation history and this book is one of the few in which the author combines a love of history with a love of aviation and great writing abilities. The one thing I would change about this book is that the stories of pilots and crews became less detailed as the book progressed. So, it was a touch less exciting at the end than at the beginning. But, overall, a really worthwhile listen!

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Great Story!

Great story about this theater of operations from the early USArmy Air Corps squadrons involved. On another note it, explains the B-17 Swamp Ghost story on display at Hickim AFB.

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Enjoyable listen & historical

the book improved my understanding of B17's in WWII, my father was a B17 squadron Captain in the 8th - so this was particularly interesting. my only slight criticism would be the name - however it was obviously a decade project and I am thankful for the authors and performers that vividly bring my father's war home to me.

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5 star History!

Wonderful book! More details than most! Felt like I was a member of the unit. Absolutely loved it. The story alone is pure American, and no one can take that away.Reccomend highly for anyone that loves history.

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Maybe Three and One-Half Stars?

The description of this book sounded interesting--the early part of the air war in the Pacific theater--so I bought it. I do not regret buying it or listening to it, but would have to put it in the "good, but not great" column. The basic problem with the book is that there is just not a lot of action--These men were sent to war with inadequate supplies and inadequate support. They had to make due with what they had--and that is really what the book is about--making due. As such, it is not always compelling listening. Still, the men were able to accomplish some important things with very limited resources. As I said, "good," not "great."

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"A" plus preference!

This narrator does an amazing job and really captures my attention with every book I have listened to.

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Another Bruce Gamble hit

Another hit by Bruce Gamble. The story of the Kangaroo Squadron and the early days of World War 2 in the Pacific has received little attention other than a few lines in many studies of the Pacific War. Me. Gamble gives a very compelling look at the early days of World War 2 at Pearl Harbor, Australia and New Guinea. The narration is excellent and told at a good pace. Definitely worth your time to listen to this book.

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What a wonderful read

Great read if you want awesome insight of WWII history of Army Air Corps. Highly recommended for history fans because the stories of the men and the times.

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Amazing story, well written!!

This story is incredible and is well told. I highly recommend this book, Boyett nailed it!

1 person found this helpful