• Race of Aces

  • WWII's Elite Airmen and the Epic Battle to Become the Master of the Sky
  • By: John R. Bruning
  • Narrated by: Brian Troxell
  • Length: 16 hrs and 52 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (1,413 ratings)

Prime logo Prime members: New to Audible?
Get 2 free audiobooks during trial.
Pick 1 audiobook a month from our unmatched collection.
Listen all you want to thousands of included audiobooks, Originals, and podcasts.
Access exclusive sales and deals.
Premium Plus auto-renews for $14.95/mo after 30 days. Cancel anytime.
Race of Aces  By  cover art

Race of Aces

By: John R. Bruning
Narrated by: Brian Troxell
Try for $0.00

$14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Buy for $30.41

Buy for $30.41

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's summary

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 US fighter pilot to break his record of 26 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)

©2020 John R. Bruning (P)2020 Hachette Books

Critic reviews

"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 best-selling author of A Higher Call and Devotion)

"This is a beautifully told story of a family 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 best-selling author of Avenue of Spies)

"Satisfying...Combat aviation buffs will enjoy Bruning's explorations of a little-known history." (Kirkus Reviews)