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Indestructible: One Man's Rescue Mission That Changed the Course of WWII
     

Indestructible: One Man's Rescue Mission That Changed the Course of WWII

4.7 3
by John R. Bruning
 

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This little-known WWII story introduces a renegade pilot whose personal mission to rescue his family from a POW camp changed modern air warfare forever.

December, 1941: Manila is invaded, and US citizen and Philippines Airlines manager, Pappy Gunn, is ordered to fly key military command out of the country, leaving his family at home. So Gunn was miles away when

Overview

This little-known WWII story introduces a renegade pilot whose personal mission to rescue his family from a POW camp changed modern air warfare forever.

December, 1941: Manila is invaded, and US citizen and Philippines Airlines manager, Pappy Gunn, is ordered to fly key military command out of the country, leaving his family at home. So Gunn was miles away when the Japanese captured his wife and children, placing them in an internment camp where they faced disease, abuse, and starvation.

Gunn spent three years trying to rescue them. His exploits became legend as he revolutionized the art of air warfare, devising his own weaponry, missions, and combat strategies. By the end of the war, Pappy's ingenuity and flair for innovation helped transform MacArthur's air force into the scourge of the Pacific.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
2016-09-01
The story of how one man’s struggle to free his family after the fall of the Philippines in World War II inspired him to create new weapons systems that hastened the Allied victory.Military historian Bruning (Battle for the North Atlantic: The Strategic Naval Campaign that Won World War II in Europe, 2013, etc.) tells the story of Paul Irvin “Pappy” Gunn (1899-1957), a former Navy man who rose through the ranks to become one of the hottest aviators in the service before retiring to start Philippine Air Lines. Living in Manila with his wife and children, Gunn enjoyed the good life—yet he well knew the danger of Japanese expansion. After Pearl Harbor, he laid plans to get them to safety using his company’s planes. But the situation deteriorated faster than anyone expected, and Gunn was back in the war effort, using the airline’s planes to move Army personnel and equipment. When Manila fell, he was on a long-distance mission, too far away to save his family, who went into a prison camp. Gunn’s attempts to find a way back to rescue them never got off the ground; instead, he turned to tinkering on planes. His major coup was converting the B-25 medium bomber into a gunship, a new weapon that turned the tide against the Japanese navy. Bruning also follows the family’s grueling experiences in the prison. This is a compelling story with strong characters and a wealth of fascinating incidents, set against some of the fiercest action of the war. However, the author spends too much time going into bits of back story; while these passages fill in the portrait of Gunn, they slow down the flow of the main story. Bruning’s writing is workmanlike but never really smooth, and he sometimes neglects the larger context. Fortunately, the subject matter is strong enough, on the whole, to carry readers along. Certainly flawed, but it should appeal to readers who enjoy a good adventure and/or war story.
From the Publisher
"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, author of Avenue of Spies
"

This thriller-like narrative not only reveals the disturbing plight of courageous American families held in Japanese internment 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, bestselling author of Flags of Our Fathers, Flyboys, The Imperial Cruise, and The China Mirage"

Paul
Irvin Gunn's time in World War II is the stuff of legends - and its fast-paced,
page-turning telling in Bruning's book does the man's Herculean feats justice....
The book reads more like an overly-detailed movie script than a work of historical non-fiction, complete with a heart-wrenching love story and heroic conclusion....Indestructible offers a glimpse of the Pacific theater like you've never before seen."
Men's Journal
"

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. Finally, we have a book that does justice to the legend of Colonel Paul 'Pappy' Gunn, a giant among heroes of World War II. John 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, 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, author of The Forgotten 500"

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, author of Target Tokyo: Jimmy Doolittle and the Raid that Avenged Pearl Harbor
"

Bruning's gripping account of 'Pappy' Gunn's mission to save his family might seem to some like over-the-top fiction, but Gunn's rage really did drive changes to tactics and modifications to aircraft that changed the course of the Pacific War... every lover of bigger-than-life-but-still-true tales of wartime heroism will want to read this vividly written history."
Booklist, starred review"

This is a compelling story with strong characters and a wealth of fascinating incidents, set against some of the fiercest action of the war."
Kirkus Reviews"

[A] story of honor, faith, endurance and love. Indestructible is a worthwhile read for anyone interested not only in the history of the war in the Pacific but also of determination in the face of daunting odds."—Yakima Herald
"

Fast-paced, sweeping, and often haunting."—The Oregonian"

It's a massive understatement to say that Pappy Gunn was an American original. In this new book, journalist Bruning looks at the improbable life of the one-of-a-kind Arkansas daredevil pilot who took matters into his own hands when his wife and children were captured by the Japanese in the Philippines."
Men's Journal, Best Books of 2016

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316339407
Publisher:
Hachette Books
Publication date:
10/11/2016
Pages:
544
Sales rank:
26,616
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.80(d)

Meet the Author

John R. Bruning is the author or collaborating writer of a number of nonfiction books, including the critically acclaimed New York Times bestseller Outlaw Platoon (Morrow) written with Sean Parnell, Shadow of the Sword with Jeremiah Workman (Ballantine), How to Break a Terrorist with Matthew Alexander (Free Press), House to House with David Bellavia (Free Press), The Devil's Sandbox (Zenith), and Ghost: Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent with Fred Burton (Random House, a New York Times expanded list bestseller). Bruning is well-traveled as an embedded combat correspondent. For his reporting in Afghanistan, the Department of Defense presented him with a prestigious 2010 Thomas Jefferson Award. 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.

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Indestructible: One Man's Rescue Mission That Changed the Course of WWII 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
scull17 5 months ago
A gripping story of the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during WWII as seen through the experiences of Pappy Gunn and his wife and their four young children. The Gunns were a military family living in Manila, but when the capital fell, Pappy was in Australia, separated from his family when they needed him most. The book is an edge-of-your-seat account of how Pappy, a middle-aged officer in the US Army Air Forces, tried everything humanly possible to get back to the Philippines and save his wife and kids who were interned by the Japanese at Santo Tomas along with 3,000 other Allied citizens. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn about internment conditions at Santo Tomas, the evolution of American fighter planes, air combats in the Pacific Theater, and surprisingly, the discipline and psychological makeup of the Japanese soldier.
Anonymous 4 days ago
Couldn't put down
JGuyone 7 days ago
"Indestructible" goes down as one of the top five books I read in 2016. It is the true story of American P.I. "Pappy" Gunn, who became a victim of the Japanese invasion of the Philippines at the onset of World War II. In writing my WWII novel, "SARA: A Hero's Story," I had researched many of the battles that led up to the reclaiming of these islands my General McArthur. But I nave came across the name of Pappy Gunn, who (in his mid-40s) pioneered aerial fighting tactics while re-engineering and re-arming every aircraft the U.S. sent into battle. It is an amazing story of one man's determination to rescue his family, left behind in their island home, while altering the course of the war fought in the Pacific. This is a must read for all WWII fans and I applaud the author for bringing this little-known hero to my attention.