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

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

by John R. Bruning


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316339407
Publisher: Hachette Books
Publication date: 10/11/2016
Pages: 544
Sales rank: 484,676
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.80(d)

About 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.

Table of Contents

Maps xii-xv

Preface xvii

Part 1 Philippine Odyssey 1

1 The Last Normal Day 3

2 The Mysterious Traveler 12

3 Into the Storm 25

4 The Voice of Manila 39

5 The Day of Fiestas 46

6 Terror in the Night 58

7 Silver Screen Scenes 65

8 Running Toward Trouble 73

9 The Noose 81

10 The Middle-Aged Recruit 93

11 Outlaw Son of a Lawman 104

12 The Noose 119

13 American Red Baron 128

14 Refugee Allies 135

15 Routine in Chaos 145

16 Christmas Eve 154

17 The Last Broadcast 164

Part 2 The Legend of Pappy Gunn 173

18 Early Legends 175

19 The Perilous Consequence of Not in Stock 179

20 Daniel Boone of the Dutch East Indies 195

21 Eighth Avenue Rules 212

22 Pappy and Miss EMF 221

23 Voiding the Warranty 226

24 Where the Weak Are Prey 237

25 Wainwright to Mac Arthur: Where Is Captain Gunn? 252

26 The Indomitable Luck of Pappy Gunn 263

27 The Canberra Commandos and the Numerous Troubles That Ensued 273

28 Killing von Gronau 284

29 Secrets, Spies, and Mystery Holes 299

30 Survival Versus Sin 312

31 The Death-Dealing Sweetheart with the Jack Dempsey Crouch 323

32 "The Gun-Craziest Man I Ever Met" 339

33 Bust 'Em George, the Undocumented Renegade General 351

34 Clara Crosby Comes of Age 362

35 Margaret, Pappy's Radical, Scrappy, Lethal Engine of Death 371

36 The War on Hope 383

37 Blood and Fire 390

38 Reconnections and Revolutions 401

Part 3 Homeward Bound 409

39 Later Legends 411

40 Gunship Summer 413

41 Miss Priss Strikes Back 426

42 The Pinky and the Lungs 438

43 On the Tail of Custer's Ghost 446

44 The Vow of Last Resort 460

45 Pappy's Final Battle 469

46 The Sweet Georgia Peach 475

47 War Made Animals of Men 483

48 Ward Six 489

Afterword 499

Acknowledgments 503

Notes 509

Bibliography 515

Index 529

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Indestructible: One Man's Rescue Mission That Changed the Course of WWII 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
One of the best "hero" stories I have ever read. The book started a little slow with biographical info, but I now know why. That was an integral part of this book. A really good read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This well writin book pays homage to the interminable spirit found with the greatest generation. The author is able to convey the emotional highs and lows of conflict and it's effect on Pappy Gunn & his family. Totally engrossing and heroic !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Couldn't put down
scull17 More than 1 year 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.
jmgallen More than 1 year ago
Some stories are just too good to be true, but they are. Some figures are too wild, too undisciplined, too out of the mold to achieve greatly, but they do. Such is the story of Pappy Gunn, World War II pilot, a knight of the air who fought his own war against the Japanese and his superiors and the family he flew to reunite. Pappy was a retired Navy pilot running the small Philippine Airlines when the Japanese attacked across the Pacific. Joining the Army Air Force, he made the decision to fly out one more set of officers thinking, erroneously, that he would be able to return to Manilla to bring his family to safety. “Indestructible” is really two stories in one. One is the gruesome story of Polly Gunn and their two sons and two daughters’ survival in a civilian prison camp in the Philippines. The other is Pappy’s desperate struggle to free them. Flying throughout the Southwest Pacific from Australia, across New Guinea, to other islands and, eventually, returning to the Philippines, Pappy strained every fiber in his body to advance the front toward Manila. He obtained parts and supplies, sometimes by armed robbery. He modified B-25s by adding machine guns that made them much more effective attack machines. His alterations were accepted by the brass and changed the nature and course of the war in the Pacific. It is a cliché to say that a history reads like a novel, but this one really does. Often that just means that the prose is so captivating that you cannot turn it down but must see what comes next. “Indestructible” takes writing to the next level. Not only did I want to know what happened next, but the action was so beyond expectations that I had to keep reminding myself that this really happened. I do not want to reveal too many details in order to maintain the suspense for you. Author John R. Bruning has crafted an entrancing tale that entertains as it educates. This belongs in the library of every student of the Pacific Theatre of World War II as well as any fan of an exciting read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
They just don't make people like this anymore.
JGuyone More than 1 year 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.
Anonymous 7 months ago
Amazing education about WW2 in the Phillipines. My dad flew there at that time for the Navy in a PBM Mariner. I wish he was still here with us so I could talk with him about this book.