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About John R. Bruning
John is the collaborating writer or author of twenty-two non-fiction books, including four New York Times best sellers. A graduate of the University of Oregon, John was given a Department of Defense's Thomas Jefferson Award for best article by a photojournalist in 2010 after he wrote about a forced landing in the Hindu Kush region of Afghanistan. He was embedded with 2-162 Infantry, Oregon National Guard during the stability and support operation in New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in September 2005.
John lives in Independence, Oregon with his two kids, a couch-eating Jordanian dog and a cat who enjoys swimming, hiking in the Cascades, and bossing everyone around.
John can be found at Instagram at:
and writes about great Americans here:
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A riveting story of American fighting men, Outlaw Platoon is Lieutenant Sean Parnell's stunning personal account of the legendary U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division's heroic stand in the mountains of Afghanistan. Acclaimed for its vivid, poignant, and honest recreation of sixteen brutal months of nearly continuous battle in the deadly Hindu Kush, Outlaw Platoon is a Band of Brothers or We Were Soldiers Once and Young for the early 21st century--an action-packed, highly emotional true story of enormous sacrifice and bravery.
A magnificent account of heroes, renegades, infidels, and brothers, it stands with Sebastian Junger's War as one of the most important books to yet emerge from the heat, smoke, and fire of America's War in Afghanistan.
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 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
Raised in a tiny blue-collar town in Ohio, Jeremiah Workman was a handsome and athletic high achiever. Having excelled on the sporting field, he believed that the Marine Corps would be the perfect way to harness his physical and professional drives.
In the Iraqi city of Fallujah in December 2004, Workman faced the challenge that would change his life. He and his platoon were searching for hidden caches of weapons and mopping up die-hard insurgent cells when they came upon a building in which a team of fanatical insurgents had their fellow Marines trapped. Leading repeated assaults on that building, Workman killed more than twenty of the enemy in a ferocious firefight that left three of his own men dead.
But Workman’s most difficult fight lay ahead of him–in the battlefield of his mind. Burying his guilt about the deaths of his men, he returned stateside, where he was decorated for valor and then found himself assigned to the Marine base at Parris Island as a “Kill Hat”: a drill instructor with the least seniority and the most brutal responsibilities. He was instructed, only half in jest, to push his untested recruits to the brink of suicide. Haunted by the thought that he had failed his men overseas, Workman cracked, suffering a psychological breakdown in front of the men he was charged with leading and preparing for war.
In Shadow of the Sword, a memoir that brilliantly captures both wartime courage and its lifelong consequences, Workman candidly reveals the ordeal of post-traumatic stress disorder: the therapy and drug treatments that deadened his mind even as they eased his pain, the overwhelming stress that pushed his marriage to the brink, and the confrontations with anger and self-blame that he had internalized for years.
Having fought through the worst of his trials–and now the father of a young son–Workman has found not perfection or a panacea but a way to accommodate his traumas and to move forward toward hope, love, and reconciliation.
On August 20, 1942, twelve Marine dive-bombers and nineteen Marine fighters landed at Guadalcanal. Their mission: defeat the Japanese navy and prevent it from sending more men and supplies to "Starvation Island," as Guadalcanal was nicknamed. The Japanese were turning the remote, jungle-covered mountain in the south Solomon Islands into an air base from which they could attack the supply lines between the U.S. and Australia. The night after the Marines landed and captured the partially completed airfield, the Imperial Navy launched a surprise night attack on the Allied fleet offshore, resulting in the worst defeat the U.S. Navy suffered in the 20th century, which prompted the abandonment of the Marines on Guadalcanal.
The Marines dug in, and waited for help, as those thirty-one pilots and twelve gunners flew against the Japanese, shooting down eighty-three planes in less than two months, while the dive bombers, carried out over thirty attacks on the Japanese fleet. Fifty-Three Days on Starvation Island follows Major John L. Smith, a magnetic leader who became America’s top fighter ace for the time; Captain Marian Carl, the Marine Corps’ first ace, and one of the few survivors of his squadron at the Battle of Midway. He would be shot down and forced to make his way back to base through twenty-five miles of Japanese-held jungle. And Major Richard Mangrum, the lawyer-turned-dive-bomber commander whose inexperienced men wrought havoc on the Japanese Navy.
New York Times bestselling author John R. Bruning depicts the desperate effort to stop the Japanese long enough for America to muster reinforcements and turn the tide at Guadalcanal. Not just the story of an incredible stand on a distant jungle island, Fifty-Three Days on Starvation Island also explores the consequences of victory to the men who secured it at a time when America had been at war for less than a year and its public had yet to fully understand what that meant. The home front they returned to after their jungle ordeal was a surreal montage of football games, nightclubs, fine dining with America’s elites, and inside looks at dysfunctional defense industries more interested in fleecing the government than properly equipping the military. Bruning tells the story of how one battle reshaped the Marine Corps and propelled its veterans into the highest positions of power just in time to lead the service into a new war in Southeast Asia.
Matthew Alexander, a former criminal investigator and head of a handpicked interrogation team, gives us the first inside look at the U.S. military's attempt at more civilized interrogation techniques -- and their astounding success. The intelligence coup that enabled the June 7, 2006, air strike onZarqawi's rural safe house was the result of several keenly strategized interrogations, none of which involved torture or even "control" tactics.
Matthew and his team decided instead to get to know their opponents. Who were these monsters? Who were they working for? What were they trying to protect? Every day the "'gators" matched wits with a rogues' gallery of suspects brought in by Special Forces ("door kickers"): egomaniacs, bloodthirsty adolescents, opportunistic stereo repairmen, Sunni clerics horrified by the sectarian bloodbath, Al Qaeda fanatics, and good people in the wrong place at the wrong time. With most prisoners, negotiation was possible and psychological manipulation stunningly effective. But Matthew's commitment to cracking the case with these methods sometimes isolated his superiors and put his own career at risk.
This account is an unputdownable thriller -- more of a psychological suspense story than a war memoir. And indeed, the story reaches far past the current conflict in Iraq with a reminder that we don't have to become our enemy to defeat him. Matthew Alexander and his ilk, subtle enough and flexible enough to adapt to the challenges of modern, asymmetrical warfare, have proved to be our best weapons against terrorists all over the world.
Thirty-one American divisions—fully a third of the U.S. Army raised during World War II—saw action in this battle. As a result, it was a quintessentially American moment. It was also a test: could this conscript army from a pacifistic democracy defeat the best remaining men and machines a totalitarian government could produce?
The story of the Bulge is the story of panic, fear, and physical misery. It is the story of how a generation of draftees, National Guardsmen, and a small core of regular officers and NCOs faced those three elements as snow piled around their foxholes and the incessant drumming of artillery splintered the woods that gave them shelter. It is the story of men, frozen and hurting, far from home with little hope of seeing it again until the killing finally ended.
The most complete and awe-inspiring illustrated history on the infamous battle, The Battle of the Bulge: The Photographic History of an American Triumph places readers in the frozen foxholes, haunting forests, and devastated villages of the Ardennes during the winter of 1944/1945. Making use of over 500 gripping photographs, many never before published, author John Bruning tells the story of the Bulge with insightful detail, replaying the thrusts and volleys of both the Allied and German forces during the tumultuous battle.
The Battle of the Bulge is a fitting tribute to the men who braved the weather, and the odds, in order to stem the tide of the German war machine.
Bombs Away! covers strategic bombing in Europe during World War II, that is, all aerial bombardment of a strategic nature which took place between 1939 and 1945. In addition to American (U.S. Army Air Forces) and British (RAF Bomber Command) strategic aerial campaigns against Germany, this book covers German use of strategic bombing during the Nazi’s conquest of Europe: the Battle of Britain, Operation Barbarossa, and the V 1 and V 2, where the Luftwaffe targeted Warsaw and Rotterdam (known as the Rotterdam Blitz). In addition, the book covers the blitzes against London and the bombing of other British industrial and port cities, such as Birmingham, Liverpool, Southampton, Manchester, Bristol, Belfast, Cardiff, and Coventry bombed during the Battle of Britain.
The twin Allied campaigns against Germany—the USAAF by day, the RAF by night—built up into massive bombing of German industrial areas, notably the Ruhr, followed by attacks directly on cities such as Hamburg, Kassel, Pforzheim, Mainz, Cologne, Bremen, Essen, Düsseldorf, Hanover, Dortmund, Frankfurt, and the still controversial fire-bombing of Hamburg and Dresden. In addition to obvious targets like aircraft and tank manufacturers, ball bearing factories and plants that manufactured abrasives and grinding wheels were high priority targets.
Petroleum refineries were a key target with USAAF aircraft based in North Africa and later Italy, bombing the massive refinery complexes in and around Ploesti, Romania, until August 1944 when the Soviet Red Army captured the area. Other missions included industrial targets in southern Germany like Regensburg and Schweinfurt.
Missions to the Nazi capital, Berlin, started in 1940 and continued through March 1945. Throughout the war there were 314 air raids on Berlin.
All of this is covered in detail with authoritative text and hundreds of archival photographs, many rare or never before published.