Skies of Thunder: The Deadly World War II Mission Over the Roof of the World

Written by:
Caroline Alexander
Narrated by:
Fred Sanders

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
May 2024
14 hours 5 minutes
A New York Times Editors’ Choice

“Riveting.” —The New York Times

From the New York Times bestselling author, a breathtaking account of combat and survival in one of the most brutally challenging and rarely examined campaigns of World War II

In April 1942, the Imperial Japanese Army steamrolled through Burma, capturing the only ground route from India to China.  Supplies to this critical zone would now have to come from India by air—meaning across the Himalayas, on the most hazardous air route in the world. SKIES OF THUNDER is a story of an epic human endeavor, in which Allied troops faced the monumental challenge of operating from airfields hacked from the jungle, and took on “the Hump,” the fearsome mountain barrier that defined the air route.They flew fickle, untested aircraft through monsoons and enemy fire, with inaccurate maps and only primitive navigation technology. The result was a litany of both deadly crashes and astonishing feats of survival. The most chaotic of all the war’s arenas, the China-Burma-India theater was further confused by the conflicting political interests of Roosevelt, Churchill  and their demanding, nominal ally, Chiang Kai-shek.

Caroline Alexander, who wrote the defining books on Shackleton’s Endurance and Bligh's Bounty, is brilliant at probing what it takes to survive extreme circumstances. She has unearthed obscure memoirs and long-ignored records to give us the pilots’ and soldiers’ eye views of flying and combat, as well as honest portraits of commanders like the celebrated “Vinegar Joe” Stillwell and Claire Lee Chennault. She assesses the real contributions of units like the Flying Tigers, Merrill’s Marauders, and the British Chindits, who pioneered new and unconventional forms of warfare. Decisions in this theater exposed the fault-lines between the Allies—America and Britain, Britain and India, and ultimately and most fatefully between America and China, as FDR pressed to help the Chinese nationalists in order to forge a bond with China after the war.  
    A masterpiece of modern war history.
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