Full disclosure: I went to high school with John Bruning and I think he is smart, funny, talented, and generally awesome. Now go buy his book, Indestructible.
John tells the story of Pappy Gunn, a Naval pilot turned airline pilot turned Army Airforce Captain, who, by dint of extreme endurance and remarkable ingenuity, works to rescue his family in the Philippines during World War II. It is all true; it has to be, because otherwise it would be absolutely unbelievable. With deft prose, John unfolds the tale of remarkable characters in an indomitable family.
I don’t want to spoil the story by revealing the twists, but there are many, as well as a flying lizard, episodes of radical shoe-shopping, and enough airplane details to satisfy the aficionado in your family (my family has one; doesn’t everyone’s?).
Also, Pappy painted his airplanes red and therefore was a man after my own heart.