It's a point of view rarely told, about the incredibly brave Germans who did try to oppose the incoming Nazi regime.
The book is framed by the remarkable true story of an American bomber crew whose lives were saved by German fighter pilot Franz Stigler, who escorted their very damaged plane home across enemy lines. While this story is just a small part of the book, it is no less amazing and extremely touching.
Nominally the true story of how a German fighter pilot risked courtmartial to help a damaged American bomber get home alive during WWII, but also an amazing history of the German airforce during WWII told through the memory of that German pilot, Franz Stigler. I've read a fair bit about WWII and particularly the airforce but listening to this audiobook made me realize that I'd never heard anything about the German side of it, only the allied side.
The book describes how the German Luftwaffe was opposed to the Nazi party - a group of them "mutinied" against Göering and were almost executed because of it - no member of the German airforce except the commander Göering himself was ever convicted of a war crime - and how many pilots would go out of their way to try and ensure that downed allied pilots were captured by the air force and did not fall into the hands of the SS.
Through Stigler's history the author paints a picture of the increasing desperation of the air force trying to protect German cities against the bombers while Göering simultaneously refused to give them the jets they needed to be effective defense (instead allocating those jets to offensive bombing missions), and how as the war went badly Göering made the air force into scapegoats, blaming them for being cowards and failing to protect Germany, to the point that Stigler was repeatedly refused any work after the war simply because he had been a pilot. Stigler was also member of Germany's "Squadron of Experts", JG-44, who tried in the last months of the war to defend against the bombers with a very few of the newest jets Germany had produced, planes that ran on kerosene and were so poorly manufactured that their parts disintegrated under any stress because Germany no longer had access to metals needed to make durable quality parts.
The story of Stigler and the American crew is a small part of the story but no less amazing and extremely touching. This really was an incredible window into a little-told part of WWII history, to the point that I plan to buy the paper version of the book also. Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in WWII and/or the Luftwaffe.
I didn't want to put it down. Another harrowing, yet enlightening story of war's savage toll on humankind; how it elevates and degrades, all at once, the whole of earth itself. I highly recommend it!
Couldn't put this story down. Reads better than most fictions I have liked except it is a fantastic true story.
Great book! Good insight into life on the inside for a high level Luftwaffe pilot. Also a very touching story. Highly recommended.
This book is very well-written and narrated. I was very impressed with it and came away weighing things about it for many days. Though this is a non-fiction book, I just read about some similar things in the semi-autobiographical fiction book "Legion of Doom," by Sven Hassel. That book had many instances of German soldiers risking their lives to go have a swim with Russian soldiers who were also risking their lives- just to be human for an hour and forget the war. I'm very intrigued by stories like this and "A Higher Call," is a huge story like this.