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A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II | [Adam Makos]

A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II

Four days before Christmas in 1943, a badly damaged American bomber struggled to fly over wartime Germany. At its controls was a 21-year-old pilot. Half his crew lay wounded or dead. It was their first mission. Suddenly a sleek, dark shape pulled up on the bomber’s tail - a German Messerschmitt fighter. Worse, the German pilot was an ace, a man able to destroy the American bomber with the squeeze of a trigger.
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Publisher's Summary

Four days before Christmas in 1943, a badly damaged American bomber struggled to fly over wartime Germany. At its controls was a 21-year-old pilot. Half his crew lay wounded or dead. It was their first mission. Suddenly a sleek, dark shape pulled up on the bomber’s tail - a German Messerschmitt fighter. Worse, the German pilot was an ace, a man able to destroy the American bomber with the squeeze of a trigger. What happened next would defy imagination and later be called the most incredible encounter between enemies in World War II.

This is the true story of the two pilots whose lives collided in the skies that day - the American - Second Lieutenant Charlie Brown, a former farm boy from West Virginia who came to captain a B-17 - and the German - Second Lieutenant Franz Stigler, a former airline pilot from Bavaria who sought to avoid fighting in World War II.

A Higher Call follows both Charlie and Franz’s harrowing missions. Charlie would face takeoffs in English fog over the flaming wreckage of his buddies’ planes, flak bursts so close they would light his cockpit, and packs of enemy fighters that would circle his plane like sharks. Franz would face sandstorms in the desert, a crash alone at sea, and the spectacle of one thousand bombers, each with eleven guns, waiting for his attack.

Ultimately, Charlie and Franz would stare across the frozen skies at one another. What happened between them, the American Eighth Air Force would later classify as top secret. It was an act that Franz could never mention without facing a firing squad. It was the encounter that would haunt both Charlie and Franz for 40 years until, as old men, they would search for one another, a last mission that could change their lives forever.

©2012 Adam Makos (P)2013 Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

What the Critics Say

“This book grips you like a movie. It’s part Top Gun, part Valkyrie, and more!”(Marcus Brotherton, New York Times best-selling author

“It is often said that ‘war is hell’ - and it is - however, this story reveals how the human spirit can shine in the darkest hours. A Higher Call is an eye-opener.” (Col. Charles McGee, Tuskegee Airman, WWII)

“‘Can good men be found on both sides of a bad war?’ The author asks the question and delivers the answer. A powerful, haunting read.” (Chuck Tatum, author of Red Blood, Black Sand)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.6 (1558 )
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  •  
    Lawrence M. Ledford Lars1y 03-13-14
    Lawrence M. Ledford Lars1y 03-13-14 Member Since 2015

    Lars1y

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    "Wow, what an incredible read!!"
    What did you love best about A Higher Call?

    Great story of integrity doing the right thing in the face of danger and hardship. Amazing story that is History!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J.A. Salt Lake City, UT, United States 03-12-14
    J.A. Salt Lake City, UT, United States 03-12-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
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    103
    20
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    "It's called...respect"

    I have always been a fan of historical novels, but usually I steered away from ones about WWII. For me it was clear, there were good guys and bad guys and I knew exactly who was who in that war. However, I was wrong. This book changed my point of view. Not drastically, but enough that it gave me pause. Who were the German pilots? Why did they fly? Were they all nazis who blindly followed the "party" or did they have thoughts of their own? Did they have a code of conduct, acknowledge the Geneva Convention or was the goal to just shoot down as many planes as they could? What happened to them after the war?

    This book was very addictive. I looked forward to each chapter and loved how the story isn't told from the "American's" point of view, this isn't his story. That isn't what it is about. This story is about find the human being, the person, behind the term Luftwasse and what it means to serve a "higher call".

    My one regret isn't for me, but for the author. There is moment in the book where he talks about seeing a German pilot at an airshow and how the man was somewhat shunned, and how he didn't go up and speak to him. I regret that he did not. That man probably had stories of his own to tell; Stories that he would have liked to share with someone, a dignity that should have been recognized. I would like to have heard his story as well. Ah well, what is missed is missed and the only the wind hears its song.

    This is a good story, and I recommend it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brock DONOSTIA-SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain 03-08-14
    Brock DONOSTIA-SAN SEBASTIAN, Spain 03-08-14 Member Since 2015

    So much to learn, and so little time to sit down and read. Thanks Audible.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    452
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    107
    56
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    "The ending was awesome"

    I saw this book had received a landslide of amazing reviews, and was eager to listen to it. I also enjoy learning about World War II, so I knew I'd enjoy it. It didn't diappoint me, but it also didn't thrill me like I thought it might. It was no Unbroken, which after reading all the reviews I thought it could be. There are a couple key chapters in the book, and I often found myself wanting to speed it along to these pivotal moments. The book closes with such an amazing wrap up to the story that it leaves a great final impression, and makes you glad you listened to it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    C. Cook 03-04-14
    C. Cook 03-04-14
    HELPFUL VOTES
    12
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    43
    35
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    "Left me in tears of goodness."

    Wonderful story, made all the better because it's true. It really brought to life what it was like to be a fighter pilot in WWII. Certainly not as romantic as novels would have us believe. Solid narrator, too. All around well worth the listen. Left me moved and in tears.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Neil A. Echols cali 03-01-14
    Neil A. Echols cali 03-01-14 Member Since 2013

    captain

    ratings
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    2
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    Story
    "Best Book I've ever read"
    Where does A Higher Call rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    At the top. One of the best books I've ever read, or listened to.


    What other book might you compare A Higher Call to and why?

    None


    What about Robertson Dean’s performance did you like?

    N/A


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Both


    Any additional comments?

    N/A

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jack W. Tade Arlington, VA 02-27-14
    Jack W. Tade Arlington, VA 02-27-14 Member Since 2013
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    4
    1
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "A great account of two stories intersecting"
    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Franz Stigler was my favorite character because, although bound by duty, he maintained his humanity in the midst of madness.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Bruce EDMONDS, WA, United States 02-24-14
    Bruce EDMONDS, WA, United States 02-24-14 Member Since 2012
    ratings
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    1
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "Extrodinary story of a by gone era"
    Would you listen to A Higher Call again? Why?

    No, to many other books to read but would recommend it to anyone who has not read it and enjoys history coming to life.


    What other book might you compare A Higher Call to and why?

    None, it is a unique story and many respects.


    What about Robertson Dean’s performance did you like?

    Dean voice was easy to listen to and use of inflections and accents heightened the listeners pleasure.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The moment when the two main characters met after a live time living apart.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Saint Charles, MO, United States 02-10-14
    David Saint Charles, MO, United States 02-10-14 Member Since 2013

    Audible is better than TV

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    56
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    0
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    "A Great Story"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Higher Call to be better than the print version?

    N/A


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Franz Stigler due to his heroics and character.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I could tell you, but you should listen/read the book.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

    Honor among dishonor


    Any additional comments?

    The narrator did a fantastic job. If you would like a simple and quick look at life in WWII Germany of an honorable fighter pilot, or if you like tales of WWII air combat this book is for you.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Virginia Baton Rouge, LA, United States 02-01-14
    Virginia Baton Rouge, LA, United States 02-01-14 Member Since 2014
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
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    "Great story, worth 50 years in the making"
    Where does A Higher Call rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Very well written story. Nice to read a WW2 book with a good perspective and insight into the German war effort. Probably in the top 10 books I've read in the past few years. Highly recommend.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zack Chicago 01-25-14
    Zack Chicago 01-25-14 Member Since 2012
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    40
    3
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    Story
    "WWII from a Whole New Perspective"
    What did you love best about A Higher Call?

    This book tells both sides of a powerful event that unfolded in WWII between an American bomber crew and a German fighter pilot, but it's real focus is on the German pilot and his experiences before, during, and after the war. We rarely get so intimate a glimpse into the experiences from the other side. It's emotional, compelling, heart-felt, and brilliant. It won't make you forgive the Nazi's, but it will help you understand that many of the Germans fighting the allies weren't doing it for Hitler; they were defending their homes from the peril into which Hitler put them, and hated the Nazis.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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