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.
“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)
I enjoyed this book so much. The author laid out the story so well and gave insights I had never considered when he showed the war from the German perspective.
At no point during the story did I think it was too slow or areas skipped over, and I especially liked the author's introduction where he admitted his own bias prior to fully investigating this story.
Sometimes when you least expect it you are reminded that there is humanity in a world full of hate. However, this happened a long time ago and I doubt we would see an act of such great humanity happening today.
This should be on your top 5 books to read this year. It has it all, history, humor, sadness, romance and intrigue.
Criminal defense Lawyer in Las Vegas, Nevada. Read mostly non-fiction.....history, science, military biography. My quirky side likes Zombie Books? Will also pick up a fiction bestseller once in a while. Favorite movie: Being There
This is a fantastic story. If there's a single word I can use to describe the author's handling of the events in this book, that word is "love." You sense the author's respect for these men as you experience this book. As a lifelong student of the war in the air during the World Wars, I can say that the research that went into this work is first class. The story makes you want to meet the German pilot and thank him for his humanity. You'll find yourself making time just to listen!
The reader did a fine job - no annoying habits - good job.
I went through it fast. After the initial scenes of the story are set and explained you get pulled into a fascinating story of men and machines. The author takes us deep into the lives of Luftwaffe aces and reveals the lives of those pilots and the daunting task they were given.
If you like B-17s, WW2 aircraft and amazing stories of terror and courage in the skies over the Reich then here's one for you.
The author, Adam Makos, did a masterful job interweaving the stories of these two great airmen! This is absolutely one of my favorite books, ever! It's should be especially good for those with an interest in WWII, but also for those who like stories of chivalry and resolution. The ending of this book is just incredibly beautiful. Franz Stigler, the German airman, is one of my all-time favorite characters. Thank you, Adam Makos!
A Higher Calling !!!
Well planned....we heard each side of this story & then as a finale everyone came together.
Not particularly! but I drive long distances & saved this audible for those trips
Yes, it's a fascinating story from history. It gives two perspectives and gives a glimpse of the life of the pilots on each side.
When the american bomber is helpless & meets the German up close and personal.
No, I've never listened to this narrator before, but really enjoyed his performance.
Unexpected deliverance made possible by an enemy.
Phenomenal story and well written. A must-listen. A true, touching human interest story. A movie should be made of this immediately!
Retired reading, English, & math teacher. Survivor of rear-ending on Channel 5 bridge in Florida Keys that resulted in 10 day coma&rehab,
This is about both German and US pilots and totally absorbs attention. Good research and wonderful writing and telling to keep this story from being confusing with so many different characters and two different Air Corps.
This book is one of the best I have read so far. Most WWII books I've read have been from an American point of view, this book really gave me a better understanding of both sides of the story.
I also read Code Talkers, which is another WWII book. Higher call is more about the Western front, while Code Talkers is more about the Eastern Front.
Franz was my favorite, as the main character. And Dean's German accent was pretty darn good!
My father and I have read several books about World War II and this is my favorite so far, giving some insight to the German point of view. This book shows that courage is sometimes doing the right thing no matter the cost. Incredible story and very well done!
Franz - because he did what was right even though it could have cost him his life and the fact that he embraced Charlie later in life as a "brother".
I cried my eyes out at the end (not normal for me) and ended up looking up the authors info on the web and watched the videos of the two pilots first meeting after the war and cried again... very moving.
My father and I have read several World War II books and have our own little book club conversations about the books we read. This book touched both of us in a very deep way and the conversations about it were very intense. We both loved it and look forward to reading another book by Adam Makos Voices of the Pacific.
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