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)
At the top. One of the best books I've ever read, or listened to.
Franz Stigler was my favorite character because, although bound by duty, he maintained his humanity in the midst of madness.
No, to many other books to read but would recommend it to anyone who has not read it and enjoys history coming to life.
None, it is a unique story and many respects.
Dean voice was easy to listen to and use of inflections and accents heightened the listeners pleasure.
The moment when the two main characters met after a live time living apart.
Audible is better than TV
Franz Stigler due to his heroics and character.
I could tell you, but you should listen/read the book.
Honor among dishonor
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.
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.
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.
The underlining chivalry of the two soldiers. Being a former US Soldier stationed in Germany I totally understood what the author was talking about. In fact I had the wonderful opportunity while in Germany to train with the Germany Army and I was awarded a German Shootsner(bronze). What an awesome experience and the German's were wonderful! Very respectful to me an American, treated me like royalty.
To many to list just one. There were two moments that will just grab you specifically. First when the two pilots first meet. And second, was when they meet after the war.
Charlie was, just because of his sense of loyalty to his men. Just an incredible man.
Just to many to name just one.
Yes, absolutely! This is a must read for any American. This exemplifies what it has taken to remain a free country. One must always remember, Hitler was trying his best to strike America. Since WWII we have continued to have wars, the World Trade Centers have been brought down(albeit by cowards). America can never rest, we ARE the shinning light of the world. It is well documented throughout history.
The best education I've received is Self education.
Honor above all
It was a great story on both sides. Learning more about the German soldiers is remarkable. To learn just what these young men went through is humbling.
Robertson Dean is a great story teller and quickly becoming one of my favorites. If you like WWII aviation stories you need to Listen or buy Masters of the Air.
The Beginning to the End.
This is by far the absolute best book that I have ever listened to so far.....(I am a long time member with over 100 books in my library.....
Toss up between Frans and Charlie - but more Frans
Several parts during the air battle with Frans and Charlie - but the ending moved me to tears.. I listen while driving and I just about had to pull over it was becoming difficult to see the road...
The historical facts opened my eyes to the fact there is a big difference between German soldiers and the Party members.... I'm from Dutch descent and up until now I had not realized how much Germany suffered under Hitler's reign.
I haven't read the print version
It strengthened my belief that in the worst of circumstances humanity can overcome evil and just one act can have profound effects for generations to come.
A huge amount of history of WWII, the German people, and pilots on both sides of the war I had not known. The story brings out humanity in the most horrid nightmare for so many millions of people. A wonderful experience. Well written and narrated.
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