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)
Great story of integrity doing the right thing in the face of danger and hardship. Amazing story that is History!
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.
So much to learn, and so little time to sit down and read. Thanks Audible.
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.
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.
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.
Report Inappropriate Content