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)
Yes, and I am not normally a war stories fan- that would be my husband. But this story, or both stories, put a human face on so many aspects of this war that I got all caught up in the story- and it's a true story on top of everything else, too!
Not to spoil it, but when he walked past the Nazis at the end of the war and everyone pretended to be blind to each other. Or maybe when you listened to him go through what we'd now call PTSD episodes and just have to live with it. Or maybe the absolute joy he found in flying....
All of them.
Not a war story fan? Get it anyways, it's a terrific story.
Yes: Besides the action built in to nearly every minute, there is the moral, human, and personal elements of war presented in a way that requires the reader to think about his or her own condition. This story is so improbable, yet its truth is indisputable. I would love to see this book made into a movie as a way to present to a larger audience one story of the moral conflict that so many faced during WWII and wars preceding and following it. Buy it, you will not regret this purchase.
Enlightening masterful engaging
History of the German air war through the eyes of an ace. Never realized that the Nazi's were really a minority party and you didn't have to be a Nazi to be a warrior.
He's just awesome. Such emotion and perfect timing.
The end - vey emotional.
I can't get this out of my head! Spectacular.
INCREDIBLE ODDS OF HAPPENING!
I CAN'T PICK ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER. FRANZ STIGLE AND CHARLIE BROWN
BOTH THE MAIN CHARACTERS
IN THE END IT WAS JOYOUS.
WAR IS ALWAYS TRAGIC BUT THIS TRUE STORY IS HEARTWARMING.
Mom, historical fiction junkie, scientist, commuter who missed the escape of reading & was saved by Audible
The fact that it gave me hope in humanity
When the German pilot makes his decision (can't so more without spoiling)
See last answer :)
Love & mercy upon your fellow man know no nationality
If you love history or even historical fiction, you will love this! It reads much like fiction- never bogged down in boring details.
The most enjoyable aspect of the book was the suspense during aerial combat and the accounts of bravery and daring in the face of almost certain death.
What I liked most about the story is the relationship forged by these two warriors and the bond they shared. If only the same chivalrous conduct existed in today's discourse. Where are all the gentlemen gone.
My favorite scene was the near demise of the crew of "Ye Olde Pub" and it subsequent rescue.
I was particularly moved by Franz and Charlie's initial meeting in person and later the reunion with members of the crew along with Franz
I highly recommend this audio-book to any aviation enthusiasts. You will not be disappointed.
Tell us about yourself!
While the book was really a history lesson on the German Airforce during WWII thru the eyes of an ace pilot - the second part of the story - saving a bomber was a nice bonus.
There are a number of audiobooks that I could not stop listening to, and I have indicate as such in my reviews. But, this story was unbelievable. I really thought that I would be hearing mostly about an American pilot, but it was more about the German fight ace. Without spoiling the story, I was very taken aback by German fighter pilot's honor, what post-war Germany was like for them, and the fact that although they love the father land -most of them hated the Nazi party. During the war they were heros and afterwards were considered the lowest of the low. Enjoy
Well told, well read, and fascinating on so many levels, a "Higher Call" relates in page turning fashion the men behind the oxygen masks in combat aircraft during WWII. My husband, a naval aviator during VN, was captivated by the details of the flying as well as the human side of the men piloting the aircraft. After listening to this in its entirety, it's hard not to believe in miracles, purpose, and guidance in our lives. Informative, inspiring, entertaining---what else could we want in an audio book?
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