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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 (1197 )
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  •  
    Roy Sagle, ID, United States 12-14-13
    Roy Sagle, ID, United States 12-14-13 Member Since 2015

    Reader and long-distance commuter.

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    7
    6
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "History at the Human Level"
    What did you love best about A Higher Call?

    Getting to know people, decent people. Not all of our enemies were monsters.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    The book is basically a biography of Franz Stigler.


    What does Robertson Dean bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    Excellent voice adaptations for different characters.


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

    Of course! The incredible incident that occurred over Germany.


    Any additional comments?

    This book is history at the lowest level. We see how some of our enemies were not monsters, but were people with values much like our own. I am continually surprised at the stories that come out of WW 2. Perhaps it is true of any war -- if we dig deep enough, we find humanity.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Christian Philadelphia, PA, United States 11-30-13
    Christian Philadelphia, PA, United States 11-30-13 Member Since 2012

    Christian Colburn West Chester, PA

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Fantastic"
    Where does A Higher Call rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Listened to the book in 4 days. Hated having to turn it off. Fantastic listen,


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    DocJim Low Prices,Great Service - Please Keep it that way! 11-23-13
    DocJim Low Prices,Great Service - Please Keep it that way! 11-23-13 Member Since 2013

    Dr. Jim Fox -- Former College Professor and Mental Health Therapist

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Must Read ... All about honor during a war!"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Absolutely! Not only my friends, but everyone should listen to this book. We often forget that Hitler came to power with only 44% of the vote. Not every German was a member of the party and not all were part of the "Final Solution." Many Germans fought for country -- not for the Nazi party or ideology.


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

    "Amazing Grace: William Wilberforce and the Heroic Campaign to End Slavery" by Metaxas


    Which character – as performed by Robertson Dean – was your favorite?

    Hard to say: both the American pilot Charlie and the German pilot Fritz were convincing characters.


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

    When the two pilots finally meet 40+ years later.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Burns 11-17-13
    J. Burns 11-17-13 Member Since 2014

    concerned for the Republic

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    "An Important Read for Any Student of WWI History"
    What made the experience of listening to A Higher Call the most enjoyable?

    Many non-fiction works focusing on WWII center on battles and troop movements, and this book, of course, contains those elements, but the main idea the listener is left with is the personal story behind two men who were on opposite sides of the conflict. In particular, it was interesting to have a view of the inner workings of the German air groups, and their surprising attitudes toward and dislike of Hitler and his suppression of all voices critical of him. Information was tightly controlled, and no dissent was tolerated. Spies were everywhere, and execution was the punishment for even joking about Hitler.


    Which character – as performed by Robertson Dean – was your favorite?

    I think the German pilot, Franz, was the most intriguing character. His reasons for not shooting down the American pilot when it was to his benefit to do so are thought provoking.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    Just a really enjoyable, but not necessarily relaxing, listening experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jaime North Miami, FL, United States 10-25-13
    Jaime North Miami, FL, United States 10-25-13 Listener Since 2004
    ratings
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    3
    3
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    "Remarkable story from WW2"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes. You learn a lot about German and American Air Force during the war.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Anderson, SC 09-29-13
    Amazon Customer Anderson, SC 09-29-13 Member Since 2012

    Sharon

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    10
    4
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    Story
    "Wonderful story and very well written"
    Would you listen to A Higher Call again? Why?

    No I do not normally listen to books twice.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    It was just a great story and it shows how one decision affects generations.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    George 09-20-13
    George 09-20-13
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    "A truly great book."
    Where does A Higher Call rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Near the top.


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

    No Simple Victory. They both give an unconventional view of World War II. Most books in English focus, understandably, on the USA and Britain. However, these two books provide a different view.


    What does Robertson Dean bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    An enhanced emotional appeal.


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

    I found it very emotional.


    Any additional comments?

    One of the best books I have purchased. I very highly recommend it to everyone.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Richard J. Hrezo Northern CA 09-19-13
    Richard J. Hrezo Northern CA 09-19-13 Member Since 2012

    Rhrezo

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    12
    1
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    Performance
    Story
    "No one could make up a story like this..."
    What did you like best about this story?

    The backgrounds of the principal characters are fascinating and the in-depth history lesson that goes along with their gut-wrenching war years brings the men alive.


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

    It made me a little sad; the impact of being thrust into such horrendous situations so early in life had to be profound. Yet it had a wonderful ending.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rachel United States 09-19-13
    Rachel United States 09-19-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    6
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    "Great work of history"
    What made the experience of listening to A Higher Call the most enjoyable?

    Seeing the war from a different perspective


    What about Robertson Dean’s performance did you like?

    As is always the case with an audiobook, the narrator makes the book come alive. Robertson Dean was magnificent.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas 09-15-13
    Douglas 09-15-13
    HELPFUL VOTES
    4
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    "Incredible story made even better for being true"
    What made the experience of listening to A Higher Call the most enjoyable?

    Well written and expertly read


    What did you like best about this story?

    I enjoyed learning about the day to day lives of the characters as well as their combat experiences. It was the manner in which the story unfolded, bit by bit that kept me on the edge of my seat, always wanting to hear what is next.

    The absolute best though was the reunion, how it came about, how they each felt that was the high point in the story for me.

    One final thought, my thoughts are also on Franz Steigler's parents, they are the reason he became the man he did!


    What does Robertson Dean bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    I don't know that listening to Robertson Dean was better than reading it myself. I can say he did a masterful job and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to him!


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

    I must admit to choking up listening to their reunion


    Any additional comments?

    WONDERFUL read, particularly for WWII buffs, but also for anyone who enjoys a good human interest story!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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