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 didn't want to put it down. Another harrowing, yet enlightening story of war's savage toll on humankind; how it elevates and degrades, all at once, the whole of earth itself. I highly recommend it!
Couldn't put this story down. Reads better than most fictions I have liked except it is a fantastic true story.
Great book! Good insight into life on the inside for a high level Luftwaffe pilot. Also a very touching story. Highly recommended.
This book is very well-written and narrated. I was very impressed with it and came away weighing things about it for many days. Though this is a non-fiction book, I just read about some similar things in the semi-autobiographical fiction book "Legion of Doom," by Sven Hassel. That book had many instances of German soldiers risking their lives to go have a swim with Russian soldiers who were also risking their lives- just to be human for an hour and forget the war. I'm very intrigued by stories like this and "A Higher Call," is a huge story like this.
Excellent writing in every respect.
This is the first Robertson Dean book I've listened to, he is excellent.
Yes - a wonderful book
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