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)
The full development of the story makes it so much more than an unbelievable emotional portrait of war. It gives simultaneous historical and personal insight into the forces and decisions of world war 2. A story worth reading direct from the hand of providence. Thank you, Adam Makos, for your love for our veteran forces!
I did not expect such a comprehensive, detailed, and passionate story. To the people that worked so diligently at putting this story together; thank you. To the people that exhibited such courage for the protection of life; thank you.
I'm not particularly interested in war stories, but this one is so much more than that. The fact that it's a true story makes it all the more fascinating. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The narrator did an excellent job, and made the story come alive. Highly recommended!
This is a thoroughly engrossing book that spends the better half of itself developing the two pilots individually and the worlds they lived in. The actual event though amply described constitutes a small portion of the book. Even without it included the book would still and does stand on its own. We learn a lot about the machinery, men (and women) and leaders behind the two principal characters too. It is this weaving together of all these fabrics that make this such a great book. The narrator is simply perfect. So are his other performances I read. Great choice.
I made the mistake of listening to this book while I was at work. A few parts of this story made my eyes water and I was trying not to let the tears roll down my cheeks, I got some odd looks from my co-workers.
Charley and Franz were able to see through the war cries and, through their example taught the world to honor their "enemy" as a human
Excellent read that helped me to understand the horror of war and the meaning of evil
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