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. You learn a lot about German and American Air Force during the war.
No I do not normally listen to books twice.
It was just a great story and it shows how one decision affects generations.
Near the top.
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.
An enhanced emotional appeal.
I found it very emotional.
One of the best books I have purchased. I very highly recommend it to everyone.
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.
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.
Seeing the war from a different perspective
As is always the case with an audiobook, the narrator makes the book come alive. Robertson Dean was magnificent.
Well written and expertly read
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!
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!
I must admit to choking up listening to their reunion
WONDERFUL read, particularly for WWII buffs, but also for anyone who enjoys a good human interest story!
Yes! As a child of WWII, with my father in Burma/India in the Corp of Engineers building the Ledo Road, and not seeing me until I was 18 months old and a beloved uncle who is very much alive and kicking, who won a Purple Heart as the tail gunner of a bomber, I have been immersed in the history of WWII.....My father, a great history buff of this era as well as the Civil War era, ingrained the love of history in me.
My uncle was 17 years old when he set foot in England like so many of our brave soldiers at the time they entered combat....
Now, to read of the humanity of men during this time is a wonderful experience. Also, to know that that all Germans were Not Nazis, and fought for their county, not the Nazi regime, is an eye opening experience.
"The Things They Carried"
The entire list...book was so well read...I could not pick a favorite!
Like part of the books title..." A Story of Humanity and Chivalry For All Times"
The best book I have listened to....bar none!
A most enjoyable true account. Two men who did their duty and much more...and who made choices based on true values rather than those imposed by war.
If you like Laura Hillenbrand's Unbroken, you'll find this similar. It's a World War II aviation story. Much of the story is told from the point of view of a German pilot who did not belong to the Nazi party but was serving his country.
Great book. I learned about the German side of WWII that I had not thought too much about before.
I love good history books about WW II, the Civil War, and the Revolutionary War. I like other good books about life and cooking.
What an interesting book about an untold event in WW II. I gained further insight into what went on in the skies over Britain and Germany and the unwritten code of Honor that many pilots followed during that war. A very good read that was a pleasure to listen to.
German respect for other fliers.
He did a good job of telling the story.
No not really. It is a book about a real event and one that you want to plause and think about.
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