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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 (1413 )
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  •  
    ken Acworth, GA, United States 01-21-14
    ken Acworth, GA, United States 01-21-14 Member Since 2006
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    "Excellent Book!"
    What did you love best about A Higher Call?

    The underlining chivalry of the two soldiers. Being a former US Soldier stationed in Germany I totally understood what the author was talking about. In fact I had the wonderful opportunity while in Germany to train with the Germany Army and I was awarded a German Shootsner(bronze). What an awesome experience and the German's were wonderful! Very respectful to me an American, treated me like royalty.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Higher Call?

    To many to list just one. There were two moments that will just grab you specifically. First when the two pilots first meet. And second, was when they meet after the war.


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

    Charlie was, just because of his sense of loyalty to his men. Just an incredible man.


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

    Just to many to name just one.


    Any additional comments?

    Yes, absolutely! This is a must read for any American. This exemplifies what it has taken to remain a free country. One must always remember, Hitler was trying his best to strike America. Since WWII we have continued to have wars, the World Trade Centers have been brought down(albeit by cowards). America can never rest, we ARE the shinning light of the world. It is well documented throughout history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer chandler, AZ, United States 01-19-14
    Amazon Customer chandler, AZ, United States 01-19-14 Member Since 2011

    The best education I've received is Self education.

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    3
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    "Great Untold Story"
    If you could sum up A Higher Call in three words, what would they be?

    Honor above all


    What did you like best about this story?

    It was a great story on both sides. Learning more about the German soldiers is remarkable. To learn just what these young men went through is humbling.


    Have you listened to any of Robertson Dean’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    Robertson Dean is a great story teller and quickly becoming one of my favorites. If you like WWII aviation stories you need to Listen or buy Masters of the Air.


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

    The Beginning to the End.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ed Osoyoos, British Columbia, Canada 01-15-14
    Ed Osoyoos, British Columbia, Canada 01-15-14 Member Since 2012
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    "This book ROCKS!"
    Where does A Higher Call rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    This is by far the absolute best book that I have ever listened to so far.....(I am a long time member with over 100 books in my library.....


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Toss up between Frans and Charlie - but more Frans


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

    Frans


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

    Several parts during the air battle with Frans and Charlie - but the ending moved me to tears.. I listen while driving and I just about had to pull over it was becoming difficult to see the road...


    Any additional comments?

    The historical facts opened my eyes to the fact there is a big difference between German soldiers and the Party members.... I'm from Dutch descent and up until now I had not realized how much Germany suffered under Hitler's reign.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Laura Sanders 01-05-14 Member Since 2014
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    "One of the best I've ordered on Audible"
    Would you consider the audio edition of A Higher Call to be better than the print version?

    I haven't read the print version


    Have you listened to any of Robertson Dean’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


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

    It strengthened my belief that in the worst of circumstances humanity can overcome evil and just one act can have profound effects for generations to come.


    Any additional comments?

    A huge amount of history of WWII, the German people, and pilots on both sides of the war I had not known. The story brings out humanity in the most horrid nightmare for so many millions of people. A wonderful experience. Well written and narrated.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael United States 12-30-13
    Michael United States 12-30-13 Member Since 2015
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    "If you read a book on WW II it should be this one!"

    Many excellent books have been written on WW II but this one must be considered one of the best! Adam Makos has done a superior job of research then delivered a story that delivers both intellectually and emotionally!

    This story reminds us of what honor and nobility are even during the horrors of war. It also offers rare insight into the regular (and in many ways not so regular) combatants that were on the losing side. This story makes the reader realize how tragic WW II was for so many on both sides, what sacrifices were made, and what heroics occurred.

    Makos tells a very personal story and, in doing so, offers a unique perspective on the key events of the war through the eyes of those doing the fighting. If you have to select a single book that offers insight into the historical significance of the war, one that will be a very compelling read, this is where to go!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    K. Hansen 12-27-13
    K. Hansen 12-27-13
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    4
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    "This was a beautiful story"
    If you could sum up A Higher Call in three words, what would they be?

    I always love learning more about WW11 especially from the personal relationships shared during this pertinent time of our countries history. Great book.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roy Sagle, ID, United States 12-14-13
    Roy Sagle, ID, United States 12-14-13 Member Since 2015

    Reader and long-distance commuter.

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    "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

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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
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