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)
We listened to this in the car on a long trip and thoroughly enjoyed it. Surprisingly, even with a fair amount of historical detail, the story was captivating.
This book is so reminiscent of the good qualities that human beings can have even in the midst of war.
The influence both in the present time of the World War two conflict but especially years later when all the parties from both the Americans as well as Franz the German ace really put in perspective the impact of one human being on many people when he or she makes the right choice. My hats off to the author and The narrator who put life into this awesome story. I must admit I too shared some tears relating to the love and compassionate shown. One of the best books I've listened to in several years.
Interesting story, but gets sometimes gets bogged down with lots of details about airplanes. If you like lots of details about planes, you probably would give this five stars.
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.
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