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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

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  •  
    JerryL 03-23-13
    JerryL 03-23-13 Member Since 2007

    JR

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    "An Absolutely Incredcredible Audiobook!"

    This audiobook is probably one of the very best I have ever listened to. In fact, I would go so far as to say this book is on a par with Laura Hildebrand’s phenomenal book titled Unbroken.

    A Higher Call is a true story about two WWII heroes - Second Lieutenant Charlie Brown, who is an Army Air Corps B-17 pilot, and Second Lieutenant Franz Stigler who is a Luftwaffe fighter pilot and one of Germany's most famous Aces.

    The story is incredibly well researched and extremely well written, the narration is near perfection.

    Listening to this book will be worth every minute of your time, the story and the experience will enrich your life.

    If I could rate this book a 10, I would do it in a heartbeat.

    15 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kurt Scottsdale, AZ, United States 03-27-13
    Kurt Scottsdale, AZ, United States 03-27-13 Member Since 2008
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    "Proof the term "Hero" knows no borders"
    What did you love best about A Higher Call?

    This book is a perfect example of a wonderful story waiting to be told. In the hands of a skilled writer, the author disappears and the story stands on its own. Beautifully written and leads the listener courageously through some of the most harrowing moments of the air war.


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

    It was easy to put myself in the position of both pilots and to understand their call to duty. Particularly interesting was the mental preparation each aviator went through before undertaking missions that would reasonably be expected to end in death. Hard to imagine doing so day after day.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The reunion of the aviators at the Boeing plant at the 50th anniversary of the B-17. The emotions shared by the survivors moved me greatly.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    The book easily breaks into two or three listening sessions since the author approaches the story first from the German side, then from the American side, and finally to the reconnection and reconciliation of the two sides.


    Any additional comments?

    This was an unusual read for me. I am not a big fan of war stories. This story was epic in its display of courage, valor and honor. It was both inspiration and humbling.

    12 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    HEINO Milton, FL, United States 03-24-13
    HEINO Milton, FL, United States 03-24-13 Member Since 2009

    Say something about yourself!

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    "Absolutely superb! FIVE stars."

    One of the best books that I have read. Fantastic story. Once I started listening to the audiobook it was hard to stop. My wife and teenage boys also loved the audiobook.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brad Northfield, MN, United States 04-05-13
    Brad Northfield, MN, United States 04-05-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Superb!"
    What did you love best about A Higher Call?

    I love WWII stories, and this is one of the best I have read. Even though I knew the thread of the story before I started the book, I was captivated as the story unfolded. My faith in humanity has been restored.


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

    The reunion of these two pilots was truly a moving part of the book. It's disturbing that some people were bothered by this development.


    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary College Station, TX, United States 03-25-13
    Mary College Station, TX, United States 03-25-13 Member Since 2012
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    "I could not put it down"
    If you could sum up A Higher Call in three words, what would they be?

    Read it for yourself. I enjoyed discovering how this came to be told and then the people were unfolded. There were times when I felt like I was with them. It made me laugh and cry.


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

    The aircraft called "the Pub" was just spell binding.


    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 03-19-13
    Jean Santa Cruz, CA, United States 03-19-13 Member Since 2010

    I am an avid eclectic reader.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Teutonic Knights' Honor"

    This is the story of Franz Stigler, a German fighter pilot and Charlie Brown a B17 Eighth Air Force pilot. It is the fascinating story of how their lives intersected in December 1943 permanently altering their lives. I found this an emotional book with a similar effect on me as Laura Hildebrand's "Unbroken". It left me feeling good about people. Most of the book is about Franz Stilger's life as a child, young man and pilot commercial then military. He was a German ace and later flew the jet planes over Germany. It also covered the men of the B17 and then their hunt for each other after the war. I noted that long after the war the crew of the B17 "Ye Old Pub" received their metals- Brown, the Air Force flying Cross and the silver star for each of the crew making them the highest decorated B17 crew. Adam Makos is the editor of the military magazine Valor and came across this story during interviews with WWII pilots. He brought to life the story of a man, the air battles, the thrill of flying and the fear of living in Nazi Germany. I am sure glad he wrote the story as a book. Robertson Dean did a great job reading this book. This book is not only for us WWI and WWII history buff but for any teen or adult that is looking for a good story with moral value.

    14 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jeffrey Austin Texas, United States 03-31-13
    Jeffrey Austin Texas, United States 03-31-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Unusual, could not put it down, fantastic!"

    WWII from an entirely different perspective. Enthralling read, perfect narration. The author's research is unbelievable. Makes one wonder if Makos has been contacted by Hollywood for a movie. I hope so on one hand, but on the other, screenplays quite often water down the content far too much and part of the joy of this book is the detail presented on a closely knit time-line. In any case, I acquired a much different perspective on German military sensibilities during that era as a result of this great history lesson.

    6 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    CBlox Las Vegas, NV 04-01-13
    CBlox Las Vegas, NV 04-01-13 Member Since 2004
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    "Riveting. Incredible. Heroic."

    This is one of the last great un-heard stories of WWII. The author does an impressive job introducing us to the two main characters early on in the story and then proceeds to intertwine other characters and side stories while still maintaining the focus on the two pilots. I also liked to prespective from Germans against the Nazi party as WWII was ramping up.

    This is a must listen to anyone who enjoyed Unbroken.

    As always Robertson Dean's narration was spot on!

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    rich tryon, NC, United States 04-02-13
    rich tryon, NC, United States 04-02-13 Member Since 2007
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    "Excellent book. Thank you Adam Makos."
    What did you love best about A Higher Call?

    This book captures many aspects of a different time, which is slowly fading from our consciousness. It was thrilling to experience such a vivid picture of the air war.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    I was particularly impressed by all of the information on what it was like to be a German, and a German pilot, during the war.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    I hope someone does make a film. I would say that it is a story of two pilots whose path cross during the war, and again after the war.


    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan Fairbanks, AK, United States 12-12-13
    Ryan Fairbanks, AK, United States 12-12-13 Member Since 2012

    I am the most amazing version of myself that I have ever met.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Sometimes the truth is better than fiction..."
    Any additional comments?

    A Higher Call is one of those inspiring stories that makes you want to be a better person. World War II brought about some of the most unthinkable actions of pure evil mankind has ever seen - and yet amongst such atrocities, decency and valor and good will still shone through in the actions of men from both sides of the war. This is one of those stories.

    This book brought tears to my eyes. And for a man's man who stinks at showing emotion like me - that's saying something. Phenomenal book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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