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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.

Critic Reviews

“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 Ratings

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Humanity Greater Than War

Would you listen to A Higher Call again? Why?

The introduction to this book is interesting. The author talks about how he started by interviewing World War II veterans for his school magazine and it took off from there. He did not, under any circumstances, wish to interview anybody who fought for the Germans though, as this was an American publication and he felt there was no good that could ever come from the Nazi side of the war. Little did he know about Franz Stigler. Charlie Brown, a pilot spared from destruction by this WWII ace, told the author that if he wanted his story, he had to interview Franz Stigler first and get his story.
The incident which drew me to this book in the first place is about half way through the book. It is a poignant moment but greater things are left to come. The story of Stigler is fascinating. The story of Charlie Brown is ok but to get inside the German war machine from a reluctant cog makes for great reading and a very touching ending. I would listen to it again.

Which scene was your favorite?

Towards the end when Stigler becomes a jet pilot makes for some of the best moments in the book.

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

The Franz Stigler Story: The Ace of Humanity

Any additional comments?

This book is powerful in that it shows that the enemy isn't the propaganda that is being sold to us, they are people with loyalty and families just like us who want to do what is best for them. If we could all have the sensibility of Stigler and Brown, who all these years after the incident are incredible friends the world would be a much better place.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Best book I've read!

Greatest book I've read, right in the feels! Must read. Better than Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Johnny
  • Tallapoosa, GA, United States
  • 06-10-13

A Wonderful Story, So Well Told!!!

The author, Adam Makos, did a masterful job interweaving the stories of these two great airmen! This is absolutely one of my favorite books, ever! It's should be especially good for those with an interest in WWII, but also for those who like stories of chivalry and resolution. The ending of this book is just incredibly beautiful. Franz Stigler, the German airman, is one of my all-time favorite characters. Thank you, Adam Makos!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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HIGHLY RECOMMEND!

Loved the true stories and adventures in this book and learned a lot about the US and German WWII Airforces; it reminded me a bit of "Unbroken: A WWII Story...". The narrator was PERFECT too! Recommended it to all my friends :-).

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Guy
  • Tallahassee, FL, United States
  • 04-12-13

Absolute Classic - Must Read

What an amazing book. The book will bring tears to your eyes in the first section of simply setting up the story. It gives us as bit of kindness from a nasty war in which both sides sacrificed so much. This is a story of good men asked to defend their Country and they choose to do it with honor and dignity. This story happens early in the war and after you hear what both parties lived through and experienced, it is a miracle in itself that both parties lived to tell their stories. War is Hell and this amazing story came from its deepest destruction. Hats off to Adam Makos for giving us their story. For all our veterans and our active military and families, I can only tell you Thank You for your service to this Nation. I am forever grateful.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Griping Horrifying Enlightening Endearing

A totally different way of looking at this tragic time in history. Makes things more real than I thought possible being so long ago.

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An exceptional personal book on parts of the air war of Europe.

An unforgettable story, extremely well told, of interest to anyone who likes good personal war experiences, and close to required reading for those with an interest in the air war in Europe. Traces the experiences of a German and an American pilot through the war and beyond, who’s lives intersect in combat. Gives some operational detail to how a German fighter squadron and a B-17 squadron and their respective planes are run. Narrator is superb.

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Five Stars

Truly outstanding.... The Human Spirit. This is truly one of the top five books I have ever listen to in my life.