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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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Best book I've listened to so far!

This book is gripping from start to finish. Have me a new perspective from the German side of WWII. Highly recommend. Will probably listen again!

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A Better Story You'll Not Find!

Exceptional on so many levels. This is more than a story of chivalry and compassion. This is a story of duty, honor, humanity and getting the job done. I found myself several times stoping and asking out loud, "would I have had the courage to do that…"?!

This is a must read/listen for anyone who enjoys war novels or books about the toughness, tenderness and kindness of the human soul. This needs to be made into a movie, but read the book first.

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A testament of human dignity

I've always known there have been great men in both sides of many conflicts but I couldn't imagine they could be as great as Franz Stigler. Thank you Franz for your example of charity.

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great story great author

I loved this book I am going to buy a hard copy and share to everyone I know. I love how he did most of the story from the German Ace a total different point of view.

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A higher call

The unbelievably true story of a heroic gentlemen fighter pilot and the courageous never surrender bomber.

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Best Book

One of the best books I've ever read or listened to! A must read for anyone!

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Well done nonfiction never disappoints

I didn't want to put it down. Another harrowing, yet enlightening story of war's savage toll on humankind; how it elevates and degrades, all at once, the whole of earth itself. I highly recommend it!

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  • Harry
  • Clarksville, MD, United States
  • 02-22-16

Amazing story of honor in battle

Couldn't put this story down. Reads better than most fictions I have liked except it is a fantastic true story.

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fantastic and enlightening book!

sheds light on many of the good German soldiers and underscores how evil rulers can ruin nations. Inspiring book, makes me want to be a better human being.

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Great

This is a masterpiece. From the first word to the last, I couldn't put it down