A Higher Call
An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II
Adam Makos & Larry Alexander
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THE NEW YORK TIMES AND INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
December, 1943: A badly damaged American bomber struggles to fly over wartime Germany. At the controls is twenty-one-year-old Second Lieutenant Charlie Brown. Half his crew lay wounded or dead on this, their first mission. Suddenly, a Messerschmitt fighter pulls up on the bomber’s tail. The pilot is German ace Franz Stigler—and he can destroy the young American crew 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.”
The U.S. 8th Air Force would later classify what happened between them as “top secret.” It was an act that Franz could never mention for fear of facing a firing squad. It was the encounter that would haunt both Charlie and Franz for forty years until, as old men, they would search the world for each other, a last mission that could change their lives forever.
From Publishers Weekly
© Publishers Weekly
It has been years since I have finished a book I start. Life always seems to get in the way and the book is literally put on the back shelf. Not this one however. I was gripped by the men in this book and the lives they lived. I was emotional thinking about the stories my grandfather told in vague clips about his time as a B-17 belly gunner. This book brought those stories to life and gave me a much greater appreciation for all service members.
Gripping, unforgettable and heart-wrenching!
If you're an aviation fan and/or WW2 history buff, you owe it to yourself to download this book. This is a story that might have never been told had the two men at the center of the story not found one another 46 years later.
I'm grateful to the author for working so diligently to capture every fact and detail, bringing everything together into a very well written account of an amazing moment of humanity and compassion amid the din of a world full of death and destruction.
I'm an American expatriate living in Cologne, Germany. I will see everything around me and experience life here each day with a bit more respect for the history made in the skies above me after reading this story! Thanks again Adam, great job!!
Let me state upfront that this book is a must-read for any history or military buffs, and any aviation buffs in particular. The story was riveting from start to finish. But therein lies the rub: it's the story that kept me turning the pages. The book itself was not well written and seemed almost amateurish in style. And the battle encounter itself, the historical incident upon which this book revolves around, was only a very small part of the book buried deep in the middle. The author also spent very little time describing some events that occurred, leaving me wondering what the point was of including them in the tome. It was as if he put them there just as filler (e.g., Charlie Brown's very brief encounter with the woman pilot, which consumed several pages).
The majority of the book's pages revolve around the life of the German pilot and his wartime service, especially AFTER the airborne encounter. I would have expected the book to be written in a style that placed the encounter as the story's climax, towards the end, followed by a brief overview of the pilots' post war lives and how they finally came together. Instead, the encounter occurs in the middle of the book, and the majority of the rest of it is an account of the German pilot's life in the waning years of the war with the last pages devoted to how the two pilots came together.
Despite the writing style, the story is what makes this book a good read.