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A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II [Kindle Edition]

Adam Makos , Larry Alexander
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2,056 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $17.00
Kindle Price: $9.91
You Save: $7.09 (42%)
Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC

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Book Description

THE NEW YORK TIMES AND INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER



Four days before Christmas 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 in 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—2nd Lieutenant Charlie Brown, a former farm boy from West Virginia who came to captain a B-17—and the German—2nd 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 1,000 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 8th Air Force would later classify as “top secret.” It was an act that Franz could never mention or else face a firing squad. It was the encounter that would haunt both Charlie and Franz for forty years until, as old men, they would search for one another, a last mission that could change their lives forever.





Editorial Reviews

Review

"A top-notch narrative of the unlikely encounter between one of Germany’s leading fighter aces, Franz Stigler, and the rookie crew of an American bomber in the frigid skies of Germany in December 1943...Based on thousands of hours of interviews and an evident knowledge of his subject, Makos details the frantic life of the German fighter pilots living on the edge, and the American bomber crews, far from home, fighting to survive...A riveting story of humanity and mercy set against the ghastly backdrop of war."—Publishers Weekly

“This book grips you like a movie. It's part Top Gun, part Valkyrie, and more!”—Marcus Brotherton, author of the New York Times bestseller, We Who Are Alive and Remain

“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.”—Colonel 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
 
A Higher Call exemplifies beautifully the brotherhood of warriors, and will forever change how you look at World War II.”—Eric Blehm, author of the New York Times bestseller, Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown
 
“From the horrors of the most savage war in history emerges this beautiful story of a brotherhood between enemies. Simply told, splendid, and well worth the read.”—Joe Galloway, coauthor of the #1 New York Times bestseller, We Were Soldiers, Once…and Young

About the Author

Adam Makos is a journalist, historian, and editor of the military magazine, Valor. In his fifteen years of work in the military field, Makos has interviewed countless veterans from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and present-day wars. He has flown a B-17 bomber, a T-38 fighter with the Air Force, and was one of the few journalists privileged to examine Air Force One with its pilots. In pursuit of a story, Makos met Presidents, had tea with Prince Charles, and toured the DMZ border in Korea with American troops. The high point of his work occurred in 2008, when Makos traveled to Iraq to accompany the 101st Airborne and Army Special Forces on their hunt for Al Qaeda terrorists.
 
Larry Alexander is the author of the New York Times bestselling biography Biggest Brother: The Life of Major Dick Winters, the Man Who Led the Band of Brothers. He is also the author of Shadows In the Jungle: The Alamo Scouts Behind Japanese Lines in World War II and In the Footsteps of the Band of Brothers: A Return to Easy Company’s Battlefields With Sgt. Forrest Guth. Alexander has been a journalist/columnist for the Intelligencer Journal newspaper in Lancaster, Pennsylvania for more than thirteen years and has won numerous state-level awards for excellence in journalism.

Product Details

  • File Size: 5727 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0425252868
  • Publisher: Berkley; 1 edition (December 19, 2012)
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0095ZQ36G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,324 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
301 of 308 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT Read! December 14, 2012
By JEH
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved this book.

I thought I knew the premise of the story before downloading it, but by the end of the first few chapters I realized this was so much more then the brief first encounter of the main characters. It's a story of two young men, on opposites sides of the war, sharing the same experiences- fighting to keep sane and survive the horrors of WWII.

You are introduced to Franz (the German pilot) first and then Charlie's story (the American pilot) is intertwined later on. There is no way to read Franz's portion without being in awe of what he survived-multiple bail outs, crashes, and over 480 missions. Being introduced to Franz first makes his run-in with Charlie's plane all the more remarkable - here was this battle-hardened pilot who showed unbelievable compassion, knowing if he were caught it would mean his own life.

The authors do a fantastic job of seamlessly moving between the characters and you get so attached to them that I found myself hesitating when turning the pages because I wanted the ones I liked to live a bit longer. I finished it hours ago, but I know I'm going to reread my favorite chapters before bed tonight!
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182 of 186 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing and moving true story of WWII December 20, 2012
By Tom
Format:Hardcover
A Higher Call by Adam Makos: Review by Tom Gauthier
How often do you have trouble reading the last page of an action packed war story because of the blur of tears? First time for me, as I finished Adam Makos new book A Higher Call.
After eight years of painstaking research, Makos has produced a singular piece of work: the true and incredible story of two pilots who locked eyes--and I feel locked souls--across a span of deadly sky over Nazi Germany in 1943, changing the fortunes and the futures of all who were there.
Adam Makos provides us a close-up of the American experience, before during and after this incident. But he also, and in marvelously rich detail, gives us a rare look into the machinations of the Luftwaffe, again, before the war and through to the very end.
.... Engines failed, damage was extensive to flight surfaces, yet under the strong hands of their young pilot, Charlie Brown, the ship remained precariously in the air. Back in the plane's fuselage the crew was bravely caring for each other--some with grievous wounds. As they approached the European coastline, Charlie knew that any moment the coastal flak guns would open up and finish them off.
Suddenly, from behind and below them a FW-109 climbed up from the treetops and began its attack run on the helpless Pub. With all guns frozen the crew could only watch with the resignation of pending death. At the controls of the 109, Franz Stigler, an experienced ace saw the target that would raise his "kill" count. But he didn't kill. I will not herein tell you what transpired in the minds of the American airman or the German pilot. It is something you must read for yourself and let it sink in to your soul, as I did.

Charlie Brown and Franz Stigler survived the war.
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175 of 182 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great History December 15, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
First, I need to let all readers know that I worked on this book, supplying Adam with some of my research and interview materials. When I reviewed the manuscript, he had already created a solid work. The book is completely factual, all parties and events mentioned are depicted as they were, and I knew and interviewed all the persons mentioned with exception to Charlie Brown.

Franz was an excellent pilot, a great man, a humanist, who hated the war and despised the Nazi Party, but loved flying. His Catholic background and his having been exposed to the honorable men he flew with, such as Ludwig Franzisket, Gustav Rodel, Werner Schroer, Johannes Steinhoff, Eduard Neumann, Emil Clade, Friedrich Korner, Adolf Galland, and especially Hans-Joachim Marseille reinforced that sense of chivalry, and code of honor among these airmen that is often overlooked in the post war propaganda and the maelstrom of uneducated bias.

I suggest that this book, which is ironically in competetion with The Star of Africa, written by my wife and I, be read in public schools and by the average American. Even if you are not an aviation or history enthusiast, the human element and drama should be enough to justify your time. What the readers will also learn is that Franz, despite his humanist streak, was not that unusual among the men of the Luftwaffe. His experiences with JG-27 in North Africa, and the exposure he had to the previously mentioned men, especially Marseille, and the impressions left upon him, helped mold his attitude.

I highly recommend this book, and I hope that this work receives all of the positive recognition that it deserves. Franz and Charlie were not unique men, but they were both very fortunate to have crossed paths. Their post war friendship, much like that of Col.
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74 of 76 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A story to make you believe in people December 21, 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
A Higher Call is mostly the story of Franz Stigler, an ace WWII German fighter pilot who came upon a heavily damaged and helpless American B-17 bomber struggling to return to England. Stigler could have easily shot down the bomber and it's crew, but instead he escorted them past an anti-aircraft battery and flew along side them for a while out over the North Sea. Stigler knew he would be court-martialed if anyone found out what he had done. For years he wondered if the bomber had made it home safely and he wondered, "Was it worth it?". It took 46 years for Stigler to find out that the bomber did return home safely and to finally meet the American bomber pilot, Charlie Brown.

Author Adam Makos provides all the descriptions of battle, dog-fighting and heroism you would expect in a book of this nature but he really focuses on the human side, on the losses. Character after character are introduced only to die. The story of one young German flier is heartbreaking. In the last days of the war he told Stigler that he was going to return home, surrender and that he hoped to study engineering. Stigler asked if he wanted to take just one flight in an Me-262, the world's first operational jet fighter. The boy said yes. Since American bombing had stopped two days before, Stigler thought it would be a safe, quick flight, but the jet's engines cut out and the plane went down. Stigler raced to the crash sight and was able to arrive in time for the boy to ask Stigler to say goodbye to his mother and sister for him. The boy died in Stigler's arms. So many wasted lives.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
An unbelievable story with a great ending. A good read.
Published 13 hours ago by Mr. Bruce Kelly
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story that shows that real people fight in wars ...
Interesting story that shows that real people fight in wars. Helped me gain insight into some of the "notable" German commanders and how they behaved in WWII. Read more
Published 15 hours ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great story
Published 1 day ago by rich Jeff
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Loved it. I sat in the cockipt with them on every sortie they made.

Charles Clement, d.c.
Published 1 day ago by Charles Clement
5.0 out of 5 stars How was to be overwhelmed by industrial night. Read ...
How was to be overwhelmed by industrial night. Read this and find out. Maintain your values, but be defending the indefensible.
Published 1 day ago by Paul Ringheiser
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Extremely well-written from the American and German point of view. The authors deserve praise for their tenacious scholarship. Kudos!
Published 3 days ago by Ernest L. Levin
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I loved it!
Published 3 days ago by MILTON ARY MEIER
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent.
Published 3 days ago by Douglas Berry
4.0 out of 5 stars A new side of WWII
This amazing story of the pilot brotherhood on both sides (German and American) during World War II gives an interesting perspective on the feelings of many flying aces on the... Read more
Published 3 days ago by Chessie
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
One of the best books ever.
Published 3 days ago by David L. Schram
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