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Customer Review

271 of 280 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great History, December 15, 2012
This review is from: A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World W ar II (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. Joe Peterburs who shot down Oberleutnant Walter Schuck in his Me-262, is something special. This book points this fact out. Once the guns fall silent, the professional warriors set aside their differences. That is what Edu Neuman called the ingredient "that separates us from the animals." Highly recommended as a History and Military Book Club selection.
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Showing 1-8 of 8 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Mar 1, 2013 3:10:40 AM PST
Hi Colin, I guess I'm going to have to add this to my library, I just recently purchased and read your 'Star of Africa' which is a great book that I would highly recommend, thanks Mark.

Posted on Jul 9, 2013 1:46:27 AM PDT
oldpink says:
Eloquently stated, and thanks so much for both contributing in some small way to this superb book and for recommending it.
I just finished reading it, and I'm not afraid to admit that I was moved to tears for the final pages especially.
The writing is compelling, and I was fascinated to learn about the inner workings of the Luftwaffe pilots, nearly all of whom steadfastly served with honor, just as the great General Rommel did.
I would encourage anyone who reads this book to go to the link provided in the end notes to see the actual footage of the first meeting between Lieutenant Franz Stigler and Lieutenant Colonel Charlie Brown.
Just be sure to bring your hankie before you start watching it, though.

Posted on Sep 7, 2013 1:08:04 PM PDT
Lorilee says:
I agree with the others who commented. It's great to hear from someone who had a big part in a book's creation and can give additional background to the story. This one had me in tears more than once. I love history and have read extensively about WWII, (including Churchill's six volumes), but none have touched me as much as Franz and Charlie and "mates". I too recommend this highly to EVERYONE.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 15, 2014 12:31:44 PM PST
Hello, Colin -

I am a German, born the day before Hitler came to power in 1933, and I spent the war years and the post-war years in Germany. In grade 4 of primary school, hence in 1942, our teacher had us do a narration (he read us a text and we had to write a summary) concerning a German pilot in WW1 who was involved in a dog-fight with a British flyer and suddenly noticed that his machine-gun had jammed. The British plane came close, saw the German hammering his gun with his fists and flew away.

The teacher suggested three possible reasons for this unexpected move:

a) the British pilot ran out of gas
b) his own gun had jammed as well
c) her did not want to fight under such circumstances

You can gather the terrible effect of Nazi propaganda from this little story.

I believe (but I am not sure about this) that the German pilot was the successor of Manfred von Richthofen, aka (wrongly) as the Red Baron, a man by the name of Hermann Göring.


In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2014 7:15:00 AM PST
Jay says:
Thank you for sharing your insight.
I too have heard of this particular WWI aerial engagement. It has been some time since I read of it so I could be mistaken but, I am pretty sure I remember correctly. The German pilot was actually Ernst Udet, not Goring and, I believe, the opposing pilot was not British but the famed French ace Georges Guynemeyer(sp?). Udet wrote of the incident in his book, "Ace of the Iron Cross." A very good read too excepting the last, Nazi themed chapter. I doubt Udet even wrote that one.

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 14, 2014 8:37:27 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 14, 2014 8:53:35 AM PST
Hello, Jay -

you are right, I think, concerning the men involved; I have recently read that it was Guynemer and the German may well have been Udet (a man of French descent, like so many German officers and avaitors - Marseille, Gallandand more).

The title of Udet's book may be a pun (although I have not been able to verify this) because the German designation "Kreuz", in a deck of cards, stands for the English word "clubs", so the title could also mean something like "The iron ace of clubs".


Posted on May 2, 2015 7:25:55 AM PDT
S. Bookworm says:
At what age would you recommend kids or teens read this? Is 12 too young?

In reply to an earlier post on May 29, 2015 10:20:49 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 29, 2015 10:21:28 AM PDT
Jay says:
Concerning age appropriateness, I do not think 12 is too young. As long as a child has a well developed sense of right & wrong and a solid reading capability, I would say they could read this book. It is about the horrors of war but it does not delve deeply into them- it's not about buckets of blood splashing about I mean. But, There is one bad spot in particular along that line though. The bomber's tail gunner had been very nearly decapitated and Franz and got a good look as he flew up and described it in some detail.
This book should engender a lot of questions but, that is very good.
Consider, Franz was on the ground with a bullet in his radiator when Brown's bomber flew right over the Luftwaffe airfield. He started out flying fighters to avenge his brothers death and was one kill away from the Pour le Merite decoration with he eagerly sought, so much so that he took off after the bomber against a mechanic's advice. What followed is amazing. (-SPOILER-) It changed his life and whole attitude about fighting. We were bombing his homeland so he continued to shoot down planes but never claimed or added another to his score. He never received that decoration.
By all means children should read this book. Read it with them.
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