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on December 14, 2012
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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on December 15, 2012
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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on December 20, 2012
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. There was no official mention of Stigler's saving Ye Olde Pub in American records. In Germany, he could say nothing and hope no one recognized his plane from the ground--or it would be a firing squad for him.
The story of their meeting decades later and the ability to share the personal feelings of all who were touched by the incident near Christmas 1943 over Germany. Here's where I began to tear up.
Adam Makos has brought us an action packed adventure story. But he has done it through the eyes, souls, fears, and personal travails of both the Germans and the Americans. Yes it's a war story, but more than that it's a warriors' story--humanized but not trivialized like we've never seen before. Vicious and deadly battle could not snuff chivalry and a higher call. It's is so good to be reminded of this through a real life story.
A Higher Call is a must read.

Dr. Tom Gauthier, MBA, Psy.D.
International Award Winning Novelist
Co-host of Military Author Radio
Military Writers' Society of America
U.S. Air Force Veteran
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on January 14, 2016
This is one of the best books I have ever read. I have been a WW2 buff for many many years. My father served in the Navy in the Pacific during WW2 but never spoke of it to his death. There is a reason that it is called "The Greatest Generation" because it was basically an unselfish one which is very hard to duplicate today. Although having seen and read almost all there is about the WW2, it was only by "accident" that I saw a Youtube clip called "A Higher Call" not long ago. I ordered the book from Amazon and couldn't put it down. The author writes in such a way that it makes you feel that you are right there, watching these characters and events unfold before your very eyes. Having learned about the honor of many soldiers of the Civil War, WW1 and WW2, this book touched a special nerve in my heart. Whether it be the two infantry soldiers during the Civil War, one a Yankee and the other, Johnny Reb, as they stood in a shallow part of the Potomac River exchanging a few puffs of tobacco for a couple of sips of coffee, or the German and British soldiers exchanging the same during a Christmas truce on the battlefield during WW1, the goodness of the human spirit seems the prevail even during the harshest of battlefield conditions. Only the hand of an invisible God could have brought these events together, the that of a young Lieutenant piloting a severely damaged B-17 and a fighter Ace in his BF-109 who needed only one more kill to receive the coveted Knight's Cross for bravery. The book so inspired me that I began to tell everyone I could about it. Then this Christmas, to my utter surprise, my wife had gotten me the portrait called "The Guardian" by Nicholas Trudgian depicting the Brown's crippled B-17 with Stiglar's ME-109 off to its right. This book will make you laugh and cry and stir all manner of emotions in the events that came together in an almost unbelievable climax. The ending of the book is as emotional as the rest of the story in my humble opinion. I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about a generation where honor and respect for humanity trumped the selfish ambitions for personal glory at the expense of another. I salute such honorable warriors as Frans Stigler and Charlie Brown. You will not be disappointed in this well researched, small but important piece of WW2 history.
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on February 9, 2016
This story has special meaning for my brother Phillip and myself because our late father was a pilot in the Royal flying Corps in UK in WW1 and had a similar experience. Our father 2nd. Lt. H.E. L. Townsend of 55 squadron, while returning from a bombing mission in his DH4 had engine trouble-
petrol blockage and radiator bursting, had to make a forced landing about 30 miles north of Verdun. He made a good landing and he and his observer removed their lewis gun and blew up their machine before a party of German troops who had been shooting at them in an effort to prevent to prevent them fro destroying their machine came over and made our father and his observer, 1st class mechanic J Greenway POWs
Our father could speak German, having taken it as a language subject at school. and he and the officer in charge of the soldiers, Captain Anton Rau exchanged their names and addresses so that they could perhaps write to each other after the war. We till have dad's old cheque book on
which captain Rau wrote his name and address our father he was very decent and friendly and kind. Dad was a POW for 5 months before
escaping from Rugen in the Baltic with six others in a commandeered fishing boat which they sailed to Denmark and from there made their way
back to UK By then the war had ended so he never saw war service again. In 1922 Dad returned home to Australia and eventually became
manager of a steel foundry here in Sydney. If you are interested I could add more to this story and add some photos. We have really enjoyed all
0ur 'amazon books' and I'm you won't have seen the last of us Yours sincerely John and Phillip Townsend
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on October 19, 2017
EXCELLENT book about an AMAZING story from World War II! I found a print of this action when a heavily damaged B-17G attempting to return to England after a raid, is approached by a Gemran Br-109 fighter plane, but the crew of the B-17 are stunned when the German pilot not only doesn't shoot them down, but attempts assist them to land their plane in nearby neutral Switzerland, but guides them to the coast through a Flak battery, before giving them a salute and flying back to his base! Both pilots survive and by chance meet up in the United States after the War!! An incredible story that is aptly named!
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on August 3, 2013
My father was a navigator on a B17 during WWII. I just finished transcribing his daily journal and through that, discovered a new appreciation for the sacrifices that his generation made in the cause of freedom. A follower of my blog about his journal recommended this book to me. Having immersed myself into my dad's daily events during his WWII service time, I was primed to read more.

While some see this book as giving a pass to the Third Reich, I see this book as chronicling the lives of two men, Franz Stigler, the German who chose honor over country, and Charlie Brown, the B-17 pilot struggling to bring his wounded ship and crew home. They were brought together in an improbable situation where one had the power of life and death over the other. In the words of Charlie Brown, the true hero in the story is Stigler.

I found the book to be written well essentially divided into three segments, the life of Franz Stigler, the life of Charlie Brown, and the unlikely circumstances that brought them together in later life where they found a common bond of brotherhood.

War is a terrible activity. Accounts of honorable acts such as this do not remove the horror of war. We can, however, find hope that goodness can be found in our hearts despite evil that may surround us.
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on September 16, 2014
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. Franz Stigler's experiences before, during, and after the war mirrored my father's own experiences. He was also in the Luftwaffe(as a JU-52 transport pilot) and began as a glider sport pilot that was "enlisted" after having been promised a career as a commercial airline pilot by the regime-so reading this book interested me from the outset, and reminded me of my Dad's occasional comments of his life-especially Franz's time in North Africa. Having read a number of WWII memoirs, I found most of them to be pretty boring. The diaries of endless individual missions written by pilots, while interesting at first, can become dull, and numb me after a while. Most of them lack any perspective of the non-combat experiences and the human element of the characters, choosing instead to supplement a chronological reading of the subject's missions with an abundance of detail of all the well known reasons(at least to WWII history readers) for various operations of both the Axis and Allied militaries. And if, for example, I want to read a book about the details of development of the ME109 as it was modified during the war-I'll pick up another book about that. This book doesn't do that. Instead, the book brings both Franz and Charlie Brown to life. I like to be able to visualize what I'm reading-and this book does that for me. My only criticism would be that, as a few other readers have pointed out, there is a bit of overly melodramatic writing that comes off as a bit awkward-but it's minimal. It's a good read that will appeal to readers of WWII history for it's personal insight into the character of Franz and Charlie, as well as other readers that are looking for an unexpected human interest story in a historical setting about two adversaries. Of the WWII memoirs/stories that I have read this ranks second only to "Reach for the Sky", a truly inspirational, enjoyable book. I'd like to find more historical reading like this.
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on July 6, 2014
A friend and I visited an aviation museum in McMinnville, Oregon. The docent who led our tour through the museum spoke about a painting he donated to the museum. It depicts the German fighter plane flying next to the crippled B-17 as the shoreline of the North Sea passes below. The docent told the story of the German pilot who did not shoot down a bloodied bomber crew, but allowed them to limp 300 miles back to a base in England. Thereby the German pilot answered a higher call to preserve life rather than destroy an enemy who might return later for more bomb runs.

The book is more than what led up to a remarkable encounter. It describes how aviators on both sides of the same war thought about their obligations and the sense of right and wrong they each brought to what they did. As a result, they were remarkably similar in the way they each thought. That is a second tale in the book and is every bit as significant as the encounter between a fighter plane and a crippled bomber.

Herman Goering's personality and attitudes became an additional story that offered insight about how and why the German people came to disdain the Luftwaffe, also into why the ME-262 Schwalbe jet fighter did not become a factor in the outcome of the war.

I found two inaccuracies in the book. First, the radio man on Ye Olde Pub (the B-17 in the story) is said to have labored over his radio with its tubes and transistor chips. Transistors were not invented until three years after the war ended. Electronic chips did not come along until the 1960s, maybe the late 1950s in some applications. And, second, I have driven through parts of Germany where the encounter between the two planes took place. This would be over Ostfriesland or Lower Saxony near Oldenburg, Jever, and Shortens. The book speaks about the pine trees of northern Germany. I remember plenty of deciduous trees, but no pine trees, although there may be a few here and there.

I recently read The Secret Agent (Stephan Talty) about Eric Erickson. He was an American of Swedish parents who sold petroleum to the Nazis after going back to Stockholm in the 1930s. He became an American spy and was able to convince the German High Command he was an ardent Nazi. He was able to get a pass that allowed him to tour petroleum refineries in Germany no questions asked, including the 25 plants producing synthetic petroleum from coal. He relayed their locations to London and the Allies bombed those facilities. A Higher Call mentions problems stemming from acute petroleum shortages late in the war. The two books reinforce one another.
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on October 4, 2017
A fantastic story! The brief encounter between Franz and Charlie was a remarkable act of courage and compassion by both men. I was fascinated to hear the story of a fighter pilot defending his country under a government he did not agree with. The courage and brilliant piloting skills displayed by men on both sides of the war was fascinating. A great story told by a great storyteller! I thoroughly enjoyed the book!
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