A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story Of Combat And Chivalry In The War-torn Skies Of World War Ii

Hardcover | December 19, 2012

byAdam Makos, Larry Alexander

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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.

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From the Publisher

THE NEW YORK TIMES AND INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLERFour 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 Messerschmit...

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 ...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:400 pages, 9.31 × 6.31 × 1.25 inPublished:December 19, 2012Publisher:Penguin Publishing GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0425252868

ISBN - 13:9780425252864

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Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Superb Read An excellent write up of one man's compassion for his fellow man even during a time of war. I have been an aviation buff for many years and have never read such an engrossing story. The book tells many details about the air war during WW2 that are not commonly known and what the combatants on both sides dealt with on a daily basis. A great read - if you're interested in aviation at all, don't pass it up!
Date published: 2015-09-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The other side of The War What struck me was the exposition of the event that caused the book to be written was very short. Most of the book was a biography of Franz Stegler (sp), and his experience in the war. A good read nonetheless.
Date published: 2015-02-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sky high praises for A Higher Call! Reading like a narrative, I could not put this book down! A Higher Call challenged my perspective on many of the participants of World War II, and brought a human element into focus. I found A Higher Call very informative of the lives, places and events in World War II; and how it shaped our world today. A Higher Call gave me a greater appreciation for the hardships and challenges people of that era endured. This book found a home on my favourites shelf and is worthy of a second read!
Date published: 2014-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Higher Call An exceptional read!
Date published: 2013-12-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A decent read This is an incredible tale that's worth reading about. As far as war stories go, there won't be much here that you haven't read about in other books. Ultimately, unrestricted warfare benefits no one and destroys far more than buildings. But there's an underlying humanity through this tale that gives a ray of hope. The last few pages really brings everything together and makes this story one that will stay with you a long time. Stick with this book straight through to the very end; you'll be glad you did!
Date published: 2013-05-19

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Editorial Reviews

"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