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

Check out Readers reviews and rating for books about American history, ancient history, military history. You can easily download A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II by # author# from the best rated book stores online. Read&Download A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II by Adam Makos,Larry Alexander Online


THE INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER: “Beautifully
told.”—CNN • “A
remarkable story...worth retelling and celebrating.”—USA
Today • 
“Oh, it’s a good
one!”—Fox News
 
A “beautiful story
of a brotherhood between enemies” emerges from the horrors of
World War II in this New York Times bestseller by the author
of Spearhead

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.

Average Ratings and Reviews
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4.57

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Ratings and Reviews From Market


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Reviews for A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II:

5

December 14, 2012

GREAT Read!
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!
5

July 13, 2015

The Book that changed my understanding of those on the other side in WW2. Franz Stigler is a hero.
I am an avid reader and a picky one at that. If I start reading a book and in does not grab me within 5-10 minutes I will put it down. However this book punched me dead in the face within a few pages. I had just finished the book unbroken and was keen on finding another great WW2 book. So I searched around and came across A higher Call and bam I was in love. This is one of the greatest books I have ever read. My girlfriend who has no interest in war stories was hooked as well when she would see me get all emotional as I was reading the book next to her. She would ask me narrate to her what I was reading and she wanted to hear more and more. This book is not just the story of two war veterans, its the story of good people like most of us are being thrown into a situation where your duty to your country requires killing and somehow in the face of that finding the compassion and courage to do good. I always saw the war from the eyes of the allies, but this book showed me the war from the eyes of the enemy, but a good and honorable enemy. An enemy who himself hated the Nazis and felt the Nazis where the enemy not the Americans or English. The book shows you that not all the Germans in the war were evil bastards. The way Franz cried for a bear who lost his life because of the evils of the Germans and the death of this bear hurt Franz as much as the loss of his own blood brother tells you the compassion and moral standing of the great man. Not only was he a great man but he served in a airforce filled with great men. Men who would shoot Americans and English out of the sky but would worry if the SS troopers would find them and throw the downed pilots into concentration camps. Men who would put their own lives at risk to protect and rescue these downed pilots out of honor because they may have been the enemy but they were aeronautical brothers. This book changed my whole view on those who served in the German military. Before I read this book i would never have saluted a German WW2 veteran, but now so long as they were not sworn Nazis I will gladly salute a German Air force veteran. This book is a must read.
5

Jan 15, 2013

I just completed reading Adam Makos' A Higher Call and I can only say I was absolutely stunned after finishing its final page. I sat quietly for several minutes, staring at the book and flipping through it looking at its pictures again, trying to come to grips with what I had just read. It is a more emotional book than I imagined it would be.

Adam has written a stunning, eye-opening, and breathtaking story of the lives of WWII pilots from both sides of the European Theater, and I dare say his is I just completed reading Adam Makos' A Higher Call and I can only say I was absolutely stunned after finishing its final page. I sat quietly for several minutes, staring at the book and flipping through it looking at its pictures again, trying to come to grips with what I had just read. It is a more emotional book than I imagined it would be.

Adam has written a stunning, eye-opening, and breathtaking story of the lives of WWII pilots from both sides of the European Theater, and I dare say his is probably the most complete and best accounting I have ever read, especially from the German fighter pilot's side...it is absolutely brilliant. And as one who has been reading WWII and fighter pilot books for 30+ years, it stands head and shoulders above all the others in my opinion.

Adam's coverage of the German fighter pilot's side was the most complete I have ever read and it provided new insight into a side of things I never thought I'd be able to read. And American B-17 bomber pilot Charley Brown's insistance that Adam focus on German figher pilot Franz Stigler's side as the real story turned it from an interesting story to a poignant personal story of how things really were. Thank God that Charley Brown knew where the real story was and pushed for it to be told from that point of view. That turned the book from just a very good book into an amazing read.

I believe this book has movie potential, it has a story quality seldom seen and I believe it deserves wide dissemination. Adam Makos came out with Hell of a first book, he has a real talent and I look forward to future books by him. ...more
5

Jan 05, 2013

What's better than a good novel? A great story that is a true and inspirational one!I never write reviews but this book was so good, I thought I had to do so. So many things had to go just right and the timing always had to line up, or this book would never have existed. Brave and honorable men do exist in real life. We just normally don't get to hear about them. Read the book. You'll be glad you did.
5

July 5, 2015

The Charlie Brown and Franz Stigler incident.
Oddly enough I have had a desktop Background of this exact situation on my laptop for at least the last year
before running across this excellent read.
I found a deep new respect for the german pilots of WWII and was very surprised at the conditions they
lived through both during and after the war.
One thing I had never thought of was that they didn't get to go home after say 25 missions or 1 year tour of duty as many of the Allies pilots did.
For them it was start to finish.
Every Aviation history buff needs to read this fine account of the Charlie Brown and Franz Stigler incident.
The photo I added is the background I spoke of.
4

April 3, 2017

One act of compassion stands out in WWII air battles
This is the story of Franz Stigler and Charlie Brown, two World War II pilots. Franz was a German fighter pilot. Charlie was an American bomber pilot. Their planes met in an air battle in December 1943, but due to very unusual circumstances, they ended their encounter without having shot each other from the sky. Author Adam Makos researched this remarkable story for over eight years before he published it. I was very impressed with his list of sources at the end of his book.

Although Mr. Makos tells the story of both men, most of the book concentrates on Stigler, describing his youth, his desire to be a pilot, his incredible skills and bravery, his attempt to deal with the horrors of war, and ultimately, his disillusionment with Germany's path in the war. Neither Stigler nor his family were members of the Nazi Party, but as a military man, Stigler followed orders and did what he thought necessary to protect his homeland from British and American bombing raids. After the war ended, he found himself scorned by fellow Germans, who had been misled by German wartime propaganda to believe that their own pilots were not trying hard enough to beat The Allies.

The human interest factor about the December battle and the two enemies' attempts to find each other over 40 years after the war ended is fascinating and poignant, especially as it would become a reunion of two people who never knew each other's names.

Aircraft fans should be quite interested in the very thorough description of the various WWII era planes. I found myself skimming over those parts to concentrate on the human interactions and the stark realities of war.

This is an enlightening nonfiction read. Prepare yourself for some very disheartening, gruesome descriptions of the personal consequences and sacrifices made by the pilots.
5

Dec 21, 2012

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 the bomber down, 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 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 the bomber down, 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.

While the description of Stigler escorting the bomber to safety is moving, the scene that meant the most to me was at a veterans reunion where Charlie Brown introduced Stigler to two of the crewmen who had been onboard the bomber that Stigler spared. As the four men hugged and cried they were joined by the descendants of the American fliers -- people who owed their lives to the act of generosity and kindness shown by Franz Stigler. Stigler and Brown remained close friends until their deaths, both in 2008.

It took 46 years for Stigler to get an answer to the question that had haunted him for so long. Yes, it was worth it. ...more
4

Jan 06, 2013


Starting with an encounter between a badly shot up B-17 and an ace German fighter pilot on Christmas Eve of 1943, the author tells the story of the pilots of the 2 airplanes. In telling the story he also tells a little of his own growth in researching that story.

While this book is the story of the two pilots, Charlie Brown (yes that’s really his name) who was piloting the B-17 and Franz Stigler, who was flying the ME109, this narrative is mainly Stigler's story. At the time of the encounter
Starting with an encounter between a badly shot up B-17 and an ace German fighter pilot on Christmas Eve of 1943, the author tells the story of the pilots of the 2 airplanes. In telling the story he also tells a little of his own growth in researching that story.

While this book is the story of the two pilots, Charlie Brown (yes that’s really his name) who was piloting the B-17 and Franz Stigler, who was flying the ME109, this narrative is mainly Stigler's story. At the time of the encounter Stigler was just a victory away from completing the requirements for being awarded a Knights Cross, one of Germany's highest awards for valor. Remarkably, Franz decides to let the B-17 go and even escorted through a flak belt until it reached the North Sea. While Mr. Makos tells both men’s story the majority of the narrative follows Lt Stigler. The author follows Stigler through his war and how he became a fighter pilot and eventually to fly the ME-262 jet fighter in the closing days of the war. Never a Nazi, Stigler is portrayed as a man who was fighting the good fight for a bad cause. A prewar Lufthansa pilot, he became civilian instructor pilot for the Luftwaffe, where he taught many of the men who flew with the Condor Legion in Spain. He was eventually dragooned into the Luftwaffe when he complained that he got no respect from the aviation cadets because he was a civilian.

The narrative illuminates what the life of a fighter pilot was like in the Luftwaffe. For example in telling the story of Stigler’s service in North Africa, the sand, bad food and probably more importantly the comradeship between pilots and their crew chiefs/mechanics is well drawn. In fact, when North Africa falls, Stigler along with most of his squadron mates squeeze their mechanics into their airplanes when they are transferred to Sicily rather than let them be captured. During this period Stigler’s ambition to win a Knights Cross is emphasized.

As the war drags on, Stigler’s ambition for glory wanes. He often gives the credit for airplanes he shoots down to young pilots in his squadron. Finally in the waning days of the war, he requests permission to join VG-44 and Adolf Galland in flying the ME-262. His story of the last days of the war is heart rending, esp when he gives in to the pleas of one of his young pilots, who really has no business flying such a high performance aircraft, and lets the young man fly a combat sortie. The young pilot crashes on landing, is horribly burned and eventually dies.

Charlie Brown’s story doesn’t take up anywhere near the pages of the narrative, but then again his war was nowhere as long. In comparison to the Germans who basically flew until they were killed, the Americans had a fairly short combat tour of 25 missions (3-6 months of flying) at the time Brown was flying. At the time of his encounter with Stigler, Brown was on only his second mission. He was able to nurse his airplane back to Britain and when he told his story, it was met with disbelief and then classified! Mr Markos does tell the story of the rest of Brown's tour, including some very scary moments of noncombat flying – climbing through heavy clouds full of other airplanes with the danger of collisions at any moment, flying at 20-25,000 ft in an unheated aircraft where the temperature was up to -40F etc. This section is also very enlightening, but takes up less than half of the pages of Stigler’s story

The final section of the book is how the two men eventually met and became fast friends until their deaths in 2008. After the war Stigler spent many years trying to find fate of the men he spared but, was unsuccessful until they finally met at reunion in the late '80s.

This is the kind of story that restores ones faith in humanity! It’s a solid 4 star read.
...more
5

May 13, 2016

What an amazing story.
I just finished this last night and I can't stop thinking about it. What an amazing story......people can't make this kind of stuff up, which is why I prefer the true stories like this one. I love how the author wove us into the lives of Franz Stigler and Charlie Brown -- so we got to know them even before we reached the main event of the story. We got to know this German Air Force pilot -- and he was just another man, doing his job to defend his country. I was quite surprised at how the German Air Force didn't really associate with the Nazi Party, and how they had their own strict rules, like not shooting down a man who was in a parachute. I guess like most people, I figured they were all Nazi's, but they weren't, and I found myself daring to really like Franz as I got to know him in the book. Then comes Charlie Brown, and hearing his antics of buzzing his house in his small town in West Virginia -- and getting to know his crew mates was a delightful read. Reading how their lives were on the base in England made me feel that I was an observer in their lives. Then there was that flight -- and I felt like I was in the plane with them as they kept getting hit - one after another and thinking "oh no they are going down" -- and I know I was reading faster and faster, probably skipping more words than reading them, just to get to the highlight to find out what happened. I won't give anything away, but trust me -- coming from a woman who also happens to love US History stories - especially TRUE ones -- this book is fantastic. Even if you aren't a history buff, this is still an amazing story. I would give this book 10 stars if I could. It definitely needs to be made into a movie -- HOLLYWOOD are you listening? Make this book into a movie but for crying out loud, don't change the story. It doesn't need it! HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book!
5

March 20, 2017

Great book
This is a fascinating story and a great anti-war book. I grew up being taught in schools that the United States were the good people in the Second World War. This story, as the American Charles Brown pointed out, revolves around a pilot that was born in Germany instead of someplace else. He was performing his duties in the war just as his American counterpart. Throughout the book, the majority of the story revolves around the character, the honor, the dedication to country of Frank Stigler, the German pilot of the book. Stigler has the incredible compassion to not shoot down an American B-17 returning to England severely damaged after the crew's first bombing sortie. Stigler had lost a brother in the war and could not bring himself to destroy a limping, barely flying B-17 with obviously wounded airmen on board. Stigler's actions, if made known to superiors, would result in a firing squad. The majority of this book is a marvelous behind the scenes look at how Franz Stigler existed in a very desperate country losing the war. It is a scary look at the mismanagement of resources and waste of human lives in Germany during the war. The fact that these two fliers were able to survive the war and reunite years later as extremely close friends is the best happy ending possible. For a book about the best sides of human decency and tremendous character, read this book. Those with knowledge of World War II history, will enjoy the training, tactics, and hazards of flying out of England in heavy bombers as well as the other side flying in ME 109's attempting to stop the destruction of Germany. Sad that thousands of young men, doing the duty fate cast on them, died in service to their respective counties.
5

Feb 13, 2013

I bought this book for my husband. I usually read time travel, romance, and apocalyptic books. I read the cover and it sounded interesting. I've always loved non-fiction-especially history concentrating on time travel during the Civil War. After all, this is a New York Times Best Seller, so I decided to give it a try, thinking I would read the first chapter then fall asleep. With 371 pages also filled with many, many pictures (never printed before), I was captured with the plot immediately. No I bought this book for my husband. I usually read time travel, romance, and apocalyptic books. I read the cover and it sounded interesting. I've always loved non-fiction-especially history concentrating on time travel during the Civil War. After all, this is a New York Times Best Seller, so I decided to give it a try, thinking I would read the first chapter then fall asleep. With 371 pages also filled with many, many pictures (never printed before), I was captured with the plot immediately. No way could I stop reading this book. It intertwines the lives of enemies- Germans and the Americans-especially two men. It took the author eight years of research to write this book. His impeccable details proves his acclaimed research. It does not glorify war, in fact, almost the opposite. It shows how the fighter pilots REALLY felt. The vivid details, love, heartbreak, families torn apart, some killed, but most of all it gives a very clear picture of World War 11. I thought my history was pretty good-little did I realize, I knew nothing! I thought everyone knew what Hitler was doing with the concentration camps! It tells of how hearts change in war, sometimes for the worst, but also sometimes for the best. I cannot say enough about this book to give it the justice and proclamation it deserves. I've always wanted to visit camps in Germany, with many other major landmarks. I envy the author of his knowledge. This book just heightened my personal desires. Maybe someday I will be able to visit the places in Gemany- with this book forever burned into my mind. Highly recommended to everyone. ...more
1

December 15, 2015

like a rat
Well, already at the first paragraph, I had an uneasy feeling as the now-decommissioned German fighter pilot "shuffled along the streets of the small bombed-out city." Would a man so recently an officer in the Luftwaffe "shuffle?" I didn't think so... Then, come paragraph 3, he picks up the pace: "Franz **scurried** [what, like a rat?] through the town's massive square, his black boots **clopping** [what, like a horse?] along the frozen cobblestones." This incoherent jumble of non-believable images might have been written by, oh I don't know, somebody who has no business writing a book, anyway. THEN, on page 2, Franz goes from rat-horse to fish (or maybe eel?): "Rather than traverse around the line of somber people, Franz **wriggled** through them" -- and that was it for me, I was outta there.
5

Jun 17, 2013

I really enjoyed this book. After looking at the cover and reading the back, I expected it to be the story of a US bomber crew and a German fighter pilot. In reality, the majority of the book was about the German fighter pilot, Franz Stigler, but that didn’t make the book any less enjoyable. I’ve read more about American bomber crews than about German fighters anyway, so I liked the unexpected focus.

The highlight of the book involved (view spoiler)[the meeting of the American pilot, Charlie I really enjoyed this book. After looking at the cover and reading the back, I expected it to be the story of a US bomber crew and a German fighter pilot. In reality, the majority of the book was about the German fighter pilot, Franz Stigler, but that didn’t make the book any less enjoyable. I’ve read more about American bomber crews than about German fighters anyway, so I liked the unexpected focus.

The highlight of the book involved (view spoiler)[the meeting of the American pilot, Charlie Brown (yes, that was really his name—Charles Schultz didn’t start the Peanuts comic strip until 1950) and the German pilot, Franz Stigler, over the skies of Germany in December 1943. It was Charlie’s second combat flight, but his first as pilot with the crew he trained with. It was a rough mission. They ended up with a plane so shredded that it was a miracle it was still flying, several injured crew members (one dead), and frozen guns. Not all their engines were working, so they had fallen behind the other bombers and were easy prey as they tried to limp back to England.

Meanwhile, Franz Stigler was in need of one more bomber on his victory list to qualify for the coveted Knight’s Cross. But when he caught up with Charlie’s plane, he could see it was missing most of a rudder, and through the numerous holes, he could see the injured crew members trying to patch each other up. For some reason, Franz decided to let the injured bomber go. He didn’t shoot—in fact, he escorted it through a flak zone.

I found the sequence involving Charlie’s mission and Franz’s mercy the most compelling part of the book. I was glad I had a good chuck of reading time so I didn’t have to put it down. (hide spoiler)]

Though the majority of the book covered Franz and the German pilots he worked with, Makos was able to capture in a very short time a feeling of what the bomber crews went through. He revealed that one of the crew members was hording chocolate rations (his own, and any his crew mates would give to him) for an upcoming Christmas party as gifts for the English children who would attend. (On a poignant note, the crew member, a gunner, didn’t live to see the party, instead dying on his first combat mission.) He also showed a pilot trying to shave (masks sealed better on clean-shaven faces, so shaving was important), but the poor man’s hands were shaking so badly that he nicked himself three times in a row.

I’ve long known that not every German during WWII was a Nazi. Franz and his family were opposed to Hitler from early on. What I didn’t realize was how tepid enthusiasm for the Nazis was in general among the German air force. (Granted, this book takes place mostly after the tide has turned, beginning in N. Africa—some of them may have felt differently in 1939-41, when the German war machine had yet to suffer any major setbacks. Also, Franz may have been drawn toward others with political philosophies similar to himself.)

Franz began the war as a commercial pilot. Then he served as an instructor, then a fighter pilot in N. Africa, Sicily, Germany, and ultimately with Adolf Galland’s group of pilots in the closing days of the war, flying the new German jet, the Me 262. With that last group, Franz and his associates knew the war was lost, but they were determined to defend German cities from aerial bombardment. Their reasoning was that if they could save one child from being killed, they were fulfilling their duty. Yet as a modern reader who knew when Hitler would kill himself and when the final surrender would take place, their efforts seemed tragic. Perhaps knocking a group of bombers from 200 to 190 would keep a few houses safe . . . but not necessarily. The men were flying a new plane. None of them were all that familiar with it, and the Me 262’s engine (made with inferior materials because better ones weren’t available in Germany that late in the war) had a habit of stalling, exploding, and otherwise causing death to pilots. There were many accidents resulting in death or horrible injuries in March and April of 1945—it made me wish the men, most of them accomplished pilots, would sit out the remainder of the war and go home to their families.

The final part of the book covers Franz and Charlie during their post-war lives, including their unlikely reunion.

Overall, this is one I recommend. It’s written for a general audience, so even readers only marginally familiar with WWII will be able to enjoy this true story. ...more
5

Jun 01, 2016

"Can good men be found on both sides of a bad war?"

If there is any honor and beauty to be found in war, this is it: A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II. Even in war, miracles happen and God extends grace.

After reading Makos' latest release - Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice - a truly phenomenal book - and now this one, I'm totally in awe of his moral integrity, tenacious resolve, and dedication to "Can good men be found on both sides of a bad war?"

If there is any honor and beauty to be found in war, this is it: A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II. Even in war, miracles happen and God extends grace.

After reading Makos' latest release - Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice - a truly phenomenal book - and now this one, I'm totally in awe of his moral integrity, tenacious resolve, and dedication to precision. His ability to accurately and efficiently tell the stories of unsung heroes after years of extensive research - which includes a large number of personal interviews, visits to museums, traveling to places where actual events occurred, and digging through mountains of archived military and/or government documents - is highly commendable. Top notch! Second to none! He brings history alive in such a personable way that it reads like a novel: enlightening and enthralling.

I must note though, "A Higher Call" was exceptionally more combat detailed and intense than that of "Devotion." It took me well over a week to read through it, due to some of the graphic intensity. Those who know my personal history will understand. Another halting factor, was, the overview net being cast so wide, covering both the American side of the air-war equation, as well as, if not more so, the German side; it was a bit much for me to take in without pausing to digest. Also, I thought it a bit dry here and there. Not horribly so. Just a wee bit.

All in all, an exemplary piece of human-interest nuanced, WWII history. Highly recommended to armchair history buffs, human-interest enthusiasts, and/or military buffs, as well as scholarly historians.

(4.5)

FIVE ***** Humanitarian Nuanced, Wartime History/Heroes ***** STARS ...more
5

November 23, 2014

While reading some parts of the book my hands would sweat from the suspense.
5

April 28, 2017

Incredible and Inspirational
This is an excellent story. At first I was a little put off by the focus on Stigler and all of his missions but as I continued reading I saw that the comprehensive history (of both Stigler and Brown) was necessary to adequately set the stage for everything that followed. The more I read the more entranced I became. I love how it all came together in a wonderful culmination of events at the book's conclusion. It interested me so much I made a point of looking up the videos (which, by the way, if you do this without reading the book first, you'll be cheating yourself of truly understanding the story and its significance.) I love the history, the appreciation I gain for our service men and women and the ultimate humanity (albeit, sadly, along with cruelty and tragedy) that rests in hearts on both sides of war. I appreciate the author's TEMPERED use of offensive language. Descriptions of events pertinent to servicemen and war are well-balanced between accuracy and excessive explicitness. Some people refrain from reading books about WWII because they're afraid of becoming depressed. Not so with this story. Read it and be inspired.
5

Nov 09, 2017

This book was phenomenal...

I knew from the very first few chapters, that I was gonna end up enjoying this book very much.
This blend of beautiful and harrowing experiences, written together with incredibly researched work makes this such a well executed book.

I have to say this book is mainly about the German pilot who according to his amarican counterpart was the ‘hero of this story’.

I loved that it was written with such a wide perspective from the Germans side since the time of his childhood. This book was phenomenal...

I knew from the very first few chapters, that I was gonna end up enjoying this book very much.
This blend of beautiful and harrowing experiences, written together with incredibly researched work makes this such a well executed book.

I have to say this book is mainly about the German pilot who according to his amarican counterpart was the ‘hero of this story’.

I loved that it was written with such a wide perspective from the Germans side since the time of his childhood. It made it so much easier to understand the German pilot, Frank Stigler, who amidst the cruelty, violence and war surrounding the WW2, would do an act of pure chivalry and humane that it shows to everyone that ‘enemies are better off as friends’.

This book is written so well and the characters centered in and around this story portrayed so richly, that at the end I felt like I knew each and every one of them. I felt like I experienced everything with them. And I have to applaude Adam Makos for executing this heroic and awe inspiring story so well.

Here’s to Franz, Charlie and his crew who lived through it all and lived to tell us their tale.

‘ A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself’.....
A quote I think that fits perfectly for Franz Stigler. ...more
5

Aug 08, 2017

A German fighter pilot tracks a lonely American heavy bomber trying to escape back to Britain after bombing a German city. The bomber is so shot to pieces that Lieutenant Franz Stigler is amazed it’s still able to fly. The rear gunner is dead. None of the plane’s other guns are working. The American pilot is a twenty one year old rookie.

This confrontation between an American pilot and a German pilot in December 1943 is the hinge that holds this riveting book together. We get a detailed account A German fighter pilot tracks a lonely American heavy bomber trying to escape back to Britain after bombing a German city. The bomber is so shot to pieces that Lieutenant Franz Stigler is amazed it’s still able to fly. The rear gunner is dead. None of the plane’s other guns are working. The American pilot is a twenty one year old rookie.

This confrontation between an American pilot and a German pilot in December 1943 is the hinge that holds this riveting book together. We get a detailed account of both pilots, their backgrounds and wartime experiences. Especially interesting is the German. It isn’t often literature allows us to side with the Germans. But by giving us an intimate account of Stigler’s life and showing how decent many of the members of the Luftwaffe were you can’t help feeling protective towards them every time they go up into the air, which of course means you find yourself cheering them on against your own countrymen sometimes, a very strange feeling. Probably wisely the author shies away from describing in any detail the many times Stigler shot down American or British planes. It is a slightly sanitised war we see, selected highlights because the Luftwaffe was by no means as innocent as it’s perhaps portrayed here – the strafing of Polish and French civilians springs to mind. However the book does a great job of showing how there were three sides in the war, the Allies fighting the Nazis with decent Germans caught up somewhere in the middle. Stigler and his comrades are in as much danger from the Gestapo as Allied pilots, especially towards the end of the war when Goering publicly denounced all German fighter pilots as cowards for failing to prevent the bombing of German cities.
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5

May 16, 2013

I just finished reading A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World
War II. I was a little skeptical about the use of the word "incredible" in the title. I discovered that the author chose it for the best of reasons- it's totally accurate. This is an incredible book to read and experience from a personal and historical point of view; plus the story it weaves about two pilots from opposing sides is truly incredible! It is difficult to write this I just finished reading A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World
War II. I was a little skeptical about the use of the word "incredible" in the title. I discovered that the author chose it for the best of reasons- it's totally accurate. This is an incredible book to read and experience from a personal and historical point of view; plus the story it weaves about two pilots from opposing sides is truly incredible! It is difficult to write this review without sounding sappy or as if I am gushing...it is that good.

Anyone who has professes to have a genuine interest in the human side of war, especially if you are willing to think about the War in Europe from the perspective of either side, represented by German ace Franz Stigler, and the American side, represented by B-17 pilot Charlie Brown; this book is a must read for you. I was deeply moved while reading many parts of this book-several times to tears, such that I closed it up for a while to let the visual pictures in my head reside there, quietly.

I did not expect this book to read like a novel, full of tension, and page-turning apprehension/excitement. At mid point, when these two adversaries met in battle over Germany, I kept reading until 3 a.m. this morning, until that particular part of the tale was resolved. I finished the book in one long sitting today. Makos' craft as a writer is well- honed. He is able to weave informational and statistical material throughout his text, without ever losing the threads of human interest that bind the parts of this interlocking story together. Those of us who appreciate the bravery of "ordinary" men in extraordinary times, owe Makos our thanks. A remarkable story with all of its twists and turns, from Munich and the northern shores of Africa, to the landing fields of England, and eventually to the shores of Canada and the United States, might have remained untold.

Additionally, I learned a great deal of new information from this book, and have a better idea what it might have been like to be part of a B-17bomber crew, or what it took to become an Ace in the Luftwaffe, without caving in to the incredible pressures exerted by Goerring, or the Gestapo.

Makos has written another book called Voices of the Pacific, which I intend to read. I hope that it achieves the level of excellence found in A Higher Call.
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5

Dec 23, 2014

This was a great book. At Christmastime in 1943, a German – who was already one of the leading fighter pilots at that point of the war – comes across a severely damaged B-24, barely able to fly, but instead of shooting it down, he leads it out into the Atlantic – and gives the crew a chance to survive. He had never shown such mercy before, and the risk of his own execution was profoundly real, yet he couldn’t bring himself to shoot them down. The two pilots met nearly 50 years later, and that This was a great book. At Christmastime in 1943, a German – who was already one of the leading fighter pilots at that point of the war – comes across a severely damaged B-24, barely able to fly, but instead of shooting it down, he leads it out into the Atlantic – and gives the crew a chance to survive. He had never shown such mercy before, and the risk of his own execution was profoundly real, yet he couldn’t bring himself to shoot them down. The two pilots met nearly 50 years later, and that account is also part of this amazing story that I recommend highly! ...more
3

August 28, 2019

This is a difficult review to write on a book that is difficult to rate.
The book was an enjoyable, easy read. For that I’d give it 5 stars. However, that being said…

I bought the book because of the unique wartime situation of the Luftwaffe fighter pilot choosing not to finish the severely shot-up B-17. However, that incident only occupied about 15 pages of the 400-page book. (How on earth they’re gonna have enough material without fabricating some stuff to make a movie about that, I do not know.) For that little surprise, I’d give it 2 stars – particularly since the rest of the book is almost exclusively devoted to the wartime escapades of the German fighter pilot in question. There is next to nothing about how the American bomber pilot or his crew spent the rest of their wartime service.

And, as one reviewer said, the first half of the book was not written very well and read completely differently than the second half – almost, as one reviewer said, two different authors wrote each half. For that I’d maybe give it 3 stars.

However, like a different reviewer said, the story often seemed embellished; like the story was more far more interested in showing the Luftwaffe pilots in a more favorable light (e.g., mere defenders of their country just doing their duty than soldiers who agreed with and fought to advance Hitler and his goals of world domination). I don’t like books with image agendas, so because of that, I’d give it only 2 stars.

If you’re interested in the lifestyle, pressures, etc of a Luftwaffe pilot – one who even got to fly the worlds’ first combat jet fighter in wartime (the Me-262) then this book does have some merit. But, if you’re wanting to know more about the odd gallantry shown from an enemy that could’ve just as easily shot the bomber out of the sky but didn’t, then this book will leave you sorely lacking.

I guess, the average of these micro-ratings is 3 stars so that’s what I’d give it.
3

Jul 09, 2014

Stretches one event for an entire book, yet. . . The most interesting parts are the disintegration of the mighty Luftwaffe, and how a "Band of Brothers" of true believers -- not in National Socialism, but in air power -- escaped during the last months of war, from Göring's grasp. They slid to Austria with an ever-decreasing number of serviceable aircraft, plus the few remaining Messerschmitt jets.
3

Aug 27, 2018

A small act of humanity saves many lives. When a German ace pilot refuses to shoot down a damaged B-17 bomber, the German pilot is later re-united with those who he saved.
1

October 16, 2016

I found the book tedious, long-winded
I found the book tedious, long-winded, and a story which could have been told in a third of the volume. Disappointing!
1

January 6, 2015

poorly written
poorly written. High school level prose. I stopped about half way through.

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