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

Berkley Publishing Group

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

Berkley Publishing Group

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

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Customer Reviews

WW II Fighter Pilot ChivalryI found this easy to put down, but did finish the book. It had some grammatical errors that drive me nuts (ie..using "..had had" type sentence). People who would like this story are:1. Those who are WW II Airplane enthusiasts2. Those who love detail of uniform and plane appearance3. Those who love stories of camaraderieI was interested in a first hand account of a German Fighter Pilot showing mercy on a wounded enemy plane. It was an interesting account from the point of view of both Franz Stigler, the German, and Charlie Brown, the U.S. Pilot. Stigler's life is written about more than Brown's life. You get a better understanding of what the German pilots went through under Nazi control. Really good investigative work by Makos. It was also interesting to point out both men seemed to have faith in GOD. There was some interesting information concerning attitudes in Germany toward The Nazi Regime, as well as attitudes within The Catholic Churches there. Interesting!My main disappointment in the book was I didn't think there was a clear cut explanation as to why Stigler chose to aid his enemy. It's one thing to allow a wounded plane to escape, but Stigler went further by escorting them out of harms way. The explanation is offered by Charlie Brown on page 364. Brown claims Stigler helped them because they were to stupid to surrender and Stigler was to much a gentleman to destroy them. Really? I thought even the title "A Higher Call" pointed to something more. Other parts in the book mention German pilots passing on a respect for enemy pilots by not shooting at parachuting pilots and by intervening for pilot POWs, etc..., so the page 364 explanation...boo!3One act of compassion stands out in WWII air battlesThis 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.4The 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 yearbefore running across this excellent read.I found a deep new respect for the german pilots of WWII and was very surprised at the conditions theylived 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.5This is an amazing book, particularly because the author swore he would ...This is an amazing book, particularly because the author swore he would never write a book that romanticized any German war effort. But what he found during his research changed his mind and will give the reader a new appreciation for soldiers of any nation that are ordered to fight a war they do not agree with. Of particular note is the fact that the German Air Force deliberately remained separate from the Nazi Party and no pilots in the German Air Force were Nazis. In fact, many of the German pilots in this books went on to illustrious careers in the re-formed German Air Force as part of NATO.One episode in the book makes this point crystal clear. A German pilot and commander, Col. Hannes Trautloft, hears rumors that American pilots are being held prisoner in the Buchenwald concentration camp by the SS. This was in direct conflict with German Air Force rules that pilots were to be held at P.O.W. camps overseen by the Luftwaffe and operated in accordance with the Geneva Convention. While ostensibly examining bomb damage at a nearby factory, Col. Trautloft went to Buchenwald and, once the prisoners had identified themselves to him, forced the SS to release all 168 airmen to his custody for transfer to a proper P.O.W. camp. These airmen were days away from being executed. This episode is corroborated in the History Channel movie "Shot from the Sky" (highly recommended watching) chronicling the plight of pilot Roy Allen and the crew of his B-17. In fact, I had just watched the movie a few weeks before reading this book and was stunned by the coincidence.Our recent history is littered with conflicts that the American government and the American people were at odds over (Korea, Viet Nam, Iraq, etc.). I don't want to get political in this review, but aside from the story of one man's compassion towards another, there is a deeper story here of men fighting for their country and not a party or ideology. Please read ASAP!5Great bookThis 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.5What 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!5Incredible and InspirationalThis 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.5This 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.3GREAT 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!5The 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
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