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5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 5.00 (1 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Adam Makos Narrator: Robertson Dea Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Four days before Christmas in 1943, a badly damaged American bomber struggled to fly over wartime Germany. At its controls was a twenty-one-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 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.

This is the true story of the two pilots whose lives collided in the skies that day—the American—Second Lieutenant Charlie Brown, a former farm boy from West Virginia who came to captain a B-17—and the German—Second 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 one thousand 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 Eighth Air Force would later classify as top secret. It was an act that Franz could never mention without 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 for one another, a last mission that could change their lives forever.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “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

  • “This book grips you like a movie. It’s part Top Gun, part Valkyrie, and more!”

    Marcus Brotherton, New York Times bestselling author

  • A Higher Call exemplifies beautifully the brotherhood of warriors and will forever change how you look at World War II.”

    Eric Blehm, New York Times bestselling author

  • “[A]  life-or-death drama that’s based on interviews with both Brown and Stigler, as well as military records…Their story is worth retelling and celebrating.”

    USA Today

  • “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. The book is a riveting story of humanity and mercy set against the ghastly backdrop of war.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “An inspiring dual biography of two World War II airmen against the background of the European air war…Massive research and extensive interviews combine in a vividly detailed account of German fighter operations in Western Europe and the training and blooding of an American bomber crew.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “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.”

    Col. 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 New York Times Bestseller
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About the Author

Adam Makos is a journalist, historian, and editor of the military magazine Valor. In his fifteen years of work in the military field, he has interviewed countless veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and present-day wars. He has flown a B-17 bomber and a T-38 fighter with the Air Force and was one of the few journalists privileged to examine Air Force One with its pilots. In pursuit of a story, Makos met presidents, had tea with Prince Charles, and toured the DMZ border in Korea with American troops. The high point of his work occurred in 2008, when he traveled to Iraq to accompany the 101st Airborne and Army Special Forces on their hunt for al-Qaeda terrorists.