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4.8 out of 5 stars
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on 11 August 2013
I read an article in the Saturday Mail a few weeks ago about the German Pilot in WW11 who had seen a B17 which had been shot up badly. Franz Stigler's initial reaction was to shoot the plane down but as he got nearer to the B17, he saw the extent of the damage and he could see the crew through a hole in the aircraft tending their wounded. He was always told, you shoot at a machine not a man and suddenly he realised what he must do, he had to help the crew of this B17 get to safety. He risked everything to escort this aircraft through the coastal German anti aircraft guns and once they were over the sea, tried to signal to them to head for Sweden and land there. The pilot of the B17 just wanted to get the plane home and eventually they felt threatened by the German fighter and turned their gun on him to warn him off. Franz realised that there was nothing more he could do and mouthed 'Good Luck' and flew off. Franz always hoped that the B17 had got home safely and Charlie Brown the B17 pilot never forgot what this German fighter pilot had done for him and his crew and eventually when they are both old men, they are able to track each other down and have a very emotional reunion! This is a tale of courage and honour and it gives the reader the chance to see the war from both the English/American and German perspective. It opened my eyes and I am so glad I read this book. The story of 'A Higher Call' is simply told and one of the most excellent books I have ever read. Thank you Adam Makos.
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on 1 July 2013
Having read and studied a lot of material concerning the Luftwaffe and its pilots this is a most interesting, and to say the least illuminating book. It has obviously been well researched and is extremely well written. It is quite intriguing to read the first hand stories of a number of the well known named "Aces" and to realise that the Nazi heirarchy was as much despised by the more enlightened members of the German forces as they were by the Allies.
Of particular interest is the "audience" with Hitler himself, where on his return the pilot declared "The man is a raving lunatic!"
I can thoroughly recommend to anyone with an interest in WW II history and flying in particular.
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on 8 February 2013
A Higher Call ranks as the best book I have read on the aviation war in the European theatre. Franz Stigler's story is so detailed with insights into what life as a Luftwaffe fighter pilot was truly like. After reading this book your understanding of this period in history will change as mine did.

I would recommend to any WW2 aviation enthusiast.
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VINE VOICEon 24 February 2014
I know words like that get bandied about all too often but this really is as good as stated. It stumbles a little to get going but once it reaches Franz's experiences in North Africa and beyond you simply won't want to stop reading. A truly fascinating insight into the "enemy" and the reality of life in the Luftwaffe written with frankness and self deprecation. Although the book centres around the meeting of Franz and Charlie both above Germany, and later in life, it's really mainly Franz's story. And I don't mind admitting to welling up a bit at the end. Two extraordinary men in a book full of extraordinary men. Will change your Hollywood inspired black and white view of the War In Europe and give some appreciation of the Luftwaffe pilots. Brave men, unfortunately led by madmen and psychopaths.
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on 14 August 2013
I liked this book because it really showed both sides of the war and the fact that the Germans were virtually the same as the people they were fighting. Makes one realise the futility of wars! I also bought the book for my friend in UK who thought it was one of the best books he had read.
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on 5 August 2013
This was an easy rating! It's a great book on a number of levels, the sheer humanity of this ace's action in sparing the B17 crew is a ray of light in what was a horrible and dark period. It was fascinating also to read of their subsequent relationship.But good as this is it is trumped by Franz's account of his career, it provides a seldom seen insight into life in the Luftwaffe, his account of the last few futile months of the conflict is both harrowing and fascinating laying out as it does the brutality and humanity of these pilots forced to fight to their inevitable end. Best war book I've read for a long time.
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on 2 February 2013
I can't recommend this book enough, I simply couldn't put it down. A brilliantly well told story of the humanity of both sides set against the insanity of war. It's both uplifting and at the same time depressing - the courage and integrity of those on the front line contrasts powerfully with the inhumanity and brutality of their superiors, and it seems we have learned nothing in the intervening years. During the course of his own impressive research, the author's views of the war in the air were totally transformed, and this wonderful book is a testimony to his efforts. READ IT!!
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This book has what may at first seem an unlikely situation as its storyline.

During the first half of WW1, there was a recognition on both sides that normal rules of chivalry would apply, and they did. A pilot who was seen to be injured was allowed by his opponents to attempt to safely return to his base and was sometimes escorted by his enemy almost to his destination to prevent further attacks. Subsequently, these rules were abandoned and they were largely forgotten during WW2. However, this book is about one exception to these rules and as a result a heavily damaged US bomber was allowed to return to its British base.

Post-war and then as old men, the two pilots attempted to find each other and to exchange their stories. This slightly parallels the post-War friendship of the German fighter ace, Adoph Gallandt, and the British legless flyer, Douglas Bader.

As an an impartial view of both opponents' actions and policies, it deserves to be read.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 17 March 2015
One of the things I enjoyed most about this book was that the author explained that he set out to tell the true story of how an American WWII pilot and his crew survived aboard an almost unflyable plane. Instead, he was compelled by his research to give much of the book over to the story of the man who saved the B-17 and its crew from certain destruction as they flew over deadly anti-aircraft batteries in the attempt to return to England.

The flight back by the American bomber crew is spectacular in itself, but the story of the German fighter pilot who saved the lives of those on board is even more engaging. The book makes fascinating reading as it charts the path through WWII of two men on opposite sides. Each man did his utmost to fight for what he believed in; each pilot suffered dramatic and tragic personal losses before the war ended. They met for the first time in the skies over Germany, and for the second time decades later in a manner which is as heart-warming as it is extraordinary.

There are many revealing insights provided by this book, especially about how the German fighter pilots and civilians alike were treated by their leaders. Author Adam Makos has done a magnificent job of converting years of research into an extremely readable and humane account. This is a book which is hard to put down. An added bonus is that the Kindle edition links to several additional on-line pages of videos, stills and biographies of many of the central characters.
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on 25 February 2013
I purchased this book after reading about the heartwarming incident between the two opposing pilots, this is the scene depicted on the cover.
I was expecting it to be a documentation of the incident, and then the details of how the two men met up again.
Not so. The book is that and far more. It's is actually a biography of Franz Stigler.
The mid air meeting of Franz and charlie is a small slither of the story.
What you get is a tale of a man who found himself caught up in a frought political situation, torn between loyalty to his war ravaged country, and a hatred of the brutal Nazi dictatorship.
I have read that much of the Luftwaffe were not Nazis, and this story shows this to be very true. It's an insight in to the experiences of a brave, talented and compassionate fighter pilot.
The writing is, for the most part, in a screenplay/novel type format, which draws you in to the unfolding story, and it reads like a novelaization tailor made for a movie, right down to the German airbase keeping a friendly pet bear, rescued from the zoo, and taken swimming with the locals.
The second half of the book, kept me particularly gripped, and I read this in one sitting.
It superbly describes the last ditch attempt to save Berlin from destruction with the new wonder weapon, jet powered me 262 fighters, but all in vane.
A brief detour in to the political events surrounding the animosity between the monstrous Goering and the Luftaffe, serves to put events in context, before moving back to the human story of Franz Stigler.
I'm so glad Franz and charlie survived, they deserved to live on and tell the world how war is so much more complex than good vs bad.
It would, as I have said, make an amazing film, but considering it shows a portion of the German military in a compassionate light, it would be deemed too contravercial to film. Which is a shame as this story has much to teach the world about human nature.
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