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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.
32 people found this helpful
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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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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 29 September 2014
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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on 23 August 2017
Not what I expected to be honest the vast majority of the book covers stiglers fighter career somewhat like a diary.id expected the story of the encounter with Charlie Brown this only covers approximately 3 chapters .but saying that I really enjoyed the book found it quite moving at the end .it's nice to see the chivalry that existed between pilots on both sides just proves they were not all nazis....
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on 4 June 2017
Amazing, thought provoking, opinion changing book. I couldn't put it down! Highly recommend to anyone it totally changed my views on Nazi's and World War Two. A totally true story coming from the mouths of the actual people who were there, a story of survival before, during and after WW2 you really will enjoy it. Our book club rated it our second highest scored book in our 3 year history and still rave about it now, and Adam Makos is a lovely writer :)
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 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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on 31 July 2015
A fantastic read.
As it happens, I came to this book with a great love of WWII aviation. I loved it.
You are taken up through the clouds into the enlightened world. Way, way above the clould-line where everyday heroes duck, dive, and cringe for their lives.
This is an incredible story really well told.
The author's inexperience as a novelist shows at points, but I didn't mind that a bit. It gives it a more authentic, journalistic, flawed and immediate feel.
But make no mistake: some excellent research has gone into this, and it is a well-written significant historical document.
It has been brought into being as a result of passion for the sky and love for courage and decency.
It's a worthwhile, powerful book.
Not necessarily heavy literature, but better than that it's a gripping wonderful tale of man's ability to rise above baser emotions and FLY.
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on 27 September 2016
Not just about the incident but very detailed background of the main players and introduced me to many facts I did not know about air warfare during WW2. A most highly recommended book and one which unusually I felt a bit frustrated when reading because I wanted to learn the detail yet also know what happened to so many as war drew to its close.
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on 12 November 2013
I purchased this a while ago and finally got around to reading it. I was a bit iffy about the content as I thought that it would be difficlaut to write an absorbing story around one 10 minute incident, but I was very wrong. It was the first time that I had read anything about the German experince of War and it was fastinating and humbling. My Father served in Bomber Command during the War and my opinions about the German War machine and the people was influnced negatively by his stories. However, this book has changed my perception. Not all German Military were raging Nazi and this comes through very strongly. As for the Pilot that is the main man in the story, he is in my eyes a humble hero, a real aviator and a real human being thrust into doing something that he didn't want to do, but had to do. My only regret is that they are both now gone, but at least their story has been told.
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