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

Book Description


December, 1943: A badly damaged American B-17 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.

The Author

MakosAdamHailed as “a masterful storyteller” by the Associated Press, Adam Makos is the author of the New York Times bestseller A Higher Call, and the critically-acclaimed Devotion. Inspired by his grandfathers’ service, Adam chronicles the stories of American veterans in his trademark fusion of intense human drama and fast-paced military action, securing his place “in the top ranks of military writers,” according to The Los Angeles Times. In the course of his research, Adam has flown a WWII bomber, accompanied a Special Forces raid in Iraq, and journeyed into North Korea in search of an MIA American airman.

Written with Larry Alexander. Substance and line edits by Marcus Brotherton.

My Thoughts

This story is almost unbelievable–what happened between two pilots during combat, but also decades later. I’m thankful that this story has been recorded so splendidly for generations to come. Superb.


  1. I agree Joy. It was an unbelievably brave thing Franz Stigler did. The early story of the German’s ace’s life was an incredible story of survival through the war’s beginning to end that included some years in the Spanish civil war. Makos is one of our premier military history writers today because of the compelling way he tells stories. Thanks for reviewing it. I hope more people read this” two sides of a combat” narrative.

    • I’d never read a book about the Korean War, but upon the strength of A Higher Call, I ordered Makos’ book Devotion. It’s every bit as compelling as A Higher Call.

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