A HIGHER CALL by Adam Makos


An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II
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An inspiring dual biography of two World War II airmen against the background of the European air war.

In 1943, a severely damaged B-17, returning from a mission over Germany, was intercepted by a Messerschmitt fighter. Instead of finishing off the crippled bomber, the German pilot guided it toward the Channel and sent it on its way to England. Both pilots were still living 60 years later when Makos, editor of the military journal Valor, discovered the story. That single encounter was too short for a book, but Makos and military writer Alexander (Biggest Brother: The Life of Major Dick Winters, the Man Who Led the Band of Brothers, 2005) bring together the stories of the pilots. Franz Stigler was a deeply religious Catholic who loved flying. Already a commercial pilot, he was drafted into the Luftwaffe at the beginning of the war. He served grueling tours in Africa, Italy and Germany, becoming a fighter ace and flying the first jet while watching most of his comrades die as massive bomber formations devastated his nation. Charlie Brown was a West Virginia farm boy who moved from the peacetime National Guard to the Army to the controls of a B-17. Many of his friends died, as well. Serious military buffs may wrinkle their noses at the energetically nonpartisan tone—all the Luftwaffe pilots hated the Nazis; the American airmen were quirky but brave—and there is too much invented dialogue.

Despite excesses of enthusiasm, 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.

Pub Date: Dec. 19th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-425-25286-4
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Berkley Caliber
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2013

Kirkus Interview
Adam Makos
author of DEVOTION
October 27, 2015

Adam Makos’ new book Devotion: An Epic Story of Heroism, Friendship, and Sacrifice tells the inspirational story of the U.S. Navy’s most famous aviator duo: Lieutenant Tom Hudner, a white New Englander from the country-club scene, and Ensign Jesse Brown, an African American sharecropper’s son from Mississippi. Tom passed up Harvard to fly fighter planes for his country. Jesse became the navy’s first black carrier pilot to defend a nation that wouldn’t even serve him in a bar. Devotion brings us into the foxholes with U.S. Marines and soaring overhead with Tom and Jesse as they battle a North Korean invasion. “An account of a genuinely inspiring deed,” our reviewer writes. View video >


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