A Higher Call
Contributor: C. Peter Chen
Review Date: 4 Sep 2013
Full Title: A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II
Dual-memoirs seemed to be a recent trend, and A Higher Call was among them. Authors Adam Makos and Larry Alexander told of the tale of two aviators, American bomber pilot Charlie Brown and German fighter pilot Franz Stigler, through their war stories, which crossed paths over continental Europe. Seeing that Brown's bomber was badly damaged, Stigler's killer instincts vanished, believing that shooting down a bomber in this state would be no better than shooting at a parachute. Violating the oath he had made to his country, he escorted Brown's bomber, an enemy bomber, out of harm's way. It would be many decades before the two would meet, finally learning what had gone through each other's minds during that strange flight. Stigler's story fell in line with the usual telling of the Luftwaffe, portraying its members as the least Nazified of the German military services. Through this presentation of the Luftwaffe members, the authors were not only describing the fighter pilots' politically neutral stance, but also a portrayal of their inner nobility despite their circumstances. Although I felt that the authors over simplified the sentiments of the German pilots, understated the horrors of war, and over dramatized the stories just a little bit, Makos and Alexander indeed produced an intriguing work focused on the human experience on the front lines.
I had reviewed this title in its audio book format. Robertson Dean did a fine job reading the book, throwing in just a tad bit of American accent and German accent to the right parts to help highlight and differentiate the words spoken by the two main characters.
Although A Higher Call was weak from the history perspective, it told of a strong story about the good in mankind in a period when such was seemingly difficult to find. I would not recommend a purchase of this book for a private collection, but those interested in air combat should check out the book should copies of it show up on library shelves.
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General Douglas MacArthur at Leyte, 17 Oct 1944