Four days before Christmas in 1943, a badly damaged American bomber struggled to fly over wartime Germany. At its controls was a twenty-one-year-old pilot. Half his crew lay wounded or dead. It was their first mission. Suddenly a sleek, dark shape pulled up on the bomber's tail-a German Messerschmitt fighter. Worse, the German pilot was an ace, a man able to destroy the American bomber 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.
This is the true story of the two pilots whose lives collided in the skies that day-the American-Second Lieutenant Charlie Brown, a former farm boy from West Virginia who came to captain a B-17-and the German-Second Lieutenant Franz Stigler, a former airline pilot from Bavaria who sought to avoid fighting in World War II.
A Higher Call follows both Charlie and Franz's harrowing missions. Charlie would face takeoffs in English fog over the flaming wreckage of his buddies' planes, flak bursts so close they would light his cockpit, and packs of enemy fighters that would circle his plane like sharks. Franz would face sandstorms in the desert, a crash alone at sea, and the spectacle of one thousand bombers, each with eleven guns, waiting for his attack.
Ultimately, Charlie and Franz would stare across the frozen skies at one another. What happened between them, the American Eighth Air Force would later classify as top secret. It was an act that Franz could never mention without 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 for one another, a last mission that could change their lives forever.
About the Author
Adam Makos is a journalist, historian, and editor of the military magazine Valor. In his fifteen years of work in the military field, he has interviewed countless veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, and present-day wars. He has flown a B-17 bomber and a T-38 fighter with the Air Force and was one of the few journalists privileged to examine Air Force One with its pilots. In pursuit of a story, Makos met presidents, had tea with Prince Charles, and toured the DMZ border in Korea with American troops. The high point of his work occurred in 2008, when he traveled to Iraq to accompany the 101st Airborne and Army Special Forces on their hunt for al-Qaeda terrorists.
Robertson Dean has played leading roles on and off Broadway and at dozens of regional theaters throughout the country. He has a BA from Tufts University and an MFA from Yale. His audiobook narration has garnered ten AudioFile Earphones Awards. He now lives in Los Angeles, where he works in film and television in addition to narrating.
Larry Alexander is the Warren Distinguished Professor at the University of San Diego School of Law. He is the author or co-author of five monographs, including Demystifying Legal Reasoning (Cambridge, 2008) with Emily Sherwin and Crime and Culpability: A Theory of Criminal Law (Cambridge, 2009) with Kimberly Ferzan. He is also the editor of four anthologies, and the author or co-author of multiple articles, essays, and book chapters on topics of legal theory, constitutional law, and moral philosophy.