Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Higher Call

A Higher Call by Adam Makos

Summary: During WWII, over the skies of Germany, an American bomber was badly shot up. The pilot of the bomber was Charlie Brown, and with half his crew wounded, he was fighting to get back to England. His and his crew's biggest problem lay in trying to cross the German boarder and getting over the ocean. Charlie and his men believed they would be shot from the skies, when a German fighter pilot flew up beside them and, rather than shot them down, escorted them over the boarder - then let them fly home. For years the story was covered up, until Charlie and the German fighter pilot were old men and sought each other out.

This book talks more about Franz Stiger than Charlie. Franz was the German who helped Charlie cross the boarder. He was also very against the Nazi Party, as were most pilots in the German Air Force. At first he fought to avenge his beloved brother was killed. (Franz trained him rather ruthlessly as he wanted to make sure August was prepared to survive anything in the air. His death hit Franz hard.)

Franz was sent to fight in Africa. He flew with some of Germany's top aces while there and became good friends with a lot of the men. He had the kind of personality a lot of people enjoyed being around. He was quieter, modest, and stood by his friends. The longer the book went on the more I came to love him.

The book also talks some about Charlie and his bombing crew. Charlie was twenty when he encountered Franz on his first bombing mission. He lied to his men about his age, telling them he was older as he was afraid they wouldn't listen to him if they knew he was so young. While they aren't talked about as much as Franz there is enough time spent on them where I had a chance to get to know all of the bombing crew.
(I maybe or maybe not have spent most of the chapters on Charlie shouting, ECKY! RUSSIAN! CHARLIE! PINKY!) They were amazing men. After their plane was shot up, Charlie told everyone they could jump - he had to keep flying the plane - but every one of them refused because Russian had been wounded too badly to jump. They decided they would all get out together or all die together.

The book also talked about many other German pilots. (I loved how Adam took time to write about them. Germany's side of WWII is often overlooked, or all Germans are lumped together as Nazis. I loved seeing men who were fighting for their country, not for Hitler and his Party.) There were so many amazing men in the Air Force. I cried more than once reading about them.

The writing of the book made it easy to read. It reads more like a work of fiction almost. Not like some dry biographies I've come across.

The whole story is amazing. What Charlie and Franz went through, what they lived through. And the things Franz saw, his story broke my heart more than once. He was a remarkable man.

There was language in the book. Not an overwhelming amount, and I would still recommend it very highly. I believe it is one story everyone needs to read. Not only to get a glimpse at the German pilots, but how one man's choice to go against everything he'd been trained and taught to do effected so many lives. This is a touching book and the ending had me in tears.

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