Note about my Reviews

Dear Authors: The reviews in this blog are only personal opinions. I have absolutely no background in literature, writing or reviewing. I am a Librarian (actually a Library Technician for those who care OR know the difference) with a love for a good story. The opinions in the reviews are ONLY my OPINIONS. I am not commenting on the writers ability since well -- I am not a writer and never will be. If you are the author of any of the books reviewed here, my opinion is just that and not a judgment against you!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Audio Book Review: A Higher Call by Adam Makos

A Higher Call: An incredible true story of combat and chivalry in the war-torn skies of World War II
by Adam Makos
Read by Robertson Dean
Berkley (Penguin)

ISBN: 9780425252864
Buy from Indigo

Description: Four days before Christmas 1943, a badly damaged American bomber struggled to fly over wartime Germany. At its controls was a 21-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 in 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—2nd Lieutenant Charlie Brown, a former farm boy from West Virginia who came to captain a B-17—and the German—2nd 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 1,000 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 8th Air Force would later classify as “top secret.” It was an act that Franz could never mention or else face 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. 

Random Thoughts
  •  Could not stop listening to this I was hooked in from the very first paragraph
  • Won't lie, I really don't do a lot of non-fiction, but one of my customers insisted that I had to read this and I promised I would (Probably would have been a while to read, but saw it on the new arrivals for my library so I downloaded it right away for listening to)
  • Half way through listening I was already telling everyone that they had to read it - sold 3 copies at work as well  and made it a  Staff Pick and hadn't even finished listening to it (co-workers joking with me that they never thought they would see a non-fic Staff Pick from me)
  • Book is really staying with me and wanting to read more non fiction about this period of history
  • Think its an important read.
  • I spent a great deal of my childhood with my German next door neighbor ( I still dream about her Goulash and Spaetzle) , so I truly understood that not all Germans were Nazi's, but even with that, I really didn't understand what the German people went through
  • Reads like fiction (this is very impressive as much of the non-fiction I have been exposed to has been very dry) Hey Makos - think maybe you should teach some history 
  • Had me crying on many occasions for men, who in all honesty, may have tried to shoot down my grandfather and uncles
  • Really made me think and ponder about war and my preconceived notions and prejudices
  • Listened to it for free - but will be picking up a copy to keep and to pass on to others to read
  • Cannot wait to hear what indigogreenroom thinks about it - we must talk about this Cammy, I want to hear your thoughts
  • I would love to have a print of the painting mentioned in the book for my house (researched a little and it was like $3000 - hey if you got some extra cash, you could buy it for me since I cannot afford - love my bookstore job, but it pays crap LOL!)
  • What happened to the Jews during WWII is so overwhelming and must be focused on that we often forget (and lets face it hard not to focus on) what the German people faced as well.   Such a hard thing to discuss. I can see how many people might have a hard time reading considering their own, and their families, experiences
  • Author takes a small (but so beautiful moment) and turns it into a thought provoking  fascinating history lesson and glimpse into two very different, yet so similar, brave men who fought for what they believed in, yet kept themselves human in a inhumane world
  • Honest to god, I was never bored. You have to understand how miraculous this is. I'm the type of girl who reads to escape and have fun at this point of my life ( I got kids and work PT - I need to relax somehow) and rarely read non-fiction. Hope the customer comes back in who sold me on this book
  • I was on the edge of my seat during many of the battle scenes
  • The reunion scenes made me ball like a little baby - thank goodness I was walking the dog during this part.  Had to pick up my son at Kindergarten 20 minutes after I finished listening and my eyes were still red
  • Thoroughly researched
  • Appreciated how Makos talked about (introduction) about never wanting to hear about the "enemies" experiences, but how after talking with Stiegler, changed his mind and it changed his life
  • Why are you still reading this all over the place review, go grab yourself a copy and than give me a shout so we can talk about it
  • Learned so much about how the Nazi's came to power.  Most of my history teachers were dull as shit so I cannot remember if they talked about this or not. Had no idea that so many of the German people opposed Hitler and especially how much the Airforce tried to fight against Hitler and the party
  • To put it simply as the author does in one point "Can good men be found on both sides of a bad war?"
  • This is how we should teach history people 
  • Only problem about listening to audio books that it is a total pain in the ass to do quotes
 Memorable Quotes/Passages

"Every single time you go up, you'll be outnumbered. Those odds may make a man want to fight dirty to survive. But let what I'm about to say to you act as a warning. Honor is everything here. What will you do, Stigler, for instance, if you find your enemy floating in a parachute?"

"I guess I've never thought that far ahead yet," Franz said.

"If I ever see or hear of you shooting at a man in a parachute," Rödel said, "I will shoot you down myself. You follow the rules of war for you, not for your enemy. You fight by the rules to keep your humanity."

"In 1940, I lost my only brother as a night fighter. On the 20th of December, 4 days before Christmas, I had the chance to save a B-17 from her destruction, a plane so badly damaged it was a wonder that she was still flying.
The pilot, Charlie Brown, is for me, as precious as my brother was."

5 Dewey's

I borrowed the audio book from the Calgary Public Library - but I am buying a copy 

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