Customer Reviews for

A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

54 out of 54 people found this review helpful.

Eye-opening

I've lived in Germany for over a decade - both as an active duty US Air Force troop, an avionics tech on the F-15, and as the son of a career AF medic & Irish mother. I've walked German fields w/ a metal detector and unearthed pieces of history (greyhound emblems of th...
I've lived in Germany for over a decade - both as an active duty US Air Force troop, an avionics tech on the F-15, and as the son of a career AF medic & Irish mother. I've walked German fields w/ a metal detector and unearthed pieces of history (greyhound emblems of the 116th Pzrs, dogtags, panzerfausts, etc). I've trimmed the overgrown grass of the grey, bleak headstones of fallen German soldiers, mere boys whose ages often were only 14 when they fell. I've walked through the crisp short grass of the American cemetary, less than a mile away from there, where Patton's perfect white cross stands at the front of orderly, neat rows of similar markers. I've read book after book after book about WW II. I've digested every tale, every analysis, from Stalingrad to the Ruhr Pocket...von Manstein to Montgomery.
I was pretty sure I was well versed in WW II. I purchased this book, not only for the uniqueness of its composition (missives which offer the German soldier's point of view are rare - one which offers both American and German views, especially of the same battle, are rarer still...I feel like I've discovered a gem, if I find either) but also because it promised a genuine story of men at war who amid the hatred, propaganda and death, managed to retain their humanity and compassion. And these types of tales are so often left undocumented...this, I wanted to read.
Within the first 100 pages I'd already been taught historical statistical facts I'd previously been unaware of, despite my previous voracity for consuming history books and certainty that I'd not be reading this to learn any militarily relevant information. I was intrigued. I turned the pages hungrily, the story giving me a mental version of tunnel-vision, I became immersed. Everything around me disappeared - sound muted, I was enraptured as the tale played out in my mind...far more capturing than any film. I swelled with pride, I cringed in shame, I smiled, I wiped the tear distorting my vision from my eye...so that I could keep reading more.
And then came the inevitable time when I flicked my finger from right to left over the screen, and I'd turned the last page. And I slumped in my chair and exhaled. I felt as though I'd lost a cherished friend when I realised there was no more to read. A friend that had quietly and subtly taught me at the same time that he entertained me. And then he was no more.
A truly good book. An excellent read for both the historian as well as the humanitarian. A great reminder that, even though governments may go inexplicably astray, very often there are those people whose moral compass never wavers. Their stories are sadly under-represented in the annals of human misadventures - I hope this paves the road for the exodus of similar stories to come forth from the shadows.

posted by Anonymous on January 5, 2013

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

What I find very troubling about the book is that the two author

What I find very troubling about the book is that the two authors used the one encounter between the German Fritz Stigler and the American Charles Brown as simply a "hook" to allow Stigler to tell his obvious self-serving version of his wartime service in the ...
What I find very troubling about the book is that the two authors used the one encounter between the German Fritz Stigler and the American Charles Brown as simply a "hook" to allow Stigler to tell his obvious self-serving version of his wartime service in the German Luftwaffe, all of two-thirds of the book. If you accept Stigler, as the authors did, the morality of Luftwaffe fighter pilots was much higher than American pilots. This completely ignors the Luftwaffe as it served the goals of Adolf Hitler in World War II such as: Lugtwaffe pilots volunteered to serve the fascist Francisco Franco in Spain's 1936-1939 civil war and civilians did not escape their bullets and bombs. Luftwaffe pilots did strafe civilians when Nazis forces invaded Poland in 1939. And Luftwaffe pilots did strafe civilians fleeing German forces invading France in 1940. Luftwaffe pilots did kill prachuting enemy airmen when Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. And German fighter pilots were vectored to destroy crippled British and American bombers struggling to return to base. How an "historian" could ignor this while presenting the Stigler version is beyond me. As the History blog noted, the book is as much a "novel" as a True story."

posted by PelotaRH on April 25, 2013

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  • Posted April 25, 2013

    What I find very troubling about the book is that the two author

    What I find very troubling about the book is that the two authors used the one encounter between the German Fritz Stigler and the American Charles Brown as simply a "hook" to allow Stigler to tell his obvious self-serving version of his wartime service in the German Luftwaffe, all of two-thirds of the book. If you accept Stigler, as the authors did, the morality of Luftwaffe fighter pilots was much higher than American pilots. This completely ignors the Luftwaffe as it served the goals of Adolf Hitler in World War II such as: Lugtwaffe pilots volunteered to serve the fascist Francisco Franco in Spain's 1936-1939 civil war and civilians did not escape their bullets and bombs. Luftwaffe pilots did strafe civilians when Nazis forces invaded Poland in 1939. And Luftwaffe pilots did strafe civilians fleeing German forces invading France in 1940. Luftwaffe pilots did kill prachuting enemy airmen when Germany invaded the Soviet Union in 1941. And German fighter pilots were vectored to destroy crippled British and American bombers struggling to return to base. How an "historian" could ignor this while presenting the Stigler version is beyond me. As the History blog noted, the book is as much a "novel" as a True story."

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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