A Higher Call
© 2012 Adam Makos and Larry Alexander
“You follow the rules of war for you — not your enemy. You fight by rules to keep your humanity.”
The Eighth Air Force operating over Germany in the early 1940s did not fly the friendly skies. They operated in skies black with clouds of flak, and buzzing with angry German fighters, intent on bringing down the bombers that were destroying Germany’s ability to make war and its cities in the process. But at least on one occasion, the fury of war gave way to mercy – for on (date), the beyond-crippled bomber Ye Olde Pub was followed by a German fighter who not only spared it, but escorted it wingtip to wingtip over his own nation’s most formidable anti-aircraft installations and safely to the sea. Years later, as aging veterans, each man pondered in his soul a question. Charlie Brown wondered why he had been spared, while Franz Stigler wondered if his attempt at chivalry had worth the risk of the Gestapo’s wrath. The work is based in part on pilot interviews before their deaths in 2008, and follows their journeys as airmen, from the time they were boys playing with models to their attempts in later years to find the man with whom they’d shared a moment of grace. A Higher Call is an encouraging story of humanity rising above war, one which offers readers a rare memoir of a German fighter pilot’s experiences in Africa before the action moves to Europe.