Synopses & Reviews
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 bomberandrsquo;s tailandmdash;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.and#160;This is the true story of the two pilots whose lives collided in the skies that dayandmdash;the Americanandmdash;2nd Lieutenant Charlie Brown, a former farm boy from West Virginia who came to captain a B-17andmdash;and the Germanandmdash;2nd Lieutenant Franz Stigler, a former airline pilot from Bavaria who sought to avoid fighting in World War II.and#160;A Higher Call follows both Charlie and Franzandrsquo;s harrowing missions. Charlie would face takeoffs in English fog over the flaming wreckage of his buddiesandrsquo; 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.and#160;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 andldquo;top secret.andrdquo; 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.and#160;
"A top-notch narrative of the unlikely encounter between one of Germanyand#8217;s leading fighter aces, Franz Stigler, and the rookie crew of an American bomber in the frigid skies of Germany in December 1943...Based on thousands of hours of interviews and an evident knowledge of his subject, Makos details the frantic life of the German fighter pilots living on the edge, and the American bomber crews, far from home, fighting to survive...A riveting story of humanity and mercy set against the ghastly backdrop of war."and#8212;Publishers Weekly
and#8220;This book grips you like a movie.and#160;It's part Topand#160;Gun, part Valkyrie, and more!and#8221;and#8212;Marcus Brotherton, author of the New Yorkand#160;Times bestseller, We Who Are Alive and Remain
and#8220;It is often said that and#8216;war is helland#8217;and#8212;and it isand#8212;however, this story reveals how the human spirit can shine in the darkest hours. A Higher Call is an eye-opener.and#8221;and#8212;Colonel Charles McGee, Tuskegee Airman, WWII and#160; and#8220;and#8216;Can good men be found on both sides of a bad war?and#8217; The author asks the question and delivers the answer. A powerful,and#160;haunting read.and#8221;and#8212;Chuck Tatum, author of Red Blood, Black Sand and#160; and#8220;A Higher Call exemplifies beautifully the brotherhood of warriors, and will forever change how you look at World War II.and#8221;and#8212;Eric Blehm, author of the New York Times bestseller, Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team SIX Operator Adam Brown and#160; and#8220;From the horrors of the most savage war in history emerges this beautiful story of a brotherhood between enemies. Simply told, splendid, and well worth the read.and#8221;and#8212;Joe Galloway, coauthor of the #1 New York Times bestseller, We Were Soldiers, Onceand#8230;and Young
and#8220;From the horrors of the most savage war in history emerges this beautiful story of a brotherhood between enemies. Simply told, splendid and well worth the read.and#8221;and#8212;Joe Galloway, coauthor of the #1 New York Times
bestseller We Were Soldiers Once...and Young
and#8220;This book grips you like a movie. Itand#8217;s part Top Gun, part Valkyrie, and more!and#8221;and#8212;Marcus Brotherton, author of the New York Times bestseller We Who Are Alive and Remain
and#8220;It is often said that and#8216;war is helland#8217;and#8212;and it isand#8212;however, this story reveals how the human spirit can shine in the darkest hours. A Higher Call is an eye-opener.and#8221;and#8212;Colonel Charles McGee, Tuskegee Airman, WWII
and#8220;Can good men be found on both sides of a bad war?and#8217; The author asks the question and delivers the answer. A powerful, haunting read.and#8221;and#8212;Chuck Tatum, author of Red Blood, Black Sand
"An outstanding and fascinating book. By tracking down the last surviving veterans of the First World War and interviewing them with sympathy and skill, Richard Rubin has produced a first-rate work of reporting. Almost a hundred years after the event, he makes that immensely consequential and partly forgotten war as alive as twenty minutes ago." and#8212; Ian Frazier, New Yorker
contributor and author of Travels in Siberia
"Richard Rubin has written the most riveting and astonishing book about World War I that I have read in a decade. No matter what you think about that terrible conflict, this book will lift up your heart, not only about the war but about being an American. It's unique!" and#8212; Thomas Fleming, author of The Illusion of Victory: America in World War I
"From its boffo, page-length first sentence situating the First World War in American memory (and#8216;before the Band-Aid and nylon and the ballpoint pen and sliced breadand#8217;) to its moving concluding portrait of Frank Buckles (1901-2011),and#8217;the last of the lastand#8217; of the doughboys, this book makes irresistible reading. A fusion of reportage, memoir, and history, The Last of the Doughboys is a work of learning, wit, and compassion." and#8212; Jack Beatty, author of The Lost History of 1914
"Richard Rubin has performed an extraordinary feat of World War I sleuthing. He has managed to track down numerous centenarians and#8212; centenarians! and#8212; who fought in the trenches and has skillfully resurrected their memories in a way that brings that now sepia-toned conflict into focus as sharp as a bayonet. Rubin refers to these doughboys as 'the forgotten generation.' Yet he brings them back unforgettably. And his book is addictively readable." and#8212; Joseph E. Persico, author of Roosevelt's Centurions: FDR and the Commanders He Led to Victory in World War II
"Richard Rubin has done something that will never be possible for anyone to do again. His interviews with the last American World War I veterans and#8212; who have all since died and#8212; bring to vivid life a cataclysm that changed our world forever but that remains curiously forgotten here. And his research and battlefield visits help us picture the background to the survivors' stories." and#8212; Adam Hochschild, author of To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914-1918
"My namesake was a great-uncle who faked his age and enlisted in the Army as a teenager and#8212; shipping off to France and fighting in World War I, where he was wounded and gassed. I cherish his Purple Heart. And I remember long conversations with him as he thought back on his experiences, by turns horrific and comic. Now, in an extraordinary work that combines oral history and personal reporting, Richard Rubin relates his encounters with the last survivors of that war, centenarians all and#8212;the and#8216;forgotten generation,and#8217; as he calls them. The Last of the Doughboys is a book that puts Rubinand#8217;s trademark style on display: it is deeply researched, shrewdly observed, and warmly humane." and#8212; Cullen Murphy, editor-at-large, Vanity Fair
"Richard Rubin's The Last of the Doughboys is more than just a collection of memories. It is a moving tribute and#8212; a final salute and#8212; to a generation of men who gave their all to win the war that would, they hoped, end all wars. This intimately written book will stand at the forefront of World War I literature for many years to come." and#8212; Edward G. Lengel, author of To Conquer Hell: The Meuse-Argonne, 1918
"Richard Rubin's vivid and lively interviews with the last surviving veterans of World War I have preserved the voices and memories of the men who fought the nation's first modern war. It is an important contribution to history, an act of historical justice to soldiers whose achievements and sufferings are seldom remembered, and a fascinating view of history through the eyes of those that made it." and#8212; Richard Slotkin, author of Lost Battalions: The Great War and the Crisis of American Nationality
"Richard Rubin's brilliant The Last of the Doughboys is a living, breathing monument to an almost criminally unsung generation of American heroes and#8212; and a vivid and richly detailed portrayal of their era and their war. Beautifully and knowledgably written, the book ensures that the doughboys' achievements on the battlefields of World War I, as well as at home, will never again be forgotten." and#8212; James Carl Nelson, author of The Remains of Company D: A Story of the Great War and Five Lieutenants
"The Last of the Doughboys is a fascinating account of the American experience of World War I and the astonishing power of memory: oral memory, literary memory, and the collective memory of monuments and cemeteries. Actually, it is not the Korean War but World War I that is truly the forgotten war in American culture, but Richard Rubin brings it to life, etched with great narrative richness." and#8212; Gerald Early, Merle Kling Professor of Modern Letters, Washington University in St. Louis
"A wonderfully engaging study executed with a lot of heart." and#8212; Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"Affecting . . . Give[s] fresh texture to whatand#8217;s already known. Rubin is skillful in his interviewing, remorseless in his efforts to chase down his subjects, thoughtful of their age. . . He has brought them back to life. His book is a fitting epitaph to brave men too often overlooked." and#8212; Publishers Weekly
"Fascinating and deeply moving . . . An important and masterful tribute to those who participated in a conflict that continues to shape the world today." and#8212; Booklist
"A brilliant and unexpected delight . . . Clever, engrossing, moving, and richly detailed . . . Rubin is a sensitive and terrific interviewer, a good listener, with a faultless eye and ear for detailand#8230; not only a good writer and born raconteur, with a gift for telling the reader things that are unexpected and fascinatingand#8212;American songs in World War I, women who joined the United States Navy in World War I, the sad fate of African-American soldiersand#8212;but one with a dogged determination . . . What Richard Rubin has done is remarkable--his book is at once a cultural history of a vanished America, simpler, more rural, less driven by technology and science, poorer, but infinitely more and#8220;neighborly,and#8221; in the best sense of the word, a military history of the best kind, and a chance to meet a truly fascinating group of people, I liked every one of them, and counted myself lucky that Richard Rubin has achieved the most difficult of feats, to find a new and different way of writing about World War I (which I would have thought almost impossible) and to have brought to vivid life a group of truly forgotten people, who once did something memorable, then slipped through the cracks into a long anonymity from which they might never have emerged.I cannot remember a book about that huge and terrible war that I have enjoyed reading more in many years." and#8212;Michael Korda, The Daily Beast
"A charming, passionate and peronal paean . . . Awash in interestingand#8212;and poignantand#8212;stories." and#8212; Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"Engaging . . . memorable . . . The book succeeds by creating degrees of connection, even as it reshapes our consciousness." and#8212; The Boston Globe
Praise for Big Week “The author provides a day-by-day account of what took place as German industrial facilities were targeted for attack. Yenne skillfully situates the action, pulling together various threads.…Well-written and fast-paced, this will be compelling to specialists and general readers alike.”—Kirkus Reviews Praise for Aces High “This is the greatest flying story of all time.…If there was ever an aviation tale that had all the elements of an old school Hollywood blockbuster, Bill Yennes Aces High is it. Wake up, Spielberg. This is the screenplay youve been looking for.”—Dan Roam, Author of The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas
An inspiring walk through World War II history from the national bestselling author of Biggest Brother.
On the eve of the 65th anniversary of the end of the war in Europe, Larry Alexander returns to the very battlefields that made Easy Company a legend. Accompanied by Easy veteran Sgt. Forrest Guth on his final tour, Alexander crosses an ocean and a continent to follow the path to victory taken by the famed Band of Brothers, exploring the living history of the places where they went into action, and revealing what makes their story so meaningful for us to this day.
Part travelogue, part historical perspective, In the Footsteps of the Band of Brothers is an unforgettable memorial to those who shined in our country's finest hour.
Now in paperback the "amazing"( James Bradley, New York Times bestselling author of Flags of Our Fathers) never-before-told story of the greatest escape of the Second World War.
In 1944 the OSS set out to recover more than 500 downed airmen trapped behind enemy lines in Yugoslavia. Classified for over half a century for political reasons, the full account of this unforgettable story of loyalty, self-sacrifice, and bravery is now being told for the first time.
THE NEW YORK TIMES AND INTERNATIONAL BESTSELLER
December, 1943: A badly damaged American bomber struggles to fly over wartime Germany. At the controls is twenty-one-year-old Second Lieutenant Charlie Brown. Half his crew lay wounded or dead on this, their first mission. Suddenly, a Messerschmitt fighter pulls up on the bomberand#8217;s tail. The pilot is German ace Franz Stiglerand#151;and he can destroy the young American crew with the squeeze of a trigger...and#160;
What happened next would defy imagination and later be called and#147;the most incredible encounter between enemies in World War II.and#8221;
The U.S. 8th Air Force would later classify what happened between them as and#147;top secret.and#8221; It was an act that Franz could never mention for fear of 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 the world for each other, a last mission that could change their lives forever.
For the past decade, Richard Rubin sought every last living American veteran of World War Iand#8212;and uncovered a forgotten great generation, and their war.
and#8220;Richard Rubin has done something that will never be possible for anyone to do again. His interviews with the last American World War I veteransand#8212;who have all since diedand#8212;bring to vivid life a cataclysm that changed our world forever but that remains curiously forgotten here.and#8221;and#8212;Adam Hochschild, author of To End All Wars: A Story of Loyalty and Rebellion, 1914and#8211;1918
In 2003, 85 years after the end of World War I, Richard Rubin set out to see if he could still find and talk to someone who had actually served in the American Expeditionary Forces during that colossal conflict. Ultimately, he found dozens, aged 101 to 113, from Cape Cod to Carson City, who shared with him at the last possible moment their stories of Americaand#8217;s Great War. Nineteenth-century men and women living in the twenty-first century, they were self-reliant, humble, and stoic, never complaining, but still marveling at the immensity of the war they helped win, and the complexity of the world they helped create. Though America has largely forgotten their war, you will never forget them, or their stories. A decade in the making, The Last of the Doughboys is the most sweeping look at Americaand#8217;s First World War in a generation, a glorious reminder of the tremendously important role America played in the war to end all wars, as well as a moving meditation on character, grace, aging, and memory.
and#8220;An outstanding and fascinating book. By tracking down the last surviving veterans of the First World War and interviewing them with sympathy and skill, Richard Rubin has produced a first-rate work of reporting.and#8221;and#8212;Ian Frazier, author of Travels in Siberia
and#8220;I cannot remember a book about that huge and terrible war that I have enjoyed reading more in many years."and#8212;Michael Korda, The Daily Beast
A tribute to World War II heroism from the national bestselling author of Biggest Brother.
The paratroopers of Easy Company, 101st Airborne Division, have come to symbolize the incredible bravery and heroism shown by the greatest generation in World War II. on the eve of the 65th anniversary of the Allies' victory in Europe, author Larry Alexander crosses an ocean and a continent to discover just what made the Band of Brothers special. Accompanied by his friend Forrest Guth, an easy Company veteran on his final tour in Europe, Alexander explores the living history of the places where American soldiers went into action, and reveals what makes this story so meaningful for us today. Part travelogue, part historical perspective, In the Footsteps of the Band of Brothers is an unforgettable memorial to the men who fell in action, and a tribute to the veterans who are still with us.
From Bill Yenne, author of the military histories Big Week and Aces High, comes the stirring true story of the Eighth Air Force in World War II.
Less than a month after the attack on Pearl Harbor, the U.S. Army formed its first air force designated to operate overseas, the Eighth. Within four months, they had set up base in England. Three months later, they were bombing German targets in occupied Europe.
The Eighth was the first bomber command on either side to commit to strategic daylight bombing. It was a major change in tacticsand the men of the Eighth paid the price in both lives and blood. But it was that very sacrifice that led the Allies to victory.
Hit the Target introduces readers to those who made the Eighth Air Force the formidable juggernaut it soon became. Men of all ranks, from General Tooey Spaatz, the hard-driving founding commander, to Colonel Jimmy Doolittle, the hero who led the first air raid on Japan, to Maynard Snuffy” Smith, the irascible first airman in Europe to be awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor, and Robert Rosie” Rosenthal, who survived his time with the Bloody Hundredth,” which lost airmen at a horrifying rate, and who went on to serve as a prosecutor at the Nuremberg Trials.
The story of the Mighty Eighth is told through these men, whose careers paralleled the early history of aviation and who helped to revolutionize airborne warfare and win World War II.
About the Author
is a journalist, historian, and author of the book Voices of the Pacific
. In his fifteen years of work in the military field, Makos has interviewed countless veterans from WWII, 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. The high point of his work occurred in 2008, when Makos traveled to Iraq to accompany the 101st Airborne and Army Special Forces on their hunt for Al Qaeda terrorists.
Larry Alexander is the author of the New York Times bestselling biography Biggest Brother: The Life of Major Dick Winters, the Man Who Led the Band of Brothers. He is also the author of Shadows in the Jungle: The Alamo Scouts Behind Japanese Lines in World War II and In the Footsteps of the Band of Brothers: A Return to Easy Companyand#8217;s Battlefields with Sgt. Forrest Guth. Alexander has been a journalist and columnist for the Intelligencer Journal in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, for nearly twenty years and has won numerous state-level awards for excellence in journalism.
Table of Contents
Prologue: No Manand#8217;s Landand#8195;ix
1.and#160;and#160; Wolves on the Battlefieldand#8195;1
2.and#160;and#160; Over the Topand#8195;15
3.and#160;and#160; The American Sectorand#8195;35
4.and#160;and#160; Cheer and Laughter and Joyous Shoutand#8195;72
5.and#160;and#160; The People Behind the Battleand#8195;94
6.and#160;and#160; The Forgotten Generationand#8195;111
7.and#160;and#160; Give a Little Credit to the Navyand#8195;123
8.and#160;and#160; A Vast Enterprise in Salesmanshipand#8195;142
9.and#160;and#160; Hell, We Just Got Hereand#8195;165
10.and#160;and#160; We Didnand#8217;t See a Thingand#8195;188
11.and#160;and#160; Loyal, True, Straight and Squareand#8195;216
12.and#160;and#160; Old Dixieland in Franceand#8195;243
14.and#160;and#160; A Wicked Gun, That Machine Gunand#8195;312
15.and#160;and#160; Wasnand#8217;t a Lot of Helpand#8195;346
16.and#160;and#160; The Last Night of the Warand#8195;389
17.and#160;and#160; The Last of the Lastand#8195;424
18.and#160;and#160; We Are All Missing You Very Muchand#8195;465