hen Adam Makos ’03 started a military magazine with his siblings
– Bryan ’06, and Erica ’07 – he wanted to preserve the stories of the
Greatest Generation: World War II veterans.
One story Makos featured in
Valor
magazine was rumored to be a
tall tale: the story of a German bomber who spared the life of an
American fighter pilot.
After eight years of research, though, Makos discovered the story behind
the legend and wrote
A Higher Call: An Incredible True Story of Combat and
Chivalry in the War-Torn Skies of World War II
. The book was released on
Dec. 20, 2012, the anniversary date of the event that took place in 1943,
when American pilot Charlie Brown and German Franz Stigler met in the
skies over Germany.
A Higher Call
is the first of a three-book deal he secured with Penguin
Publishing and the book has been on the
USA Today, Barnes and Noble
and
New York Times
best-selling lists. His second book,
Voices of the Pacific
,
a compilation of stories written by U.S. Marines who fought the Japanese on
the ground during World War II, is due in April and his third book, about the
Korean War, is due in 2014.
A few months after
graduating from Lycoming,
Makos sought to interview
Brown for a story for the
magazine he runs with his
parents and siblings. He initially
did not want to interview the
German, but Brown would not
tell Makos his side of the story
until Makos spoke with Stigler.
“ ‘I’m just a character in this
story,’ ” Makos recalled Brown
telling him. “ ‘The real hero is
Franz.’ ” Makos said that Brown
was cognizant that he was
defenseless that day in the sky
and he owed his every breath
to Stigler. “He was just on the
wrong side of WWII,” Makos
said about Stigler. “He would
have been a great hero if he had been
on another side.”
To research
A Higher
Call
, Makos
Adam Makos ’03 was kept busy
during a recent book signing
at Otto Bookstore in
Williamsport.
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