interviewed Stigler and Brown
over a four-year period from
2004 until their deaths in 2008.
He estimates that more than 100
people helped him put together
the story and he is grateful to
Bryan for handling the research
and data so he could focus on
telling the story.
He credits his Lycoming
marketing degree and
communications minor for
helping make Valor Studios
– one of the top producers of
military art,
Valor
magazine
and now books – a success so
he could have the opportunity
to immerse himself in “this
mammoth undertaking.”
Bryan, who has a communications
degree with a minor in art, designed the
book cover, which Makos said has been
called “one of the best military book
covers.”
“Lycoming imparted upon us a liberal
arts sense of accomplishment,” Makos
said. “We knew we could design
the book and market it … our
communications and marketing
degrees kicked in, along with
the history classes I took.
This was the culmination
of our diverse studies.”
Makos held his
first book signing
in December at
Otto Bookstore
in Williamsport and was excited to
reconnect with his Lycoming family.
“Dean [John] Piper, Dr. [James]
Douthat and Emily, Jim Spencer, Dr.
[Phil] Sprunger – they all were at my
book signing,” Makos said. “I wanted to
do my first book signing there because
Williamsport is still home, and Lycoming
College is still home. A first book signing
is a big party, so it was like a family
reunion.”
While at Lycoming, Makos spent
weekends interviewing bomber pilots
who all spoke about this incredible story
of chivalry and heroism. “I followed the
treasure map to this story while I was at
Lyco,” he said.
Makos has received interest from an
Oscar-winning screenwriter who wants to
collaborate and the film rights are in the
process of “being transacted.”
“This is the Holy Grail of World War
II stories,” Makos said. “So few books
show both sides of the battle in such
close detail.”
Makos said that one of the most
important messages of the book is that
enemies can become brothers to build
a better world together – and Brown
and Stigler were proof. “They traveled
the world together, telling their story
together.” He said that the odds of this
story coming together were one in a
billion based on the number of casualties
of the war. Out of 40,000 German fighter
pilots who fought in WWII, only 2,000
survived. The odds were even less that
Brown and Stigler were
both still alive to tell
their tale 40 years later.
“The story has a
happy ending that
everyone loves,” he
said.
For more
information, visit
Makos interviewed World
War II German pilot Franz
Stigler in 2004 for his new
best-selling book, “A
Higher Call.”
Makos received a warm
welcome from the campus
community during his recent
book signing, which included
a visit from Dr. Phil Sprun-
ger, provost and dean of the
College, who was Makos’
academic adviser.
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