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This is the story Franz Stigler, a German ace fighter pilot, who, in the skies over Europe on December 20, 1943, chose NOT to shoot down yet another B-17 bomber. He not only spared the bomber, but he also escorted it past the German flak line on the coast. In making that choice, Stigler saved 9 American lives, but he put his own life in danger. If anyone in the German military had seen him do that, he would have been shot, no questions asked.
The damaged bomber barely made it back to England, and all the crew survived except for the tail gunner, who was already dead when they had their encounter with Stigler. American Charles Brown, the bomber pilot, always wondered why Stigler did not take them out.
Stigler didn't know why himself. He said, at first he didn't know what came over him. Later, he'd say it was his sense of honor, chivalry, if you will. The courageous bomber crew was still flying despite incredible damage to the plane, and they had no way to defend themselves. Years later, in the 1990s, Stigler and Brown met in person. They became friends, and Brown made it possible for Stigler to meet the other crew members whose lives he'd saved.
The book may include more detail than you want to know about the early lives of Stigler and Brown. But, looking at the WWII story from the German's point of view helps the reader understand how an honorable person (not a member of the Nazi party) could get caught working for the evil regime that had taken over his country.
It's a great read for aviation and WWII buffs, but I think anyone wanting to know more about the WWII era would enjoy it, too.
Take a look at this video about on YouTube: http://youtu.be/RkVc5o1UXAA.
Image source: http://www.us.penguingroup.com/nf/Book/CoverImagePopup/0,,9780425252864,00.html
Note: This book was not provided to me by the authors or the publishers