The book describes the dramatic meeting between Charlie Brown, an American B-17 pilot and Franz Stigler, a German fighter pilot, over
wartime Germany on December 20th, 1943. Simply put, Brown’s B-17 bomber was crippled and trying to escape Germany. Stigler’s fighter
was poised for the kill. But when Stigler saw the eyes of his defenseless enemies, he chose not to fire. In his mind, shooting down the bomber would have been akin to shooting a man in a parachute. Despite the risk of a traitor’s firing squad, Stigler escorted the American bomber out of Germany. Then he saluted Brown and flew away.
Both Brown and Stigler survived the war and never forget their fateful encounter. Forty years later, as old men, they searched the world for one another. Against all odds, Charlie found Franz living in Canada and they reunited, in 1990 in Seattle. Three months later, in Massachusetts, Brown introduced Stigler to the rest of his crew and their families, all of whom owed their lives to the man they once called “the enemy.”