Stigler knew that if the story ever made into the German military command, he would be summarily executed for dereliction of duty. Stigler never told a soul until many years later when he had successfully immigrated to Canada. Brown and his crew made it back to England and reported the truth of what happened and were nominated for medals by their commanding officer. But the US and Allied command immediately put a gag order on the episode and declared it Top Secret. The crew got no medals. Many years later, when he was an aircraft manufacturing executive in Florida, Brown advertised in German language WWII newspapers to try to find the pilot who had saved his crew. He left out several key details of the incident in his letters to the papers and eventually Stigler heard of the effort by Brown, learned who Brown was, and contacted him. Both men had been deeply affected by the incident and eventually became life long friends, often referring to each other as brothers. They made speaking engagements together, talked on the phone on nearly a daily basis, and shared a deep, almost spiritual relationship.
Despite any deficiencies the book has due to the ghost writer, it does a wonderful job of describing the incident and the effect it had on Stigler and Brown. It focuses almost entirely on the war career of Stigler with little emphasis on the war career of Brown. It also says as little as possible about the relationship between the two after their reunion. In these respects, the book is deeply deficient. But the book also does a good job of telling the story of how many Germans were deeply opposed to Hitler and the Nazis while remaining deeply committed to their country. There were many people, even in the German military, who knew how horrible Hitler and the Nazis were, how terrible their efforts to annihilate the Jews and other minorities were, and how devastating the Nazi actions were to the German character, reputation, and morale. Every one of those people placed their very lives in danger by holding such views. There was a real resistance in Germany during WWII and the heroes and heroines of that resistance deserve to have their stories told.
After WWII ended, Franz Stigler found himself ostracized in Germany because the German people believed that the fighter pilots had failed Germany by not protecting them from the Allied bombing which led to the end of the war. As a former fighter pilot, Stigler found it nearly impossible to get any kind of job even down to the most menial of labor. He chose to emigrate to Canada and it turned out to be the best thing he could have done. He prospered in Canada and even owned a fully restored Messerschmitt fighter plane which he used to act as the "bad guy" at air shows all over North America traveling and flying with the very men he had fought against in the war. The story of Stigler and Brown is a story that deserves to be told, deserves to be read, and deserves to be repeated by others who are forced into enmity by unjust governments. Buy the book! Read it! Come to understand that not all Germans were evil during WWII.