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Lindbergh

by A. Scott Berg

ISBN 0399144498 / 9780399144493 / 0-399-14449-8
Publisher Putnam Adult
Language English
Edition Hardcover
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Book summary

Charles Lindbergh's solo flight from New York to Paris captured the imagination of a postwar generation hungry for heroes, and cemented an exalted spot for the 25-year-old pilot from Minnesota in the collective American imagination. A. Scott Berg's thorough new biography of the aviator suggests that despite the public scrutiny that accompanied his every move until his death in 1974, Lindbergh remained an intensely private man. The son of ill-matched parents who separated when he was 6, he was painfully shy and emotionally guarded. "Aviation created a brotherhood of casual acquaintances ... in which he felt comfortable," writes Berg with characteristic perceptiveness.

Lindbergh's wife, the writer Anne Morrow Lindbergh, gave Berg unrestricted access to her husband's and her own voluminous personal papers--and he made good use of them to assess both the couple's relationship and their activities. Probably the most startling revelation is a brief but candid discussion of Anne's affair in the late 1950s with a New Jersey doctor, which helped assuage her need to vent emotions in a way her buttoned-up husband found insupportable. (During the horrendous days in 1932 when their 20-month-old son was kidnapped and killed, Berg notes, she never once saw Charles cry.) The biography is solid on all aspects of Lindbergh's career, including his notorious urging that America stay out of World War II; Berg rebuts charges that Lindbergh was a Nazi or a traitor, but rightly criticizes the anti-Semitism latent in some of his speeches. With this book, Berg succeeds in surveying Lindbergh's fascinating life and assessing its historic impact. [via]