I have been slowly getting through a great biography of Charles Lindbergh. Think you know pretty much all there is to know about Charles Lindbergh? Pretty much what most of us know is what the newspapers and magazines told us. Pioneer across the Atlantic, of course. Because of his fame, his family suffered terribly with the murder of his baby son.
Recluse who moved to Europe after his son’s murder. Admirer of the German buildup of aerospace technology. Tainted (wrongly) as a Nazi sympathizer.
This book is voluminous. As a general rule, I tend to shy away from huge books. That, I know to the reader, is a rather foolish thing to say on the surface, but so many times I have found these books to be simply full of facts for fact’s sake. I guess they are politely called “scholarly”.
As an example, I saw a wonderful documentary on the Monuments Men – about 200 US Army servicemen – mainly Privates and Sergeants, who were experts in art – some had Phds – and through diligent searches – many times along the front lines, saved Europe’s cultural history from the Nazis.
So I got a book about it written by an Oxford scholar, if memory serves me correct. She went into such detail as to inform the reader that a Parisian art dealer fleeing Paris was killed when he fell into the cargo hold of the ship crossing the channel.
That book was a real slog.
Still working my way up to reading a classic, William L. Shirer’s Rise And Fall Of The Third Reich. I think that will be a good one.
Author A. Scott Berg had, for the first time, the private papers of Charles and Anne Lindbergh. His book is voluminous, but you will see how all of these seemingly disparate facts weave together to form the man we knew as Charles A. Lindbergh.
You see things from Lindbergh’s perspective, and not the media who wrote his popular history. The media wasn’t always on friendly terms with Lindbergh. Resentful of his later reclusiveness, they would put a negative spin on a lot of his activities.
The book is a bit on the large side, but as you read it you see how it all pertains to the man Charles Lindbergh.
From his childhood, you see why he was considered to be aloof.
Most importantly you see his true contributions to aviation, from the mapping of routes for the fledgling air mail system to mapping of stopping of points for the new Pan Am Airways. He was fascinated with science and was in touch with rocket pioneer Robert Goddard.
And, you will probably be surprised to learn he was a pioneer, with Dr Alexis Carrel, in the development of the world’s first artificial heart.
It’s well worth the read.