"National Book Award winner A. Scott Berg is the first and only writer to have been given unrestricted access to the massive Lindbergh archives - more than two thousand boxes of personal papers, including reams of unpublished letters and diaries - and to be allowed freely to interview Lindbergh's friends, colleagues, and family members, including his children and his widow, Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The result is a biography that clarifies a life long blurred by myth and half-truth." "From the moment he landed in Paris on May 21, 1927, Lindbergh found himself thrust upon an odyssey for which he was ill prepared - the first modern media superstar, deified and demonized many times over in a single lifetime. Berg casts dramatic new light on the lonely, sometimes twisted childhood that formed his character; the astonishing flight and thrilling, then overwhelming aftermath; the controversies surrounding the trial of his son's accused kidnapper; the storm over Lindbergh's fascination with Hitler's Germany and over his active role in the isolationist America First movement; and his remarkable unsung work devoted to medical research, rocketry, anthropology, and conservation. At the heart of it all is his fascinating, complex marriage with Anne Morrow Lindbergh, a relationship far from the storybook romance the public imagined, one filled with sudden joy and bitter darkness, and which forged her into one of the century's leading feminist voices." "Berg exposes the many facets of the private Lindbergh, including his ingenious medical work with Dr. Alexis Carrel, developing the precursor to an artificial heart; his pioneering support of rocket scientist Robert H. Goddard; his soul-searching visit to Camp Dora at Bergen-Belsen; his life with the primitive Masai tribe in Africa, and his discovery of the Tasaday in the Philippines; his fight to save the whales off the coasts of Japan and Peru; and his deeply moving final days in Maui, where he supervised the digging of his own grave."--BOOK JACKET.
I highly recommend reading the Spirit of St. Louis alongside this book to get a feeling for the initial achievement that brought Lindberg fame, and to read Lindbergh's own account in comparison to the external view.
It is amazing how I kept coming across Lindberg references in a fall trip across the country. There was the site in Arkansas (or was it Mississippi) where he had his first inadvertant night landing at a country club, or lodge. For a night's lodging the gave the proprieter a flight.
Then at the Will Rogers home there is a brandy sniffer once filled with rose petals. The Rogers invited him to their California home to escape the pressures of the murder trial and his sister-in-law Elizabeth collected the petals.
I enjoyed this biography for its objectivity and unembellished presentation of the facts of Lindbergh's life, which Berg accomplishes without being "plain-spoken." There are lyrical touches here and there--for example, the image of a pale blue Scandinavian sky tying together the beginning and end of Lindbergh's story. Berg manages to portray Lindbergh and the main players in his story as utterly human, fallible yet sympathetic, occasionally victims of outside forces like the press and public celebrity-hounding, but ultimately responsible for the courses of their own destinies.