by A. Scott Berg ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 1, 1998
A magisterial work chronicling the life of a great American hero, from a National Book Award--winning author. If you're writing a biography, choosing a subject involved in both one of the century's great adventures and one of its great tragedies is a good start. If you go beyond a barrier-breaking flight to Paris and a baby's kidnapping and can still draw upon controversial opposition to entering WWII and major contributions to the development of commercial aviation, so much the better. That this figure was also constantly in the media spotlight, regularly met with leading luminaries throughout the world, and had a wife whose life and accomplishments are fascinating in their own right, you have the substantive ingredients for a great biography. Fortunately for all of us, Berg (Goldwyn: A Biography, 1989; Max Perkins: Editor of Genius, 1978.) does a superb job with this material. His account of Lindbergh's life is detailed without plodding, and extensive without seeming long; the pace is excellent throughout, with the reader continually drawn forward by the prose, even though one already knows what is going to happen. Berg's perspective on Lindbergh is admiring but not fawning or unbalanced. Despite the appropriate respect accorded a man who genuinely did great things, Berg does not shy away from Lindbergh's apparent anti-Semitism, his rigidity as a parent, regular absences as a husband, and lifelong restlessness. There's an evenhanded look at Lindbergh's trips to Germany and politics prior to WWII, and the insights into Lindbergh's relations with the press are particularly interesting. As the first real media star, Lindbergh had an extreme reaction to the constant hounding by reporters and photographers--unprecedented in his day--that becomes understandable. Imagine coverage of Michael Jordan after the NBA finals, the O.J. Simpson trial, and the British royal family all rolled into one. Who, faced with this barrage, wouldn't become uncommunicative and flee the country? With Berg's free access to previously unavailable documentation, this is sure to be the definitive biography of Lindbergh.
Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998
Page Count: 640
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1998
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