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Bygones will not be bygones. In the testament that his friend and editor William Jovanovich has fashioned from more than two thousand pages of manuscript that Lindbergh left, Goering is still ""a dynamic political leader,"" Nazi Germany is still preferable to Soviet Russia, the US was still misguided in going to war. But the horrors of Nordhausen prison camp are no longer mitigated, as they were in the 1970 Wartime Journals, by reference to American atrocities (though whether by auctorial or editorial decision one does not know). Overall, what Lindbergh propounded in the Thirties and Forties, and reaffirmed in his postwar writings, is now part of his legacy: this righteous man was not one to recant. But of course it is only part, for if Lindbergh lacked vision in human affairs, he was prescient about aviation and rocketry and the pursuit of technological progress. Surveying the world's air routes for Pan Am in the early 1930s, he recognized that the Arctic route to Asia would be the last developed; already curious about rocket flight, he quickly grasped the value of Robert Goddard's experiments and arranged for their financing (to the immediate benefit, ironically, of the Germans). In the air, he is observant unto eloquence, as The Spirit of St. Louis demonstrated--and who else spanned changing continents for nearly 50 years? As time passed, he was distressed by what he saw, by changes that he had helped bring about, and advocated a ""return to essential life-stream values"" which, repeatedly, he sought in the wilds. The merger of the primitive with civilization is a recurrent theme--natural, perhaps, for someone who sees a dichotomy, who refers to ""the primitive man"" rhapsodically as ""it"" and seems never quite at home in the world of men and women. Remarkably few appear in these hundreds of pages, except as accessories; this is not so much a memoir, in any case, as a monologue--Lindbergh's last communion with the cosmos.

Pub Date: Jan. 23rd, 1977
Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich