THE HERO: Charles A. Lindbergh and the American Dream by Kenneth S. Davis
Kirkus Star

THE HERO: Charles A. Lindbergh and the American Dream

Email this review


Kenneth S. Davis has written a remarkable biography of Charles A. Lindbergh, which is in essence as much a biography of the American public as it is of the hero it worshipped. Mr. Davis recognizes Lindbergh for what he was--the classic hero who ""ventured forth from the world of common day into a region of supernatural wonder, survived a succession of trials, and returned victoriously from his adventure with the power to bestow boons on his fellow men."" Lindbergh did all of this and became the American hero to beat all heroes. The author's purpose has not been so much to write a biography of Lindbergh as it has been to write of that fascinating social phenomenon, hero worship. But there is nothing abstract in his approach. He writes of a real man and of the real mob that worshipped him. It is a fascinating, weird story, this dialogue between the man and the mob. The mob in its voracious love becomes a kind of monster. The hero, a victim. Lindbergh's life will appear to many as some sort of Greek tragedy. This cold, mechanical young man with the boyish smile who flew the Atlantic alone, who overnight became the hero, who then married a millionaire's daughter, whose first child was kidnapped and murdered, who fell under the influence of the mystic French surgeon, Alexis Carrel, who admired the Nazis and assimilated their racist ideas, and who finally alienated his worshippers by associating with American fascists--this man seemed to be propelled by a destiny set in motion by a half-mad public, venting its collective neuroses in as many pathological ways as it could invent. Kenneth S. Davis has captured the spirit of this phenomenon in a beautifully conceived book that most readers will find impossible to put down once they get into it.

Pub Date: Nov. 5th, 1959
Publisher: Doubleday