A dramatic telling of Lindbergh’s flight from New York City to Paris, France.
Houran conveys readers to a time when flying was still a daredevil activity and aces such as René Fonck were international celebrities. Flying contests were common in the 1920s, and as the planes got better, so did the prizes. The Orteig Prize, named after a New York City hotelier who set the challenge, would pay $25,000 to the first flyer to make a nonstop journey from New York City to Paris. Lindbergh was a stuntman and a barnstormer before he decided to take a shot at the challenge. One of the beauties of Houran’s reconstruction of the event is that it brings Lindbergh’s feat into focus: He was not the first to fly across the Atlantic; he did not fly on a wing and a prayer but planned extensively; a number of other, more famous flyers were in the race, including Fonck and Richard E. Byrd, who had recently flown to the North Pole. She also tips her hat to Lindbergh’s tactical wizardry and keeps the tale not just at a high pitch (“He buckled his safety belt. He pulled on his flying helmet. He fit his goggles over his eyes”), but in a lather: “LINDBERGH! the crowd cried....The crowd lifted him above their heads. They bounced him along like a beach ball!”
Good fun wrapped in a cracking piece of characterization and history. (Nonfiction. 6-9)