The Film & More|
Lindbergh is a candid biography of an American hero whose life teemed with
contradictions. He was a public man who struggled all his life to protect
himself from a hero-worshipping society and a voracious media. He hated the
press, yet spent most of his life attracting publicity. He avoided power, yet
used his fame to influence world events. He valued accuracy and a sense of
perspective, yet his own vision was often flawed and frightening.
After his triumphant solo flight from New York to Paris in 1927, the
25-year-old mail pilot became the most famous private citizen on the earth, but
he resisted fame. Unprepared for the tumultuous welcome at Le Bourget outside
Paris, two French pilots rescued him from the frenzied crowds--such frantic
escapes from the adorning multitudes would be repeated many times during his
Forced into exile in England and France after the kidnapping of his son, he
continued a close relationship with Dr. Alexis Carrel, a Nobel Prize-winning
French surgeon and social theorist. Lindbergh and Carrel were both convinced
that democracy was dying and that the wave of fascism sweeping Europe was the
key to mankind's future.
Returning to America in 1939, Lindbergh eventually joined the "America First"
Committee, a lobbying group where he made a series of speeches determined to
keep America out of the war with Germany. Then in Des Moines, Iowa in
September of 1941, Lindbergh made a speech that would be his downfall. There
were three groups pressing the country toward war, he said--the British, the
Roosevelt Administration, and the Jews.
The backlash across the country was enormous. In Charlotte, North Carolina,
the name of "Lindbergh Drive" was changed. Trans World Airlines stopped
calling itself the "Lindbergh Line." And back in his hometown of Little
Falls, Minnesota, a watertower that proclaimed his birthplace was quietly
Three days after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, Lindbergh volunteered to
join the fighting, but President Franklin D. Roosevelt refused to have him.
He eventually found work in the war as a civilian aviation consultant for
United Aircraft, and in 1944, managed to be sent to the Pacific, where he flew
over 50 combat missions against the Japanese.
In the 1950s, President Dwight D. Eisenhower restored Lindbergh to the United
States Air Force Reserve, as a Brigadier General. He later won the Pulitzer
Prize for "The Spirit of St. Louis," a book that chronicles the flight that
made him famous.