Wow, am I ever glad I picked up this book! As you know, I'm drawn to books about history, and this is one of those classic history books that was hugely popular in its day (1953), and it won the Pulitzer Prize in 1954. I also love books with lots of factoids, and this one satisfies that nerdy itch. This is the story of Charles Lindbergh's transatlantic flight in the Spirit of St. Louis, covering the 3,600 miles between New York and Paris in May of 1927. It is a remarkable book about a remarkable time. Imagine for a moment the world before airplanes; think of how flight opened up the nations of the world to each other, revolutionized trade, changed economies forever. It makes me wear a big dopey grin just thinking about it. In the book, Lindbergh spends time detailing the process of securing financial backing, overseeing the building of his plane, and hourly updates on his 36-hour flight. During the flight, he recounts stories of his childhood in Minnesota, his early days of flying (which were really only a couple years of experience before this historic flight), and other remarkable stories of frontier days and remarkable flights. He also details his battle with sleepiness throughout the flight. He was a barnstormer, wing-walker, a parachute jumper, and a military-trained pilot. He left university to take up flying. He seemed to know "something within him was superior to circumstance," and although he seems quite humble (almost humorless), he seems to have full confidence in his ability not only to make the flight, but to revolutionize the world with his flight. Lindbergh was not without a clearheaded idea of the risks involved in the attempt (many others had failed, some lost their lives trying), but he belonged to a long line of frontiersmen and -women who knew the advancement of the nation and society as a whole required risks. All along, he looked out for possible dangers, calculated the outcomes of errors should he make any, and constantly accessed his surroundings for safe places to land should the need arise. I loved everything about the book, its construction, and its modest narration. What a remarkable journey. And what a remarkable man--if you can ignore some of the heartbreaking events (the kidnapping of baby Lindbergh) and questionable things yet to come (his opposition to fighting Hitler, his multiple families on separate continents, etc.) in his life. Needless to say, I highly recommend this book. Though it is long (500 pages), it reads very quickly. My rating: 5 stars
Last week I began:
I'm also reading:
I have three books going in the evening: Viktor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning; a collection of Pablo Neruda's odes, Odes to Common Things; and Jet Tila's 101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook before You Die. I'm enjoying Neruda's odes, especially.
I am absolutely loving my audiobook, The Poisonwood Bible. I have no idea how it will end, but the plot is really ramping up, and I can tell something tragic is about to happen. This is a phenomenal book.