Charles A. Lindbergh: A Human Hero

Book review by
Mark Nichol, Common Sense Media
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An evenly presented Lindbergh biography.

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Violence
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What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Lindbergh's isolationist political views and admiration of Nazism are discussed.

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What's the story?

Can the same qualities that make heroes also, given different circumstances, break them? This thoroughly researched biography evenhandedly answers that question about one hero--the Lone Eagle, Charles A. Lindbergh. Though lionized worldwide after making the first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic, he later lost prestige because of his political views.

 

Is it any good?

Engaging language combines with a sharp sense of story here to produce compelling reading for experienced, avid readers. With thoughtful selection and presentation of facts, James Cross Giblin shows how the Lone Eagle's quality of stubborn determination -- admirable when he sets out to make a transoceanic flight -- becomes a fault when Lindbergh is dealing with Nazi leaders and American businessmen. In the absence of fact, questions about Lindbergh's motives for his controversial activities suggest that he was simply naive. 

Giblin maintains a novel-like sense of tension with telling details, like reporting when Lindbergh took his first nibble of food only an hour from Paris and long past several mealtimes. One reason he waits so long -- kids want to know! -- is revealed when the king of England questions Lindbergh about the plane's toilet facilities (there are none). he book is full of archival photos, such as the one in which Lindbergh's silver plane is dwarfed by the background of misty sky as he takes off.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about both Lindbergh's admirable acts and his more troubling views, such as his belief in eugenics and support for aspects of Nazism. How have his political views affected how he's been remembered? How do you view him?

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