Study Guide

The Spirit of St. Louis

by Charles A. Lindbergh

The Spirit of St. Louis Essay - Critical Essays

Analysis

Even young adult readers unaware of the first New York-to-Paris airplane crossing will soon find themselves intrigued by the audacity of Lindbergh’s enterprise in reading this fast-paced and detailed account. Some consider his flight to be as epochal as Christopher Columbus’ journey to the New World and the astronauts’ trip to the moon in 1969. Lindbergh, in his thirty-three-hour flight, proved that a young, virtually unknown individual could do the seemingly impossible: A mail pilot who had never been abroad became the toast of Europe and the world. It is a tale in the best Horatio Alger tradition—of the lowly becoming the mighty and the obscure outdoing the famous in their exploits.

How he kept his wits about him during this solo flight when he was without radio contact with anyone and how he kept awake during long and monotonous hours aloft—these are among the mysteries that Lindbergh does his best to explain. The book begins in a fashion well known to young adult readers of adventure stories: with a hero-in-the-making on a quest for fame and fortune who will do battle with various “monsters.” In Lindbergh’s case, many of the monsters would be within him—forces urging him to give up, to sleep while piloting, or to make errors in his flight pattern. At the book’s outset, however, one sees the tough, lonely life of a mail pilot traveling over the fields of Middle America and discovers how many of Lindbergh’s contemporaries were...

(The entire section is 406 words.)