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...
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The Spirit of St. Louis remains the most consulted work dealing with the Lindbergh flight of 1927 ever written. Because it is a firsthand account written by the pilot himself, the book is unlikely to be surpassed. When it first appeared in 1953, the work was an instant best-seller, and it has remained a favorite of readers of all ages. Well written and exciting, Lindbergh’s book eschews sentimentality, cliche, and platitudes. He lets the reader feel a part of the drama, an approach that makes The Spirit of St. Louis a difficult book to put down.
Lindbergh’s account is both a personal memoir and a historical record documenting one of the rare events that truly transformed the world. While other worthy books about Lindbergh’s journey have been written, it is fortunate that young adults can experience this gripping tale in an autobiographical work.