What is the summary for An American Hero: The True Story of Charles A. Lindbergh?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Barry Denenberg -- A Biography

Barry Denenberg has made important contributions to children's literature through his biographical and historical works in the Dear America, My Name is America, and Royal Diaries series. Many of his books have won prestigious awards, such as the Jefferson Cup Honor Award for When Will This Cruel War Be Over?: The Civil War Diary of Emma Simpson.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Denenberg was always devoted to reading and, after earning a baccalaureate degree in history from Boston University while working nights in a bookstore, he began a luminous career as a book buyer for independent and retail chain bookstores. After twenty years in this "glamorous" career of "power lunches, power politics, and power trips," Denenberg relaunched himself as a writer and, thanks to his future wife, Jean Feiwel, he made a success of historical biography writing for Scholastic Inc. publications. His first biography was of President John F. Kennedy. Believing research is as much a skill as writing, Denenberg's works are much sought out and much acclaimed.   

An American Hero: The True Story of Charles a. Lindbergh -- A Summary

The story of Charles Lindbergh's life is the story of an adventurer, an innovator, a patriot who served his country and of a figure mired in tragedy and controversy. Charles Lindbergh, of Germanic descent, was the son of a United States Congressman, and he eventually married the daughter of the United States Ambassador to Mexico, whom he met while on a goodwill tour of Mexico.

Lindbergh had a keen interest in engineering, aviation, all things mechanical and in adventure. Two of his first jobs were as a wingwalker on the "barnstorming" aviation circuit and as an airmail carrier. Barnstorming was itinerant flying route that offered townspeople at various stops the chance to fly in a plane and to see thrilling aviation tricks and daredevil stunts. Being an aviator on an airmail route was similar to the pony express but with wings instead of pounding hoofs doing the work. Lindbergh survived the first of his eight parachute escapes from a crashing plane while a mail carrier.

After marrying Anne, who won her own pilot's license and accompanied Charles on his exploration flights, they had two sons. Victory came to Lindbergh when he was the first man to successfully make a trans-Atlantic flight, taking off in New York and landing in Paris. Tragedy struck afterward when their firstborn son was kidnapped, held for ten weeks, then murdered. Scandal followed tragedy when the trial and execution of the kidnapper and murderer, Bruno Hauptmann, was eventually called into question for being unfair as a result of all the publicity the world famous Charles Lindbergh garnered as father of the victim.

Lindbergh's most important job was as a pilot in the United States Air Corp. One of the few to survive the grueling and rigorous training and testing period, Lindbergh was proud to serve his country. It was in his capacity as an officer in the U.S. Air Corp that he was invited by Hitler to examine Germany's own new and growing air corp. Lindbergh's opinion was that Hitler's German air corp was the best in the world, with the United Kingdom's air corp in second place and America's a sad third. This opinion, on the eve of the United States' entry into World War II, helped cause President Franklin D. Roosevelt to describe Lindbergh's opinions as treasonous. It was said that Lindbergh had pro-Hitler and anti-Semetic sympathies. Consequently, the most famous man in the world was soon the most infamous.

In telling the story of Lindbergh's life, victories, tragedies, anti-war speeches and controversial beliefs, Denenberg presents meticulously researched facts so that the readers can analyze the data for themselves and, it is hoped, draw their own conclusions about the controversial points of Lindbergh's life and actions.

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