Anne Morrow Lindbergh

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Anne Morrow Lindbergh lived a life of paradox. Born to privilege as the daughter of Dwight Morrow, Wall Street financier, diplomat, and later United States senator, she stunned the nation in 1929 by marrying Charles Lindbergh, the daring young aviator who emerged from obscurity to worldwide acclaim by making the first non-stop flight from New York to Paris. An intensely private person, Anne Morrow Lindbergh embarked on a career of international celebrity, assisting her husband in his aeronautical explorations and writing brilliant narratives of their adventures. In 1932 all America mourned when the Lindbergh’s baby son was kidnapped and murdered. Living in Europe during the late 1930’s, the Lindberghs watched the advent of World War II. Charles Lindbergh became a vocal opponent of American intervention in the war, and Anne Morrow Lindbergh herself became a leading spokeswoman for the isolationist cause. Pearl Harbor left the Lindbergh’s discredited in the eyes of many Americans, and they spent a decade widely suspected of sympathizing with fascism. But in the 1950’s, new writings by both Lindberghs brought them financial and critical success, and reestablished them as American icons. Following her husband’s death in 1974, Anne Morrow Lindbergh devoted her considerable literary gifts to celebrating his memory.

Dorothy Herrmann faced a daunting task in writing this biography. Because of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s refusal to share family documents with any but an authorized biographer, she was compelled to rely on what could be gleaned from the public record and her subject’s published writings. Herrmann’s book is most useful for its sweeping depiction of Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s turbulent life. It is less successful at explaining the more intimate dynamics of Mrs. Lindbergh’s creativity and marriage. Herrmann admires Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s courage and ability as a writer, but criticizes her selfless devotion to her husband. While not the definitive biography, ANNE MORROW LINDBERGH: A GIFT FOR LIFE provides a solid introduction to the life of a remarkable American woman.