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Thomas Kessner has written a masterful account of Charles Lindbergh with his involvement in the rise of American aviation.. As much as I am an aviation enthusiast, I realized how little I knew about one of Americas most influential aviators.
The subtitle of the book is "Charles Lindbergh and the Rise of American Aviation", is truly the theme of the book. Kessner does a great job of telling that story. He covers Lindbergh in his early days. He writes about the complex relationship with his mother and father and how their divorce affected Charles in his youth. The author devotes a significant amount of time on the relationship between Lindbergh and his mother, which is very revealing in how it shaped his personality.
Kessner's coverage of the story regarding the transatlantic competition and Lindbergh's eventual triumph is told really well. This part of the story does not drag on, he really makes it all come to life!
Kessner devotes a large part of the text to Linbergh's effect on the rise of American aviation. This is truly the underlying theme. He spends many pages of the book discussing his courtship with Ann Morrow, their marriage, and her involvement with him and his career as a pilot, and Ann's eventual certification as a pilot too.
What I found a bit odd was that Kessner writes the final chapter of the book on the kidnapping and murder of Charles Lindbergh Jr. (their first child). It is followed by the Epilogue that merely mentions the rocky relationship with the Roosevelt administration, when that was such a large part of his persona with the general public, which prior to that, adored him as a great hero. This part of his life and acceptance of Nazi fascism, turned many fans of Lindbergh into many that were loathe of him due to his political stance leading up to World War II. Just a mere mention of his time spent in the Pacific theater during the war is recorded in this book.
However, Kessner names his Epilogue: "The End of Heroes", for a good reason. He exposes the many flaws of this great figure, telling history at face value. There are plenty of shocks and surprises revealed about Lindbergh in his later years, which I will leave to the reader/listener.
In short, it was a very good read. I was totally captivated by the story. I found that there is so much to learn on any subject. I read 58 books this year, so far. This is definitely in the top 10!
What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?
Having someone read the book that actually knows how to read.
Has The Flight of the Century: Charles Lindbergh and the Rise of American Aviation turned you off from other books in this genre?
Its the second book with a sorry person reading the contents so if they continue to be like this then yes.
Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Bob McGraw?
A 4 year old? He is so bad I don't know what to say.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
Anger over the patchwork of recordings and in a hurry reading. Very irritating.
Any additional comments?
This book seems like he was distracted and left of entire paragraphs at points where it was required to come back in and record them over with a completely different tempo and sound quality. It is driving me crazy. I'd like to get my money back.