intrepid, enigmatic Charles Lindbergh would have been 100 this year. The man who gave wings—literally—to the anything-goes, can-do optimism that characterized America in the early 20th century made himself into a myth by completing the first nonstop solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean. Today, although astronauts outrank aviators in terms of mystique, the country's fascination with Lindbergh continues. Dominick Pisano and F. Robert van der Linden, both curators at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum, take an in-depth look at an American legend in Charles Lindbergh and the Spirit of St. Louis. Illustrated with hundreds of black and white pictures, as well as new color photographs of the Spirit of St. Louis itself (the object of many a souvenir scavenger), this special volume brings to life the early days of aviation, while telling the story of an ambivalent hero.

Lindbergh began his flying career as a risk-it-all barnstormer and airmail pilot before setting his sights on wider horizons. Despite his history-making accomplishments, his life was rife with controversy. The kidnapping and death of his son, along with his controversial social and political views, made him a reluctant target for the media. Pisano and van der Linen thoroughly explore the conflicts that eventually drove the flyer and his family to Britain. With fascinating specifics on aviation equipment, visuals of vintage flying gear and an introduction by Lindbergh's daughter Reeve, this volume soars.

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