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Charles and Anne Lindbergh became international celebrities -- the "First Couple" of the skies

'Turn the myth into the man'

Through the window of Anne Lindbergh's generosity, and through interviews with dozens of people who knew the Lindberghs, four years of research, and another four years of writing, Berg reveals the most complete look at Lindbergh to date, including:

  • Lindbergh being brought up with few friends in an environment that replaced outward emotion with inner isolation.

  • His infatuation with flight and the formative years that transformed the barnstorming boy into a meticulous hero pilot.

  • The perceptive consideration of the sweeping century he buoyed, from his friendship with the person who invented flight to his friendship with the first man on the moon.

  • The symbolism of the landing at Le Bourget, when 150,000 people rushed Lindbergh's plane, nearly killing him simply because they wanted to touch him.

  • His "storybook romance" with Anne Morrow Lindbergh, which is revealed as a much more complex and realistic battle of emotions, personal integrity and love.

  • Anne Morrow Lindbergh's admission that she found hardened criminals like Al Capone the most helpful and genuine during the kidnapping ordeal.

  • Lindbergh's unofficial career as a WWII bombardier, then his career as a Pulitzer-winning writer of a half-dozen books.

  • The supervision of his own burial during his final days in Hawaii.

    The chapters devoted to the kidnapping provide the most insight into the crime since the world followed its developments in newspapers as they happened over two months in the spring of 1932.

    Berg is a master at organizing the most minute details and how they related to the case -- the symbols on the ransom notes, the string used to tie ransom money together, the accent of "Cemetery John." The surreal unfolding of events reveals itself like a best-selling thriller with all too realistic and tragic consequences.

    "My main goal was to sort out the myth from the facts in Lindbergh's life and to convey those facts in dramatic a fashion as possible," Berg says.

    Perhaps most revealing of Lindbergh, the man, is his simple reaction to the revelation that his son had been killed the first night he was stolen from his crib and carried from a second-story window of Lindbergh's Hopewell, New Jersey, estate. He never cried, his wife said.

    Berg has been so infatuated with the Lindbergh project over the last eight years that he has refused to join the information age by going online; he didn't want to be distracted. He says after the book tour, the first thing he'll do is step into cyberspace.

    His commitment to the book is refreshing. After Lindbergh was hounded by the press all his life, historians would agree that the aviator deserves to have his story told with the respect that Berg implies.

    "What I hope my book does is turn the myth into the man," Berg says, who admits that despite the complexity of the character, he still puts Lindbergh on a pedestal.

    "I definitely consider him a hero," Berg says. "There's no question that he performed a death-defying deed, something that no one did before, that demanded bravery and vision and great skill.

    "He was also only a mortal. And that's a part that a lot of people fail to consider. He has human frailties."


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