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North to the Orient

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  414 ratings  ·  61 reviews
In 1931 Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh set off on a flight to the Orient by the Great Circle Route. The classic North to the Orient is the beautifully written account of the trip.
Paperback, 168 pages
Published September 28th 1966 by Mariner Books (first published 1935)
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Until I saw a Smithsonian exhibit a few years ago, I never realized that Anne Morrow Lindbergh flew with her husband on various trips, acting as his radio operator, navigator, & general Jack (or Jill) of all trades.

This is her account of their trip of trying to map new routes to Asia by flying northward. It's not so much of a technical account (although there are some technicalities discussed); rather, it's more of a diary-like smattering of some of her impressions of places they visited,
Strange little book this one. In 1931 with husband Charles, Anne Lindbergh flew from New York to Japan and on to China via the shortest northern route going across northern Alaska. An untested route, with lots of stops in route with their small plane fitted with pontoons for lake / sea landings.
The author is pretty upfront about her book - in the preface she says it is not a technical account, a guidebook or a full description of the journey. It is simply her thoughts and some observations. And
Joe Bowen
Jul 27, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is drop-dead gorgeous! A journal of an adventure, written by the wife of the first person to fly across the Atlantic ocean, she details their air-journey northward and across the Bering Strait to end up in China, in an era before that kind of thing was possible. A pilot in her own right, Anne Lindbergh pulled her own weight on the trip, learning and taking on sole responsibility for all communications while airborne - via Morse code, among other duties. More than a crazy adventure, ...more
Mar 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whenever I read anything by or about Charles Lindbergh, I feel a personal connection. That, in turn, engenders a feeling of connection to Anne Morrow Lindbergh. It's entirely illusory, this connection, but strong nonetheless: Lindbergh was an icon to me, still a heroic figure when I was a boy in the 1950s, quite possibly a major influence on my decision to become an aviator later in life. Anne was the beautiful woman who married this heroic figure, the most famous man in the world at the time, ...more
Hope Squires
Nov 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm embarrassed to admit this is my first book by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Her writing is lyrical and provides insights into a time and way of life quite foreign from my own.
Oct 05, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I am really awed by this. The language is so beautiful. Some of what I loved:

"There comes a moment when the things one has written, even a traveler's memories, stand up and demand a justification. They require an explanation. They query, "Who am I? What is my name? Why am I here?" (vii)

"The intruding gaze, one feels, must make some mark or leave an impression, as a stone shatters the unbroken stillness of a pool." (7)

"Flying implies freedom to most people. The average person who hears the drone
Aug 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2013
An interesting snapshot of a very particular time in history. In 1931, after the first flights, but before people regularly traveled by plane, Anne Morrow Lindbergh and husband Charles took a two-seater prop plane from Maine to China over an arctic route. Navigation was calculated using sextants and slide rulers, radio was transmitted in Morse code.

However, one aspect of this snapshot of 1931 is that Lindbergh takes on a persona that,to post-feminist me, seems very bound by her time - that of
Apr 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: reviewed
I was a little disappointed in this book. Anne's voice floats somewhere between adventuress and poetess but never commits to either. I really enjoyed some parts - her chapters on learning to operate the radio were particularly funny. But other parts she waxes poetic, making broad statements about life that seem sort of flat. I would have preferred more details about their trip - I think it's fantastic she was flying around the world with Lindy and really roughing it, seeing things the rest of ...more
Apr 19, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This was a wonderful revelation of self, full of disingenuous impressions and astute observations about people, cultures, and conditions. What a lucid and personal tone. Reminds me of my grandmother, who was also a young woman in that era, telling of her adventures and laughing at herself instead of trying to dramatize the events. The tiny chapter devoted to the word "sayonara" is utterly poignant. I will have to read more of her work.
Oct 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing
One of my most cherished reads. The world was still a enormous, exotic thing at the time of this writing. And Anne and Charles's relationship was spontaneous and full of adventure. The telling is simple and quiet, full of wonderfully observed detail. It's a welcome reminder that a change of life is just a flight away.
Jan 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed every minute of this book. She can really turn a phrase and has such poignant observations on life. Lindbergh is such a gifted writer. I can see why this was an instant national bestseller when it was first published in the 1930s.
Aug 05, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This was an amazing book. I loved the heroism and strong female leadership. Anne was a trailblazer and a real role model for women. No matter what the era a strong woman can prevail.
Elsbeth Magilton
Jul 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I started this book last spring and I am embarrassed to admit I then lost it. In re-arranging our bedroom a few weeks back I found it lodged behind my bedside table. From there I finished this quick read easily. Anne is witty and poetic in her writing. The antiquated terms are at times charming and at times jarring. Her descriptive paragraphs about viewing rivers generally from above was just beautiful. I was saddened by the last 20 or so pages and their account of the massive flooding in China. ...more
Feb 19, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014
Interesting story of Anne and Charles Lindbergh's flight from Maine to Japan via the shortest northern route going across northern Alaska. I found it helpful to step back in time to 1931 when they did this. This route was untested - they had to plan months in advance to have supplies ready at different stopping points. Anne had to learn to be a radio operator. And their back story - they had just married in 1929, she had a baby in 1930, and now she's flying to the Orient (left the 1 year old at ...more
Mar 17, 2012 added it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2013
An anecdotal account of their travels from New York to Tokyo in 1931, making the first "as the crow flies" trip by airplane, through Canada, down through Alaska Russia, and Japan. Anne Morrow Lindbergh is perfect as hostess with a familiar voice filled with humour and insight. You learn many things about the then thrill of air travel--the "magic"--as well as some of the hardware (descriptions of their radio are pretty interesting) and some things about the places and people they meet, though ...more
Eric Hinkle
Jun 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A truly beautiful book about people and the early days of transcontinental flying. Practically every word is essential. I'd never read anything by her before (aside from a preface to a Saint-Exupery book), but now I want to read a lot more.

She had such an obviously deep connection with humanity and Earth, and she expresses it SO perfectly. Her descriptions of the world from an airplane's view, and the world from the ground, and all the people she meets, are incredible - prose poetry at its
Sep 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anne Lindbergh was an extremely gifted writer. An aviator herself, this book chronicles the trip that she and Charles took from the Eastern US to Japan and China. In many ways she was ahead of her time. I was pleasantly surprised by her observations and opinions on the people and places she saw on her journey.

The people she encountered in the Northern Territories, Russia, and Northern Japan were fascinating and charming. The situation in China that Charles tried to assist with was horrifying.
Nov 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What a brave adventure that Anne Morrow Lindbergh and her husband, Charles Lindbergh embarked on! They traveled in a Lockheed Sirius plane equipped with pontoons and flew from New York to Tokyo in what would become the Polar route for commercial air travel. I was fascinated by Anne's learning Morse code to communicate with airfields. I enjoyed her stories about the people she met along the way in Canada, Alaska, Soviet Union, Japan and China (they helped fly doctors to people in need due to the ...more
Apr 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
A nice, fast read, short book, an incredible journey for the time, as seen through Anne Morrow Lindbergh's eyes. It put into perspective how magical being able to fly was at this time, and all the developments and change that was bringing with it. Also enjoyed her thoughts on how she was perceived as a woman doing this. She was an equal partner on this journey, and an independent person in her own right, but felt frustrated when viewed as just the wife of a famous man. Her contemplations on ...more
Apr 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
This was an account of Anne & Charles Lindbergh's journey to China in 1931, going north through Canada, Alaska, and over the Bering Strait. Anne is such a descriptive, down-to-earth woman and made many observations along the way that I'm sure are not included in her husband's accounts: about the people she met, the places they landed in, emergency forced landings, the provisions they had to pack, acting as the radio operator, etc. The Lindberghs are an interesting family that I love to learn ...more
Rex Cluff
Jun 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
I like her perspective on the life and people they met on their flight over the north route and down to Japan and China. She makes wonderful comments on how they were received and treated. I liked her comment about Russia, which applies to her whole trip. When asked how she liked it. She responded that Russia was not an it but a they and she liked them, the people. It is a quick read. I loved it.
Nicole Marble
Apr 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
I read a review that said that Lindberghs' description of the flooding in China in the 1930's was the best ever.
So, I suffered through a dated and overwrought book by the wife of Charles Lindbergh until I got to the chapter on the floods, and it was indeed brilliantly written, just that chapter, not the whole book. So, if you are interested, skip the rest and read Chapter 19 and 20.
Jul 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book - It was written by Charles Lindbergh's wife, Anne, when they took a trip to the Orient. She writes SO beautifully. The story is exciting and heartfelt and really fun to see how "things were" when the age of flight was just taking off. Would definitely recommend! I found some pictures at
Sep 22, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another gift from a friend who knew my daughter was taking flying lessons! This was written in the 1930's and I love the style of writing - so descriptive, but poetic. What an incredibly brave woman!
May 01, 2015 rated it really liked it
"North to the Orient" is a beautiful book chronicling the trip of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh to China. The writing is stunning! It reads like a lyrical novel, even though it is a true story. I highly recommend this book!!!
Barbara Schultz
May 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Anne is the consummate writer - to the point of being poetic. I do enjoy reading her books. They provide terrific insights on husband Charles as well as the art of flying. Anne takes you back to a time during the Golden Age of Aviation and gives it new meaning - an appreciative one!
Oct 06, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone
Marvelous book by the wife of Charles Lindburgh. The book is not so much a story as a collection of her thoughts as the two of them traveled in a small plane from New York to China. Her descriptions are so vivid I felt like I was there!
Dec 13, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I saw her airplane in the Smithsonian.

And I have the book she wrote about the flight.

She was Lindbergh's wife and radioman - no radiogirl who had to learn Morse code and change coils and crystals in the radio transmitter for the different transmitting frequencies enroute.
Mar 30, 2009 rated it really liked it
I really nice read about an early air expedition to asia via the great circle route. The woman's perspective was refreshing and offered some good insight and laughs. Mrs Lindbergh's relatively new-ness to flying also painted the magic of flight in words that were refreshing to me.
Feb 20, 2013 rated it liked it
"North to the Orient" Anne Morrow Lindbergh. 1935. Charles Lindbergh was fortunate to have a wife that could write so beautifully. Anne Morrow was fortunate to have a husband that could fly so beautifully. Together they conquer the Far East.
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Anne Morrow Lindbergh was born in 1906. She married Charles Lindbergh in 1929 and became a noted aviator in her own right, eventually publishing several books on the subject and receiving several aviation awards. Gift from the Sea, published in 1955, earned her international acclaim. She was inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame, the National Women’s Hall of Fame, and the Aviation Hall ...more
“For Sayonara, literally translated, 'Since it must be so,' of all the good-bys I have heard is the most beautiful. Unlike the Auf Wiedershens and Au revoirs, it does not try to cheat itself by any bravado 'Till we meet again,' any sedative to postpone the pain of separation. It does not evade the issue like the sturdy blinking Farewell. Farewell is a father's good-by. It is - 'Go out in the world and do well, my son.' It is encouragement and admonition. It is hope and faith. But it passes over the significance of the moment; of parting it says nothing. It hides its emotion. It says too little. While Good-by ('God be with you') and Adios say too much. They try to bridge the distance, almost to deny it. Good-by is a prayer, a ringing cry. 'You must not go - I cannot bear to have you go! But you shall not go alone, unwatched. God will be with you. God's hand will over you' and even - underneath, hidden, but it is there, incorrigible - 'I will be with you; I will watch you - always.' It is a mother's good-by. But Sayonara says neither too much nor too little. It is a simple acceptance of fact. All understanding of life lies in its limits. All emotion, smoldering, is banked up behind it. But it says nothing. It is really the unspoken good-by, the pressure of a hand, 'Sayonara.” 121 likes
“Yesterday's fairy tale is today's fact. The magician is only one step ahead of his audience.” 22 likes
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