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The Spirit of St. Louis

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  1,361 ratings  ·  103 reviews
The classic, bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning account of Charles A. Lindbergh's historic transatlantic flight

Along with most of my fellow fliers, I believed that aviation had a brilliant future. Now we live, today, in our dreams of yesterday; and, living in those dreams, we dream again…

Charles A. Lindbergh captured the world's attention—and changed the course of history
Paperback, 576 pages
Published December 9th 2003 by Scribner (first published 1950)
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Linda Griffin
Aug 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Astonishingly vivid and well written. I remember going to bed one night while I was reading it and feeling horribly guilty that I could sleep when I had left Lindbergh struggling to stay awake over the Atlantic. When my mother called, expecting to hear about my week, the first thing I said was "Lindbergh landed in Paris!" ...more
Aug 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
How is it possible to fly one extremely overloaded aircraft, on just one engine, with just one pilot, with no navigational aids except for two practically worthless compasses, from New York to Paris? This is the extremely detailed and highly personal story of one man who did it and lived to tell about it.

Full disclosure. I’ve recently tried to fly Charles Lindberg’s Spirit of Saint Louis on a flight simulator and crashed and burned several times. “Slim,” as he was known by members of the aviati
Mar 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I never thought I would find myself interested in a book on aviation. His wife's book, Gift from the Sea, made me wonder about what type of man Charles was.

It was really one of the most compelling adventure books I've ever read. I kept thinking, "Why is this so interesting? I already know he crossed the Atlantic!!!" It is really about so much more than flying, although I did find learning about airplanes and aeronatics really interesting----the early 1920s was so long ago, and knowledge was so
Aug 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Fascinating. The grapes on this guy...
Feb 17, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As I wrote in one of my comments, this is as close as can be to the bible of flight for all aviators. [My copy is a beautiful old 1953 hardcover, with tons of info in the appendices. I don't know whether they are included in the more recent paperback editions.:]

This is the story of a man, a machine, and a dream. The man: Charles A. Lindbergh, who had a passion for flying and a dream to complete a long-distance flight to win fame and fortune and to prove to the world that aviation had finally com
Martin Gibbs
Jan 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
“Because I’m going to land.”
That was Lindbergh’s response when asked if he wanted wheels that detached after take-off. It would have saved weight and fuel, but he had determined that he would land.

And he did.

Let’s put aside Lindbergh’s Nazi tendencies after this historic flight; as a teen reading this those many years ago, I knew nothing of that. My father told me about it, after I’d read this book of course, because within this adventure story are powerful lessons.

Tenacity. That is the word tha
Jun 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
As a young boy, I was fascinated with flight, airplanes, and aviators. At the highest level of my pantheon was Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr. A native of my state and a pioneer of flight, he shared my values of being soft-spoken, reticent, and modest about his accomplishments. I read, re-read, and eventually inherited my grandmother's copy of "We", his confused and idealized life story, and loved every word.

Once I learned more about him, the second family in Germany and the pro-Nazi, anti-Semitic sta
May 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
It's been several years since I read this book but it is really a very good read. Especially if you are from St. Louis, you will learn a lot about how this city was very much involved in the early history of aviation. The book is a gripping read almost from the beginning as Lindbergh describes his early interest and pursuit of flying. His work as a mail service pilot gave him unique experience and skills for the solo flight across the Atlantic. I was surprised to learn how directly involved Lind ...more
Aug 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
An incredible adventure. To best describe how I feel about this book, I'll let his wife, Anne do the honors. "There is something, in the directness -- simplicity -- innocence of that boy arriving after that terrific flight -- completely unaware of the world interest -- the wild crowds below. The rush of the crowds to the plane is symbolic of life rushing at him -- a new life -- new responsibilities -- he was completely unaware of and unprepared for. I feel for him -- mingled excitement and appre ...more
Sep 10, 2011 rated it it was ok
I know that this was a Pulitzer prize book and Charles Lindbergh's solo flight across the Atlantic was a miracle and a necessary step to current aviation. He had some interesting reminiscences. BUT I got so bored. It took me months to get Lindberg "across the Atlantic". All of his thoughts, the technical language, it was just too much for me. I really love his wife's book Gift From the Sea. It is one of my all-time favorites. ...more
Carolyn Page
Sep 21, 2018 rated it liked it
LONG. Interesting, but long. For anyone interested in planes or early aviation, I'd read this book, which is by way of an autobiography. (It does deal with the Lindbergh kidnapping as well). Not a quick read though, be warned. ...more
This is the autobiographical story of a man, a machine, and a dream. It is also virtually the aviator's "bible" for flying enthusiasts.

The Man: Charles A. Lindbergh, who had a passion for flying and a dream to complete a long-distance flight to win fame and fortune and to prove to the world that aviation had finally come of age.

The Machine: the Ryan NYP, christened the Spirit of St. Louis, in tribute to the group of like-minded visionaries from the city of St. Louis, Missouri, who backed Lindbe
Kerem Çağatay
Jun 28, 2016 rated it liked it
An another man with huge balls... what an admirable chance and got guts to achieve it...

When it comes to the book, everything is detailed part by part, sec by sec. It is seemed that Lindbergh is a vigorous man when it comes to his job. That characteristic must be adopted/admired by every man who wanna do something solid.

In the content, he mentions about how he left his university while he was fixin' to earn his Mechanical Engineering degree, to achieve his dream job.

And once when he hits the r
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book is written as though we are in Lindbergh's head listening to his thoughts, as he gets the idea to fly from New York to Paris, finds financial backing, oversees the building of the plane, flies across the country to New York to wait for favorable weather conditions, then during the 33 hr flight.
What really struck me is that at every moment he was in the air, he was scanning to see what would be the best place to land in a crash. It had happened to him many times before and just a few w
Pierre Lauzon
Oct 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is Lindbergh's first person narrative of the preparation for and accomplishment of his solo flight across the Atlantic in 1927, a singularly significant event in the early days of aviation.

I did not realize Lindbergh's quality as a writer - no ghost writer on this. His grammar and constructions are flawless and he really puts the reader with him in the tiny cockpit.

A must read for any fan of historical narrative.
May 28, 2009 rated it did not like it
This was about a million pages too long, and the more I researched the man, the more I disliked him. Seriously- he flew across the Atlantic. But how many pages does it take to say that he did it and that he was really tired?
Jan 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really interesting read. Although some of his many anecdotes were quite readable, especially in relation to his aviation history, they did grow tiresome and it broke the tension of Lindburgh's otherwise fascinating tale. Still highly recommended! ...more
Craig Forman
Whatever his politics, Charles Lindbergh was an incredible pilot. What a voyage.
Oct 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 1history, box4
Interesting read. An hour by hour account of the flight and the time leading up to the flight. Also gives some insight into Lindbergh's youth and background. All and all a useful read. ...more
Hannah Grace
It was very anti-climactic.
Stefania Dzhanamova
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Charles A. Lindbergh was the first American aviator to make the first non-stop solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, from New York City to Paris, in 1927.

Lindbergh’s college education ended during his second year in the University of Wisconsin when his growing interest in aviation led to enrollment in a flying school in Nebraska and the purchase of the WWI-era Curtiss “Jenny”, with which he made stunt-flying tours through Southern and Midwestern states. After a year at the army flying schools
Update on 5.5.21: So, after discussing this and watching the movie with my class, I do see a lot of stuff that I missed in my original review—the themes this book portrays overall about crying out to God, and being an American.

But I would say overall, the theme was very hidden under a lot of dialogue and just the book's sheer length. It wasn't...obvious.

But again, this isn't fiction, so I totally understand its length. It was just daunting as a reader overall, and I feel like I missed a lot o
Alexander Levine
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is an amazing book, especially if you have interest in aviation (are a pilot) or are just curious about remarkable people and how their brain works and the process of putting together a remarkable project like being the first person to fly across the world!

It's exhilarating to read about his journey across the Atlantic Ocean and being the first person to fly nonstop from New York to Paris and the book was surprisingly well written. Nonpilots may find some of the technical jargon a bit bori
Charles Lindbergh's rather spectacular history of his quest to become the first pilot to cross the Atlantic Ocean non-stop.

Filled with facts and insight, Lindbergh wrote and edited this carefully over many years--even pointing out in the author's notes that he and his wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, pored over each sentence to assure proper grammar and punctuation. The book was a deserved winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Biography, and stands as arguably Lindbergh's last great achievement in aviati
Mark Heishman
Aug 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read many autobiographies and biographies as a kid and this one has endured in my mind as one I still vividly remember. I was in high school at the time and I picked this book out of the book cart in American History class because it was the thickest book on the cart. I didn't pick it out for me though, but for my friend who was in the hospital and I was getting his work for him. After jokingly presenting it to him at the hospital, I told him I would take it and give him my book on the island ...more
May 20, 2017 rated it liked it
The Sixth Hour...(above Nova Scotia)

"What a contrast between my cockpit, high over Nova Scotian wilds, and the silvered settings of a city table! What amazing magic is carried in an airplane's wings -- New York at breakfast; Nova Scotia at lunch. There hasn't been time enough between to prepare my mind and body for the difference. How can breakfast-to-lunch in time equal New York-to-Nova Scotia in distance? Flying has torn apart the relationship of space and time; it uses our old clock but with
John Lee
Feb 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
A book like no other. But a large section of it was almost unreadable for me.

Yes, I've never encountered a book like this. It is gripping and revealing and phenomenal (five stars) until about halfway through (as I remember). It was so good that I got my father and father-in-law to read along with me (and they NEVER read), but then we hit the place where the book focuses so heavily on hour-by-hour instrument readings--altitude, wind speed, etc--and the story stalled (sorry for the pun). I never d
Tim Lightfoot
May 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
Amazing I made it to 49 and never read this book. Also amazing that Lindbergh was such a good writer. Such a unique perspective on the earliest days of aviation, from barnstorming a living, to the early days of the Air Force, to one of the most historic flights in history. He strives to be complete and accurate in the books, just as he did in preparation and execution of his solo flight to Paris. Even the appendix is complete and detailed. (Be sure to browse through the complete log of the plane ...more
Jul 04, 2010 rated it liked it
I was really liking this biographical novel about Charles Lindbergh's first transatlantic flight right up until Lindbergh started flying across the ocean. I thought the writing was excellent, the stories leading up to the historic flight were fascinating, and I learned quite a bit about what went into designing airplanes and flight in general all those many years ago.

But, once Lindbergh started the big flight, this book just seemed to go on and on about whatever he could think of while trying t
Jul 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
For a man who describes himself as uninterested in spelling and grammar, Charles Lindbergh has written a wonderful book, completely worthy of a Pulitzer Prize. Lindbergh's book "The Spirit of St. Louis" follows his successful effort to become the first person to make a trans-Atlantic flight. Most regarded him initially as a crank -- too inexperienced and relying only on one-engine... but in the end his guts and courage carry him across the ocean to France. The story is told in great detail from ...more
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Son of Charles A. Lindbergh Sr..
Charles Augustus Lindbergh (nicknamed "Slim," "Lucky Lindy" and "The Lone Eagle") was an American aviator, author, inventor, explorer, and social activist.

Lindbergh, then a 25-year old U.S. Air Mail pilot, emerged from virtual obscurity to almost instantaneous world fame as the result of his Orteig Prize-winning solo non-stop on May 20–21, 1927, from Roosevelt Field

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“On a long flight, after periods of crisis and many hours of fatigue, mind and body may become disunited until at times they seem completely different elements, as though the body were only a home with which the mind has been associated but by no means bound. Consciousness grows independent of the ordinary senses. You see without assistance from the eyes, over distances beyond the visual horizon. There are moments when existence appears independent even of the mind. The importance of physical desire and immediate surroundings is submerged in the apprehension of universal values.

For unmeasurable periods, I seem divorced from my body, as though I were an awareness spreading out through space, over the earth and into the heavens, unhampered by time or substance, free from the gravitation that binds to heavy human problems of the world. My body requires no attention. It's not hungry. It's neither warm or cold. It's resigned to being left undisturbed. Why have I troubled to bring it here? I might better have left it back at Long Island or St. Louis, while the weightless element that has lived within it flashes through the skies and views the planet. This essential consciousness needs no body for its travels. It needs no plane, no engine, no instruments, only the release from flesh which circumstances I've gone through make possible.

Then what am I – the body substance which I can see with my eyes and feel with my hands? Or am I this realization, this greater understanding which dwells within it, yet expands through the universe outside; a part of all existence, powerless but without need for power; immersed in solitude, yet in contact with all creation? There are moments when the two appear inseparable, and others when they could be cut apart by the merest flash of light.

While my hand is on the stick, my feet on the rudder, and my eyes on the compass, this consciousness, like a winged messenger, goes out to visit the waves below, testing the warmth of water, the speed of wind, the thickness of intervening clouds. It goes north to the glacial coasts of Greenland, over the horizon to the edge of dawn, ahead to Ireland, England, and the continent of Europe, away through space to the moon and stars, always returning, unwillingly, to the mortal duty of seeing that the limbs and muscles have attended their routine while it was gone.”
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