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Wind, Sand and Stars

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  16,643 ratings  ·  1,474 reviews
Recipient of the Grand Prix of the Académie Française, Wind, Sand and Stars captures the grandeur, danger, and isolation of flight. Its exciting account of air adventure, combined with lyrical prose and the spirit of a philosopher, makes it one of the most popular works ever written about flying. Translated by Lewis Galantière.
Paperback, 229 pages
Published December 9th 2002 by Mariner Books (first published February 6th 1939)
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Camilo My opinion is that after reading Wind, Sand and Stars you will have a new standard for the quality of literature overall. The Little Prince is grossly…moreMy opinion is that after reading Wind, Sand and Stars you will have a new standard for the quality of literature overall. The Little Prince is grossly overrated by comparison, at least in my eyes.(less)
Larrry G he did seem to have a bit of a colonial and or demeaning bent to his stories, but in this case he not only worked to free a slave but also brings ligh…morehe did seem to have a bit of a colonial and or demeaning bent to his stories, but in this case he not only worked to free a slave but also brings light to the problems of continuing slavery(less)
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Average rating 4.13  · 
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 ·  16,643 ratings  ·  1,474 reviews

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oh... maybe I'm just a sucker for Saint-Exupéry. Let me go on about the title. It just doesn't translate into English. I LIKE the traditional English title, Wind, Sand, and Stars, but the puns all get lost. They'd get lost no mattr how you translate it, though. In French, la terre is not just the world, the earth, but also earth, dirt, ground and land; there are puns on terrain--terraine, landscape--and territoire, territory--the word atterrir, TO LAND an aeroplane, literally means to alight on ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Whenever I am forced to name my most favorite book ever, my automatic response is Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s The Little Prince. I read it first when I was a boy but I did not understand what was it all about except the hat with an elephant inside and the planet with big trees called baobab. The second time was in college when it was a required reading in World Literature. I did not really like it until my professor explained that the novel was about man’s search for friendship. I recall that the ...more
Algernon (Darth Anyan)

I know nothing, nothing in the world, equal to the wonder of nightfall in the air. [...] Mermoz said once, “It’s worth it, it’s worth the final smash-up.”

Flying in 2015 has become about as commonplace and unexciting as taking the subway to work or the train to the weekend lodge. It is safer than driving a car and most of the work, beside take-offs and landings, is done by sophisticated instruments. What we have gained in safety and comfort. We may have lost in our sense of wonder and our persp
Robin Sloan
Nov 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
If I had to choose between The Little Prince and this book, I'd choose this book, because in a way you can use it to derive Saint-Exupéry's classic. If The Little Prince is the diamond, this book is the coal: a hard-earned mass of adventure and experience. The book reads like a long letter from your most astonishing friend. Sublime. ...more
Lynne King
Jan 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: france
I purchased this book from the Folio Society on 8 January 1993 (I have this rather annoying habit of stating in my books when and where I purchased them. Just a quirk that I have.)

I was a member of this book club and just liked the look of the cover and in my stupidity I thought that it would just be about the desert (that I love),the wind and stars. I had no idea that this French aristrocrat, writer, poet and author of the "Le Petit Prince" was a pilot.

I must confess that initially I thought it
Transcendant, beautiful, embracing. When I read three books in a row where this book featured prominently (The Goldfinch was one) I felt the book calling to me. For me, it was not the type of book that I could sit down and read in one go. I wanted to mull and linger on the words, and to embrace St Exupery's words demands a kind of internal honesty and emotionality from the reader that can be freeing but also emotionally exhausting. I think that is why I put it down so often. I mean, I started th ...more
Mar 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is in many ways a wonderful background book for The Little Prince. The non-fiction stories of the author's adventures as a pilot allowed me to see the man behind one of my all time favorite books. The Little Prince is one of those books where you can sense the soul of the author and Saint-Exupéry's non-fiction books, like this one, let you see that your initial intuition while reading The Little Prince was correct. This is a very un-sentimental look at courage and at the urge we all ha ...more
The steadily growing stream of birth and marriage announcements on my Facebook feed has led me to rethink these “steps” that most people take each passing year. I used to think (and still sometimes do when I’m feeling unsure or cynical) that this seemingly prewritten way of living, of societal norms pushing us forward, was depressing evidence for a lack of creativity. But lately I see these steps not as predetermined chains on a pair of manacles we never knew we were wearing, but as a climb up a ...more
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This short memoir for me was a wonderful adventure in flying and parallel inward journey by the author. That puts this book on an honored shelf with Mathiessen’s “The Snow Leopard”. St. Expery’s experiences in the 20’s with the French airmail service to North Africa and South America had comparable mind altering impacts and serious humbling in the face of nature’s powers. But instead of a serious quest and a single journey, we get a more open-ended set of stories bound to his flying career and p ...more
I have no regrets. I have gambled and lost. It was all in the day's work. At least I have had the unforgettable taste of the sea on my lips.
Of course I know it is a mirage! Am I the sort of man who can be fooled? But what if I want to go after that mirage? Suppose I enjoy indulging my hope? Suppose it suits me to love that crenelated town all beflagged with sunlight? What if I choose to walk straight ahead on light feet - for you must know that I have dropped my weariness behind me, I am happy
Jun 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Of course I know it is a mirage! Am I the sort of man who can be fooled? But what if I want to go after that mirage? Suppose I enjoy indulging my hope? Suppose it suits me to love that crenelated town all beflagged with sunlight? What if I choose to walk straight ahead on light feet - for you must know that I have dropped my weariness behind me, I am happy now. . . .
Stephanie Ricker
I find that reading books about plane crashes while physically in a plane really enhances the flying experience. I told my mother that and she thought I was being facetious, but I was just being honest. I read Night Flight by Antoine de Saint-Exupery (author of The Little Prince) on the way to Michigan and Wind, Sand, and Stars by the same author on the way back, both of which include plane disasters. Both were exquisite, though not at all in the same way as The Little Prince, and both are about ...more
Jul 09, 2008 rated it really liked it
This book was fantastic, literally...almost hard to believe that its is the author's real life. Crashing in the Lybian desert, life in the Sahara, looking for a lost friend in the snows of the Chilean Andes, and first-hand accounts of the Spanish Civil War. But most of all, it is a poetic book about the beauty of flying, connection with nature, how challenge and suffering turn the boy into the man, how meaningful bonds between humans form, the contrast between the comfortable life of a bookkeepe ...more
Vika Ivanova
Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-my-bookshelf, 2013
Antoine de Saint-Exupery is one of the most brilliant humanist-writers. Every person is beautiful in their own way, each of us need to be open and forward in the right direction. "Human Planet," a great book, infinitely good and exciting. It exalted honor, friendship, kindness, helping others. We see how beautiful our planet is. But not only the nature of the world is worthy of attention and admiration - do not forget about the people.
Exupery does not stop to admire the beauty of our planet, san
May 06, 2022 rated it really liked it
I was no more than a mortal strayed between the sand and stars, conscious of the single blessing of breathing. And yet I discovered myself full of dreams.

Almost everybody knows that Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote The Little Prince. I personally had no idea of the author's earlier life and years spent in aviation, flying mail planes since the 1920s and then disappearing while on a reconnaissance flight against the Germans in 1944.

In this volume, I had expected stories and reminiscences of flying
T.D. Whittle
Saint-Exupery's talent as a writer and beauty as a human being shine bright as desert stars in this brief, stunning memoir of his flying adventures. I am so glad that I finally got around to reading it, as it's been on my shelf for years. Highly recommend. ...more
Jon Nakapalau
Very inspirational book that looks at flight from two very different perspectives: physical flight in a plane and spiritual flight from inside.
Left Coast Justin
I wanted to rate this higher, I really did. A beautiful beginning and brilliant end were dragged down by a long, overwritten section in north Africa dripping will ill-disguised French Colonial contempt for the people there.

But let's get back to that beautiful beginning. I first heard of this book as a child, where a portion of it was anthologized in a book I had (details here). It described a flight he took to Tierra del Fuego, the southernmost tip of South America, a cold, foggy volcanic lands
Mar 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
The only book I have ever read by de Saint-Exupery is (and this will come as no surprise) The Little Prince. I even had to read the original French version while in college. I don't know much about the author, but when I saw a review for this book, it intrigued me.

I am glad I read it. This is full of great writing of de Saint-Exupery's life as a pilot delivering mail for Aeropostale. I originally picked it up to skim and determine if it would be my next read, but I was so taken by the passages t
Richard Newton
I read a different version of the book from the one listed, but the one I was given has a different translator and is in many ways a different book. I write the review here as the book I read I have been unable to find here or on Amazon, and this seems therefore the best place to put my review. The book I am reviewing is ISBN 978 0 9559036-6-3, translated by John Watkinson and published in 2017.

I make so much of this being a different version as this is a book with a complex past. It is based o
Anita Pomerantz
Jun 03, 2022 rated it it was ok
A philosophy book disguised as a book about flying, Saint-Exupery has someT interesting things to say. Unfortunately he saves the best for last. The final chapter delves into the question of why men are willing to die for a cause. The chapter just prior to that was also intriguing as Saint-Exupery relates how he ends up completely stranded in the middle of the desert. His prose works in his favor here as he describes the struggle to survive. Unfortunately, I found the first two thirds of the boo ...more
Inderjit Sanghera
Nov 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"I looked about me. Luminous points glowed in the darkness. Cigarettes punctuated the humble meditations of worn old clerks. I heard them talking to one another in murmurs and whispers. They talked about illness, money, shabby domestic cares. And suddenly I had a vision of the face of destiny. Old bureaucrat, my comrade, it is not you who are to blame. No one ever helped you to escape. You, like a termite, built your peace by blocking up with cement every chink and cranny through which the light ...more
Jan 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
"... and suddenly I had a vision of the face of destiny. Old bereaucrat, my comrade, it is not you who are to blame. No one ever helped you to escape. You, like a termite, built your peace by blocking up with cement every chink and cranny through which the light might pierce. You rolled yourself up into a ball in your genteel security, in routine, in the stifling conventions of provincial life, raising a modest rampart against the winds and the tides and the stars. You have chosen not to be pert ...more
Meric Aksu
Oct 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"What torments me is not the humps nor hollows nor the ugliness. It is the sight, a little bit all these men, of Mozart murdered.
Only the Spirit, if it breathe upon the clay, can create Man."

My favorite book of all time.
Two and a half stars, rounded up to three for old-time's sake. I loved it when I was twelve years old, but I was a rather odd child, fond of day-dreaming and lying on the grass watching the clouds for hours on end. I wanted to run away on a tramp steamer and dreamed of learning to fly.

That must have been the girl who adored this book; decades later, I find I'm too impatient and busy for books like this one.

Terre des hommes is less a book than a loosely connected series of rambling essays with no
Leni - From The White Cottage
4.5 Stars
Beautifully written!
Michael P
Jun 21, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic book. I wish I could read the original in French to get the proper sense of the prose and style, but even in English the beauty of the text was not lost. The book is broken up into a series of different events and adventures over the course of the author's life ferrying mail (a bit prosaic but he makes it work) across the world. His reflections and harrowing experiences almost make the book read like fantasy and when he got into his descriptions it was pretty easy to get swept away wit ...more
Sep 05, 2020 rated it liked it
This was a beautifully written read, and several of the sentences and passages were breathtaking. You could open it anywhere in the book and be taken in by the writing. The writing was four to five star.

The story, by Antoine de Saint - Exupery, author of The Little Prince, would appeal to many, although the plot isn't intricate or fast moving. Its about the narrators experiences of flight and flight and its resultant adventures during the war. Its quite solitary and very psychologically and phil
Natalie (CuriousReader)
Originally published on my blog:

Once in a while you read a book where you immediately connect with its auteur. So it was for me with Wind, Sand, and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. I had of course read his most well-known work, The Little Prince, before. In fact out of all of my reading history, it is my most revisited book. For some reason I hadn’t given much thought about its creator since it was a childhood favourite, like many others I had fallen i
Ridhika Khanna
This book has been an extraordinary read. The spirit of adventure and to look at things as they are have been beautifully put across in this book.
Back when air travel was not a luxury, without any sophisticated gadgets or technology, some pilots dared to fly across abandoned regions to deliver mails and other basic facilities. This book is an account of adventures when the aircraft crashed in such regions.
I simply loved some of the passages and have re read them many a times.
Cant stop myself f
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This is so good it makes my teeth hurt 4 114 Sep 24, 2014 04:16PM  

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Antoine de Saint-Exupéry was born in Lyons on June 29, 1900. He flew for the first time at the age of twelve, at the Ambérieu airfield, and it was then that he became determined to be a pilot. He kept that ambition even after moving to a school in Switzerland and while spending summer vacations at the family's château at Saint-Maurice-de-Rémens, in eastern France. (The house at Saint-Maurice appea ...more

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“Nothing, in truth, can ever replace a lost companion. Old comrades cannot be manufactured. There is nothing that can equal the treasure of so many shared memories, so many bad times endured together, so many quarrels, reconciliations, heartfelt impulses. Friendships like that cannot be reconstructed. If you plant an oak, you will hope in vain to sit soon under its shade.
For such is life. We grow rich as we plant through the early years, but then come the years when time undoes our work and cuts down our trees. One by one our comrades deprive us of their shade, and within our mourning we always feel now the secret grief of growing old.
If I search among my memories for those whose taste is lasting, if I write the balance sheet of the moments that truly counted, I surely find those that no fortune could have bought me. You cannot buy the friendship of a companion bound to you forever by ordeals endured together.”
“Nothing can match the treasure of common memories, of trials endured together, of quarrels and reconciliations and generous emotions. It is idle, having planted an acorn in the morning, to expect that afternoon to sit in the shade of the oak.” 193 likes
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