Grafton Public Library

Review: The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin

Posted by bethg on

It has been 85 years since Charles Lindbergh made his solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean to Paris. An American hero of mystical proportions, Lindbergh was hailed and idolized by all, but it was a quiet Anne Morrow who became his wife. The heart and mind of this remarkably accomplished woman is revealed in the historical novel, The Aviator’s Wife, by Melanie Benjamin.

Anne Morrow was the daughter of the U.S. ambassador to Mexico and a student at Smith College. When she married Lindbergh, she became his adventurous co-pilot, helping him map out routes for commercial carriers. She learned Morse code, navigating by the stars, and glider piloting.

The media frenzy surrounding the couple reached Princess Diana proportions, and Charles wanted his wife shielded from it. In 1932, however, a family tragedy refocused the spotlight on the couple, and life was never the same again.

Anne made a home for her growing family while Charles was away dealing with all things aviation. It became clear as years went on that he liked the idea of a family more than the actual family itself. Since Anne became more and more domesticated, she was unable to fly with her husband, and the marriage suffered.

Politics entered the Lindbergh’s life , and they were invited to Germany for the Olympics and met with Adolf Hitler. Lindbergh was impressed by much of what he saw and became an outspoken opponent of President Roosevelt and the growing push for U.S. involvement in a European war.

I was entirely captivated by The Aviator’s Wife and what I learned about history and those who shaped it. No one who has ever been to the Smithsonian and seen “The Spirit of St. Louis” suspended from the ceiling can help but wonder what kind of courageous person could manage such a feat. Handsome, dashing and full of adventure, Charles Lindbergh was also a human being with several major personality flaws. Anne Morrow Lindbergh decided to live with them, overcome them and go on with her life upon his death. She loved him still…

I give the book 4 altimeters.

Happy reading from Beverly!

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