Welcome to the first post in a new blog, “Lindbergh and American Culture.”
To an extent matched by few others in his time, Charles A. Lindbergh (1902-74) sought to be the teller of his own tale. From 1927 to the last months of his life, he was constantly writing, eventually publishing six autobiographical works and leaving unpublished more than a thousand pages of memoir. He was also the author of several scientific articles, a score or more of anti-interventionist speeches and articles, and a series of thoughtful commentaries about the environment and wilderness.
Lindbergh’s writings, and the way they collectively reveal–and conceal–the self that he meticulously constructed for nearly half of the twentieth century, are the starting points of my investigation.
My intent, however, is to go beyond the writings, indeed beyond the man himself, to understand how this fabled life was—and continues to be—narrated in the public arena. Because of his fame and the complexities of his character, Lindbergh becomes a prismatic figure through whom is refracted the interplay between self and celebrity, between a private life and a public reputation, between history and memory.
What I hope to offer is not only an entirely new way of examining one of the most examined of 20th-century lives, but also a nuanced perspective on the broader cultural currents through which that life flowed.