Saturday, December 23, 2017

Lindy was a jerk but the book was good

True to my plan, I read another biography – this one on Charles Lindbergh. There’ve been a ton written about him, but I went with “Lindbergh A Biography” written by Leonard Mosley in 1976.

The only things I really knew about Lindbergh previously were that he flew across the Atlantic that his kid was kidnapped, and he was supposedly an American hero. I certainly didn't realize what a big deal he was at the time.

What I learned in this book is that he was actually a pretty rotten person. He was a racist, sexist, anti-Semite. He was also a hypocrite with little self-awareness.

In 2003 (two years after the death of his wife) it was revealed that, beginning in 1957, Lindbergh had engaged in covert sexual affairs with three European women, with whom Lindbergh fathered seven more children, none of whom learned of his true identity until a decade after his death in 1974.

One of the many parallels between then (1927 when he did his flight) and now are the accusations of "fake news." Yellow journalism was alive and well back then. Totally made up stories about him would appear on front pages of newspapers just to sell copies. As such, he grew to hate the media. Eventually, that was a major factor in him moving to England, where they were pompous enough people to not think him so special.

As he later became a PR tool of the Nazis by touring their aircraft facilities in Germany, it was that distrust in media that kept him from believing the published reports of the evil Hitler was doing. So he was branded a Nazi sympathizer and things spiraled down from there. He fought publicly with FDR. Was fond of fascists, but hated communists. He was an odd duck.

He was the kind of guy who was a genius with mechanical things but pretty much a stupid dork when it came to relating to people.

It was a fascinating history lesson written around this guy who I didn't like much. But I'm a smarter man than before I read the book, so mission accomplished.

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