Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

3.8 5
by Susan Hertog, Tina Pohlman (Editor)

See All Formats & Editions

An illuminating portrait of Anne Morrow Lindbergh--loyal wife, devoted mother, pioneering aviator, and critically acclaimed author of the bestselling Gift from the Sea.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh has been one of the most admired women and most popular writers of our time. Her Gift from the Sea is a perennial favorite. But the woman behind the public person


An illuminating portrait of Anne Morrow Lindbergh--loyal wife, devoted mother, pioneering aviator, and critically acclaimed author of the bestselling Gift from the Sea.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh has been one of the most admired women and most popular writers of our time. Her Gift from the Sea is a perennial favorite. But the woman behind the public person has remained largely unknown. Drawing on five years of exclusive interviews with Anne Morrow Lindbergh as well as countless diaries, letters, and other documents, Susan Hertog now gives us the woman whose triumphs, struggles and elegant perseverance riveted the public for much of the twentieth century.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[This biography] is confident, graceful and shrewd. It finds the flesh-and-bones woman at the center." --The Plain Dealer

"The author's deep research and ability to decipher the code beneath the veneer of Anne's books and diaries allow the reader insight into a woman who paid dearly for a remarkable adventure." --Chicago Sun-Times

"Lots of books are called definitive biographies, but this actually is one. . . . As writing acts go, this one is heroic." --David Gelernter, Commentary

"A detailed and comprehensive portrait of the writer, the aviatrix and the loyal yet in some ways disappointed wife. . . . Anne Lindbergh's story proves to be well worth telling." --The Wall Street Journal

"A wonderful book, truly worthy of its subject."--Peggy Noonan

"Poignant, haunting, and lyrical."--Ron Chernow

Washington Post Book World
Hertog's account of Anne and Charles's courtship is a lovely balance of the personal and public aspects of their romance. Her description of their embrace of pseudo-scientific racist doctrine is chilling. She also does well at depicting Anne Morrow Lindbergh's egregious self-effacement and her willingness to stand by her man despite what her own intellect, honor and sense told her; these qualities are well-evoked and well-documented...
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
"My life began when I met Charles Lindbergh," wrote Anne Morrow Lindbergh. As a reserved Smith College junior who harbored the ambition to become a writer, she met her future husband in 1927, soon after he became the first pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic. Raised in a privileged yet conventional environment as the daughter of Dwight Morrow, the American ambassador to Mexico, Anne embarked on a life of adventure with Lindbergh, although she soon recognized the difficulty of reconciling her literary ambitions with accompanying her husband as copilot, navigator and radio operator. After the tragic kidnapping and death of their first child, which they blamed in part on dogged press coverage of their personal life, the Lindberghs moved abroad. They became embroiled with the leaders of Nazi Germany, according to Hertog, because Charles believed that the democratic system was weak and ineffectual, as evidenced by the unbridled freedom of the press. Hertog contends that, although she was not as convinced as her husband of the integrity of the Nazi cause, Anne publicly supported him out of wifely loyalty. On their return to the U.S. and with her husband's encouragement, Anne launched a successful literary career, publishing memoirs, poetry and chronicles of her aerial adventures. Although not as exhaustive as Scott Berg's Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Charles, this sympathetic portrayal of Anne as a wife, mother, poet and feminist may well find a readership more interested in a talented woman's creative struggle than in the oft-told Lindbergh story. Photos not seen by PW. Agent, Georges Borchardt; BOMC selection; 6-city author tour. (Dec.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
This biography of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, ten years in the writing, grew from Hertog's lifetime fascination with Lindbergh and her writing. Hertog had studied her for 20 years before she even met her in 1985 in a Montana airport. Though Hartog was never allowed access to Anne's unpublished papers, she eventually became acquainted with her friends and family, read everything ever published by her, and interviewed her ten times. The story is told against the backdrop of Charles Lindbergh's life because, as Anne said, "My life began when I met Charles Lindbergh." This meeting occurred seven months after his famous solo transatlantic flight. Anne, a daughter of Dwight Morrow, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, became the mother of five children and an aviator in her own right. Always she was writing: Bring Me a Unicorn, Dearly Beloved, Gift From the Sea, and other books, some of them her diaries. She was protected by wealth from the harsh realities ordinary people faced in the 1920s, during WW II and after, but had an uncanny ability to connect with her readers. Hertog captures the mind and heart of her complex subject. Readers will be intrigued by Anne's meeting with the aviation hero, the story of the kidnapping of their son, the trial of the man charged with the crime, and the Lindberghs' constant need to evade the early 20th-century version of a media feeding frenzy. This reviewer was interested in Hertog's handling of the anti-Americanism charge that has dogged Charles's reputation. Charles believed in eugenics, disdained democracy (after all, democratic institutions shaped the man who killed his son), and showed incredible naiveté in letting the Nazis use him to give falseinformation about Germany's air strength to the west just before launching WW II. Anne saw a dark side to the Nazis to which Charles seemed oblivious. His status as aviation hero caused the U.S. government to overlook his pro-Nazi views and grant him a job in army aviation. Anne recognized Charles's unmistakable charisma and appeal to the American public and believed "...it was her duty as his wife and the mother of his children to submit to his views." Readers who enjoy Anne's books will be drawn to this title. Hartog, who came to the job of writing this biography without academic or even writing credentials, has shown fine scholarship (including objectivity) to inform her attraction to a significant leader of the thinking of our times. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 1999, Random House, Anchor, 561p, illus, notes, bibliog, index, 21cm, 99-28759, $17.00. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Edna M. Boardman; former Lib. Media Spec., Magic City Campus, Minot, ND, March 2001 (Vol. 35 No. 2)
Library Journal
The publisher's claim that this is the "first full-length biography" of Lindbergh must surely surprise Dorothy Herrmann, whose Anne Morrow Lindbergh: A Gift for Life (1992; Penguin, 1993. reprint) is still in print. After a sustained campaign, journalist Hertog did gain personal interviews with Lindbergh, but by allowing Lindbergh to speak for herself, she leaves almost every paragraph so studded with quotation marks as to be obtrusive, even irritating. Hertog's handling of the kidnapping and the Lindberghs' dalliance with Nazi Germany is objective, clear, and logical, but her conclusions about Anne Morrow Lindbergh's independence and integrity are less convincing; throughout, the lead role in her life's drama is taken by Charles. Still, the subject and her times are interesting, and given the scarcity of Lindbergh biographies and the subject's advancing age, this will be a justifiable addition to larger collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 7/99.]--Barbara Ann Hutcheson, Greater Victoria P.L. Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
David Gelernter
Lots of books are called definitive biographies, but this actually is one. It is exhaustively researched and lovingly written. It has the texture and fineness of hand embroidery. This is one life that will stay written.
Kirkus Reviews
A fawning volume that focuses on the first 50 years of the celebrated writer, aviator (Lindbergh was the first woman to qualify as a glider pilot), and wife of the Lone Eagle, Charles A. Lindbergh. Hertog, a freelance journalist and photographer, acknowledges early on that she is star-struck, revealing that the woman she calls "Annie" was "my mentor and my friend"—even before they'd met. After a chance encounter with Lindbergh in an airport in 1985, Hertog "pursued" her, eventually interviewing her ten times during the ten years she devoted to the biography. The book, Hertog's first, begins in 1927. Charles has returned to North America from his solo flight across the Atlantic and is the world's first mega-celebrity; Anne is a daughter of privilege (her father is Ambassador to Mexico). The two eventually meet, quickly marry, and spend much of their subsequent lives flying all over the world and dodging a predacious press corps. Hertog covers in some detail the two most controversial periods of the Lindberghs' lives—the 1932 kidnaping and murder of their son and the deep admiration that both Lindberghs felt for Nazi Germany in the pre-WWII years. (Charles was an early and enthusiastic proponent of eugenics.) In prose often precious, Hertog strives mightily to portray Anne as a gifted woman caught in the amber of convention, but another Anne emerges instead—a woman of wealth and leisure, an arrogant, deeply self-centered woman, racist and anti-Semitic (like her husband), whose treacly little books, packed with truisms, enjoyed lengthy stays on best-seller lists. In 1957, poet and critic John Ciardi was the first to declare Empress Anne wore no clothes, but Hertog dismisseshim as a "womanizer" who suffered from "spiritual turmoil." (By contrast, Anne's sexual infidelity brought her "consolation.") Although Herzog claims to have lifted Lindbergh's "mask," she reveals little, and instead paints on her subject yet another false, flattering face. (84 b&w photos, some not seen) (Book-of-the-Month Club selection; author tour)

Product Details

Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 8.00(h) x 1.50(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

A New Beginning

When first I met Your glance and knew That life had found me- -and Death too . . .
--Edgar Lee Masters, "Bring Me a Unicorn," quoted in Anne Morrow's diary, December 28, 1927
December 14, 1927, Valbuena Field, Mexico City

It was nearly noon, and Colonel Lindbergh was late. Thousands of people lined the broad airfield, flooding the valley between the snow-covered mountains with a frenzied rush of sound and color. It was as if all of Mexico had gathered for the spectacle: men in overalls, their serapes pulled tight against the chill morning air, women in brightly colored shawls, and children kicking gaily in the dust. They had trudged the roads before dawn, only to wait for hours in the midday sun. Worn by heat and delay, the crowd loosened and fragmented. Once stiff with expectation, the people settled into a carnival mood, making the soldiers who paced the lines twitch with uncertainty. Anything could happen with a crowd this size; its energy unleashed could easily turn destructive. When Lindbergh had arrived in Paris after his transatlantic flight only seven months earlier, the crowd had surged toward him, mauling his plane in a wild stampede.

United States Ambassador Dwight Morrow waited impatiently. A lot was riding on Lindbergh's safe arrival, and Morrow was not one to take disappointment lightly. At fifty-four, he was an accomplished lawyer and a Wall Street millionaire, but he was new to Mexico, this "cemetery" of political reputations, and he had much to prove.

Standing five feet four inches tall, Dwight Morrow was less than imposing. Dressed like a banker in a three-piece pinstripe suit, in spite of the heat, he posed for the cameras, fumbled with his glasses and smiled nervously at the press. His clothes, as usual, fit poorly; this time they seemed to swallow him whole. His large head, topped by a blue fedora, rested on the edge of a thickly starched collar, and his trousers bagged shapelessly over his shoes. He was a Chaplinesque figure, a parody of a gentleman, like a poor man dressed in a rich man's clothes. His body looked like an uninvited guest, self-indulgently diverting the issues at hand.

The issues at hand were heavy indeed. Mexico and the United States were on the brink of war. The Mexican government, wracked with internecine struggle and hopelessly in debt, had threatened to nationalize American oil companies. The business community was up in arms, and diplomatic relations were at their ebb. President Calvin Coolidge had concluded it meant sending in Morrow or the U.S. Marines.

While Coolidge worried that Morrow's connection to J. P. Morgan would link him to American business interests, he banked on his pristine style and reputation. Morrow could outreason and outquote any lawyer around. He could preach the Bible and bore his listeners with Thucydides, but his true gift lay in the realm of compromise. Resisting the taint of marketplace pragmatism, Morrow decided that his mission was to compose differences, as a conductor might orchestrate a melody or a tune. The plain truth was that he was a master of deals.

Rigorously trained in mathematics by his father, Dwight believed in the morality of logic. James Elmore Morrow, a fundamentalist Presbyterian of Scottish-Irish descent, had taught his precocious second-born son the art and method of systematic thought. Relentlessly, as though it were the very stuff of salvation, he had drilled his boy in mathematics and syllogism, along with the hundred and seven questions of the Presbyterian catechism. Logic, James believed, was intrinsic to ethics-the outward manifestation of God's ordinance, no less binding than prayer and church. It made one deal with realities rather than appearances and put the burden of proof on the inquirer. Dwight dealt with issues, not with men. He could make wrathful negotiators talk as if they were comrades, yet have each side think it was outwitting the other. It was a gift that his partners at J. P. Morgan and Company had deemed priceless.

And this priceless gift had earned him a fortune. When he left Morgan, only two months earlier, after fourteen years as its chief counsel, he was a full partner, earning more than a million dollars a year. Now, his money permitted him the luxury of public service-his dream since he had been a law clerk at the age of twenty-two. Money, he believed, turned dreamers into men of action, allowing them to participate in history. It wasn't that he wanted to be rich; he just didn't want to be poor. His father's inability to earn a good salary was underlined by his mother's obvious disappointment. Although Clara Morrow, a Campbellite fundamentalist Presbyterian, considered it natural to submit to her husband, she made plain that she preferred "bonnets" to books. Wishing to please his mother, Dwight imagined himself a "dragon-slayer," bringing home the spoils of his conquest. It was a fantasy he would often need to replay.

While some saw him as a man of ruthless ambition, each career move, in fact, caused him anguish. He saw himself as a statesman-a philosopher king-removed from the rabble of the political arena. He served God by serving the community, certain that his good works would place him among the elect. Yet he felt guilty about his money, as if he were a renegade academic seduced by the pleasures of commerce and status. He was a reluctant Horatio Alger hero who would have rather been an Abraham Lincoln.

Perched high on the flag-draped grandstand above the field, scanning the horizon for Lindbergh's plane, Morrow's tiny figure beside the robust presence of Mexican President Plutarco Calles was a reminder of the chasm between the two men. The twelfth president in the seventeen years since the revolution, Calles was a clever politician, a Machiavellian leader cloaking his aims in the rhetoric of nationalism and peace. His enemies called him an "iron man," no less a despot than the man he had ousted. But in these weeks preceding the election, he had gone too far, murdering his competitors and their supporters to clear the way for his nationalist party. For all his bravado, revolution seemed imminent; he could no longer rely on the loyalty of the army.

Dark-eyed and grim behind his close-cropped mustache, President Calles looked nervously at his watch. He had been up all night, calling his staff for news of Lindbergh's flight. The bloody events of the last few weeks had imbued everything, even this midweek master stroke of public relations, with bitter irony. Charles Lindbergh's arrival would be a humbling reminder of Calles's dependence on American money. If he were to survive, he would need the good will of the American government and some old-fashioned Yankee theater.

Suddenly, the sky roared. Five escort planes, zooming in formation, dazzled the crowd like a jolt of electricity. People jumped to their feet, pointing and shouting at the approaching aircraft.

Morrow was relieved. The flight, after all, had been his idea. With no air routes or radios to guide a pilot, even the best could go down. There were fears that Lindbergh had cracked up; that his motor had failed him in one of the rocky districts where no plane could land safely. Morrow had tried to dissuade Lindbergh from making a nonstop flight from Washington, but Lindbergh had been adamant. If his flight connected the nations' capitals, it would have greater political significance, Lindbergh said, especially by drawing the attention of Congress.

Morrow, who had met Lindbergh at the White House a few months earlier, quickly learned that he was no backwoods farm boy. Born to a line of skillful politicians, Lindbergh understood Washington, understood Congress, and understood the power and whim of public opinion. His paternal grandfather, Ola Münsson, had been one of the few landholding peasants in Sweden to serve in the Riksdag. Although his was a voice of social reform, Münsson blatantly abused his position. As an officer of a Malmø bank with connections to government officials, he was accused of bribery and embezzlement. In 1859, to escape imprisonment, Münsson changed his name to August Lindbergh, left his wife and seven children, and fled to America with his nineteen-year-old mistress, Louisa Carline, and their illegitimate son, Charles, to begin a new life in central Minnesota.

Bypassing the fertile prairies of the Swedish colonies, the Lindberghs bought a hundred and sixty acres of woodlands and pasture in Melrose, Minnesota, a new community of German immigrants. While August tilled the land to grow oats and wheat, and set up a blacksmith shop a mile outside town, his peasant-girl wife tended her baby and worked in the fields. Lonely and despairing of their future, Louisa, in her rosebud bonnets, milked the cows and pined for home, family, and Sweden. With time, the farm prospered, and their handwrought sod hut was transformed into the biggest frame house in the county. Still an outspoken agent of reform, Lindbergh was appointed postmaster and village secretary and, later, clerk of school districts and justice of the peace. When the four children born to him and Louisa were grown, he married her secretly in the town church and put the scandals of Sweden behind him. But, as if in mourning for something forever lost, Louisa wore a black dress beneath her kitchen apron all her life.

August, however, had few regrets. Unlike the unforgiving God of James Morrow, August Lindbergh's God demanded no penance. According to Lindbergh's Lutheran-based theology, sin was inherent in the human condition, and faith in Christ justified salvation. The individual served God through the institutions of the community, but divine will superseded its structures and its laws. Some men were called upon to wear the "mask of God"; sometimes this meant breaking the rules.

Independence and self-reliance were August Lindbergh's defining principles, and he handed them down as gospel to his son, Charles August. When C.A. was six years old, Lindbergh gave him a gun, permitting him the run of the surrounding woods to shoot game and duck for the family table. But if C.A. learned to love the freedom of the wilderness and the open sky, he also witnessed the vicissitudes of farming. Crop failures, falling prices, and the unregulated growth of railroads nearly disenfranchised the small Midwest farmer. In 1883, determined not to bend to an elitist government controlled by the "Eastern money," C. A. Lindbergh enrolled in the law school of the University of Michigan.

What People are Saying About This

Peggy Noonan
A wonderful book, truly worthy of its subject; Anne Morrow Lindbergh's was one of the extraordinary lives of the century, shaped by all its forces from politics and fame, from violent crime to feminism. And she emerges in the end as a woman of great faith and conviction. Hertog has captured this groundbreaking life with depth, breadth and feeling.
Erica Jong
Susan Hertog's Anne Morrow Lindbergh restores this important poet to her rightful place in the pantheon of twentieth-century writers, one of the spirits by which this century knew itself and named itself....It should bring Anne Morrow Lindbergh to a new generation of readers.
Ron Chernow
A superb debut. With uncommon grace and poetic sensitivity, Susan Hertog has captured both the transcendent beauty and profound sorrow of a remarkable woman's struggle to find her place in the world. Whether soaring in the sky or deep in mourning, Anne Morrow Lindbergh comes vividly to life in this poignant, haunting, and lyrical work.

Meet the Author

Susan Hertog lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Anne Morrow Lindbergh 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Anyone who has read Anne Morrow Lindbergh's books and was impressed by her courage in accompanying her husband in flight, her perceptive written observations as she searched for more depth and meaning in life, her strength in emotionally surviving the horrible kidnapping death of her baby will NOT find the fleshed-out person you seek in the laborious biography by Susan Hertog. The author writes with the amateur footnoted patchwork of a fledgling college English major. Denied access to Anne's private papers and only having gained ten interviews, she presents voluminous scraps of information which come across as piecemeal and conflicting. Where a true insight into Anne fails her, the author returns again and again to Charles, reiterating his faults in what the public has always done in vilifying its heroes. Her extensive coverage and criticism of Charles' nonintervention WWII stance before Pearl Harbor was attacked is judgmental and strident in tone. Over and over again throughout the book, the author falls prey to being judge and jury, drawing conclusions and making generalizations, apparently limited by the filter of her own narrow life experiences. As she alternately condemns and praises the Lindberghs, you are aware of Hertog's own ambivalence. Yet the mark of a true biographer would be one who remains invisible while presenting the person in all of his/her vicissitudes. When will we ever have the pleasure of meeting Anne in the pages of a biography? Maybe never - since she has refused to name a biographer or write one herself. Maybe her refusal is her final statement: The press never had the right to dissect our lives - and they still don't. Each person is entitled to a private journey as he/she struggles down the various paths of enlightenment. At least Anne attempted the journey and perhaps already understood that each person must do so individually; for the answers to life's mysteries could not be revealed in the tidy summations of a biographer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a good complement to Anne Morrow Lindbergh's memoirs. The author does not flinch when describing Colonel Lindbergh's strange preoccupation with eugenics or his criticism of American Jews before the war. Anne is depicted as the ever-loyal wife who supported him despite her misgivings. What becomes clear is that the 1932 murder of their oldest child shaped both their personal and political views. Despite her wealth and talent, Anne in her later years comes across as lonely and still unsure of her obvious gifts.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago