Charles Augustus Lindbergh (1902 -1974) American
Lindbergh is chiefly remembered for the first non-stop solo flight across the Atlantic, in May 1927. He was born on February 4, 1902, Detroit, Michigan. After attending the University of Wisconsin in Madison for two years he attended the army flying schools in Texas in 1924-’25. Next year he became an airmail pilot flying the route from St. Louis, Mo to Chicago. He obtained financial backing from a group of St. Louis businessmen to compete for the 25,000 dollar prize for the first non-stop flight between New York and Paris. He made the flight in May 1927 in the mono plane ‘Spirit of St. Louis’. The same year he was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Politically naive he made certain speeches praising the German air power and advocated US neutrality in WWII, which made him very unpopular. After criticism by FDR he resigned his Aircorps Reserve Commission. During the war he acted as an consultant to industrial firms and later flew combat missions in the Pacific. After the war he was consultant to Pan American World Airways. His book ‘The Spirit of St. Louis’ discribing the Paris flight was published in 1953 which won him a Pulitzer Prize. His other works include ‘We’ (1927) and ‘Of Flight and Life’ (1948).
Lindbergh’s search for immortality is another facet of this flawed genius. “In a fascinating new book we are told how he killed his children’s pets in the name of his research, contemplated experiments on psychiatric patients and emulated Adolf Hitler in his determination to restrict the promise of eternal life to an elite of white Westerners.
Based on sound scientific principles, His work with Dr. Alexis Carrel laid the foundation for medical breakthroughs which today make the promise of perpetual life tantalisingly closer to reality.
For Lindbergh, the path leading to that groundbreaking experiment in 1935 could be traced back to his childhood when, as a shy and virtually friendless young boy growing up on a farm in Minnesota, he dreamed of becoming a doctor”.He failed to make it.(Ack:dailymail.co.uk/news)
In his later years, Lindbergh became a prolific prize-winning author, international explorer, inventor, and environmentalist.
His Private Life:
Lindberg married Anne Morrow who was the only woman who he had ever asked out on a date. . He insisted that Anne track all her household expenditures, including even 15 cents spent for rubber bands, in account books. Lindbergh saw his children for only a couple of months a year. He kept track of each child’s infractions, which included such activities as gum-chewing.
Twenty-nine years after Lindbergh’s 1974 death, the largest national daily newspaper in Germany,(Suddeutsche Zeitung) reported in late July 2003 that he had fathered three out-of-wedlock children by German hat maker Brigitte Hesshaimer (1926–2003) who had lived in the small Bavarian town just south of Munich. two years later, however, it had been further revealed that Lindbergh had also fathered four other out-of-wedlock children in Germany and Switzerland with two other mistresses.
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Posted in books, tagged 2G spectrum scandal, A. Raja, Bapu, Father of the nation, Gandhi, Henri Troyat, India, Joesph Lelyveld, John Masters, MF Husain, Pulitzer prize, The Bhowani Junction, Tolstoi, WE Gladstone on April 4, 2011 |
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The Pulitzer prize winner Lelyveld’s book on Gandhi is sure to raise hell at some quarters in India. In India traditionally saints are served larger than life so much so the fluff from their plaster cast must leave the purveyors giddy. If Mother India is shown in her buff it is outrage but if she is swathed in nine yard saree looking wooden and distant there are those who light incense and sing Vande Mataram. Even as these poltroons sing you can hear meat cleavers being sharpened in their hearts and their souls shut out lest some sense should make singing carry its meaning as well. Those who sing this song of sublime beauty with murder in their heart only make Mother India immolate herself many times over. MF Husain painted Mother India with every right as an artist and as an Indian. But what upset some busybodies was more his religion than his art. Homespun khadi or saffron robes are nothing if the heart has become dead.
Gandhi has been so much reviled even while the blackguards praised him skyhigh. The biographer did not do his job in order to please some or to damn his subject. Let us at least read this book if possible with an open mind before we judge him.
I remember in my high school when I first read Bhowani Junction by John Masters I was shocked by the disrespect shown to Gandhi. It was like someone defacing the Bible or tearing the page from it to light a fire! Time has taught me to take opinions of others for what it is, an opinion.
I have come to revise my opinion of Gandhi as I came to revise on Tolstoy. Henri Troyat’s biography and few others made me realize the great man was far from a saint. But whatever faults,-his pettiness, obtuseness to see the obvious, his vision and life-work is secure. In his faults he is like you and me. He was a man, real. Baring his innermost thoughts in his diary but letting his wife read them may have spelt sincerity in his lexicon but was it prudent? I hope not. Great men also have their weakness when their mind sleeps on the job. WE Gladstone thought he was doing a great service to want to save the ‘angels’ but in working it would not work so simple. Human heart is so treacherous that the great men follows the lead based on some curious premise but sooner or later natural impulses take on the control ( DH Lawrence was right). His diary and his confession at his deathbed we may accept as genuine and that he didn’t sin; but is it necessary to prove nature had nothing to do with it? Gandhi may be accused for homoeroticism and it only makes him human. Another canard, his using his his nieces to prove his self control over his body may or may not be true. Even if it is true it doesn’t in no way detract from his greatness. His lifework of nonviolence as a political weapon makes him a great soul. Forget his fads, his political ideas and opinions. He has been proved wrong as well as vindicated in great many things. He stands 100 percent Indian since his life and its thrust made cultural icons of our past like Buddha, Mahavira Jain and their thoughts relevant in far greater measure relevant for our century.
In spite of whatever revelations the new book may carry Gandhi is secure as far as I am concerned.
He has outsoared the shadow of our night; envy and calumny..’ Nothing that any book on Gandhi may bring out can add or remove even an iota from greatness of his soul. If A Raja is the visible face of Indian politics Gandhi was and still is the conscience of India that I think of a geographical entity and people that populate it. Here we have national life in its vision and in its working. These can never be reconciled so it would seem.
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