The Flight: Charles Lindbergh's Daring
and Immortal 1927 Transatlantic Crossing by Dan Hampton
On the rainy morning of
May 20, 1927, a little-known American pilot named Charles A. Lindbergh climbed
into his single-engine monoplane, Spirit of St.
Louis, and prepared to take off from a small airfield on Long
Island, New York. Despite his inexperience—the twenty-five-year-old Lindbergh
had never before flown over open water—he was determined to win the $25,000
Orteig Prize promised since 1919 to the first pilot to fly nonstop between New
York and Paris, a terrifying adventure that had already claimed six men’s lives.
Ahead of him lay a 3,600-mile solo journey across the vast north Atlantic and
into the unknown; his survival rested on his skill, courage, and an unassuming
little aircraft with no front window.
Only 500 people showed
up to see him off. Thirty-three and a half hours later, a crowd of more than
100,000 mobbed Spirit as the audacious
young American touched down in Paris, having achieved the seemingly impossible.
Overnight, as he navigated by the stars through storms across the featureless
ocean, news of his attempt had circled the globe, making him an international
celebrity by the time he reached Europe. He returned to the United States a
national hero, feted with ticker-tape parades that drew millions, bestowed every
possible award from the Medal of Honor to Time’s "Man of the Year"
(the first to be so named), commemorated on a U.S. postage stamp within months,
and celebrated as the embodiment of the twentieth century and America’s place in
historian Dan Hampton’s The Flight is a
long-overdue, flyer’s-eye narrative of Lindbergh’s legendary journey. A
decorated fighter pilot who flew more than 150 combat missions in an F-16 and
made numerous transatlantic crossings, Hampton draws on his unique perspective
to bring alive the danger, uncertainty, and heroic accomplishment of Lindbergh’s
crossing. Hampton’s deeply researched telling also incorporates a trove of
primary sources, including Lindbergh’s own personal diary and writings, as well
as family letters and untapped aviation archives that fill out this legendary
story as never before.