Cover image for Anne Morrow Lindbergh : her life
Anne Morrow Lindbergh : her life
Hertog, Susan.
Personal Author:
First edition in the United States of America.
Publication Information:
New York : Nan A. Talese, Doubleday 1999.
Physical Description:
x, 558 pages ; 26 cm
Format :


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PS3523.I516 Z69 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks
PS3523.I516 Z69 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
PS3523.I516 Z69 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
PS3523.I516 Z69 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS3523.I516 Z69 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Biography
PS3523.I516 Z69 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Biography

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"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." --Ron Chernow, Author of Titan: The Life of John D. Rockefeller, Sr. In this first full-length study of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Susan Hertog pierces the public image of Anne and Charles to reveal their story from inside the marriage, and gives us a true understanding of the author of the bestselling classic The Gift from the Sea. While biographies of Charles Lindbergh have captured his spirit as the twentieth century's first international celebrity, Susan Hertog plumbs the depths of Anne Lindbergh's search for her own identity and vision as she struggles to remain faithful to her marriage and to motherhood. Anne Morrow, the daughter of the American ambassador to Mexico, came of age in the rarefied society of international business and politics. Shy and sensitive, yet rebellious and ambitious, she cultivated her independence and creativity at Smith College. In 1929, at the age of twenty-three, she married the already famous aviator Colonel Charles A. Lindbergh. Charles was the mirror to Anne's own ambition and her way out of a conventional straitlaced home. As hungry for life and adventurous as he, she harnessed his fame and his courage to become a groundbreaking aviator and writer. The tragic kidnapping and murder of their infant son became the price Anne paid for her marriage to a hero, and the catalyst for her passionate commitment to her family and to her work. Illuminated by nearly five years of interviews with Anne Morrow Lindbergh, this book offers valuable insights into her thoughts on her life and writing. And it is the work that may finally unravel the mystery of Charles Lindbergh's entanglements in the German Reich, which threatened to destroy Charles and Anne's faltering marriage. Anne Morrow Lindbergh is not only the story of a brilliant writer who probed the heart of womanhood, it is the anatomy of a marriage--the journey of a young bride who overcame the pressures of fame, personal tragedy, and social constraint to find answers that continue to illuminate the lives of women today.

Author Notes

Susan Hertog is a freelance journalist and photographer. She lives in New York City.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 4

Publisher's Weekly Review

"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.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Choice Review

Anne Morrow was born to a privileged family in 1906; she married aviator Charles Lindbergh, had six children (the first of whom was kidnapped and murdered), and published books of prose and poetry, including the best-selling The Gift from the Sea (1955). Hertog's 20 years of research establishes the contexts of Lindbergh's life; Lindbergh's own writings and interviews provide the content of the book. The story centers around her interior life--Lindbergh's struggle to define her independent intellect and personality within a marriage to the first American to become an international mass media hero. Thus, the book is really a portrait of a marriage. Hertog provides some new perspective on Charles Lindbergh, especially his attraction to eugenics and Nazism. He is shown as charismatic, both publicly and privately, but in his family life controlling and even sadistic. The portrayal of Anne Lindbergh suffers and benefits from the same characteristics that won praise and disdain for her writing--it is lyrical, metaphorical, and diffuse rather than straightforward, concrete, and specific. Oddly, the book does not explore the role of privilege in creating and maintaining her dilemma. Generously illustrated with family photographs. All levels. S. S. Arpad; California State University, Fresno

Booklist Review

Lindbergh's book, A Gift from the Sea, changed Hertog's life, and she has now returned the favor by writing the first in-depth biography of her mentor. The result--an engrossing portrait of a very private woman forced to suffer very public tragedies--will stand in illuminating counterpoint to Scott Berg's Pulitzer Prize^-winning biography of Charles Lindbergh, who carried his wife to great heights, both literally and figuratively, and dragged her down into the abyss of moral ambiguity. Anne, whose father was the American ambassador to Mexico, met the famous aviator while visiting her family on a break from Smith College in 1927. Shy and contemplative, she had written, "I want to marry a hero," then, to her unending surprise, did so. But her hero was the world's hero, too, and the couple had to contend with a voracious press and an intrusive public. They found peace in the air, however, and Anne became a gifted pilot in her own right. Poetic by nature, she was profoundly inspired by these experiences and kept detailed journals that became the source of her popular books. Hertog focuses on Anne's struggle to reconcile her need to write with her demanding duties as wife, mother, and celebrity, but these conflicts pale before the horror of the murder of the Lindberghs' first-born son, a catastrophe that drove Anne ever more deeply into spiritual reflection and stoicism, even as it shook her and Charles' faith in humanity. Anne had five more children, published a string of successful books, and remained loyal to her husband, even after he became a vocal Nazi sympathizer. As Hertog unravels all the strands of her subject's complicated life, gentle but tenacious Anne emerges as a woman determined to cleave to traditional values in the face of incomprehensible upheaval and as an artist who could never put herself first. --Donna Seaman

Library Journal Review

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.]ÄBarbara Ann Hutcheson, Greater Victoria P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



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. Excerpted from Anne Morrow Lindbergh: A Biography by Susan Hertog All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Preludep. 1
1 A New Beginningp. 9
2 Coming Homep. 33
3 The Early Yearsp. 42
4 A Rebel at Lastp. 64
5 Presentimentp. 81
6 The Mermaid's Bargainp. 89
7 Honeymoon Politicsp. 105
8 The Odysseyp. 117
9 Into the Cauldronp. 129
10 Black Octoberp. 145
11 Within the Wavep. 156
12 The Warp. 166
13 Ascentp. 201
14 Death Is the Answerp. 217
15 Purgatoryp. 229
16 The Arrestp. 246
17 Testamentp. 254
18 A Room of Her Ownp. 271
19 Crossing Overp. 279
20 Polish Bright His Hoofsp. 301
21 After the Fallp. 314
22 The Crossed Eaglep. 321
23 Broken Glassp. 338
24 Which Way Is Home?p. 349
25 No Harvest Ripeningp. 361
26 Imagesp. 372
27 Saint of the Midnight Wildp. 385
28 Pilgrimp. 398
29 Through a Glass Darklyp. 408
30 Pure Goldp. 420
31 Midsummerp. 436
32 Dearly Belovedp. 446
33 Argonautap. 459
34 Codap. 475
35 Family Treep. 482
Notesp. 491
Indexp. 543
Permissionsp. 559
Photo Creditsp. 560