The Flight of the Century by Thomas Kessner
Charles Lindbergh and the Rise of American Aviation (Pivotal Moments in American History)

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Synopsis

In late May 1927 an inexperienced and unassuming 25-year-old Air Mail pilot from rural Minnesota stunned the world by making the first non-stop transatlantic flight. A spectacular feat of individual daring and collective technological accomplishment, Charles Lindbergh's flight from New York to Paris ushered in America's age of commercial aviation.
In The Flight of the Century, Thomas Kessner takes a fresh look at one of America's greatest moments, explaining how what was essentially a publicity stunt became a turning point in history. He vividly recreates the flight itself and the euphoric reaction to it on both sides of the Atlantic, and argues that Lindbergh's amazing feat occurred just when the world--still struggling with the disillusionment of WWI--desperately needed a hero to restore a sense of optimism and innocence. Kessner also shows how new forms of mass media made Lindbergh into the most famous international celebrity of his time, casting him in the role of a humble yet dashing American hero of rural origins and traditional values. Much has been made of Lindbergh's personal integrity and his refusal to cash in on his fame. But Kessner reveals that Lindbergh was closely allied with, and managed by, a group of powerful businessmen--Harry Guggenheim, Dwight Morrow, and Henry Breckenridge chief among them--who sought to exploit aviation for mass transport and massive profits. Their efforts paid off as commercial air traffic soared from 6,000 passengers in 1926 to 173,000 passengers in 1929. Kessner's book is the first to fully explore Lindbergh's central role in promoting the airline industry--the rise of which has influenced everything from where we live to how we wage war and do business.
The Flight of the Century sheds new light on one of America's fascinatingly enigmatic heroes and most transformative moments.
 

About Thomas Kessner

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Thomas Kessner is Distinguished Professor of History at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He is the author of many books, including Capital City: New York City and the Men Behind America's Rise to Dominance, 1860-1900, and Fiorello H. LaGuardia and the Making of Modern New York, which was a New York Times Notable Book.
 
Published May 31, 2010 by Oxford University Press. 332 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, War, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Flight of the Century

The Wall Street Journal

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When the Spirit of St. Louis landed at Le Bourget field near Paris on the night of May 21, 1927, after 33 hours, 30 minutes, 29.8 seconds in the air, the sleepless Lindbergh was worried that the French might not let him stay overnight since he had no visa.

Jul 24 2010 | Read Full Review of The Flight of the Century: Ch...

Express

AFTER a perilous solo journey which had taken him 33 hours, 25-year-old Charles A Lindbergh was approaching his destination.

Nov 12 2010 | Read Full Review of The Flight of the Century: Ch...

Bookmarks Magazine

Kessner also shows how new forms of mass media made Lindbergh into the most famous international celebrity of his time, casting him in the role of a humble yet dashing American hero of rural origins and traditional values.

Jul 26 2010 | Read Full Review of The Flight of the Century: Ch...

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