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

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9780199931170: The Flight of the Century: Charles Lindbergh and the Rise of American Aviation (Pivotal Moments in American History)

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 the modern 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. Kessner 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.

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About the Author:


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.

Review:


"Kessner's fresh perspective breathes new life into Lindbergh's tale." --David Cohen, Philadelphia Inquirer


"It's difficult to imagine how anything new could be written about Charles Lindbergh. But Thomas Kessner has examined his subject more deeply than any other biographer.... Kessner weaves a fascinating tale, chronicling Lindy's many accomplishments but also revealing someone who clearly never appreciated the full extent of his notoriety." --Aviation History


"Proving again that true tales are every bit as strange and sometimes even more compelling than fictional ones, Thomas Kessner's The Flight of the Century not only evokes a critical moment in our history, but re-introduces an iconic American whom we thought we knew, but really didn't. This is great history--a fascinating story told by a masterful storyteller."--David Nasaw, author of Andrew Carnegie and The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst


"In his brilliant and sensitively drawn portrait of Charles Lindbergh, Thomas Kessner not only brings this deeply flawed American hero to life; he vividly reconstructs the historical context in which the aviator's life played out. Kessner deftly reveals how and why Lindbergh and his flight became a juggernaut through the years of prosperity and depression, the battle over fascism and the fear of communism, and the moral and social dilemmas prompted by science and technological advances. This book is a must for anyone hoping to understand modern America."--Carol Berkin, author of Revolutionary Mothers and Civil War Wives


"The splendid, far-reaching analysis of one of American history's most enigmatic figures will satisfy the scholar, and the deft use of colorful anecdotes will appeal to general readers. Highly recommended." --Library Journal


"Mr. Kessner has the skills of a professional historian and a nice turn of phrase." --Daniel Ford, The Wall Street Journal


"Kessner provides an excellent addition to the literature on Charles Lindbergh and his remarkable flight from New York to Paris. The book will provide researchers with a deeper understanding of Lindbergh's complex character, including how this engineering school dropout could plan such a difficult flight while others, better educated and financed, had failed.... This fascinating account will be valuable to readers interested in aviation history. Highly recommended." --Choice


"Lindbergh's life and his influence on aviation in particular has been rendered in all its contradictions in Thomas Kessner's The Flight of the Century." --In Flight USA


"a thoughtful, well-written and well-researched historical synthesis on Lindbergh and his significance for American culture" --American Studies Journal"


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Book Description Oxford University Press Inc, United States, 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 234 x 155 mm. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. In late May 1927 an inexperienced and unassuming 25-year-old Air Mail pilot from rural Minnesota stunned the world by making the first nonstop 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. Kessner 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. Bookseller Inventory # BTE9780199931170

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