The Flight of the Century: Charles Lindbergh and the Rise of American Aviation

  • by Thomas Kessner
  • Narrated by Bob McGraw
  • 11 hrs and 17 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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 World War I - 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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

So Bad I'm asking for my money back!!

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Having someone read the book that actually knows how to read.


Has The Flight of the Century: Charles Lindbergh and the Rise of American Aviation turned you off from other books in this genre?

Its the second book with a sorry person reading the contents so if they continue to be like this then yes.


Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Bob McGraw?

A 4 year old? He is so bad I don't know what to say.


What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Anger over the patchwork of recordings and in a hurry reading. Very irritating.


Any additional comments?

This book seems like he was distracted and left of entire paragraphs at points where it was required to come back in and record them over with a completely different tempo and sound quality. It is driving me crazy. I'd like to get my money back.

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- Glenn H. Hancock

Fascinating Story

What did you like about this audiobook?

The story of Charles Lindbergh is fascinating. This book is full of all the ups and downs of his exceptional career. It is a little too full of facts though. The narrator makes his way through all of this with an uncanny feel for the whole story. After reading one of the other reviews I thought I should just read the book. However, none of the narration flaws described in that review seemed accurate to me. The narrator actually kept me interested when the author had overburdened his book with details. Sometimes it was as if I was listening to some of the Bible on cassette. The text itself gets bogged down with name after name and it gets confusing. The narrator did a fine job of navigating through the more detailed material and then he would come alive as an exciting scene would unfold. If your looking for a book with a comprehensive perspective on Charles Lindbergh, then this is the book for you.


How has the book increased your interest in the subject matter?

It hasn't increased my interest very much because this book is loaded facts about Charles Lindbergh. I don't know where I'd go to dig deeper.


Does the author present information in a way that is interesting and insightful, and if so, how does he achieve this?

The author does present the information well. The more interesting events are tied together with historical facts that give context to the important scenes.


What did you find wrong about the narrator's performance?

Nothing. It's not the narrator, but the type of material that he's reading.


Do you have any additional comments?

Overall this is a good book. The narrator has a deep rolling voice that's perfect for audio books. The historical subject of this book makes it hard to pay attention when nothing exciting is going on. And it's a long book.

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- Amazon Customer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 03-15-2011
  • Publisher: Audible Studios