North to the Orient
Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Harcourt Brace, 1966 (1935)
Hardcover, Paperback, CD
Read an Excerpt
Reviewed by G. Hall
orth to the Orient
is Anne Morrow Lindbergh's fascinating account of a survey flight she made with her husband, aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh, in 1931. They flew from New York over the great circle route to the Far East, reaching both Japan and China. It may be hard for a reader to appreciate what a risky adventure this was in the age before radar, when aviation was in its infancy. Morrow Lindbergh was only twenty-four at the time and, although she admittedly had little technical or mechanical aptitude, she trained hard so that she could be the radio operator on the flight.
orrow Lindbergh is a wonderful writer with a lyrical style and a poet's eye. Her descriptions of the trip, both the people and the locations they encountered, are vividly detailed. As celebrities, the Lindberghs were entertained wherever they landed. They were given the opportunity to see many sights and exposed to cultural differences. The book is a travelogue in the very best sense, and also a
glimpse into a period that, while only seventy years ago, seems much more remote in the past. As the author describes stops in the Arctic and pre-World War II Japan, the reader is drawn back into life before modern technology spread throughout the world, when regions like Asia and the far North were much more isolated than they are today.
orrow Lindbergh has a gift for seeing the beauty of a place and appreciating all it has to offer. Although it sounds clichéd, she has the ability to see and express the deeper meaning of life, making her book much more than a beautifully written travelogue. For example she describes a tea ceremony in Japan and then explains how it reflects on the Japanese view of life. When she talks about the '
magic of flying
', and how the view from the air frees a person from the rat race of ordinary life, it seems even more to the point now. The book is also a terrific adventure story in which a safe outcome was definitely not a given. On one leg of the flight, the plane is caught above the mountainous Japanese islands in a dense fog and must attempt (pre-radar!) to land safely. The Lindberghs are finally able to descend, but have to moor their biplane overnight in treacherous open waters. At another time, their plane almost capsizes in the raging Yangtze where death by drowning would have been a certainty.
orth to the Orient
was Morrow Lindbergh's first book and she went on to twelve more, including her best-selling
Gift from the Sea
. She also became an acclaimed aviatrix - a pilot, navigator and record holder. This book was written in a happy period of the Lindberghs' life, before baby Charles Jr. was kidnapped and murdered. It is a real treat (especially for any who have not previously read Morrow Lindbergh) with appeal for both adult and young adult readers.
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