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The Highs and Lows of Lindbergh's Life

Biographer A. Scott Berg on the life of Charles Lindbergh. Berg is the first and only writer to be given unrestricted access to the Lindbergh archives, and he found surprises at every turn while doing research for his book, "Lindbergh." (Putnam) Lindbergh broke records with the first transatlantic flight from New York to Paris in 1927. In 1932, his 20-month old son was kidnapped and later found dead. The resulting hysteria sent the Lindberghs into exile. Berg opens up the files of this private time, discovering Lindbergh's medical work developing the precursor to the artificial heart and his fight to save the whales off the coasts of Japan and Peru. (THIS INTERVIEW CONTINUES INTO THE SECOND HALF OF THE SHOW)

34:39

Other segments from the episode on September 21, 1998

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, September 21, 1998: Interview with A. Scott Berg; Interview with Reeve Lindbergh; Review of the fall television season.

Transcript

Show: FRESH AIR
Date: SEPTEMBER 21, 1998
Time: 12:00
Tran: 092101np.217
Type: INTERVIEW
Head: A. Scott Berg
Sect: Entertainment
Time: 12:06

TERRY GROSS, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross.

The first modern media superstar is how Charles Lindbergh has been described by his biographer A. Scott Berg. Lindbergh his most famous for two things. He became hero in 1927 when he made the first successful flight across the Atlantic. And he became a victim in 1932 after his infant son was kidnapped and killed in what was called the crime of the century.

Over the years, Lindbergh and his family work hard to protect their privacy. Before his death in 1973, he stipulated that is papers should remain private until 50 years after the death of his widow, Anne Morrow Lindbergh.

In spite of that, Scott Berg contacted Anne Morrow Lindbergh with a request for access to the thinly papers for a biography he hoped to write. She was finally so impressed with Berg he gave him access to her husband papers and her own. Berg is the author of biographies of editor Maxwell Perkins (ph) and film mogul Samuel Goldwyn.

I asked got Berg to describe why Lindbergh's transatlantic flight was so remarkable in 1927.

A. SCOTT BERG, AUTHOR, "LINDBERGH": This was not only was it a fantastically long way to go in a short time. I mean, not only was this the greatest demonstration to date of what aviation could do. But this was really the first moments in which a single human being left the earth. There was no contact with this one human being. Again, Columbus many thought was going to just float off the edges of the earth, but he was not alone. Lindbergh was out there alone. And there was that. Where he had flown up from -- he left from Roosevelt field on Long Island, he went up the coast of Canada, and then for about 15 hours he was flying into just black night, terrible weather, and he was out of visual and audio contact with every human being on Earth.

So this, in that moment, he was suddenly elevated to God-like status. And then, 15 hours later, he was spotted for the first time coming over Ireland and rejoining the human race. And of course by the time he did actually land at Le Bourgey (ph) in Paris he did become a god in that instant.

So it was an act of great, great heroism. It was death-defying. And he pulled it off. And above and beyond that, it was scientifically a wonder in that he who had lost his bearings several times through the flight, his compasses went out because he flew through magnetic storms and so forth, when he finally hit the other side, he was three miles off course. So this was just astounding that this could be done.

And of course in the historical sense he and that one instant, in that 33-1/2 hour flight, shrunk the world.

GROSS: Now, he became quite a celebrity after the flight, and from the way you described in your book it was a combination of things. It was the importance of the feat that he just accomplished and it was also the place said he held within the rise of mass media.

BERG: Yes, I think that there's no doubt about that. I mean the accomplishment was fantastic in and of itself, but it was that moment, too, where radio had really, really reached its maturity, where we had all sorts of processes for sending photographs through cables and so forth. We had motion pictures. And in fact for the first time, 1927, they were synchronizing sound with film, and in fact, the first sound newsreel was of Lindbergh taking off at Roosevelt Field. So within two days films could be sent around the world and everybody instantaneously, simultaneously could share and that experience. They could actually see and hear Lindbergh's plane taking off.

Now, on top of that, he was one of the most photogenic men who ever lived. In all my research I've seen thousands, 5,10,000 photographs of Charles Lindbergh, I've never seen one bad shot of him. I mean he was just impossibly handsome and he was young, he was 25, and it was at a moment when America was really hitting its stride, you know, it was a few years after World War I where we had really achieved our place in the world. I mean there we were having saved the free world and so forth. So here was this fantastic embodiment of America, of youth, and of all the possibilities of aviation.

GROSS: The media attention, the celebrity, enormously changed Lindbergh's life. And now, I mean, for people who are always in the public eye one of the questions is where is that dividing line between private life in public life. That was an issue for the Lindberghs, too. When Charles Lindbergh met Anne Morrow and they became a couple there was an enormous amount of public interest in them. Why was there so much interest in them as a couple and how did they deal with that?

BERG: Well, and again, you've really hit on something extremely important, which because of all this frenzy after Lindbergh's flight he really did become the first human quarry for the press. We didn't have the phrase paparazzi then, but it was the first time the paparazzi did cross that line. Even movie stars, who existed before that, they were protected by studios and there was a certain code of ethics. And also people knew the movie stars weren't really the people they portrayed on the screen. Lindbergh was the real thing. So, indeed, from that night he landed in Paris all the rules were broken, all the rules were thrown out the window in fact. And he was literally stalked from that day forward.

So, suddenly, here's this handsome young bachelor who loves his mother. And alternately he falls in love. It was a kind of storybook meeting with one of the daughters of the American ambassador to Mexico, Dwight Morrow, and this great story unfolded in the press. Everybody loved it. Lindy was falling in love. And he fell in love with a very attractive woman and she was a poetic woman, I mean she was really good copy. They looked good together. He was a foot taller than she. He came from the world of science and aviation and machines and she was this lovely poet

So everything just sort of worked for them. So, indeed, the media went crazy for that. It was another thing to sell papers with.

GROSS: Scott Berg is my guest and were talking about his new biography of Charles Lindbergh.

Let's get to be kidnapping. You found the nurse, Betty Gow (ph), who cared for the Lindbergh baby and discovered that he was missing.

BERG: I did. It was a rather, I have to say, rather touching. But it was more than that, it was an extremely dramatic moments when I found her and she agreed to see me, very reluctantly, because she really hasn't talked about the Lindbergh case in 65 -- well, at that point it was 60 years she hadn't talked about it. And it was -- it was very difficult for her because she was indeed the caretaker of that baby and so she loved the baby, and she was the first person to discover the baby was missing. But worst of all, she became the first suspect, and for many years people assumed she had done it or had been in on it. And so her life, I mean, she was just a girl, she was 19 or 20 years old when she came over to this country, a rather shy Scotswoman herself, and suddenly here her entire life is plastered on the front page of every newspaper in the world, and it petrified her. And ultimately she went back to Scotland and indeed sought a rather quiet, reclusive life. She just wanted to get back to being herself.

GROSS: What did you learn from the Lindbergh papers about what went through Charles and Anne Morrow Lindberghs' mines during the period when their child was missing and the hunt was on?

BERG: Yes. For me the most interesting aspect of that period, going through their papers, was to see how it affected the marriage. And I've been told by people who have been through tragedies that it either brings the married couple closer together or it tears them apart. I think in the case of the Lindbergh kidnapping it did both actually. During the period while the baby was missing and for the next year or two after that there was a great kind of foxhole mentality between Charles and Anne that really did bring them together.

But after the kidnapping, it was something Lindbergh never wanted to deal with, never talk about. And always plagued Anne Lindbergh that she never saw her husband cry, and she felt he never properly mourned over this tragedy that had, well, had struck both of them certainly. And as a result of that she always felt, and in fact, a psychiatrist she later saw always felt, that there was this buried trauma there. And it became a kind of wedge, or more than that it became almost a cancerous growth that got bigger and bigger.

And in the later years of the Lindbergh marriage they were separated for weeks, sometimes months at a time and never really talked about it. And I think, and I think she thinks that a lot of it goes back to 1932 when this tragedy was never properly dealt with.

GROSS: Bruno Hauptman (ph) was convicted of the Lindbergh kidnapping. His widow maintained his innocence to the last. And she spent a lot of time trying to convince journalists, often successfully, to reinvestigate, to write stories and so one. I'm sure you did a little bit of reinvestigating yourself. What do you walk away thinking?

BERG: I did, and indeed I spent an afternoon with Mrs. Hauptman herself. And she agreed to the interview I think for the reason that she hoped I would join her cause. And in fact she asked me point-blank if I would go to the governor of New Jersey to get him to reopen the case. And indeed when I met her and when I started this project, it was a fervent hope of mine that I would find enough evidence to clear Bruno Richard Hauptman.

And I really poured over everything I could find with that hope. Unfortunately, the deeper I got into the case, and the more I studied the evidence, and the more I read the transcripts and everyone's statements and so forth -- and I really spent a lot of time on all the evidence -- the guiltier he came up in my mind.

GROSS: What do you think his motive was?

BERG: I think his motive was money. I don't think he intended to kill the baby, I think that was an accident. I think that happened when he was leaving the child's nursery on the second floor, coming down a ladder. There was a bit of a gap between the window and the ladder. I think he put too much weight on the ladder. He also had the added weight of the baby. The ladder did break, we know that, you can see that it was split. And I think the baby either cracked his head against the wall of the house or actually fell to the ground, was dropped to the ground, and his skull was smashed then. So that part was an accident.

But I think what he hoped to gain was $50,000 in ransom. And it would have been neat and clean and he would have returned the baby right away.

GROSS: My guest is Scott Berg. He's written a new biography of Charles Lindbergh. We'll talk more after a break.

This is FRESH AIR.

BREAK

GROSS: Were talking with Scott Berg about his new biography of Charles Lindbergh.

During part of the period that you are writing and researching your biography of Charles Lindbergh and the kidnapping, which became known as the crime of the century, the O.J. trial was underway also being billed as the crime of the century. And I can think of a connection between the two trials, the trial of Bruno Hauptman and the trial of O.J. Simpson, and that's cameras in the courtroom.

Tell a story of cameras in the court in the Lindbergh kidnapping trial.

BERG: Yes, and I would say -- in fact I was writing those chapters while the O.J. trial was going on, and I thought, oh, if you -- if all you news people today only really knew, I mean, the real crime and trial of the century really did happen back in the '30s. And, indeed, all the models for what went on during the O.J. trial, such as cameras in the courtroom and basically court television. They didn't have court TV then, but they had court radio basically.

They had radio announcers constantly reporting at noon and doing interviews with people and with experts and so forth. All that began at the Lindbergh trial, as indeed did cameras in the courtroom. There was a camera hidden in the courtroom. It was a stationary camera, it did not move, it was focused on the witness chair.

It's a strange thing because it was such a big, bulky camera it is hard to believe that people didn't know it was there, but nobody ever copped to knowing it was there. And, indeed, after a few days of trial testimony, film footage began to appear in movie houses, in theaters, as part of -- parts of newsreels. And from that moment, the instant they did appear, the judge pulled them and pulled the camera from the courtroom because everyone immediately saw how that film footage could be used to sway, certainly the public, and indeed whether that might trickle down to the jury as well, barred though they were from reading newspapers and so forth.

GROSS: Did it seem to be affecting public opinion?

BERG: Oh, there's no question it was affecting public opinion. And Bruno Richard Hauptman...

GROSS: In which direction?

BERG: Well, it was against Hauptman, who suffered primarily because, first of all, he was a German immigrant and he did not have complete mastery of the English language. And, of course, Germans were still considered somewhat suspicious, it wasn't that many years after the first world war. Indeed, immigrants of any kind were held in some suspicion.

So to see and hear Hauptman, this was troubling. And he had a somewhat bumbling attorney, and so to see him, that didn't play very well. And there, on the other hand, you would see Charles Lindbergh, I mean just to see Lindbergh himself, who was this bastion and vision of strength and goodness, to see Anne Lindbergh on the stand, you know, this frail -- she you know, she was still in her 20s when this happens, she was 25 when the crime happened, 28 when the trial occurred. So to see this rather small, frail woman who had obviously been crying, well, this could not but sway public opinion.

GROSS: By the way, when you say the camera was hidden in the courtroom, the judge do it was there, didn't he?

BERG: Yes, presumably he did. So it was there. Everyone had agreed that camera could be in the courtroom, but it was not to be used during the actual testimony. That is, when court broke, the camera could be used to film some of the principles. And, indeed, some of the attorneys, for example, when court was not in session, would go before the camera and actually re-enact some of the things they had said. So that in and of itself contributed to the whole falsity of the operation. And that was yet another reason why cameras were really removed from courtrooms all across the country from that moment on.

GROSS: If you are just joining us, my guest is Scott Berg, and were talking about his new biography of Charles Lindbergh.

Now, you and I were both warned about protecting ourselves against kidnapping as children, largely because of the Lindbergh kidnapping. What impact did the Lindbergh kidnapping have on Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh's approach to protecting their children? What did you get from that from the papers that you have access to?

BERG: Yes. I mean the papers were very revealing in that regard because Lindbergh was of two minds. On one hand, he was extremely protective, and in fact he was protective of his family is entire life. He was part of the reason I think he wanted the papers, his own papers locked out, so that nobody could bother his family for 50 years after his death and so forth.

But the interesting thing, the flip side is he was not going to become paranoid about it. And it was as though he was not going become a victim of the crime twice. And what amazed me is when the second child was born, which was just a few months after the kidnapping, shortly after that he suddenly took Anne on a trip, a flying trip around the world that lasted for months. So for months at a time he and Anne suddenly left their baby alone with a nurse or with her mother, sometimes with his mother, but off they went.

And it was almost as though he were saying to his wife -- this is what I felt rather strongly -- we are not going to become paranoid here and we've got to get on with our lives. And we must just assume this will not happen again, we must protect ourselves as best we can, but that must not change the way we live in a basic way. And off they went. And was amazing to the that after the birth of each child Lindbergh did that same drill.

GROSS: It was almost as the -- excuse me for the chief psychoanalysis here -- but it's almost as if we really was saying was this time around were not going to allow ourselves to become very attached to the infant, were going to, like, get away and not have this emotional attachment.

BERG: I think there's some truth to that, I definitely do. And the Lindbergh children all grew up feeling very loved, but never cosseted by any means. And I think there was always some detachment between parents and children.

GROSS: You write that your mother didn't want you to write this book about Charles Lindbergh because she thought of Lindbergh as an anti-semite. And...

BERG: (unintelligible) it was my grandmother.

GROSS: Your grandmother, excuse may. And therefore Lindbergh was like not worth the attention, he was a scoundrel, an anti-semite. What did you find about his degree of anti-Semitism?

BERG: Yes, and I will say this. I think my grandmother thought he was worth the attention, I think a real worry was is that a world I wanted to spend a decade in? My grandmother was Jewish and she grew up in a time and place where there was a rather sharp division between Jews and Gentiles, and we don't belong to their clubs and so forth. And I think she was wary of my invading that particular world.

What I found was more and less tan I expected. It really became a great exploration for me of what is anti-Semitism. What I learned was that Charles Lindbergh was not an active anti-Semite, he did not hate Jews, if that is your definition of what an anti-Semite is. Some of his best friends were Jewish, as the phrase goes, which is an immediate tip off the most Jews that he probably is anti-Semitic.

But the truth of the matter is Charles Lindbergh, who didn't have many friends in the world, did have several Jewish friends. He consorted with them, he worked with them, he was friends with them.

Now, at the same time, that makes the very point. He did segregate them in his mind. Jews were different. And, indeed, during the America First period, which was extremely controversial period in this country's life and it was in Lindbergh's life, he did make some references in his writings and in a speech he delivered in which he talked about the Jews as being other than Americans, as being different, as being another category of people. And saying that, he really when against the grain of the founding fathers who really defined what this country is about, which is the great melting pot.

GROSS: Scott Berg is the author of the new biography of Charles Lindbergh. He'll be back in the second half hour of the show.

I'm Terry Gross and this is FRESH AIR.

(BREAK)

GROSS: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Terry Gross. Back with a Scott Berg, the author of a new biography of Charles Lindbergh.

Lindbergh is best known for making the first transatlantic flight back in 1927. His family was devastated in 1932 by what was described as the crime of the century, the kidnapping/killing of the Lindbergh baby. In the late 30s, Lindberghs heroic image was tarnished by anti-Semitic comments. For example, in the 1938 speech Des Moines, he said this about Jews.: "The greatest danger to this country lies in their large ownership an influence on our motion pictures, our press, our radio, and our government."

BERG: And he believed that. And that was -- and this is hardly to excuse him -- that was a very common thought in the 30s, the '40s, and well into the '50s and '60s in fact. The Jews controlled the media. I mean we have all heard that. Lindbergh actively believed that and he believed it primarily because he wanted to believe it, he had to believe it.

GROSS: And adding to his reputation for anti-Semitism, in 1937 he described Hitler as a great man. He said, "I believe Hitler has done much for the German people." And shortly before Kristalnacht (ph) he received a metal from Germany which he never gave back in protest after the war started and after he realized what was actually going on there.

Did he ever change his mind about Hitler after the revelations about the concentration camps and death camps?

BERG: He really didn't. And this is -- this is one of -- this is one of the great downfalls, one of the reasons for the downfall of Charles Lindbergh, too. He stubbornly adhered to everything he ever thought, said or did. And it was admirable on one hand that he stood by his actions on record. On the other hand, he never came around. His wife did recant. She wrote -- I found several things in her diaries that were never published that were indeed praising Hitler, praising Nazi Germany and so forth -- and she did retract them and say I was really naive or I didn't want to know better.

Lindbergh really was infatuated with Germany. One can understand why, and my job is never to excuse him, it's really to explain him. And I tried to take you on Lindbergh's journey so that you can see what it is he fell in love with, which was this amazing technological society that was springing forward in the '30s, that had the greatest Air Force in the world, that seemed to be an anti-crime country and so forth. But of course he was closing his eyes to the most horrible crimes going on of all.

Now, in his defense there was a lot we did not know about Nazi crimes then. On the other hand, there was plenty we did no. And indeed he was given this metal and indeed he chose never to give back.

GROSS: In spite of Lindbergh's many aviation talents and all that he could've offered to the aviation industry during World War II, FDR banned him from participating in any of the government's war efforts. Why?

BERG: It's really one of the most interesting things to me, because I grew up a great Roosevelt lover, and I still am, I think he was a fantastic president. But what I learned putting this book together was really what a petty and manipulative and powerful politician he was at the same time.

Lindbergh and Roosevelt became the too great antagonists during the two years before Pearl Harbor, 1940, 1941. During that period Roosevelt very much wanted this country to get into the war, Lindbergh was the primary spokesman to keep us out of the war. And they would give dueling speeches. Roosevelt would give a fire side chat in some of the country would come over to him, then Lindbergh would go out and give an address on behalf of America First and the country would trot toward him.

And, indeed, as late as the spring and into the summer of 1941 -- this is now six months, really up until three months before Pearl Harbor -- most of the country backed Lindbergh and his position. They believed this was a European war.

GROSS: America First was an isolationist group.

BERG: It was an isolationist organization. When I started the book, in fact, this was one of the great surprises for me. I thought America First was started by a bunch of middle-age, Midwestern, very Republican senators. What I learned, in fact, was that America First began as a kind of youth movement. It was an organization started by a few students at Yale Law School and Yale University undergraduates, a strange conglomeration of kids basically who were Gerald Ford, Sergeant Shriver (ph), Potter Stewart, who of course ended up on the U.S. Supreme Court, Kingman Brewster, who became president of Yale University. So these were not rabid right-wingers, these were rather idealistic young men who believed, as Lindbergh did, that this was not an American war. Of course everything changed with Pearl Harbor, and at that moment Lindbergh tried to get into the war.

GROSS: So was this FDR's problem with Lindbergh, an ideological one, a political one?

BERG: Yes, it -- it was a political problem and ideological. And indeed they had had a skirmish about seven years earlier over the air mail, and it was a fight over canceling some air mail contracts. And it was a very public fight and it was one that Lindbergh won and Franklin Roosevelt had made a mistake, it was his first big public goof in the New Deal, it was 1934. And as a result of that he always sort of had in for Lindbergh.

GROSS: Now, Lindbergh went on to other technical accomplishments in the latter part of his life. Maybe you can briefly sum up what they were.

BERG: Well, actually his accomplishments were really all across the board for the last 33 years of his life, most interesting of which I think was actually anti-technology, which is he became extremely interested in the environment and conservation. And it was quite ironic because Lindbergh himself realized that he was responsible for a lot of the problems in the environment, he having been the great romantic symbol of aviation which shrank the world.

It occurred to him that he was the sponsor for a lot of being encroaching of civilization in areas where it shouldn't be encroached upon. As a result of that, animals were becoming extinct, some remote tribes were becoming extinct, tribes of human beings, the flora, the fauna.

And so he really spent the last 25 years of his life as a very active crusader trying to save the planet. He was very big on saving the whales, saving the trees. He said at one point toward the end of his life, "If I had to choose between airplanes and birds, I would choose birds."

And it was interesting to me, he was on the Pan Am board, and when the supersonic transport was being developed he vocally and publicly came out against the SST. He just thought it was ecologically unsound and that it was unnecessary. And, in fact, he wrote a big op-ed piece in the New York Times on the very subject.

And all Lindbergh's life he always maintained an interest in archaeology and anthropology. So there were always -- whenever I thought I could pin a label on Lindbergh, or whenever I thought I knew where he was going, he would fool me. He would make a right hand turn and go in an entirely different direction.

GROSS: I think one thing our society is trying to come to terms with now is the fact that a lot of people who are exceptionally gifted in one way or another, whether it's in the arts or politics, are also very flawed in one way or another, whether it's in certain views that they hold or certain ways they live their private life. And somehow if you throw fame or celebrity into the equation it seems to complicate things even more. And I'm wondering if writing the Lindbergh book has given you a chance to reflect on that, and if so, what kind of conclusions you've been reaching.

BERG: Well, it has, and the first and foremost inclusion I've reached is lives are not black and white and we all live rather gray lives, I think. And that is touched with pastels of other colors, needless to say, but nothing is black and white.

Charles Lindbergh knew all along, he knew the morning after when they turned him into a god that he was in fact only a man. And he knew nobody could be everything to every man and he was not. And he felt people kept trying to push him into those slots, and one cannot do that. And that has an application today about President Clinton for that matter. He is who he is and, you know, we've got to take the whole package, or reject the whole package. But that's the case, and that's as it was with Lindbergh.

And I learned for me personally it was not to be judgmental. My job is not to pass judgment on my subjects, it is to serve a has much information -- is in as dramatic a fashion as I can, that information to the public so you can decide who this person is and you can develop your own feelings about him.

But I think after you read the Lindbergh book you'll have mixed feelings from beginning to end. And I think some people who have demonized him will realize he was quite an amazing man. And I think some people who have deified him will realize the same thing, but he is at last only a man.

GROSS: Well, Scott Berg I want to thank you very much for talking with us.

BERG: Thank you very much.

GROSS: Scott Berg is the author of a new biography of Charles Lindbergh. We'll meet Lindbergh's youngest child Reeve Lindbergh after a break.

This is FRESH AIR.

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Dateline: Terry Gross, Philadelphia
Guest: A. Scott Berg
High: Biographer A. Scott Berg on the life of Charles Lindbergh. Berg is the first and only writer to be given unrestricted access to the Lindbergh archives, and he found surprises at every turn while doing research for his book, "Lindbergh." (Putnam) Lindbergh broke records with the first transatlantic flight from New York to Paris in 1927. In 1932, his 20-month old son was kidnapped and later found dead. The resulting hysteria sent the Lindberghs into exile. Berg opens up the files of this private time, discovering Lindbergh's medical work developing the precursor to the artificial heart and his fight to save the whales off the coasts of Japan and Peru.
Spec: Lifestyle; Culture; Entertainment; Books; Authors; A. Scott Berg; Charles Lindbergh
Please note, this is not the final feed of record
Copy: Content and programming copyright 1998 WHYY, Inc. All rights reserved. Transcribed by FDCH, Inc. under license from WHYY, Inc. Formatting copyright 1998 FDCH, Inc. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to WHYY, Inc. This transcript may not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission.
End-Story: A. Scott Berg
Show: FRESH AIR
Date: SEPTEMBER 21, 1998
Time: 12:00
Tran: 092102NP.217
Type: INTERVIEW
Head: Charles Lindbergh
Sect: Entertainment
Time: 12:30

TERRY GROSS, HOST: My guest Reeve Lindbergh is the youngest child of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. She was born in 1945. Reeve says she's very pleased with Scott Berg's new biography of her father. She approved the decision to grant Berg access to her father's papers. She thought the time was right to tell her father's story and that Berg was the person to do it.

In her new memoir she tells what it was like to grow up in the Lindbergh family. Her book is titled "Under a Wing." Reeve Lindbergh is also the author of children's books and two novels.

The new biography of her father says that the Lindbergh children learned in school or through friends about the kidnap and murder of their brother. I asked her how she found out.

REEVE LINDBERGH, DAUGHTER OF CHARLES LINDBERGH: I think I found out in the school -- either in a newsreel at school or maybe even it was through one of those Life magazine retrospective photograph series. And then, if I asked questions to my mother she would talk a little bit about it. I did not even try the asked my father, it seemed like something I shouldn't ask him about.

GROSS: What signal did he give you that gave you that impression?

LINDBERGH: He seemed closed on the past, he did not seem to be somebody who could easily talked about the past. And I think it was much more an understood feeling among us that he just didn't ask him than any signal that he gave directly. For me anyway. I just -- it just was something that this I knew from earliest childhood you just don't ask him.

GROSS: Do you remember what your reaction was when you found out about the kidnapping?

LINDBERGH: Yeah, I thought -- I felt very strange, it was almost like a numbing experience. And that still happens. That still -- I'll read a reference to the kidnapping in a book -- it'll be a book I was asked to review -- and I can feel it's, I just kind of go numb. I don't know why that is. I wonder whether it's some kind of defense against emotion. It doesn't feel real.

GROSS: Were you angry with your parents for not telling you themselves?

LINDBERGH: Oh, no. No, I wasn't. I think I understood it immediately as terribly, terribly painful. And, no, I wasn't angry about that ever.

GROSS: You write that for years people would show at the door of your family's home claiming to be the grown version of the baby who was kidnapped. Did you ever believe any of them, that any of them really was your long-lost brother?

LINDBERGH: Oh, no. I never believed it. Actually I think it only happened maybe twice, and each time it seemed very strange. But it never -- I never doubted ever that the baby had died, probably because in our family that was the strongest sense, that we had lost a brother, you know, it was a death in the family, and that that really overshadowed the family and certain ways.

GROSS: Your first baby -- you write about the senior memoir -- your first baby died at the same age that your brother did, just before reaching his second birthday.

LINDBERGH: Yeah. It was my first son, my daughters were born, but it was by first little boy.

GROSS: And there was a seizure from encephalitis?

LINDBERGH: That's right.

GROSS: In the middle of the night while you were sleeping.

LINDBERGH: Yes, I was sleeping at my mother's house and he was too, yeah.

GROSS: And you write how your mother told you to spend some time just sitting with your baby's body.

LINDBERGH: Yeah.

GROSS: Why did she suggest that?

LINDBERGH: I think she must have wished that she could have done it herself. And when her child died he was of course lost for three or four months, several months before they found the body, and it had been buried in a very shallow grave in the woods and there had been animals and it was not something that she ever saw, that body. So she missed having just the chance to mourn with the child's body and she told me that I should do that, that it would be important for me to do that. And she sat with me. It's amazing moment.

PROS: It must have made you feel that, well, babies are just so vulnerable that there's only a certain amount that you can do to protect a child.

LINDBERGH: Yes. Yes, it did. And when my second son was born I did -- it was very hard for me sometimes in the morning to just to go and check on him because I had found that the first one dead unexpectedly. And I do think this happens to people who lost their children, that they -- it so hard not to over protect and to behave normally toward the next one.

GROSS: You know, I'm wondering, you try to keep that impulse in check as a mother yourself. Were you over protected as a child by your parents?

LINDBERGH: I don't know. I guess my brothers and my sisters said I was spoiled, so I don't know whether that means over protected or not. But they were pretty much kidding.

I think we were certainly very much protected in terms of our surroundings, yes, we were. My father was very, very careful about where we live to how we live and who came to the door. We always had a German shepherd, which they were a little intimidating for people coming up out of the blue to visit. We were pretty well protected. But we also had -- we went public schools. We were encouraged to, you know, ride our bikes and make our friends and run around the neighborhood with everybody else. So I guess the answer would be yes and no.

GROSS: So, do you like to fly?

LINDBERGH: I used to. I flew with him and I loved it. But -- although it was a little noisy. And -- but I haven't flown as a pilot, I never got a pilot's license. I fly like everybody else, like a commuter, the way we all do. But I loved to line with him early on, even in the days that I was flying with him you felt his sense of freedom.

GROSS: Can you describe a little for us one of those early flights with your father?

LINDBERGH: Oh, well the one I wrote about was when we were -- every Saturday, or almost -- maybe wasn't even every Saturday, it felt like every Saturday that he was home he would take us flying out of Danbury, Connecticut, there was a little airport there and he would take us up, each of us, one at a time, and he would give us some flying instruction. But he also used to tell, he just kind of wanted to give us the feel of what it was like to be up there in the air.

Sometimes he would just have fun. You know, he would climb way up with the airplane and then dive and you would feel the weightlessness. Or he would -- and he just kind of go low and show you all the little roads and the cars. And then once with me, once, the automatic choke malfunctioned and we had to put down in a cow pasture. And I had no clue what was happening. I wrote about this. But he just, he said we have the land because we can't get to the airport in time. In I thought, gee, in time for what? I had no clue. I had no sense of danger at all.

LAUGHTER

GROSS: Well, that's just as well.

LINDBERGH: It was wild, it was just wild. And then he just said, will you put your head down now? So I did it. And then we -- and I said, "are we going to crash?" I got all excited. But it wasn't fear really, I just thought it was an adventure. I don't know what I was thinking. But he -- then he got us down in this field and bound to long and, you know, we didn't hit any stones or trees in within hit any cows. And we did fine. And then we, you know, got out and off we went. But he said it was one of the most dangerous forced landings he's had. But I of course had no notion, I was about seven years old, and I just thought we were having a good time.

GROSS: One of the things about your father that Scott Berg brings up in his biography is the period around World War II when your father for a period supported Hitler before the revelations about the concentration camps. He never withdrew some of that support, he never spoke out against Hitler after that. He seemed to consider Jews the other, so to speak. And I'm wondering if that was new to you, if you were aware that.

LINDBERGH: Well, it was new to me. He always claimed, my father always claimed that he didn't at all support Hitler, that he admired the German people and he was an isolationist. He wouldn't want the U.S. going into war at that time. And of course therein many, many other isolationists.

But he did, he did make that the mourn speech in which to me there were three paragraphs that sounded anti-Semitic. And there are those, I still get letters from people who say, no, you are judging him harshly, it wasn't anti-Semitic, it was just the isolationist position. And I try to understand that.

But to me it's very, very hard having been born after the war to read that and not feel the anti-Semitic implications of that kind of language.

GROSS: It must be so strange for you, you know, to have at the same time as your memoir has come out this massive biography about your father. And I'm wondering if you have this instinct to be protective of his image or to just be as kind of fair about it as you can, to just, you know, try to learn the truth as, you know, the good and the bad and the middle, as opposed to just kind of, you know, preserving the image.

LINDBERGH: Oh, yeah. No, I do, I'm much more interested in both the truth and in the humanity of my family than in any kind of image. I'm not too crazy about images. I think somebody said that image is s death. And I think you lose humanity in image. And my sense is that Scott also was trying to get -- very much trying to get behind the image into the story of this man and what happened to him.

I think he's done a really beautiful job. It's a different view, our views are different a little bit, but not I think conflicting. It's does, it's funny, some of the (unintelligible), I'm looking at him from the inside and the Scott is looking at him from the outside and together you have this picture. And I think it's accurate. It's not always exactly the same, but I think were both accurate in our views.

GROSS: What are some of the things that you see from the inside?

LINDBERGH: Well, I saw he was much more relaxed with me, I think, then he ever would be -- would appear to be in the more public context. He was able to, a little bit, to just kind of relaxed and lay back and have a good time at home more than one felt he could outside of the home.

One of my brothers was just talking to be about this, about how he would, he came back from camp and he was on the train platform and ran up to throw his arms are a my father and my father sort of turned to stone, he just -- and Lan (ph) realized, oh, no, you don't do this in public. So there was no possibility of displaying affection or, you know, doing anything emotional where anybody could see.

Whereas at home it seemed much less that way, he seemed much more willing to be affectionate and to be relaxed and so on then ever outside the home. It was as though there were two different emotional worlds for him.

GROSS: Reeve Lindbergh, I want to thank you very much for talking with us.

LINDBERGH: Well, thank you so much, Terry. Appreciate it.

GROSS: Reeve Lindbergh's new memoir is called "Under a Wing."

Coming up, a preview of the new TV season. This is FRESH AIR.

This is a rush transcript. This copy may not
be in its final form and may be updated.

TO PURCHASE AN AUDIOTAPE OF THIS PIECE, PLEASE CALL 888-NPR-NEWS

This is a rush transcript. This copy may not
be in its final form and may be updated.

TO PURCHASE AN AUDIOTAPE OF THIS PIECE, PLEASE CALL 888-NPR-NEWS

Dateline: Terry Gross, Philadelphia
Guest: Reeve Lindbergh
High: Charles Lindbergh's youngest daughter, Reeve Lindbergh. She'll join us to talk about life with her father. Reeve is a writer, whose memoir about her father and mother Anne Morrow Lindbergh, "Under a Wing" (Simon & Schuster) will be published in October 1998. Her other books include the children's titles "The Midnight Farm," and "The Day The Goose Got Loose." Other books include "The Names of the Mountains" and "Nobody Owns the Sky: The Story of `Brave Bessie' Coleman."
Spec: Lifestyle; Culture; Entertainment; Books; Authors; A. Scott Berg; Charles Lindbergh; Reeve Lindbergh; Under a Wing; Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Please note, this is not the final feed of record
Copy: Content and programming copyright 1998 WHYY, Inc. All rights reserved. Transcribed by FDCH, Inc. under license from WHYY, Inc. Formatting copyright 1998 FDCH, Inc. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to WHYY, Inc. This transcript may not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission.
End-Story: Charles Lindbergh
Show: FRESH AIR
Date: SEPTEMBER 21, 1998
Time: 12:00
Tran: 092103NP.217
Type: REVIEW
Head: Fall TV Season
Sect: Entertainment
Time: 12:54

TERRY GROSS, HOST: In addition to news coverage of the Clinton video testimony, TV is presenting something else for viewers this week, the start of the new season. A total of three dozen new shows will be unveiled before the fall is over. TV critic David Bianculli has seen some of the new crop and isn't terribly impressed.

DAVID BIANCULLI, TV CRITIC: A year ago when I was checking out the new fall shows there was one new show that stood out that I got really excited about: "Ally McBeal," which turned out to be a surprise hit for Fox. Two years ago, I was most excited about "Easy Streets," with lasted about 10 seconds on CBS. Three years ago, the shows I thought would truly original where "Murderer One" on ABC and "American Gothic" on CBS, neither of which made it to a second season.

So what show them I thrilled about this year? There isn't one. The closest I can come is "Felicity," a new youthful drama series from WB, the network that scored big last year with "Dawson's Creek." Keri Russell (ph) stars as a high school student, who on graduation day, gets a sweet note from acute guy who signed to yearbook and impulsively decides to follow him to college in New York City.

He finally runs into her while she's getting her student ID photo taken, but the meeting isn't exactly the reunion Felicity had fantasized, not when he takes the opportunity to introduce her to his girlfriend. It is, however, a real and unexpected enough moment to make "Felicity" stand out this season as a very good, very watchable show.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP, "FELICITY")

ACTOR #1: Just look at the dot please.

KERI RUSSELL, ACTRESS: Is my -- is my hair disaster? Please be honest because I'm going to have to live with this picture for the next four years and it's a really longtime.

ACTOR #2: Hey! What are you doing here?

ACTRESS: Hi! I'm -- this is -- I'm going -- this is where I'm going. I totally forgot you were going here.

ACTOR #2: That is so unbelievable. I know this girl from high school. This is Susan. This is um -- this is um -- um --

RUSSELL: Felicity.

ACTOR #2: Felicity, wow. All right, so I'll see you around.

BIANCULLI: Felicity probably will be a hit this year, one of three new series I predict will be instant successes. One of the others, NBC's "Jesse," stars Christina Applegate of "Married With Children" as a woman whose single with child. The recent it'll be a top-10 hit, though, is because it's time slot. It's wedged between "Friends" and "Frasier" on NBC's powerhouse Thursday lineup.

And the third can't miss show is a terrible sitcom called "Two of a Kind," which leads off ABC's TGIF children's lineup this season. It can't miss, even though it deserves to, because it stars those awful Olson twins from "Full House." Sometimes the TV we get is the TV we deserve.

Of the other new shows on the schedule, I can recommend four as worth sampling. "The '70s Show," a period sitcom that's already running Sunday nights on Fox, is inventive and interesting enough to try. So is "Buddy Faro," the new CBS comedy/drama starring Dennis Farino (ph) as a once legendary detective still hanging on to his Rat Pack-era sensibilities. And ABC's "Sports Night," a kind of ESPN version of "The Larry Sanders Show," is smart enough to visit at least once.

Finally, there's a show I know I'm gonna get grief for enjoying and recommending: ABC's remake of "Fantasy Island." I know, go ahead and laugh. I'll wait. You through now?

Here's the difference. This new version is a lot darker and a lot smarter. I know, it couldn't be any dumber. But this one stars Malcolm McDowell as Mr. Roarke and comes from Barry Sonnenfeld, who just did "Maximum Bob" for ABC and was responsible for both movie version of the Addams Family. And there's no Tattoo this time, another big plus.

When a remake of a horrible 20-year-old TV show is one of the highlights of the 1998-99 season, that's a pretty good indication that it's a pretty bad year for new series. The good news, and we need it, is that most of the good old stuff is back. "Ally McBeal." "Homicide: Life on the Street." "The Simpsons." "The Practice." "Frasier." Those are the shows to watch this year.

GROSS: David Bianculli is TV critic for The New York Daily News.

This is a rush transcript. This copy may not
be in its final form and may be updated.

TO PURCHASE AN AUDIOTAPE OF THIS PIECE, PLEASE CALL 888-NPR-NEWS

Dateline: David Bianculli; Terry Gross, Philadelphia
Guest:
High: TV critic David Bianculli previews the upcoming television season.
Spec: Lifestyle; Culture; Entertainment; Television and Radio
Please note, this is not the final feed of record
Copy: Content and programming copyright 1998 WHYY, Inc. All rights reserved. Transcribed by FDCH, Inc. under license from WHYY, Inc. Formatting copyright 1998 FDCH, Inc. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to WHYY, Inc. This transcript may not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission.
End-Story: Fall TV Season
Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

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