Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead

Lindbergh, Anne Morrow. Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead: Diaries and Letters 1929 – 1932.New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1973.

If, in the letters and journals of Bring Me a Unicorn Anne Morrow Lindbergh was a fresh-faced college girl, she is now a daring pilot and adventurer in Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead. The year 1929 begins with Anne and Charles’ engagement. At this stage in her life she is quickly learning about the down side of being a celebrity (thanks to Charles and his airplane adventures). The couple can’t go anywhere without a throng of reporters following their every move. Anne has to be careful of what she writes to friends and family for fear of it getting out to the press and misconstrued. Charles and Anne even wear disguises to the opera. But, Anne still carries her enthusiasm with her. She continues to miss her siblings and mother madly (she never addresses her letters to her father) while she travels about the world. All this enthusiasm comes crashing to the ground at the end of 1931 when she loses her father and then again, in early 1932, when her son, Charles Jr., is kidnapped and found months later murdered. It is heartbreaking the way she refers to her son as, “the stolen child” as if she cannot bear to call him by name or even claim to be his mother. Throughout the rest of the book, Anne’s grief is heartbreaking. She tried to end on a happy note with the birth of her second son, Jon and the wedding of her sister, Elisabeth.

Quotes to take away: “I leaned on another’s strength until I discovered my own” (p 2). Speaking of Erich Maria Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front, “It took me by the teeth and shook me as a dog a rabbit, and I could not get over it” (p 56).  A line I can relate to, “I am wild, wild, wild to get home” (p 100). A line I cannot relate to, “After ten weeks of negotiation and contact with the kidnapper and the handing over of the demanded ransom, the dead body of the child was found in the woods a few miles from our home” (p 209).

Reason read: I read Bring Me A Unicorn in honor of January being Journal month. Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead continues the series.

Author fact: There is one degree of separation between Anne Morrow Lindbergh and myself! I had a small thrill on my second day of reading Hour of Gold when surprise, surprise! Anne mentions Monhegan Island! She is recounting all of the stops on her honeymoon with Charles and says, “Monhegan Island in here somewhere” (p 45). Judging by the dates of letters, she was there sometime between June 1 and June 7th, 1929.

Book trivia: Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead picks up where Bring Me a Unicorn left off. The next book in the sequence is Locked Rooms and Open Doors which I will not be reading. This period, from 1933 – 1935 will be skipped. Sad.

BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Journals and Letters: We Are All Voyeurs At Heart” (p 131).

PS ~ Even though Locked Rooms and Open Doors is not on my list I have decided to borrow it, just so I can look at the pictures and feel “caught up” for when I read Flower and the Nettle.

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