War Within and Without

Lindbergh, Anne Morrow. War Within and Without: Diaries and Letters of Anne Morrow Lindbergh 1939-1944. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980.

This is the last book in Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s series of diaries and letters. War Within and Without covers 1939 – 1944. In the beginning, the Lindberghs have just left France for America. The emphasis of War Within is World War II, of course, and the not so obvious private war the Lindberghs waged with public opinion concerning Charles’s views of Germany and the U.S involvement in the war. After spending nearly three years in Europe (England and France, mostly) the family returns to America where controversy over the political views of her husband continue to be criticized. All of this worries Anne very much as her husband is very vocal on these subjects. In view of the war, she has described this last book as coming full circle. World War I was raging when she was just seven years old. Underlying Anne’s very public life is the home life she struggled to keep private. Charles is “away” a great deal and Anne must entertain guests such as Antoine de Saint-Exupery on her own. She alludes to questioning what makes a good marriage. It leads one to believe there are hints of trouble with Charles. Anne does her best to convince the reader (herself, since it was her diary?) everything is fine. All the while she is crumbling under the pressure of being a good mother, writer, housekeeper, member of society, and of course, wife.

Telling quotes: “Both wars cracked open the worlds from which they erupted” (p xiii), “It is the striving after perfection that makes one an artist” (p 29), “Must get back to life after these days living in a world of the mind alone” (p 36), and “Then Monday he went off again and I have had a long week, tired from it, angry at myself, realizing I am doing too much and none of it well” (p 391).

Reason read: This is the last book I will read in honor of January being Journal Month. Finally!

Author fact: Lindbergh received six different honorary degrees from various institutions.

Book trivia: There is one grainy photo of Anne where credit is given to Charles. It makes me wonder who took the others. They seem “professional” compared to the intimacy of the one taken by Charles.

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

Flower and the Nettle

Lindbergh, Anne Morrow. The Flower and the Nettle: Diaries and Letters 1936 – 1939. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1976.

The Flower and the Nettle is Anne’s return to the living. It covers 1936 to 1939. After the death of her first born son she and Charles take their second son, Jon, to England for an “indefinite” stay. They are literally driven out of their own country by the media’s insatiable need to photograph and question the family. First, it was Charles Lindbergh’s fame, then it was the kidnapping and murder of their first child. It is at a rambling rented cottage in England called Long Barn that Anne and Charles can finally relax and be themselves again. Jon is allowed to play freely on the lawn without massive hyper-vigilant supervision. Anne is able to concentrate on her writing. It is here that humor returns to her diaries and letters. She says things like, “It is so delicious” (p 30), and “living passionately in the present” (p 31). Later, after her third son Land is born, Anne and her family move to Illiec off the coast of France. This is the “flower” part of her life. The “nettle” is the approach of World War II and the ensnaring politics. Following Charles to Russia for business Anne vocalizes her discontent with the country. She uses words like dirty, hideous, mediocrity, drab, shoddy, third-rate and glum to describe such things as the poor middle class. She is quick to comment negatively on their fashions and complexions. This took me by surprise. What I needed to keep in mind is the intense scrutiny Anne and her family felt. The longer they stay away from America, the more “pro-Nazi” they are “villainized” as being.

One drawback of skipping a book in a series is the potential to not understand references made to that book in the next one. Because I didn’t read Locked Doors I didn’t grasp Lindbergh’s reference to a previous trip to Russia in 1933.

Favorite lines, “One gets so cramped in ordinary living” (p 76). A good excuse to get out there and do something extraordinary!

As an aside, looking at pictures of Long Barn I can’t help but think what a wonderful place! Don’t tell my husband, but it looks like my dream home! It would have been nice if Lindbergh had included maps of not only her travel destinations, but of the places she and her family lived in Europe.

Reason read: to continue the series started in January, in honor of Journal Month.

Book trivia: Maybe because The Flower and the Nettle is a longer book, there are more photographs. For the first time, Anne includes detailed pictures of the interiors of their residence. Long Barn looks like a place where I would like to live!

Author fact: At this point in Lindbergh’s life she considers herself a serious writer despite already publishing earlier.

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

Locked Rooms and Open Doors

Lindbergh, Anne Morrow. Locked Rooms and Open Doors: Diaries and Letters 1933 – 1935.New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1974.

Reason read: While I didn’t read this word for word, I wanted to peruse it to “keep up” with Anne. This should have been the next book in the series, after Hour of Gold, Hour of Lead, but for some reason Pearl doesn’t list it. At this point in Lindbergh’s life (1933-1935) she and her husband Charles are recovering from the kidnapping and murder of their first born son, Charles, Jr. They have a second son, Jon, who is now a toddler. Their big expedition is by seaplane crossing the Atlantic and exploring such places as Greenland and Africa. They are gone for nearly six months, but when they return they are faced with more tragedy. Sister Elizabeth passes away from pneumonia complicated by a heart condition and the kidnapping trial forces the Lindberghs to relive every moment of the tragedy of losing their son. It is at the end of Locked Rooms and Open Doors that Charles and Anne, in an effort to escape the public eye, leave the United States for England, a move that will prove controversial and have grave consequences.

Book trivia: Locked Rooms and Open Doors is the third book in Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s series of diaries and letters.

Author fact: At this point in Anne’s life she has become navigator, copilot, photographer, and log keeper for her husband. Her confidence and courage allows her to describe these expeditions with more color and detail.

BookLust Twist: none. This one was left out for some reason.

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.

Bring Me a Unicorn

Lindbergh, Anne Morrow. Bring Me a Unicorn: Diaries and Letters of Anne Morrow Lindbergh, 1922 – 1928. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1972.

Bring Me a Unicorn is the first in a series of autobiographies by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. It covers her life from 1922 to 1928. I have to say Anne’s writing is delightful. I admire how brutally honest she is with herself. Her letters home are typical of any college kid, “sorry this is so rushed…I have been frightfully busy!” She is also typical in her growing interest in Colonel Lindbergh. She feels she is not in his league but mentions him more and more in her diary entries. You could see her attraction grow until she finally admits that she loves him. The photographs are great. They represent (visually) what was happening in Anne’s world at that present time.

Quotes from Anne I liked (letters): “You’re popular, clever, pretty, attractive, capable, and will be a big bug!” (p 5) Sent to her sister. I have no idea what “big bug” means. Here’s one from her diary: “A heavenly day: no deck tennis, no unnecessary people, no bores” (p 31).
The quote I could relate to the most: “Why is it that you can sometimes feel the reality of people more keenly through a letter than face to face?” Exactly. I feel that way, too.

Reason read: January is Journal month. Maybe it’s the New Year’s Resolution thing, but people start more journals in January than any other month.

Author fact: Anne was fearless. Although it wasn’t very ladylike she had an interest in aviation even before marrying Lindbergh.

Book trivia: Bring Me a Unicorn is the first part of Lindbergh’s autobiography. Hour of Gold, hour of Lead is the second.

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