Advanced Search
A. Scott Berg
A. Scott Berg
ISBN: 0399144498
From one of America's most acclaimed biographers, here at last is the definitive life of one of the most legendary, controversial, and enigmatic figuers in American history—Charles A. Lindbergh. National Book Award winner A. Scott Berg is the first and only writer to have been given unrestricted access to the massive Lindbergh archives—more than 2,000 boxes of personal papers, including reams of unpublished letters and diaries—and to be allowed to freely interview Lindbergh's friends, colleagues, and family members, including his children and his widow, Anne Morrow Lindbergh. The result is a brilliant biography that clarifies a life long blurred by myth and half-truth.

From the moment he landed in Paris on May 21, 1927, Lindbergh found himself thrust upon an odyssey for which he was ill-prepared—the first modern media superstar, deified and demonized many times over in a single lifetime. Berg casts dramatic new light on Lindbergh's childhood; his astonishing flight; the kidnapping of his son, which has been called 'The Crime of the Century'; Lindbergh's fascination with Hitler's Germany; and his unsung work in his later years. In all, this is a most compelling story of a most significant life: the most private of public figuers finally revealed with a sweep and detail never before possible. This is at once Lindbergh the hero and Lindbergh the man.
—from the publisher's website

Program Air Date: December 20, 1998

BRIAN LAMB, HOST: A. Scott Berg, author of "Lindbergh," little note in the back of your book says, `Katharine Hepburn has been your lady bountiful for two decades.' What's that all about?
Mr. A. SCOTT BERG, Author, "Lindbergh": Well, I've--I've been lucky enough to have Katharine Hepburn as a friend for 20 years and, actually, she has two important roles in this particular book. One is when I was trying to break through to Mrs. Lindbergh and the Lindbergh family, and I really didn't know anybody who knew Mrs. Lindbergh, Katharine Hepburn sort of stepped forward and said, `Gee, you know, I didn't know her, but I had a mutual friend. And I'm sure I could write her a letter on your behalf.' She said, `Even though we never met, I think she knows who I am.' I said, `Well, I'm sure she knows who you are.' And so Ms. Hepburn did write a letter to--to Anne Morrow Lindbergh, and about a week later is the first time I--I heard from Mrs. Lindbergh. So I think it had some impact.

The other thing is I had two years of research at Yale in New Haven, Connecticut, and the library was opened Monday through Friday, so I was there in Connecticut on weekends and so Ms. Hepburn used to entertain me every weekend.

LAMB: Where does she live?
Mr. BERG: She lives up the road a piece, up...
LAMB: Near New Haven?
Mr. BERG: Yeah. About a--about a half mile up the road...
LAMB: And--and how did you know her...
Mr. BERG: ...half hour. LAMB: the first place?
Mr. BERG: I met her about 20 years ago when I was writing my first book on Maxwell Perkins, and it turns out that Katharine Hepburn lived, literally, next door to Max Perkins in Manhattan on East 49th Street. And so when I was 22 years old and just starting out on the Perkins book, I sent Katharine Hepburn a letter and said, `Do you think I could come and talk to you and ask you questions about Perkins?' And she said, `I really don't have enough to--to tell you in an interview.' But th--she then wrote a two-page letter of--of reminiscences, and then we just remained in touch. And when the Perkins book was done, she read it and liked it and asked if we could meet. So we met and became very good friends.
LAMB: Who is Max Perkins?
Mr. BERG: Max Perkins is the one great book editor in the history of American literature. And here is a man who single-handedly discovered and nurtured F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Thomas Wolfe, Ring Lardner, James Jones, Margorie Kinnan Rawlings, Taylor Caldwell, 20 of the greatest writers in this century. One man worked with them all, and that began as my senior thesis at Princeton and it just kept growing into a book.
LAMB: Everybody wants to ask--wants me to ask you, what does the A in A. Scott Berg stand for, and why don't you use it?
Mr. BERG: A stands for Andrew. It's a waste of a wonderful name on me. I've always been Scott or A. Scott. When I was 15, I developed a passion for F. Scott Fitzgerald, and my mother told me, in fact, that I had been named for F. Scott Fitzgerald, because she had been reading his novels in her final pangs of pregnancy with me. And so I've just always been Scott or A. Scott. And when I went off to Princeton, which I did partly because F. Scott Fitzgerald went there, it seemed logical to become A. Scott.
LAMB: When was this picture taken on the cover?
Mr. BERG: That picture of Lindbergh was taken just days before he made the flight to Paris, which is May, 1927. That picture is probably May 13th or 14th, 1927. And I--I found that picture among all the Lindbergh archives that I was given access to. There were hundreds and hundreds of pictures. And that one, literally--we were rather desperate for a jacket. We couldn't find a wonderful unpublished picture and there, literally, the last hour--I--I mean, they said, `We have to go to press with something'--I found that in a box. And there it was.
LAMB: Where--where did you find it?
Mr. BERG: A--again, that was at Yale among the Lindbergh archives.
LAMB: There's another little note i--in the back. Y--you talk about a guy named Tony Bill and you say he's an actor, director, pilot, producer, restauranteur, a writer, but then you say, `He had the most remarkable private collection of books I have ever seen.' Where is he, and who is Tony Bill?
Mr. BERG: Tony Bill's a great friend of mine, I'm happy to say. And he was a friend of mine before this book, and he'll be a friend of mine long after this book. Tony Bill's--had many careers in Hollywood, became an actor as a young man, has directed several really nice pictures, also won an Academy Award for--as a producer. And he is a closet book collector. And when I had just started on this book, he called me up one day--and I'd known him for years, but he called up and he said, `Listen, I've got to discuss something very personal. Could you come over right away?' And I said, `Well, what? I--I--tell me on the phone.' He said, `No, no. You've got to come to my house.'

And I--I went right over, and he took me through th--the place he was living and he said, `You know, I do have these books.' And I--I had thought I'd known him rather well, but suddenly I walked into this room with thousands of books, just thousands of wonderful first editions of all sorts. But, primarily, he has a great aviation collection. He is a pilot himself and has been collecting wonderful books on aviation and Lindbergh a specialty. As is the case with most--most people in aviation, Lindbergh is a great, great hero. He's a great central figure in their lives.

LAMB: When you went to plug in to everything Charles Lindbergh, how much had already been written about him?
Mr. BERG: Well, a lot has been written about Lindbergh, ever since 1927, after he completed the flight. The problem is most of what has been written about him is wrong or--or misleading. The fact is most everything that's been written about Lindbergh is based on old press clippings or just legends, just stories that people have told. And that's because all these papers--these thousands of boxes, literally, have been locked up. So the story really couldn't be told until--until this book came along.
LAMB: What are some of the myths?
Mr. BERG: Well, I think one is--well, the--I think the--the biggest area of misunderstanding and myth gets into the whole America First period and the an--anti-Semitism. Was Lindbergh really the devil? Was he a traitor, as Franklin Roosevelt suggested? Was he a friend of Hitler, as I had grown up hearing? I'm Jewish. I had--you know, I had had th--I think most Jews in America grow up wi--knowing there are two evil people in the century, Charles Lindbergh and Henry Ford. Those are the two famous anti-Semites one--one grows up hearing about. So I think that is something that has been somewhat mythologized. And, certainly, the flight itself has been much legendized as well.
LAMB: This is a picture of Charles Lindbergh and his wife. What year was it taken?
Mr. BERG: That's taken right after they got married, actually, in 1929. That's the closest there is to a wedding picture of Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh. It was an extremely private wedding. They did everything they could to run away from the press, and literally they--they pulled off a secret wedding. Even the people who were invited to the wedding didn't know they were showing up for a wedding that day. Twenty-five of, basically, Anne Morrow's closest friends--family friends and Charles Lindbergh and his mother showed up for what they thought was a--a lunch, and it turned out--suddenly the minister walked in and performed a marriage ceremony.
LAMB: Where is Anne Morrow Lindbergh today?
Mr. BERG: Today she's in Connecticut where she lives happily. She is 92 years old. The last few years she's been in failing health physically and mentally, but she's still in--she's still in remarkable shape for a nonagenarian. And there are moments of--of incredible lucidity and vitality. I was fortunate enough to meet her about 10 years ago and to have five very, very good years knowing her and being able to talk to her.
LAMB: How much time have you spent around her?
Mr. BERG: I'd say--well, boy, I mean, when I first met her, i--it was a week, in fact, when I met her and one of her children--her daughter, Reeve.
LAMB: This is from the nine--nine--1930, I think it is?
Mr. BERG: Yes. That's from the 1930s. That's when she first began to publish books herself. She had been a writer in college, at Smith College, and--and actually--and this was, too, another one of the great meth--myths and ironies in--in the Lindbergh story, th--is this marriage which had often been held up as a great story book romance. And, in fact, it began that way, but it was full of twists and turns. It became rather cold and dark in places. And what was interesting is that Charles Lindbergh was an extremely domineering, dominating husband, but ironically it was he who brought the writer out in her and really, I think, almost forced her to publish, forced her to become Anne Morrow Lindbergh, almost turned her into a feminist. And I--I don't know of another instance like that of--of a dominating husband. It wasn't, `Get back to the kitchen and have my martini ready when I walk in, dear.' It's--it's, `Where's that book? Get back to it. What do you mean you have writer's block? Get back there.' And--and she--you know, she's obviously a wonderful writer, always had the talent. But I'm not sure she always had the temperament to put the material out there. And I think he got that out of her.

LAMB: How many weeks have you been on the tour?
Mr. BERG: I've been--I've been on the road talking about Lindbergh, really, since--it's almost--it's two months now, exactly.
LAMB: So what would you conclude, so far, based on the audiences you've been with?
Mr. BERG: Well, I conclude some things--several. One is book tour is a little like running for office without the sex. That's one thing I conclude about this time. The other is Lindbergh--Lindbergh is really part of the--I've--really find this everywhere--is f--part of the national fabric. This guy--we are almost born, as Americans, genetically coded to know something about Lindbergh. Even young people who don't remember him or know much about him do somehow know the name. They know he flew to Paris. They know a baby was kidnapped. So it's remarkable for me to find that. The other thing I have found always, when I walk into a room, is--is the polarity that exists about Lindbergh. There are people who still absolutely worship this man, or there are people who utterly demonize them. They think, you know, he is one of the horrors of the 20th century. And what I have found, of course, is that he was neither a god nor the devil. He was a mord--a flawed mortal human being.
LAMB: When did he die?
Mr. BERG: He died in 1974 of cancer. He had had cancer a little earlier. They thought he had licked it. And then he was suddenly given a, basically, two week death sentence from--from a doctor while he was in New York City.
LAMB: You have a picture--the last picture you have in the book and, by the way, you have 20 pages of pictures of Charles L...
Mr. BERG: Yes. We got a lot--yeah.
LAMB: Where is this?
Mr. BERG: That picture is taken in Tonga, actually. Lindbergh spent the last several years of his life in the South Pacific a lot, traveling around the world all the time, all his life, but he really did fall in love with the South Pacific later in life and, in fact, is buried in Hawaii.
LAMB: How old was he when he died?
Mr. BERG: He was 72.
LAMB: And go back--the--the last--Aloha chapter, the last...
Mr. BERG: Yes.
LAMB: ...part of his life, tell that story if you wouldn't mind.
Mr. BERG: Well, it's utterly remarkable. I've--I've--as we've never seen a death like Charles--or a life like Charles Lindbergh's, I have never seen a death like his either. And when he was given this two-week death sentence from a doctor in the New York hospital, Lindbergh said, `Well, I want to go home. I don't want to die here in the hospital.' And they said, `No, no. There's no way you can go home. No way you can go home.' And they finally agreed, all right, he< could go home thinking he was going to his house in Connecticut. But, in fact, Lindbergh meant he wanted to go home to Hawaii, where he also had a house. And the doctors just refused. They said, `There's no way we can--we can let you go there.' And they said, furthermore, `No airline will even fly you. I mean, you're in such terrible shape.' And Lindbergh's attitude was, `There's no way an airline is going to fly Charles Lindbergh? Let me make a phone call or two.'

And, indeed, he did manage to get to Hawaii. And he spent the last 10 days of his life--it is--it is utterly remarkable. He planned his dying and his death with the same precision he planned his trip to Paris. I mean, it was just another flight for Lindbergh, complete with checklists and complete with having his three sons out there digging a grave, which was in a place he had selected, all according to his design, even planned the--the drainage in the grave and what stones were to be used to line it. And, literally, the minute that grave was finished--I mean, that night, Lindbergh dies. And then there's a whole plan on what the family is supposed to do for the next few hours, how do get this corpse into the ground. And indeed they do it with absolute precision. And, at first, it made Anne Morrow Lindbergh a little crazy. I mean, she wanted to have a few hours--or a few moments, even, just to be alone and mourn, but, no, she had to follow the checklist.

And, indeed, she did, and it wasn't until just after Lindbergh was in the ground she realized why. Because as they were driving off from their service, this small service they had in a tiny church outside of Hana, the first news trucks were driving in. And Lindbergh knew, as he had been chased all his life by the press, he would be chased the moment he died and that his family would have about a two-hour window. And I think this was Lindbergh's just final embrace of his family, saying, `You're going to have to do this quickly so you can have a private moment.' And, indeed, that's just the way it happened.

LAMB: Can you remember the first moment you said, `I want to do something on Charles Lindbergh'?
Mr. BERG: Yeah. There were two first moments. The first first moment was when I thought of doing Charles Lindbergh about four years before I actually did it. And I was told that Charles Lindbergh's papers were locked up and couldn't be seen for, I was told, 50 years after his wife's death, that the family would never talk, that Anne Morrow Lindbergh was a famous recluse and the family wouldn't talk. And so--so, indeed, I had scratched Lindbergh off my list.

And then I was approached a few years later by Phyllis Grann, who was then running Putnam's, now she runs Putnam's and much more, and she said she always wanted to read a biography of Lindbergh. Would I be willing to write it? And I said, `I'd love to write it, but it can't be done. The papers are locked up. Mrs. Lindbergh is locked up. The children are locked up.' And--and Phyllis Grann said, `Well, I think you should pursue it anyway, or even if you don't pursue it, just write the book.' And that was enough encouragement for me to try to break through to Mrs. Lindbergh, and that's when Katharine Hepburn, ultimately, fell in and wrote the letter that helped me get through, I think.

LAMB: You dedicate the book to Phyllis Grann and Kevin McCormick. Who is he?
Mr. BERG: He is a great friend. He's the man I live with, in fact, in Los Angeles.
LAMB: And you live in Los Angeles?
Mr. BERG: I do.
LAMB: How long have you been out there?
Mr. BERG: My life almost--I mean, 40 years I've been there. We moved out when I was eight years old.
LAMB: And when did you become a writer?
Mr. BERG: I think I'm still becoming. My--on my--I became a writer--I guess I'd have to say I became a writer the day after I graduated from college. I had done my senior thesis on Maxwell Perkins, and that grew into my first book and that led to my second book, a biography of Goldwyn, and that led, in turn, to this. But I think--I--I was never one of those kids who wrote poems or kept diaries or wrote for the school paper. I just started writing my senior thesis on Perkins. And so I think as soon as I graduated, that was the beginning of my writing career, I'd say.
LAMB: Where were you born?
Mr. BERG: I was born in Connecticut--in Westport, Connecticut, Norwalk Hospital.
LAMB: Family was made up of what?
Mr. BERG: Family was made up of mother and father, a father who was in the paint business with his father. He had a paint store and--and artist's supplies. And this--by the mid-'50s my father began writing scripts. He was a Sunday writer and was writing for the old live television programs, and began selling a lot of them, enough of them that some studios began to bring him out to Hollywood. And in 1958, when he then had a wife and three children, we all moved out to California, and he started all over as a writer and producer out there, which he still does today. And I s--now have a fourth broth--a third brother, as well, so we are four boys.
LAMB: And how long have you been a writer, how many years?
Mr. BERG: Well, I guess I s--officially started working on my first book the day after college graduation, which was 1971. So it's--all my adult life all I've done is write three biographies, basically. That's been my--my career.
LAMB: OK. Th--the question is, can you make a living out of three biographies?
Mr. BERG: Yes, you can. I'm...
LAMB: Is that all you've done? I don't mean that `all,' but, I mean, that's your...
Mr. BERG: That is--no. That is...
LAMB: ...that's your life.
Mr. BERG: That has basically been my career, my life and livelihood. I--I had one big break, which is right after I graduated from college. My parents allowed me to move home, during which time I wrote the Max Perkins book. So I basically had six or seven years rent-free and that was a great leg up. So by the time the Perkins book was published and it became, both to my and my publisher's surprise, a best-seller, all that money that came in basically was--was money I could then invest in my second book. And then I got an advance on the Goldwyn book. And by the time this book came around, I got a very nice advance from Phyllis Grann.
LAMB: So the first two books, how many did each one of those sell?
Mr. BERG: God, I'm not sure. I think--I think they've grown--my sales have grown exponentially, I think. In my mind, the Perkins in hardback was somewhere around 15,000 to 20,000 and the Goldwyn was somewhere around 50,000.
LAMB: And how's that...
Mr. BERG: Maybe a little less, you know, 5,000 here and there.
LAMB: In the early days of the Lindbergh book, how y--how you doing?
Mr. BERG: Well, we seem to be doing pretty well. I know they've got a lot of them out there. Of course, the book business, it's--th--the phrase is, `Gone today, here tomorrow.' You ship them out and you see what comes back. They've shipped a lot. Now we'll see what happens and how many get sent back.
LAMB: I listened to the audio on this book.
Mr. BERG: Huh, I--I haven't heard it yet.
LAMB: That's how I de--how big a deal is that for an author?
Mr. BERG: Well, I think it can be a big deal, especially if a movie star comes along and decides to do it. I think Brad Pitt, for example, read a book that he really liked a lot--I forget which it was--and he did an audio of it. And I'm not sure the author's picture is on the case, but I'm sure Brad Pitt's is and I think that would sell a lot. So there's--I mean, it's--it's nice extra money. In a way, it's found cash, at least that's the way I would view the audio of a book.
LAMB: So you got the audio, a hardback, the paperback. And going back to your livelihood, is there another offshoot of this? Are there movies involved in all this business?
Mr. BERG: Well, that's--that's the great hope and the biggest offshoot, if you're lucky. And--and on the Lindbergh book, I've--I'm really lucky because Steven Spielberg, no less, has bought the movie rights. And often authors do very well just optioning their book, having somebody from Hollywood take it off the market for a year or two. But in this case he just--he and DreamWorks, his company, just bought the rights outright, which was unusual in another way in that they bought it before they had read it. So that was really nice and that, too, allows me the luxury of picking, choosing, writing how I want, but I've always--I've always been very deliberate about my books here. Each of them has taken almost a decade.
LAMB: So when did you start on this book?
Mr. BERG: I started that book--officially I started in the spring of 1990. That's when Mrs. Lindbergh signed off, but I had done a good six months of research before that just in libraries, secondhand research, second sources--secondary sources. So I'd say it's been nine and a half years now that I've been living with him.
LAMB: One of the things that you have in the book, I assume that--th--maybe it hasn't been anywhere else, is the whole thing about the--the photographers breaking into the morgue and opening the casket of the baby Lindbergh...
Mr. BERG: Yes.
LAMB: ...after the baby was found and here's a picture of the baby.
Mr. BERG: Yes, this was a beautiful baby. This was the most famous baby in the world. This was baby Lindy, the young eaglet.
LAMB: What year was all this?
Mr. BERG: Well, the baby was born in 1930. He was kidnapped March 1st of 1932, and he was found about 10 weeks later half buried in a ditch about--about 75 feet off a back road in New Jersey, just a few miles from the Lindbergh house. And indeed this, I think, was--was journalism, mass hysteria, at its all-time low.
LAMB: But you didn't publish the picture?
Mr. BERG: No, I didn't publish the picture. I had, you know, access to the picture, but I thought, `Boy, what's the point of, you know, a picture of a dead baby?' I mean, that's just...
LAMB: How widely was it published back then?
Mr. BERG: It wasn't widely published, but it was out there. It was a picture one could buy on the street, in fact. What is most interesting about the picture, I think, is that, for Lindbergh, I think that was the lowest moment in his life. I think that was the ugliest moment of his life that he carried with him all his life. Whenever anybody talked about the press, he would say, `Don't talk to me about the press. They took a picture of my dead baby.'
LAMB: Who is this man?
Mr. BERG: That man is Bruno Richard Hauptmann, who is the man apprehended, tried and executed for kidnapping and killing the Lindbergh baby. And he went to the electric chair in New Jersey proclaiming his innocence.
LAMB: They ever--I mean, he ne--he never admitted it?
Mr. BERG: Never did, and--and, in fact, he--he left a magazine article behind to be published after his execution, suggesting they've killed the wrong man. And, indeed, this has kept speculation going. It's kept the debate going for 60 years now.
LAMB: Why did he kill this baby?
Mr. BERG: I think the killing was accidental. I think the kidnapping was premeditated. Kidnapping--kidnapping had sort of become the crime du jour back in the '30s. It was the Depression. Kidnapping seemed like a neat, easy, clean crime, very easy to come along. You know, parents let their children play on the street, play in sandboxes, play in the park. Very easy to come along and just snatch a child. And that was that, write a ransom note, there'll be a quick exchange of cash, in most cases, and that's that.
LAMB: How was this baby stolen?
Mr. BERG: This baby was stolen by, I believe, a man who climbed up a ladder that was leaned against a house outside of Hopewell, New Jersey, kind of a dream house that Charles and Anne Morrow Lindbergh had just built for themselves. And I think the kidnapper climbed up that ladder, snatched the baby out of his crib, and while coming down the ladder--it was a rather crude homemade ladder. While coming down the ladder, I think, put a lot of force on that first rung, the ladder split. I think the baby, which was in a burlap sack, was either swung against the stone wall of the house or dropped two stories below to the hard ground and was killed instantaneously.
LAMB: Did you talk to Anne Morrow Lindbergh about this?
Mr. BERG: Yes, we did. It did come up. She raised the subject at one point.
LAMB: How--how does she talk about it today?
Mr. BERG: Well--or at least some eight years ago. You never--you never lose this. This is the great tragedy of her life, obviously. She was--she was still in her 20s--m--mid-20s when this occurred. It was her first baby. You know, I don't think one ever gets over that. I think--actually, I found with her, as I found with actually the baby nurse, whom I found living in Scotland, who was the first one to discover that the baby was missing...
LAMB: This is a picture of Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
Mr. BERG: That's a picture of Anne Morrow Lindbergh arriving at the courthouse to testify in the Hauptmann trial.
LAMB: And that picture up above--I want to show this while we're here because...
Mr. BERG: Yes.
LAMB: Who's the man with the bow tie?
Mr. BERG: Yes, the picture up above--walking with Lindbergh is the superintendent of the New Jersey state police, a man named Colonel Norman Schwarzkopf.
LAMB: Is he still alive?
Mr. BERG: The colonel is--is dead, but his son, the general, lives on, needless to say.
LAMB: Did you...
Mr. BERG: I even went to talk to the general just to--General Schwarzkopf was not around during the--during the crime, but I wanted to see what it was like to grow up in the Schwarzkopf household. What--did that Lindbergh crime loom? Did it linger in the house? And, indeed, it did.
LAMB: In what way?
Mr. BERG: Well, this was--this was a--certainly the great event in Col--Colonel Schwarzkopf's life. This--this was the crime of the century, make no mistake about it. And this is the man who ultimately brought a man quote, "to justice." A lot of people think they brought the wrong man. I don't think that. But Colonel Schwarzkopf was convinced this was the right man.
LAMB: And you talked about going overseas to talk to the baby sitter.
Mr. BERG: I did. Yes, I talked to the nurse, who was a Scotswoman who had barely been in this country when the Lindbergh baby was kidnapped. And, indeed, then she fled the country. I mean, her life was, in many ways, ruined, certainly changed. And she never fully recovered. And the attitude that I got from her w--I kept getting, `if onlys'--if only--you know, `If only we didn't do this that night. If--if only we didn't turn on the light. If only we didn't stay in the house that night and stayed instead with Mrs. Lindbergh's mother, where we had been staying.' You know, to think, 60 years later to be carrying that around is such a heavy burden.
LAMB: Your account of that--is there l--new stuff in that account?
Mr. BERG: I think what I have that is new is I try to give you the kidnapping through the inside, try to give you what the Lindberghs were going through. Here is, basically, a young married couple--they've only been married three years at that point--and what it was like for them, what they endured. The actual facts of what happened that night have been recorded in other books about the kidnapping. I mean, there's a shelf full of books just on the Lindbergh kidnapping. So I think what I have brought is the human side of that story. What was it like for a 26-year-old mother, a 30-year-old father to lose their firstborn, and--and how does it affect their marriage? What goes on between them? So that's--that's what I think is new in that particular chapter.
LAMB: How many children did Anne Morrow Lindbergh have altogether?
Mr. BERG: There were five children after the kidnapping, so she had--she had six--six children.
LAMB: Where are the five today?
Mr. BERG: They are scattered. There are three sons, and there were two daughters. One daughter, also named Anne, died a few years ago of cancer, a rather gifted children's book writer. Another daughter, Reeve, is also a children's book writer, but has written a novel based, in large measure, on her parents called "The Names of the Mountains." And she has out right now a--a rather wonderful memoir called "Under A Wing," which I think is a great, great title, a phrase that her father used in one of his books as well.
LAMB: Did you talk to the children?
Mr. BERG: I did. I talked to them at great length. I talked to the three sons as well, who are scattered about; one living in Brazil, one now in West Virginia and one...
LAMB: Who's the one on top?
Mr. BERG: Montana.
LAMB: I'm sorry. I didn't mean to interrupt you.
Mr. BERG: The one on top is the eldest son. That is the firstborn after the kidnapped child. That's Jon Lindbergh, who has spent his life mostly in or under water.
LAMB: Who's the middle?
Mr. BERG: The middle is Land Lindbergh, who is a rancher. And the bottom photo is the youngest Lindbergh son, who is Scott, who is an animal behaviorist. And he lives now in Brazil. All--they're all great combinations of each of their parents. It's a very strong gene pool, and--and I saw all aspects of both parents feeding into all five children.
LAMB: Some quick things. Charles Lindbergh was born where?
Mr. BERG: He was born in Detroit, Michigan, primarily because his mother's family were doctors in Detroit, but, in fact, they moved as soon as he was born to the main residence, where the Lindberghs had been living--Lindbergh parents, and that was in Little Falls, Minnesota.
LAMB: What did his father do?
Mr. BERG: His father is a fascinating creature. His father began as a country lawyer, and there was something almost Lincolnesque about him in--in Minnesota. He entered politics and, in fact, became a five-term congressman, serving here between 1907 and 1917. Very controversial, former laborer, very progressive, outspoken, one of the leading congressmen to go after the money trust in this--in this country.

That's Lindbergh's mother, Evangeline Lodge Land Lindbergh, who was a very independent soul, an early feminist in her way, actually, became a schoolteacher, went to college, which very few women did at the turn of the century, of course. She even went on to get an advanced degree and taught chemistry in Detroit most of her life, actually.

LAMB: Where did Charles Lindbergh go to college?
Mr. BERG: Charles Lindbergh went to the University of Wisconsin at Madison in body, not much in mind, though. And, in fact, he was kicked out of school his sophomore year; terrible student, totally distracted student.
LAMB: Where is this picture from?
Mr. BERG: And that picture is taken just as he is getting kicked out of college. He--he--he loved his Excelsior motorcycle, and, in fact, he rode that motorcycle from Minnesota to Madison, Wisconsin, when he started school. And when he got flunked out, he rode that to Nebraska, where he learned how to fly.
LAMB: In what year did he make the flight on the Spirit of St. Louis?
Mr. BERG: The great flight was 1927, that spring, May 20th to 21st, 33 1/2 hours in the air.
LAMB: And what was the big deal?
Mr. BERG: And it is a big deal, make no mistake about it. This is really one of the--one of the great milestones of the century, and with good reason. First of all, it was a great feat in transportation. It's a genuine act of heroism. This 25-year-old boy went up in a flying crate. Most people, especially if you haven't been to the Air and Space Museum to see it, don't realize this is a canvas plane. I was up there just yesterday looking at it again. It's really put together with spit and glue and piano wire and canvas. And somehow this flying gas tank, with--with one engine, was gonna carry him across the ocean. And it not only knitted the two continents together--that is Europe and North America--but it really--it really brought the whole world together geographically and in spirit because everybody shared in this feat.
LAMB: Where is this crowd at the bottom here?
Mr. BERG: The crowd in the bottom is in St. Louis. That's Charles Lindbergh coming back to St. Louis. That is my favorite picture in the book. That picture, I think, shows the impact that Lindbergh's flight had on the world. You cannot squeeze another human body into that picture. That was Art Hill in Forest Park, St. Louis.
LAMB: What about on top?
Mr. BERG: And on top, that is the parade in New York City when Lindbergh came home. You think you've seen parades in New York City, but when Lindbergh came home, four million people turned out that day.
LAMB: Where's he standing here on the balcony?
Mr. BERG: The balcony--that is the American ambassador's residence in Paris. That is the morning after--let me look up close. Yeah, that's--that's the day after Lindbergh arrived in Paris.
LAMB: And why th--was the plane called the Spirit of St. Louis, and what was the--the track that he took to get to Paris? And did he stop anywhere?
Mr. BERG: No, this--no, no stops. No stops. And that was--that was part of the feat. There had been a $25,000 prize sitting on a table to be awarded to the first person or persons who could fly non-stop between Paris and New York in either direction. And, indeed, several people had tried and killed themselves in the attempt. Several people had already flown the Atlantic, but they had gone from Canada to Ireland. Nobody had done the great leap. Nobody had picked up the prize. So Lindbergh needed money to pay for a plane, and he raised the $10,580 he needed from a half-dozen businessmen in St. Louis, hence the name Spirit of St. Louis. And that gave him the plane. That allowed him to make the flight.
LAMB: Who built it?
Mr. BERG: It was built in San Diego by Ryan aircraft, small aircraft company. There were bigger airplane manufacturers at the time, but they wouldn't sell the plane to Lindbergh because Lindbergh wanted to fly it. And they figured this was a suicide mission. `We can't risk our company name on--on a 25-year-old flyer who looks 19. All he'd ever really done was fly the air mail between St. Louis and Chicago. Couldn't really chance that.' So he had to go looking around for a small company that would make a plane affordable and available.
LAMB: How could you have enough gas on a little--What?--single-engine plane like that?
Mr. BERG: Single-engine plane. Well, by designing a plane that is literally nothing more than a gas tank. I mean, there is not a wasted ounce on that plane. It is simply gasoline. That's all there was. And--and Lindbergh himself sat in a wicker patio chair because that would--was the lightest chair they could put in the plane and comfortable enough to--to accommodate him for 33 1/2 hours. He literally was--was trimming the borders off the maps he took just to save a half-ounce here, a half-ounce there. Took no food, other than five sandwiches and a canteen of water.
LAMB: He said he didn't eat those sandwiches, though.
Mr. BERG: He ate one, actually, when he got to the French border. As soon as he crossed the channel, he had his first sandwich, yeah.
LAMB: And it took 33 hours.
Mr. BERG: Yup, and change.
LAMB: Did he have any communications with anybody?
Mr. BERG: Nope, that was it. And that's the other reason, you see, I think this feat is so remarkable and why it still lives with us because I honestly believe that, even more than the astronauts, Lindbergh was the first human being to leave the planet. Other people had gone flying, but they were either over land, or when they were over water, they were in some communication with somebody or they were flying with somebody. Lindbergh was solo. He was completely alone in the universe. LAMB: What was his altitude?
Mr. BERG: His altitude varied. Sometimes he'd go as high as 10,000, 11,000 feet to get over clouds that he had to surmount. Sometimes he would go as low as 10 feet above the water. The biggest enemy, the biggest obstacle in the flight to Paris was sleep. He fought sleep for 33 hours. And he used to fly so low that the spray of the Atlantic would come into the plane to wake him up.
LAMB: What time did he leave the United States, and what time did he arrive in Paris?
Mr. BERG: He left in the early morning, Long Island time, and--and--around 7:30.
LAMB: From Long Island.
Mr. BERG: From Long Island--Roosevelt Field, Long Island. And you can visit a shopping mall today, and that's where he took off from. And he landed at Le Bourget at 10:30 the following night, 10:30 Paris time.
LAMB: Do I remember that the Spirit of St. Louis airplane was in Lindbergh Field at St. Louis for a long time, hanging up from the ceiling?
Mr. BERG: There was a sister ship, actually, hanging there. Almost from the moment the plane came home--actually, even before the plane came home, a wonderful man at the Smithsonian named Paul Garber, who had a lifelong fascination with aviation, began trying to get hold of that airplane. He knew the significance of that plane. And the Smithsonian got hold of it about five months after Lindbergh made his flight. Lindbergh came home, did a--did a kind of goodwill tour of the 48 states, went to Central America, Mexico, flew around the Gulf and Caribbean, and then he ultimately gave the--the plane to the Smithsonian...
LAMB: And, again, he was how old when he...
Mr. BERG: ...where it is to this day.
LAMB: ...made the flight?
Mr. BERG: Twenty-five years old.
LAMB: He was how old when he got married?
Mr. BERG: Let's see, he--he got married in '29; he was 27 when he got married.
LAMB: And he was how old when the baby was stolen?
Mr. BERG: The baby was stolen, he was 30--30 years old. So all this was happening to a young man.
LAMB: And he's how old in this picture right here?
Mr. BERG: That picture is 1917. He is about 35 in that picture
LAMB: Who's--who's got the swastika on their sleeve?
Mr. BERG: I don't know who that man with the swastika is. That's just some old Nazi who's shaking hands with Charles Lindbergh.
LAMB: Who's below it?
Mr. BERG: Below, we've got Lindbergh with Hermann Goering.
LAMB: Which one is Goering?
Mr. BERG: Goering is the pudgy fellow on the far right. Lindbergh made six visits to Nazi Germany between 1936 and '38. Lindbergh on the left, then Anne Morrow Lindbergh.
LAMB: And there's a portrait there of Adolf Hitler.
Mr. BERG: The big guy. That's Adolf Hitler right there in the picture, I know. I...
LAMB: What...
Mr. BERG: That's one of the most chilling pictures I've seen. `What the hell is Charles Lindbergh doing there?' you wonder.
LAMB: How many of these pictures in the book have not been published before?
Mr. BERG: I've got about 90 pictures; I think 40--43 are--are unpublished.
LAMB: Do you remember wh--some of those that were--never been published? Was that one, of Goering?
Mr. BERG: The one of Goering has been published. The one above I don't think had, the one with the swastika.
LAMB: Where'd you get them?
Mr. BERG: Various sources. Some were among the Lindbergh archives and just had not been published. As I said, the--the--the picture on the jacket had never been published, to my amazement, because that's the most stunning picture I've seen of Lindbergh. That's--that, to me, just tells the story. That's, you know, the boy--I mean, he's got his eyes on Paris, I think.
LAMB: Why did he go to Germany in the first place?
Mr. BERG: He went to Germany at the invitation of the American Embassy in Berlin in 1936. The air attache to Berlin, a man named Truman Smith, was deeply concerned about the buildup of the German military, and he felt, as many did, that Germany was building up this huge air force, this Luftwaffe. But nobody knew how big or how powerful it was. And Truman Smith had a great idea. He thought, `You know, I'll bet if we could bring Charles Lindbergh over here, the Germans would be so proud of what they had, they'd show off all their stuff.' And, indeed, they did. So Lindbergh came over and paid six visits and got to visit just about every place he wanted to see.
LAMB: What years?
Mr. BERG: '36, '37 and '38.
LAMB: Who hung the Hitler medal around his neck?
Mr. BERG: A medal was hung around his neck in October of '38 by Hermann Goering, although I should just slightly rephrase that. The medal was never hung around the neck; metaphorically it was. This was at a party at the German Embassy. It--it was a stag night. Party was given by the American ambassador. And Lindbergh arrived, and the last guest to arrive was Goering. And he walked in and just walked right up to Lindbergh, talking in German. Somebody's translating along the way. And the m--and a man opens up a box, and it is the Service Cross of the German Eagle. It was presented on behalf of Hitler himself. Lindbergh accepted it, and later went home that night--they were staying in Berlin. He showed it to his wife, and she took one look at it and she said, `The albatross.' So they knew--or she knew there was something--something that was gonna plague her husband for the rest of his life about that medal.
LAMB: How did it become...
Mr. BERG: And, indeed, it did.
LAMB: How did it become a plague for him?
Mr. BERG: Well, in his mind, he kept insisting it didn't become a plague. He said he never really thought twice about it. But the truth of the matter is Lindbergh came back to America shortly thereafter, in early '39, to start speaking out against American intervention into a war he felt was about to break out, what became the America First movement.
LAMB: Where is this picture?
Mr. BERG: That particular picture is taken in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, which was one of about 15 speeches Lindbergh gave on behalf of America First, much misunderstood movement.
LAMB: Sergeant Shriver, Potter Stewart, Gerry Ford, Burton Wheeler--who are all these people?
Mr. BERG: Yeah.
LAMB: And why are they associated with America First?
Mr. BERG: To say nothing of Norman Thomas, too.
LAMB: And there's a photograph of Norman Thomas right up here. And he's--where--is he far right?
Mr. BERG: Norman Thomas is on the far right looking at it, yeah.
LAMB: And who is Norman Thomas?
Mr. BERG: Norman Thom--Thomas was the leading Socialist in this country, ran for president on the Socialist ticket, in fact, and one of the great gentlemen, too, who--who ever entered politics.
LAMB: But how did--how did Gerry Ford and Sergeant Shriver and Potter Stewart and there--are there others?
Mr. BERG: Yeah, there are--there are a handful of others: Kingman Brewster, who became president of Yale University, presiding over the university during the gre--great Vietnam debate; also, R. Douglas Stewart Jr., Bob Stewart, a Princetonian who went to Yale Law School and later ran Quaker Oats--he was very active in starting this as well; Richard Moore, who later became an ambassador to Ireland; Peter Dominick, who became senator from Colorado.

And most of these men were young men. Most of them were college students. And, to my amazement, America First actually began--I mean, literally, the roots of America First were on the Yale campus in New Haven when about a half-dozen students got together, not to protest the war, but to say what Lindbergh believed, that, `This is a European war going on, and the best thing America can do is stay out of it. Let them duke it out, and let us defend America first.' Lindbergh believed the most important thing America could be doing at this time is building up our own armed forces, especially an air force. He felt we had a very, very incomplete air force in 1939, 1940. And, indeed, they--the US government was only just starting to wake up, largely because of Lindbergh's call to arms.

LAMB: You alluded to this earlier in the discussion. I'm gonna read something, and--and tell me where this comes from: `Stewart tells me the--that most of the Jewish passengers are sick. Imagine the United States taking these Jews in, in addition to those we already have. There are too many in places like New York already. A few Jews add strength and character to a country, but too many create chaos and we are getting too many. This present emigration will have its reaction.'
Mr. BERG: Yes, indeed. That...
LAMB: Never published.
Mr. BERG: That was never published. That w--Charles Lindbergh kept very complete diaries from the late '30s through the war, and, indeed, a big volume, a fat, 1,000-page volume, was published called "Wartime Journals." I went through Lindbergh's original journals, not the published version--or I went through both--and that passage you just read was a paragraph that he hand wrote, but chose not to publish. And that, to me, was extremely telling. And I found, well, four or five such passages that he chose not to publish, all of which were about Jews, anti-Semitism or the Third Reich.
LAMB: Where does this come from: `I'm not attacking either the Jewish or the British people,' he said. `Both races I admire.' And I almost want to stop and ask you, Jews a race and British a race?
Mr. BERG: Well, in Lindbergh's eyes, yes. Lindbergh, again...
LAMB: Where is he saying this, by the way?
Mr. BERG: This speech is being given in Des Moines, Iowa. It was almost his last America First speech. It was--it was delivered in September of '41.
LAMB: Let me--let me finish, and then you can...
Mr. BERG: Yeah, do.
LAMB: ...everybody will know what we're talking about. `But I'm saying that the leaders of both the British and Jewish races, for reasons which are understandable from their viewpoint as they are inadvisable from ours, for reasons which are not American, wish to involve us in the war. We cannot blame them for looking out for what they believe to be their own interests, but we also must look out for ours. We cannot allow the natural passions and prejudices of other peoples to lead our country to destruction.'
Mr. BERG: I think Charles Lindbergh just hanged himself.
LAMB: Is that it, after that?

Mr. BERG: That's it. That speech--again, that was an America First speech in September, and--and we're now three months before Pearl Harbor. The great debate of American intervention--and it was one of the great debates in American history--was going on. Lindbergh had been winning that debate against Franklin Roosevelt, trying to keep--Lindbergh was trying to keep America out of the war, but was beginning to lose ground, lose--lose popularity. And he felt he had to kind of drop a bomb to wake everybody up, and that was what he dropped in September of '41: naming three groups who wanted to get in, talking about these races, the Jewish race, the British race.
LAMB: What was the reaction--you talk about a train ride. He didn't even know what was going on.
Mr. BERG: He--and then--and then he got on a train, so, indeed--to go back home. He was then living in Massachusetts. And he had no idea what the reaction was until he arrived, and there was practically a lynching mob. I mean, even people who had supported America First suddenly distancing themselves from Charles Lindbergh. And I think it's not only because there's something basically, deeply anti-Semitic about those comments, really a genuine segregation in his mind of two different Americas. `There's my America, and there's the Jewish America.' That's one thing that's going on. But I think--because I think this was largely an anti-Semitic nation, I think what really done him in there was that it was un-American. It was--it violated the melting pot theory. You know, E pluribus unum.
LAMB: You said you are Jewish. Do you think he was an anti-Semite?
Mr. BERG: I do. I--I think he was an unconscious genteel anti-Semite. I truly believe Lindbergh believed he was not anti-Semitic. He believed in that speech that you quoted that--Lindbergh thought he was expressing great tolerance toward the Jews. But just in talking about them as a secret--separate class, he was revealing a kind of segregation, a separate but equal.
LAMB: Where was this picture taken, up top?
Mr. BERG: The upper picture there, that's taken in Bavaria. And that was in the--in the '50s. That's sort of midcentury, middle age. And that's Anne Morrow and Charles Lindbergh really in the middle of their marriage.
LAMB: Where did they live during the--where did he live during his life?
Mr. BERG: Lindbergh never really lived anywhere. They had residences here and there, and they had many residences. But Lindbergh--and this was interesting in putting his childhood together. He had a very peripatetic childhood. He was a lifelong vagabond. But...
LAMB: What's that picture on top there that we were just seeing?
Mr. BERG: On--on top, that picture was taken in the Philippines. Lindbergh did a lot of traveling, especially in the last 25, 30 years of his life, largely on behalf of conservationist causes. But he fell madly in love with the Philippines.
LAMB: What about the picture on the bottom?
Mr. BERG: And just below that is Indonesia. Again, this whole sector of the world he was visiting partly; formally, he was traveling all around the world on Pan American business because he sat on the board of Pan Am. But, in fact, what he was doing was conservation work.
LAMB: Vietnam?
Mr. BERG: That's Vietnam, which he visited. That was a Pan Am trip that he visited Vietnam for.
LAMB: Middle of the war?
Mr. BERG: The war was just--that was just--just kicking in.
LAMB: And then there's a picture right below that of some famous faces.
Mr. BERG: I just love this picture.
LAMB: Wally Schirra, Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, Hubert Humphrey. It looks like--is that Jim Webb in the back?
Mr. BERG: Yeah, exactly.
LAMB: And Lady Bird Johnson, Lyndon Johnson.
Mr. BERG: Yes.
LAMB: And then Charles Lindbergh signing what?
Mr. BERG: Signing autographs bec--because ask an astronaut who his hero is, and I think nine out of 10 will names Charles Lindbergh.
LAMB: But had he recovered from his anti-Semitism?
Mr. BERG: He had sprung back a lot. You know, right after World War II, I mean, literally a week after V-E Day, Lindbergh was--and now after Franklin Roosevelt has died, Lindbergh's great enemy, the Truman administration and subsequent presidential administrations really embraced Lindbergh, began to bring him back. Eisenhower made him a general, in fact. And--and Lindbergh spent much of his life traveling around the world on US government missions. He was on the Air Force Academy's site committee. He was on anti-ballistic missile committees. He--he did all sorts of work for the government. And...
LAMB: But by--but World War II, though, they wouldn't let him go int active duty. How come?
Mr. BERG: They--w--well, `they' is Franklin Roosevelt would not let him go on active duty. There was such enmity between Lindbergh and Roosevelt as a result of this great debate, this America First debate, that when Pearl Harbor was bombed and Lindbergh tried to volunteer, Roosevelt said, `There's no way Lindbergh can serve.' And...
LAMB: Where's this picture from then?
Mr. BERG: That picture was taken--well, yes. What happened is Lindbergh somehow found a way--that picture was taken just before he had tendered his resignation from the Army, which he had done because Roosevelt, his commander in chief, had suggested he was a traitor. And shortly after that picture Lindbergh tendered the resignation, Pearl Harbor was bombed. Lindbergh tries to serve. Roosevelt refuses to let him. So Lindbergh wanted some way to serve his country and went to every aircraft c--manufacturer in America and said, you know, `I'd like a job.' And they were all dying to have Lindbergh. That was great. He was, you know, one of the great authorities, to say nothing of the great names in American aviation. And about two days after each meeting, Lindbergh would get a phone call saying, `We're terribly sorry. We have to take back our offer. We've just got a phone call from--from the big man that if we hire you, hire Lindbergh, we don't get a government contract.' And there was only one employer in the United States who wasn't afraid of--of Franklin Roosevelt, and that was Henry Ford, whose attitude was, `Franklin Roosevelt's not gonna buy my stuff? I don't think so. I think he needs my planes and jeeps.'

LAMB: Henry Ford, as you know, is--is known as an anti-Semite.
Mr. BERG: Yeah. So--so, in a way, this just retard Lindbergh, just made it all the worse for him, in a way. Of course, one anti-Semite would hire another anti-Semite. So Lindbergh's reputation continued to suffer into the '40s. And then somehow Lindbergh found a way to serve without uniform. He became a technical representative for United Aircraft and actually went over to the South Pacific and flew on 50 bombing missions, again, without uniform, but somehow was strafing Japanese targets, was actually downing a Japanese Zero himself, faced death several times.
LAMB: We're almost out of time, and it's running very fast, the clock. The 2,000 boxes of stuff you got?
Mr. BERG: Yeah. Altogether, I'm--the--the--the heart of the Lindbergh archives were about 500, Anne had another 300, and then there were papers all over Missouri, Minnesota. And then going through Anne Lindbergh's family's papers, going through Charles' parents' papers, grandparents' papers. Putting it all together was a little over 2,000.
LAMB: When was this picture of Anne taken?
Mr. BERG: That picture is taken in the--that picture's in the '60s, actually. After Anne Morrow Lindbergh--long after she's published "Gift from the Sea," her most-famous book, a book that's been a best-seller for 40 years...
LAMB: What's it about?
Mr. BERG: It is a wonderful, little--it's almost a little tract. It's a little meditation. I think what it's about is laying the pipe for the feminist movement in this country. It's a fascinating book about the stages of womanhood, basically. And--and it's really Anne Lindbergh's meditation philosophy on life on--on how women can be wives, mothers, artists, have lives of their own and make time for themselves, and it's--it still holds up.
LAMB: For you, when--when was that moment where you discovered something you just couldn't believe you were looking at?
Mr. BERG: Well, I think the thing that really socked it home for me was when I'd been through the last of the Lindbergh boxes up at Yale, and the last item I saw was a--was a map of his flight to Paris. And on it, he had detailed--this is shortly after he'd made the flight--everything that had happened along the way: `The fog came in here. The storm was here.' And it was after two years of research, and some of it was real dog work, but suddenly to see this map and have it all brought home, it was as though Lindbergh were saying, `Don't forget why--why you are here. This is where it all began.'
LAMB: What's next for you?
Mr. BERG: Next for me is probably another biography. I'm poking around now, looking for another subject, my fourth subject, who I hope will be a 20th century, American cultural figure, through whose life I can tell another...
LAMB: Are you close?
Mr. BERG: No, not close. I'm--I'm at the stage now where I'm adding to the list. I just throw names without even thinking about them onto the list. And the next phase will be to start whittling them down.
LAMB: Andrew Scott Berg, this is the cover of your book called "Lindbergh." Thank you very much for joining us.
Mr. BERG: Thanks for having me here.

Copyright National Cable Satellite Corporation 1998. Personal, noncommercial use of this transcript is permitted. No commercial, political or other use may be made of this transcript without the express permission of National Cable Satellite Corporation.