On Monday Christians around the world heard again Luke’s story of the Nativity. But after lingering in some detail on the first day of Jesus’ life, that evangelist moves rapidly through the next couple decades. In the same chapter that begins with Jesus’ birth, Luke skips ahead to age 12, then summarizes Jesus’ adolescence and … More Why Every Biography Is Incomplete
I’ve only half-followed the recent Twitter dust-up between historians Thomas Kidd and John Fea and journalist Jonathan Merritt. You can get caught up to speed with this morning’s Anxious Bench post from John Turner. Throw in editor John Wilson (who rose to the historians’ defense), and you’ve got several of my favorite Johns/Jonathans sparring over what it meant … More I’m a Historian, Not an Expert
I haven’t done a lot of work on my Lindbergh biography this fall after a great summer of research. In part, that’s not by choice: I’d much rather learn about aviation than wrestle with a financial crisis at work. But I have tried to let the project lay fallow for a short season, in order … More What Am I Trying to Do as a Biographer?
As we come to the end of Bethel’s summer break, I’m pretty happy with the research I’ve been able to do for my new Charles Lindbergh biography. As I told historian Jared Burkholder today for his new Historians on the Hot Seat series, The very idea of writing a spiritual biography of a someone as non-religious as Lindbergh is a bit … More A Good Summer of Lindbergh Research
“We are not here to-day to mourn their deaths. Nothing would so shock the devoted and exultant spirit of their service.” So said former Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson in November 1920, as Yale University dedicated tablets in Memorial Hall with the names of 227 Yalies who had fallen in the recent World War. “We … More The Birth of America First
I’ve written before that “I’ve dreaded the day I’ll finally need to write a chapter or two on [Charles] Lindbergh’s response to the rise of Nazi Germany.” That concern came back to mind yesterday, when I visited the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and went through the temporary exhibit on “Americans and the Holocaust.” About halfway … More Was Charles Lindbergh Anti-Semitic?
Among other things, taking a February-March break from this blog gave me some more time to devote to my new research project: a “spiritual, but not religious biography” of Charles A. Lindbergh. Most importantly, I got to spend hour after spring break hour in the Weyerhaueser Reading Room at the Minnesota Historical Society, going through … More Some Updates on My Charles Lindbergh Project
I’ve described my current research project as a “spiritual, but not religious” biography of Charles Lindbergh. A non-churchgoer who never identified with any particular religion, the famous aviator nonetheless read religious texts, lost much of his early faith in science and technology, and grew increasingly interested in matters spiritual and supernatural. In part, what drew … More How Many Americans Are “Spiritual, But Not Religious”?
While I’ve skimmed through Charles Lindbergh’s most famous memoir, I’m actually intimidated to read The Spirit of St. Louis. A popular and critical hit, SoSL won the 1954 Pulitzer Prize for its inventive, gripping narrative. Any would-be biographer needs to live up to the high standard set by Lindbergh himself (with considerable editing assistance from his wife, Anne). … More The Spiritual Spirit of St. Louis
About a year ago, we drove an hour northwest of the Twin Cities to take my wife to a workshop in St. Cloud, Minnesota. To kill some time that afternoon, I took our then-six year old twins another half-hour north, to the Charles A. Lindbergh Historic Site. While young Lindbergh also spent time in Washington, … More The Lindberghs of Little Falls