The Washington Times picked up the London Telegraph’s dramatic account of the recovery of the long-sought wreckage of the aircraft piloted by Antoine de Saint-Exupery in July 1944: “WW II mystery dredged up.” In that The Little Prince is, according to the author of the Telegraph article, the third best-selling book of all time — behind the Bible and Das Kapital — you probably know Saint-Exupery as the author of that book.
Saint-Exupery toured the United States in 1939. He was already an international legend, based in part on his books Night Flight and Wind, Sand and Stars. In reading Scott Berg’s biography of Charles Lindbergh, I was surprised to discover that Anne Lindbergh more or less fell in love with Saint-Exupery when he visited the Lindberghs in New York that year. Anne was surprised to find him stooped and balding — “not at all good looking.” Nevertheless, in her diary she described their meeting: “Summer lightning.”
When Saint-Exupery’s plane went down in 1944, Anne was distraught. She wrote in her diary that Saint-Exupery was “a sun or a moon or stars which light earth, which make the whole world and life more beautiful. Now the earth is unlit and it is no longer so beautiful. I go ahead in it stumbling and without joy.”
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