Image: Lindbergh with the Spirit of St. Louis before his Paris flight, 20-21 May, 1927.
From: Chapter XVI – July, One Summer – America 1927 (2013), by Bill Bryson:
“Immediately after Ottawa, Lindbergh returned to Long Island and moved into Falaise, a French-style chateau on the Guggenheim family estate at Sands Point on the Gold Coast, a dozen miles from the Mills property where Benjamin Strong and his fellow bankers were concurrently holding their talks. The Guggenheims’ end of the Gold Coast was fractionally more bohemian than the rest and was popular with people from Broadway and the arts. Florenz Ziegfeld, Ed Wynn, Leslie Howard, P. G. Wodehouse, Eddie Cantor, George M. Cohan and, for a time, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald all had homes there, as did a few more louche types, like the mobster Arnold Rothstein. This was the world of The Great Gatsby, published two years earlier. Sands Point, where the Guggenheims clustered in three substantial houses, was the wealthy East Egg of the novel.
Working in a bedroom overlooking the sea, Lindbergh scribbled out his life story, using Carlyle MacDonald’s draft as a guide. In a little under three weeks he completed a manuscript of about 40,000 words – an impressive achievement in terms of output if not literary merit. The book, called We, was coolly received by critics. Lindbergh devoted just eighteen lines to his childhood and seven pages to his historic flight. The rest was mostly about barnstorming and delivering airmail. As one reviewer drily observed, “as an author Lindbergh is the world’s foremost aviator”. The buying public didn’t care. We was published on 27 July and went straight to the top of the bestseller list. It sold 190,000 copies in its first two months. People couldn’t get enough of anything Lindbergh did…”
“Barnstorming was a form of entertainment in which stunt pilots performed tricks—either individually or in groups called flying circuses. Devised to “impress people with the skill of pilots and the sturdiness of planes,” it became popular in the United States during the Roaring Twenties.”