When Charles Lindbergh landed in Paris in 1927, he became one of the most famous men in the world. Reporters and authors leapt at the chance to write about his life, not always distinguishing fact from fiction. In response, Lindbergh decided to become his own biographer to set the record straight.
Just a few months after his famous flight, Lindbergh wrote We, published by G. P. Putnam's Sons. Putnam had hired a ghostwriter, but Lindbergh was so unhappy with the draft that he dismissed the work and spent just three weeks his own story. It became an instant hit.
The only time Lindbergh ever kept a formal journal was the period between 1938 and 1945. In an edited form, this was published as The Wartime Journals of Charles A. Lindbergh (1970).
In 1948 he published Of Flight and Life, a reflective memoir and a consideration of the prospect of an “Atomic Age War” and the potential collapse of western civilization and spiritual values.
In 1953, Lindbergh published The Spirit of St. Louis, which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for autobiography in 1954. Spending more than a 14 years working on the manuscript, Lindbergh again recounted the tale of his famous flight, incorporating flashbacks to his youth and early career in aviation.
In the mid-1960s, Lindbergh worked with the Minnesota Historical Society to develop a historic site at his boyhood home in Little Falls. Between 1966 and 1973 Lindbergh visited the site at least seven times and wrote letters containing his reminiscences of life on the farm as interpretive background. These letters were published as Boyhood on the Upper Mississippi in 1972 (issued in 2002 as Lindbergh Looks Back.)
For three decades he recorded snippets of conversations, lists of names, dates and places important to the family, leaving almost no stone unturned – except for the kidnapping of his first child, Charles, Jr. which he omitted completely.
In 1974, when he knew he was dying, Lindbergh gave these thousand-plus pages of manuscript to his friend and publisher, William Jovanovich, who worked with Yale archivist Judith Schiff to create Autobiography of Values, published posthumously in 1978.