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A fascinating account of the life of one of the century's great eccentrics - the brilliant Antoine de Saint-Exupery. Born in 1900 of impoverished aristocracy, he swiftly developed a mania for aviation, despite his chaotic mind and total technological incompetence. He flew reconnaissance missions in the War and wrote some strange and wonderful books, including the classic children's story THE LITTLE PRINCE, between theatrically executed airplane crashed. He died in the air in 1944, and his brief life instantly acquired mythical status. 'Every facet of Saint-Exupery's short and dramatic life is covered in this fascinating biography. This is Stacy Schiff's first book, but she writes with all the skill, assurance and mastery of an old literary hand. If there was such a thing as a prize for a first biography, I would nominate this book. ' Frank McLynn, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH.
Born in 1900 into one of France's oldest families, impoverished aristocrat Antoine de Saint-Exupery became a pioneer aviator, braving the Pyrenees, Patagonia and the Sahara, as well as serving as a mail pilot in the 1920s and '30s, and then turning his adventures into lyrical novels. The Little Prince, his children's fable for all ages, secured his fame. This captivating biography deftly separates the man from the myth, revealing an awkward, petulant idealist, an elitist who advocated oligarchy, a pilot known for his mishaps and absentmindedness, and an unhappily married adventurer whose abusive wife eventually reached an uneasy accommodation with his mistress. Fleeing German-occupied France for New York City in 1940, Saint-Exupery felt he was shirking his duty as a Frenchman; he attained the noble death he sought in 1944, missing in action on a reconnaissance flight over southern France. Schiff is a former senior editor at Simon & Schuster. Photos not seen by PW.