Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Immortalists by David M. Friedman

Originally posted Feb 10, 2008
Full title The Immortalists: Charles Lindbergh, Dr. Alexis Carrel, and Their Daring Quest to Live Forever.

This is truly an amazing book. I found it very interesting right through. The story of Charles Lindbergh in particular is almost 3 separate lives, or maybe even 4, and we are taken through each part with the same thoroughness and attention to detail. Dr. Carrel as well lead a very fascinating life, ahead of his time by about 70 years, but the two men’s lives mesh in an almost fantastical way.

Beginning with Lindbergh’s flight as almost an aside, it was mostly used to set the theme of the effect the notoriety had on his life. The death of his infant son also is not a major part of the story but more of a background. What is amazing and exciting is how these two men, an engineer and a scientist produced the forerunners of so many medical practices today. To read what they were able to produce with their “misguided” attempts at immortality is completely worthwhile. The “middle” portion takes us through the days leading up to WWII and the results. The final portion brings us back to exoneration, hope, prestige and Lindberg’s re-entry into flight. One is made to feel we come full circle by the end of the book. To be honest, I had no idea as to the depth of these personalities and the book was a real eye-opener. I am so glad I was able to read this fantastic story and heartily recommend it.

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