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Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de…

Wind, Sand and Stars (1939)

by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Airman's Odyssey (2)

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2,506483,784 (4.09)85
Recipient of the Grand Prix of the Académie Française,Wind, Sand and Stars captures the grandeur, danger, and isolation of flight. Its exciting account of air adventure, combined with lyrical prose and the spirit of a philosopher, makes it one of the most popular works ever written about flying. Translated by Lewis Galantière.… (more)

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» See also 85 mentions

English (41)  French (3)  Catalan (1)  Dutch (1)  Danish (1)  Arabic (1)  All languages (48)
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
These are autobiographical essays based mostly on his experiences as a mail pilot for Aéropostale in Africa and South America, and one chapter about the Spanish Civil War. It’s good.

One of my favorite comic literary devices is the secret, insulting dinner party game:

"When I was a child my sisters had a way of giving marks to guests who were honoring our table for the first time. Conversation might languish for a moment, and then in the silence we could hear the sudden impact of 'Sixty!'--a word that could tickle only the family, who knew that one hundred was par. Branded by this low mark, the guest would all unknowing continue to spend himself in little courtesies while we sat screaming inwardly with delight."

This brings to mind a bit that shows up in a Louis Auchincloss novel, I don’t recall which (revealed in one of his memoirs to be based on real-life): some regulars on the society dinner party circuit started selling “bore insurance” to their friends that would pay cash if you had the misfortune of being seated next one of the notoriously soporific chowderheads that could otherwise ruin your evening. They kept a list ranking them and assigning payouts. ( )
  k6gst | Sep 13, 2019 |
This biography takes us on an adventure through the exhilarating early days of aviation. It is filled with tales of escapades, of both the author and his contemporaries. We hear of crashes in the desert, and in the snow-bound mountains, remote from habitation, where shear grit and endurance have been the difference between making it through and death from the elements, starvation, freezing or thirst. We hear of raids on remote outposts by warring tribes, of the rescue of a slave from the captivity of Arabs, of duty to save the post from perishing with the plane, and the physical battle between man and the weather when the machine he is flying is shaking itself to pieces and the controls of the plane become an extension to his being.

Woven throughout these cinematic and thrilling scenarios we have true insight on the human condition, its varieties, and its reaction to extreme situations. This is a truly humanist work from a highly sensitive yet resilient author, whose appreciation of the poetry of nature and human existence is suitably reflected in his skill at writing. This is a fine literary biography of much aesthetic value, and filled with so much excitement and suspense that when the still reflective moments come they are even better. There is so much to like about this book that I would recommend it to most readers. ( )
  P_S_Patrick | Jun 13, 2019 |
Reread. Crazy tales of early aviation in unmapped areas. Example - flying the mail over the Andes from Brazil to Peru. ( )
  Grace.Van.Moer | Jan 6, 2019 |
The older I get the more I like the touch, feel and look of old books. A particular favourite type is the Gallimard paperback from the post war period. In an Oxfam bookshop I found a copy of Saint-Exupery’s Terre des Hommes with page browning and signs of sellotape on the front cover. It is from the ‘trois cent vingtieme edition’ printed in 1949, ten years after the first edition. It is so fragile that it crumbles at a turn of the page. I like the way French publishers draw attention to the various limited editions on special paper, for instance ‘L’edition originale de cet ouvrage a ete tiree a cent soixante-trois exemplaires’ before describing a breakdown of these volumes by ‘papier Whatman’, ‘velin de Hollande’ and 30 copies ‘sur velin pur fil des papeteries Lafuma Navarre’. My copy has no claim to fame in itself. The content is marvellous of course and starts with a statement that rings true however it may be applied.
‘La terre nous apprend plus long sur nous que tous les livres. Parce qu’elle nous resiste. L’homme se découvre quand il se mesure avec l’obstacle. Mais, pour l’atteindre, il lui faut un outil’ (page 9).

I encountered this challenge when my tool, my car, struck an object that burst a tire, leaving me stranded in gathering darkness miles from home. As I awaited help dusk turned to darkness and the natural environment made its presence felt through the sounds of animals, a barking fox, the bellow of cows and the soulful cry of the tawny owl. Trees, hedges and fields took on different shapes and characteristics. Long periods of silence took over and emphasised my isolation and helplessness in a rural landscape. Four lines into Terre des Homme, I am hooked. ( )
  jon1lambert | Aug 22, 2018 |
In Wind, Sand and Stars, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry describes the early years of regular powered flight as he worked with the Aéropostale (later Air France) delivering the mail. He talks of the almost-mystical manner in which pilots related to the world from their lofty perch and how they had to view the land beneath them both to find their way and to successfully land in case of emergency. He writes, “Flying is a man’s job and its worries are a man’s worries. A pilot’s business is with the wind, with the stars, with night, with sand, with the sea. He strives to outwit the forces of nature. He stares in expectancy for the coming of dawn the way a gardener awaits the coming of spring. He looks forward to port as to a promised land, and truth for him is what lives in the stars” (pg. 147). Beyond the short vignettes about the lives of pilots and the handling of aircraft, Saint-Exupéry spends a great deal of time discussing his experiences in what is now Algeria and Morocco, his crash in the Sahara Desert, and his experiences at the beginning of the Spanish Civil War.
Discussing his crash in the Sahara, Saint-Exupéry discussing following the trail of a fennec fox while he was hallucinating due to dehydration. This experience likely served as the inspiration for his later novella, Le Petit Prince (pg. 136). Further, he infuses his reminiscences with a humanist/poetic outlook, much like the musings of the fox in Le Petit Prince. Saint-Exupéry writes, “Each man must look to himself to teach him the meaning of life. It is not something discovered: it is something moulded. These prison walls that this age of trade has built up round us, we can break down. We can still run free, call to our comrades, and marvel to hear once more, in response to our call, the pathetic chant of the human voice” (pg. 26). He continues, “When we exchange manly handshakes, compete in races, join together to save one of us who is in trouble, cry aloud for help in the hour of danger – only then do we learn that we are not alone on earth” (pg. 28). These introspective passages contribute to the generally romantic view of early pilots during the interwar years. This book, with lovely illustrations from Linda Kitson, will appeal to anyone interested in the history of aviation. ( )
  DarthDeverell | Jul 14, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
Saint Exupéry pilotava aviões nos tempos heróicos da aviação comercial - tempo em que os aviões voavam a mil, dois mil metros e, nos dias de céu limpo, podia-se admirar a paisagem lá em baixo. Foi ele um dos primeiros pilotos da Air France a estabelecer a rota do correio aéreo para a África e a América Latina, enfrentando, com instrumentos rudimentares, as travessias do oceano, Sahara, Patagônia e Cordilheira dos Andes.

Pilotando os pequenos aviões na quietude de noites estreladas ou sobrevoando durante horas de um dia interminável a imensidão de desertos e de planícies despovoadas, Saint Exupéry perscrutava agudamente a alma humana. Surge dessa reflexão uma proposta humanista muito peculiar, que entusiasmou muita gente nos anos que se seguiram à Segunda Guerra Mundial.

Panes eram comuns nos tempos heróicos da aviação comercial e nem sempre tinham conseqüências fatais. Os aviões eram menores, menos velozes e planavam com facilidade. Porém, escapando da morte na queda do avião, pilotos e mecânicos tinham de lutar pela vida na caminhada em busca de socorro. Terra dos Homens narra vários desses episódios nos quais foram os valores morais que levaram esses homens a fazer enormes sacrifícios e a encontrar insuspeitadas reservas de energia para vencer desertos, neves eternas, hostilidades de beduinos sublevados.

Não se trata, porém, de livro de aventuras ou de explorações. Terra dos Homens é, na verdade, uma amorosa meditação sobre o senso de responsabilidade; o valor do coleguismo, o prazer de uma conversa solta numa roda alegre após um dia duro de trabalho; a emoção de ver o sol se pôr na imensidão do mar, a alegria do aceno da menina aos pilotos que, na rota para o Chile, sobrevoavam um rincão perdido da Patagônia - episódios de um poema em prosa que celebra a natureza, o sentido da vida, a dignidade do trabalhador.

» Add other authors (26 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Saint-Exupéry, Antoine deAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Brouwer, JohannesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cosgrave, John O'HaraIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Galantière, LewisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Rees, WilliamTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to Henr Guillaumet, my comrade.
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La terre nous en apprend plus long sur nous que tous les livres. Parce qu'elle nous résiste.
In 1926 I was enrolled as student airline pilot by the Latecoere Company, the predecessors of Aeropostale (now Air France) in the operation of the line between Toulouse, in southwestern France, and Dakar, in French West Africa.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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