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Three Across
The Great Transatlantic Air Race of 1927

by Norman H. Finkelstein


In 1919, aviation was in its infancy when a hotel owner named Orteig offered the first pilot to fly nonstop across the Atlantic, from New York to Paris, a prize of $25,000. By 1927 the prize still had not been awarded.  $25,000 was a fortune back then, and the feat was considered impossible. This is the story of the first three men to shepherd their tiny planes across the great Atlantic.

Charles Lindbergh, "Lucky Lindy," flew the Spirit of St. Louis. He was virtually unknown, and had tried in vain to be the pilot of the Columbia. Charles A. Levine owned the  Columbia, but used the well-known test pilot, Clarence Chamberlin, at the controls. The  Columbia already held the world's endurance record, having flown over 30,000 miles. The third plane was the multi-engined America, piloted by Richard E. Byrd, the Arctic explorer,  which held a crew of four. All the world watched as the impossible feat became reality.

Norman Finklestein captures the excitement of the times as he traces the rise of aviation from the first flight of the Kitty Hawk to the great Atlantic race. He tells the history of each man, their dreams of greatness, and the setbacks and problems they encountered. The book is illustrated with black and white photographs throughout that show the instrument panels and crowded cockpits of the planes along with plenty of photographs of the pilots and the crowds that greeted them.

I thoroughly enjoyed this sojourn back into history and comparing it to today's aviation miracles that are just taken for granted. This book belongs in every school library. It tells of one of history's finest moments.

The Book

Boyds Mills Press
September 1, 2008
1-59078-462-6 / 978-1-59078-462-4
Nonfiction Ages 9 & up
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The Reviewer

Beverly J. Rowe
Reviewed 2009
NOTE: Reviewer Beverly J. Rowe is's "Babes to Teens" columnist, covering topics related to reading ideas for the youth in the family.
© 2009