Customer Reviews


22 Reviews
5 star:
 (16)
4 star:
 (2)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (2)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic of aviation and adventure literature
An absolutely brilliant work. Keep in mind that many of the bad reviews here were for a different version/translation of this book. This one is almost twice as long and sticks far better to the author's orginal work.
This collection of stories is the perfect bedtime reading. You can finish off each story in an hour or so and drift to sleep with dreams of adventure...
Published on June 16 2004

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars As lofty as flight itself
First off, let me say that there were parts of this book that I thoroughly enjoyed. That truly transported me to another place. And for those moments alone, the book is worth reading.
But as far as a consistently good read, it falls a bit short. The writing style is eloquent and high-minded, sometimes to the detriment of enjoyable reading. It seems as though he...
Published on Sept. 6 2000


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic of aviation and adventure literature, June 16 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Wind, Sand and Stars (Hardcover)
An absolutely brilliant work. Keep in mind that many of the bad reviews here were for a different version/translation of this book. This one is almost twice as long and sticks far better to the author's orginal work.
This collection of stories is the perfect bedtime reading. You can finish off each story in an hour or so and drift to sleep with dreams of adventure and travel. The author relates the early days of air travel, when the pilots were quite often taking their lives in their own hands each time they took flight. Crash landings in the Sahara were part of job, and rather commonplace for those daring pilots that dared to carry mail and supplies over the great desert.
The author writes in a simple and magical prose that carries all readers to the co-pilot seat on these amazing true adventures.
It is rare to find an individual who lived such an amazing life as Saint-Exupery, and rarer still to find one who could write about their experiences with such clarity, beauty and detail.
Highly recommended. A great treasure of literature.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pilot-Philosopher laureate of France, March 17 2002
By 
David W. Nicholas (Van Nuys, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Wind, Sand and Stars (Paperback)
Antoine de Saint-Exupery was one of the most interesting figures of 20th century literature. He wrote The Little Prince, a children's book that sold 200,000 copies in the U.S. alone in one year several years ago, and was also the author of several novels and memoirs, all relating to flying, of which this is one. The author was MIA over his beloved France while flying for the Free French Air Force in 1944 (after having to argue to be allowed to fly in combat; he was considered a national treasure). It appears the site of the wreck was discovered in the water just off the Riviera a couple of years ago, though no one's certain.
Wind, Sand and Stars is a recounting of several episodes in Saint-Exupery's life as a pilot, told to illustrate his view of the world, and especially his opinions of what makes life worth living, and who we are or should be. He was a wonderfully insightful individual, and his prose and ideas are the sort of thing you'll carry with you for years. I would highly recommend this book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wind-swept Whimsy, April 16 2002
By 
M. Mcfarland - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Wind, Sand and Stars (Paperback)
I'd been meaning to read Antoine de Saint-Exupery's 1939 tale of his early flying days for many years. It's only a little book, some 120 pages long, and you can read it easily within a day. Overall, I sort of enjoyed it and the introduction by the English translator. (I read the new 1995 translation published by Penguin Paperbacks).
Antoine de Saint-Exupery was an aviation pioneer and he and his friends' many crash survivals are retold in lurid detail. There are tales of fantastic escapes following mountain-side crashes in the Andes. There is also lament for those free-spirited pioneers who never returned. Even so, I wouldn't say this is the classic that many have made it out to be. It's fairly entertaining. His earlier works are supposed to be better and more fluid and I'll give them a go at a later date.
But for now, the main problem I found with Wind, Sand and Stars is that it is more a collection of shorts inter-woven with Saint-Exupery's philosophical musings on life and death behind the joy-stick. As such, it isn't a tale that begins, gains momentum and races towards a final frenetic conclusion. It reads more like a series of diary entries with orders to the existential milkman thrown in between.
The biggest disappointment for me was the so-called classic account of his miraculous escape from the clutches of the sandy Libyan desert. Try as he might de Saint-Exupery's writing didn't inspire the same dry-mouthed anticipation made marvellous by Camus in his shorter works.
Overall, Wind, Sand and Stars is great for a lazy day in the garden when you want a bit of escapism. The world of de Saint-Exupery's, in his early pioneering days, was very different to the cushy world most of us inhabit. Where Saint-Exupery and friends risked life and limb heading off into mountainous terrain in little more than motorised kite, the biggest risk most of us ever take is deciding which stocks to buy to where to go on holiday. For this reason alone, I'd recommend giving Wind, Sand and Stars an afternoon's attention.
Three/four stars.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wind, Sand and Stars, Jan. 23 2002
This review is from: Wind, Sand and Stars (Paperback)
I lulled over Wind Sand and Stars for a long time, savoring each word to the last drop! Intensely reflective, philosophical and insightful, I felt like I was right in the desert with Saint Exupery, vicariously reaching for that experience of living away from most frivolities of modern civilization in search of that true place and relationship with the sands, the seas, space ... The flight adventures are marvelously described with just enough detail to inform the nonpilots without becoming tedious. The experiences in solitude of the Sahara are vividly portrayed - you definitely can feel you are a part of the landscape. In addition to St-Ex's hallmarked "idealism" and childlike perspective, his thoughts on the importance of duty are equally compelling. St-Ex did seem to lecture a bit excessively close to the end as far as his rampant musings on war and man and such, but all in all this was a fabulous read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars read this book!, Sept. 30 2000
By 
Paul Jones (Ipswich, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Wind, Sand and Stars (Hardcover)
What is truely remarkable about this book are two things :
(a) It provides a vision for mankind which reconciles our need for progress with our (recent!) roots of self sufficiency, community and coexistence with nature. It is a vision desperately in need of voice in these doomed decades of the twighlight of the industrial age. The vision is one of courage to challenge the limits of our secure but meaningless lives and our tamed ambitions. The strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity, when we DARE to challenge ourselves to truely live our lives.
Two passages stick out in my mind to illustrate this underlying theme. In the introduction to the text, Exupery recalls flying over the empty landscape of Argentina; each of the lights of the houses, he recalls, clung to the fragile earth, is a "miracle of consciousness". In the second, he describes his comrades' desperate five day walk to safety after crashing in the wilderness of Patagonia. On reaching safety he said, "no animal would have gone through what I have have been through" (paraphrase). A sentence which returned things to their true heirarchy, adds Exupery.
A vision of man's ascendancy of the beast; a challenge to man to not live as caged animal in robot cities.
(b) The other thing, of course, and more important perhaps, is the beauty of the prose. Full of pronouncements and insights (unlike any other book!) it still flows as a story, full of emotion. In particular in the desert scenes, each sentence transports you in time and space and impacts upon your every feeling. For sections of the book, page after page, each and every sentence has a resonance which brings waves euphoria and despair. To drink water, after reading the desert chapters, is to experience the joy of life!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars "The true face of the earth", July 14 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Wind, Sand and Stars (Hardcover)
The essays and anecdotes in this volume are true gems to be enjoyed slowly, recalled fondly and shared often.
Despite the relative infancy of the aviation industry at the time he composed them, Saint-Ex clearly understood that flying - especially the type of long and dangerous kind that he was engaged in - was both a metaphor and a brilliant illumination into the nature of the human condition.
Like flying into uncharted territory, our journey through life is fraught with perils, faced mostly alone and with few witnesses to our acts of courage or cowardice. However, instead of facing up to this fact, Saint-Ex points out how "modern" culture consists of ever more elaborate denials of this basic fact: we have been indoctrinated with the goal of spending our lives working solely to achieve the most comfortable, painless, risk-free existence possible. And we continue to do so, much to our detriment.
These essays are skillful and evocative arguments that! ! only when we face up to, and acknowledge our tenuous and perilous existence, can we truly appreciate what it means to be alive. Saint-Ex does a wonderful job in writing about what has become important to him: experiencing the majestic beauty and power of the earth and nature, what the existentialists would call "being authentic", and the friendship and cameraderie of the pilots and people he has met on his journeys.
"Men travel side by side for years - each locked up in his own silence... till danger comes. Then they stand shoulder to shoulder. Then they discover they belong to the same family....
Happiness! It is useless to seek it elsewhere than in this warmth of human relations...
Each man must look to himself to learn the meaning of life. It is not something discovered: it is something molded. These prison walls that the age of trade has built around 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 chant of the human voice.&qu! ot;
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Aviator, Poet & Philosopher, April 22 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Wind, Sand and Stars (Paperback)
Saint-Exupery disappeared in North Africa in 1943 while flying reconnaissance flights for the American forces. After reading Wind, Sand and Stars one has a sense that this writer/philosopher, who is probably most well known for his fable The Little Prince, was well prepared for his life to end in this way.
In the opening lines of the original French version Saint-Exupery writes:
"The earth teaches us more about ourselves than all the books.
Because it resists us. Man discovers himself when he measures
himself against the obstacle"

Wind, Sand and Stars is intensely autobiographical as it tells us of this man's adventures from his beginnings as a pilot with the air mail service over France, Spain and North Africa before World War I, through to his musings as an observer of the Spanish Civil War. But far more than an adventurer, Saint-Exupery writes like a poet and has the heart of a philosopher. This wonderful book (a credit to the translator from the original French) has incredibly rich descriptive passages in which he lays out for the reader the details observed in the natural world and the response that these evoke in his mind, heart and soul.
In one section of the book (which a reader familiar with The Little Prince cannot help but conclude was inspirational for that work) Saint-Exupery describes at length his near-death experience after crashing in the Libyan desert, and wandering for days without water or hope:
"Apart from your suffering, I have no regrets. All in all, it has been
a good life. If I got free of this I should start right in again. A man
cannot live a decent life in cities, and I need to feel myself live. I
am not thinking of aviation. The aeroplane is a means, not an end.
One doesn't risk one's life for a plane any more than a farmer ploughs
for the sake of the plough. But the aeroplane is a means of getting
away from towns and their book-keeping and coming to grips with
reality."

Wind, Sand and Stars is not an easy read. But for those with patience and an interest (in a phrase from The Little Prince) in "listening with the heart", here is an insight to one man's struggle to understand and articulate the sacredness and greatness of human life.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Few novels capture the poem that is life., April 9 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Wind, Sand and Stars (Hardcover)
We usually assume that in order to appreciate literature we must read it in the original, but somehow St. Exupery translates as genuine poetry. This book, written in 1941, shortly before his disappearance, is an essential background text for both *The Little Prince* and *Night Flight.* St.Exupery is to the air what Joseph Conrad is to the sea: an explicator for a world that most of us never enter. As a pioneer aviator, St. Exupery experienced the "man confronts the elements" of nascent aviation; as a writer, he makes a gift those experiences, processed through the blender of his own intelligence and sensitivity, to the reader. *Wind, Sand and Stars* is not only about aviation; it's about life. "There are two hundred million men in Europe whose existence has no meaning and who yearn to come alive," St.Exupery writes. "Industry has torn them from the idiom of their peasant lineage and has locked them in those enormous ghettos that are like railway yards heaped with blackened trucks. Out of the depths of their slums these men yearn to be awakened." Are we so different today? The philosophy of *Wind, Sand and Stars* is as applicable now as it was then and, because it is philosophical, because the author not only perceives a different world but delves, analyzes it and divulges its meaning, the book remains a classic for the foreseeable future.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Encompassing adventure, memoir, and philosophy--a gem., April 4 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Wind, Sand and Stars (Hardcover)
"The airplane has unveiled for us the true face of the earth," writes Saint-Exupery; this book unveils for the reader the true face of man. The grim heat of the desert, the stench of diesel, the surreal terror of night and storms, and the elation of flight: his prose evokes all of these with shimmering fluidity.
Just as the most rudimentary of charcoal sketches often manage to capture the very essence of its subject in a few deft strokes, so too do the struggles and joys of pilots in North Africa and South America manage to capture the essence of man, of his relationship with machine, with nature, and with himself in this taut narrative..
Non-pilots will feel that they have been inducted into a world vibrantly unique yet achingly familiar, pilots will recall afresh the sensations of defying gravity with steel, wires, and bravery; all readers, however, will find themselves murmuring "yes, that's it exactly."
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3.0 out of 5 stars As lofty as flight itself, Sept. 6 2000
By A Customer
This review is from: Wind, Sand and Stars (Paperback)
First off, let me say that there were parts of this book that I thoroughly enjoyed. That truly transported me to another place. And for those moments alone, the book is worth reading.
But as far as a consistently good read, it falls a bit short. The writing style is eloquent and high-minded, sometimes to the detriment of enjoyable reading. It seems as though he tried to pack so much meaing into every word that the words together almost seem to be too much.
But if you have the time and focus to read this book, there are great moments to be shared between the reader, the author and his subject.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Wind, Sand and Stars
Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (Paperback - Dec 9 2002)
CDN$ 18.95 CDN$ 13.68
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews