Antoine de Saint-Exupery's Early Years (03:55)
In 1943, the aviator and writer entrusted "The Little Prince" manuscript to his American lover before returning to France. After his father's death, the family lived with a wealthy aunt in Lyons. His mother Marie spoiled him.
Creative Child (03:15)
Saint-Exupery invented machines, including a flying bicycle. A daydreamer, he hated school subjects except for literature. He grew up surrounded by women and discovered a sense of freedom on his first flight at age 12.
Family Tragedy (03:44)
During World War I, Marie sent her sons to boarding school. In 1917, Saint-Exupery's brother Francois died. After graduation, Saint-Exupery moved to Paris, joining literary circles and frequenting society events. He joined the army to become an aviator.
Saint-Exupery's Love Life (03:05)
Saint-Exupery bent the rules to become a military pilot. He became engaged to Louise de Vilmorin. After a flying accident, he worked in service positions; Louise broke their engagement.
Latecoere Years (03:21)
Saint-Exupery got a job at the airline company. Pilots Henri Guillaumet and Jean Mermoz became his mentors. He began flying the Toulouse-Casablanca-Dakar mail route, and wrote about his adventures in letters to family and friends.
Cap Juby (03:15)
Latecoere assigned Saint-Exupery to negotiate peace between the Moors and the Spanish at a refueling station in Morocco. He describes his experiences in letters to his mother. While in the desert, he honed his writing skills and matured psychologically.
South America Experience (04:46)
In 1928, Saint-Exupery returned from Cap Juby and published "Courrier Sud," his first manuscript. He was appointed head of Aeropostale's Argentinian subsidiary, but felt weighed down and disliked Buenos Aires. Guillaumet survived crashing in the Andes, and became Saint-Exupery’s hero.
"Night Flight" (03:35)
Saint-Exupery fell in love with El Salvadorian artist Consuelo Suncin in Buenos Aires; they married in 1931. Inspired by insomnia, he wrote "Vol de Nuit," adapted for Hollywood. Professional writers envied his success, and pilots felt he had betrayed their secrets.
Journalism Stint (02:34)
Aeropostale went bankrupt during the Depression; pilots blocked Saint-Exupery from working at Air France. He had financial and marital problems, and began an affair with Nellie de Vogue, who got him a newspaper job. He quit after reporting on Stalin's regime.
Paris to Saigon (04:15)
Saint-Exupery planned a 10,000 kilometer flight without radio equipment to allow for more fuel. He and mechanic Prevot crashed in the Egyptian desert and walked for three days before encountering a caravan. View footage of him filming "Courrier Sud."
Death of Mermoz (03:43)
Hear a recording of Saint-Exupery paying tribute to Mermoz, who crashed on a transatlantic flight. Saint-Exupery became depressed after witnessing the Spanish Civil War and planned a flight from New York to Tierra del Fuego. In Guatemala, he crashed and suffered a coma.
"Terre des Hommes" (03:16)
While convalescing in New York, Saint-Exupery wrote "Wind, Sand and Stars." When war broke out, he returned to France to fly with a reconnaissance unit. He was disgusted by armistice with Germany.
Politically Neutral (04:13)
Saint-Exupery refused to join the Vichy government or the Free French Movement. He traveled to New York to campaign for the U.S. joining the war; American publishers wanted another bestseller. "Flight to Arras" gained U.S. support but was banned by the Vichy government.
"The Little Prince" (05:33)
American publishers suggested Saint-Exupery write a children's story. In 1943, he left the manuscript with Sylvia Hamilton and returned to France, insisting on flying reconnaissance missions. His plane disappeared in 1944; the book became a global success.
Credits: Antoine De Saint Exupery, The Last Romantic (00:30)
Credits: Antoine De Saint Exupery, The Last Romantic
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