Wind, Sand and Stars – Antoine de Saint Exupéry

Wind Sand StarsThis is one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read.

You may perhaps be familiar with Antoine de Saint Exupéry’s work through the book The Little Prince which has become a classic for children and adults alike. This book reveals some of the inspiration Saint Exupéry drew upon.

Antoine de Saint Exupéry was a pioneering French pilot opening up the routes between France and Africa at a time when such journeys taxed the capabilities of aircraft and pilots to their limits. In this book he blends a collection of wonderful tales of the period with insights from his life, writing with the hand of a poet from the heart of a philosopher.

The book, written some seventy years ago, is clearly placed in its time whilst also being timeless, blending images of times past with lessons and insights that are immensely relevant to today. It spans his early adventures pioneering the mail service to Africa and onto the opening up of South America, through to his involvement in the Spanish Civil War, each with their life threatening dangers.

The experiences are wonderfully described but it is his reaction to them, the response of his heart and soul that give the book the power to move the reader’s soul.

In a book that has much description of life and survival in the desert, my favourite chapter is titled ‘Oasis’. Saint Exupéry leads the reader not into the oasis amidst the sand, but the oases that fill all of our lives, beautifully describing the experience of being taken into a family home in Paraguay.

I often promise to return to re-read books, but this book and this chapter in particular has been read several times over.

One of my favourite quotations of his is ‘.

“Each man carries within him the soul of a poet who died young”

Sadly Antoine de Saint Exupéry was killed whilst flying in 1944 at the age of 44.

I commend this book to you so you may see the poet he was and find the poet you are.

Steve Unwin
July 2012