Land of Men


By Antoine de Saint-Exupéry • Read by Nicholas Boulton


Antoine de Saint-Exupéry flew rickety, unreliable mailplanes in the 1930s between Europe, Africa and America, which gave him a unique vision of planet Earth that is captured in this classic book, Terre Des Hommes (1939), known in English as Wind, Sand and Stars. It recounts adventures such as dodging cliff-faces in the Andes and the Atlas mountains, overcoming storms at sea or surviving a crash in the Sahara, and gives a sense of what it was like to fly alone, navigating by elusive beacons and the stars. More importantly, he expressed with a poetic lightness of spirit his insights about life’s essentials.

Nicholas Boulton reads Bill Homewood’s new translation with a boyish zest that perfectly matches Saint-Exupéry’s exuberance at being “right at the heart of mystery . . . a student biologist studying through the porthole the human anthill”. A year before he disappeared in 1944 during a reconnaissance mission over the Mediterranean, Saint-Exupéry condensed his ever pertinent philosophy of what makes life worth living in his famous children’s book The Little Prince.

Land of Men: Wind, Sand and Stars by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, read by Nicholas Boulton.

Christina Hardyment – The Times