World-famous after his pioneering 1927 nonstop transatlantic flight, Charles Lindbergh, says Friedman, thought he was a god, and after a 1928 otherworldly experience in the Utah desert, he committed himself to exploring the science of eternal life. His sister-in-law's damaged heart valve led Lindbergh to seek out Nobel laureate Alexis Carrel, whose vascular-suturing technique made open-heart surgery and other advances possible. The pair embarked on an immortality project at New York's Rockefeller Institute. Utilizing Carrel's expertise with tissue culture and Lindbergh's mechanical engineering genius, they kept extracted organs alive and functioning for weeks at a time. As Friedman (A Mind of Its Own: A Cultural History of the Penis) demonstrates, these biological experiments were integral to the pair's obsession with eugenics, their belief that the white race was endangered by lesser organisms and to Lindbergh's later enthusiasm for the Nazis. Friedman, who has written for GQ and Esquire, makes complex science accessible and serves as an absorbing cautionary tale on how two heroic reputations were marred by fascism and anti-Semitism.
The Immortalists: Charles Lindbergh, Dr. Alexis Carrel, and Their Daring Quest to Live Forever
Spotted in the LA Times book review, although it seems like something Warren Ellis put in Planetary.
*Update: Charlie suggests links to vintage articles about Lindbergh and Carrel. Click through to see some incredible devices including "a science achievement that permits doctors to measure life expectancy through the super-eye camera."