Born June 29, 1900, in Lyon, France, to an aristocratic Catholic family, Saint-Exupéry later became a well-known writer, poet, aristocrat, journalist, and pioneering aviator, best remembered for his novella The Little Prince, which is one of the best-selling and most translated books of all time.
Saint-Exupéry twice failed his exams at the predatory Naval Academy, briefly studied architecture at the École des Beaux-Arts, and accepted various odd jobs before beginning military service in 1921.He earned his wings in the French Air Force after being posted to the 37th Fighter Regiment in Casablanca, Morocco and went on to have a successful career later as a commercial pilot, although he did suffer various crashes, including a crash in the Libyan desert in December of 1935, during a speed race from Paris to Saigon, which he and the navigator miraculously survived the crash then faced four days of dehydration and heat lost in the desert before being rescued by a Bedouin. His near-death experience is chronicled in his 1939 memoir Wind, Sand and Stars.
At the end of 1940, as France was occupied by the Nazi's, Saint-Exupéry fled with his wife to North America, via Portugal, and settled in the New York City area. During his 27 month stay in America he wrote three of his best known works, including The Little Prince, which was published in 1943.
In April 1943 Saint-Exupéry returned to France to fly in the Free French Air Force in a Mediterranean based convoy. At the time he was 43, 8 years older than the age limit of most pilots, in addition he was suffering many health problems, to much extent the result of his injuries from his previous crashes, as well as medicating his depression with alcohol. He was reinstated to his old squadron to fly only five missions, but on his 9th, on July 31, 1944, he went missing and was presumed dead. A bracelet baring his name, and remains of what was believed to be his plane were found decades later, although his remains were never identified or found.