The Wright Brothers

Front Cover
Simon and Schuster, May 5, 2015 - Biography & Autobiography - 320 pages
#1 New York Times bestseller

Two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize David McCullough tells the dramatic story-behind-the-story about the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly: Wilbur and Orville Wright.

On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two unknown brothers from Ohio changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe what had happened: the age of flight had begun, with the first heavier-than-air, powered machine carrying a pilot.

Who were these men and how was it that they achieved what they did?

David McCullough, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, tells the surprising, profoundly American story of Wilbur and Orville Wright.

Far more than a couple of unschooled Dayton bicycle mechanics who happened to hit on success, they were men of exceptional courage and determination, and of far-ranging intellectual interests and ceaseless curiosity, much of which they attributed to their upbringing. The house they lived in had no electricity or indoor plumbing, but there were books aplenty, supplied mainly by their preacher father, and they never stopped reading.

When they worked together, no problem seemed to be insurmountable. Wilbur was unquestionably a genius. Orville had such mechanical ingenuity as few had ever seen. That they had no more than a public high school education, little money and no contacts in high places, never stopped them in their “mission” to take to the air. Nothing did, not even the self-evident reality that every time they took off in one of their contrivances, they risked being killed.

In this thrilling book, master historian David McCullough draws on the immense riches of the Wright Papers, including private diaries, notebooks, scrapbooks, and more than a thousand letters from private family correspondence to tell the human side of the Wright Brothers’ story, including the little-known contributions of their sister, Katharine, without whom things might well have gone differently for them.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - dypaloh - www.librarything.com

“They would watch the gannets and imitate the movements of their wings with their arms and their hands. They could imitate every movement of the wings of those gannets; we thought they were crazy, but ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - debs4jc - www.librarything.com

After reading this book I really admire the guts it took for the Wright brothers to persevere and achieve their dream of flight. Numerous crashes, health issues, and having to defend themselves ... Read full review

Contents

Prologue
1
The Dream Takes Hold
27
Where the Winds Blow
43
Unyielding Resolve
65
PArT ii
72
December 17 1903
85
Out at Huffman Prairie
109
A Capital Exhibit A
131
8
155
PArT iii
163
The Crash
181
A Time Like No Other
203
Causes for Celebration
227
ePilogue
255
AckNowledgmeNTs
263
Copyright

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About the author (2015)

David McCullough has twice received the Pulitzer Prize, for Truman and John Adams, and twice received the National Book Award, for The Path Between the Seas and Mornings on Horseback. His other acclaimed books include The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, Brave Companions, 1776, The Greater Journey, and The Wright Brothers. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. Visit DavidMcCullough.com.