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The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
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The Wright Brothers (original 2015; edition 2016)

by David McCullough (Author)

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2,4871184,677 (4.2)124
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? 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. 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.… (more)
Member:tchaudhary
Title:The Wright Brothers
Authors:David McCullough (Author)
Info:Simon & Schuster (2016), Edition: Reprint, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
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The Wright Brothers by David McCullough (2015)

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» See also 124 mentions

English (116)  Spanish (1)  All languages (117)
Showing 1-5 of 116 (next | show all)
I couldn't warm up to this book, because from the beginning the author was too enamored of his subject. The Wright's early years were described in a sentimental tone and sometimes accompanies with unnecessary details like who had which room in the house. Almost a third of the book is occupied with all the awards, parades and celebrations in their honor, the celebrities they met etc. There was just not enough substance. ( )
  Marietje.Halbertsma | Jan 9, 2022 |
Everyone has seen the famous photograph, taken December 17, 1903, at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, when Wilbur and Orville Wright successfully flew their first homemade airplane. That flight, all 59 seconds of it along 852 feet of sandy beach, was just the beginning of humans' effort to conquer the air. In this biographical work, McCullough details the inventions and ideas that both led up to their first plane, as well as the events which followed and made their name synonymous with aeronautics.

It was fascinating and satisfying to learn more about what happened after that first historic flight — after all, we didn't go from a 1-minute flight to full-blown airplanes overnight. Frankly, it's pretty amazing that there weren't more bumps and bruises and that neither of these brothers of incredible ingenuity and fortitude was killed during all their years of testing gliders and flyers. I can't imagine what a thrill it must have been to witness these early flights, much less to have been on board! It was also pleasing to see Katharine get recognition for her intellect and bravery, and her public-facing role in their success. ( )
  ryner | Dec 10, 2021 |
Like reading the Ashley Vance bio of Musk. Really incredible. ( )
  dualmon | Nov 17, 2021 |
An interesting history of the brothers, though it lacks technical depth as far as problem solving the science of flying. ( )
  addunn3 | Aug 20, 2021 |
Good. But he needed to go to the Wright Collection at Wright State University. As well as our historical groups. Missed some really great things.

Beyond that not bad. ( )
  anthrosercher | Jul 11, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 116 (next | show all)
David McCullough is interested in only one thing, namely how it was possible that two autodidacts from Ohio managed to satisfy a longing that the species had harbored for centuries. “The Wright Brothers” is merely this: a story, well told, about what might be the most astonishing feat mankind has ever accomplished. As the comic Louis C.K. has said, reprovingly, to those who complain about the inconveniences and insults of modern air travel: “You’re sitting. In a chair. In the SKY!!” Which is saying a lot. On its own terms, “The Wright Brothers” soars.
added by ozzer | editNew York Times, Daniel Okrent (May 4, 2015)
 
This concise, exciting and fact-packed book sees the easy segue between bicycling and aerial locomotion, which at that point was mostly a topic for bird fanciers and dreamers.
added by rakerman | editNew York Times, Janet Maslin (pay site) (May 3, 2015)
 
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Epigraph
No bird soars in a calm.  Wilber Wright
Dedication
For Rosalee
First words
Prologue
From ancient times and into the Middle Ages, man has dreamed of taking to the sky, of soaring into the blue like the birds.
In as strong a photograph as any taken of the brothers together, they sit side by side on the back porch steps of the Wright family home on a small side street on the west end of Dayton, Ohio.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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? 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. 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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