The Wright Brothers by David
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.
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.
were these men and how was it that they achieved what they did?
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.
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
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.