Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Wright Brothers

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
Simon & Schuster: 5/5/2015
eBook review copy, 336 pages

hardcover ISBN-13: 9781476728742

My Thoughts:
The Wright Brothers by David McCullough is a masterful, brilliantly written, extensively researched biography of Wilbur and Orville Wright. It is very highly recommended and will be the definitive biography on the Wright Brothers. Through use of the Wright Papers, McCullough does an excellent job chronicling their story and bringing the brothers to life through their diaries, notebooks, scrapbooks and personal correspondence in this biography.

Together, the Wright brothers from Dayton, Ohio had the determination and the focus to begin the age of flight. Wilbur was the introvert, a genius, and the abstract thinker while Orville was the extrovert and the mechanical genius. While the brothers did not have extensive formal education, their home was filled with books and they both had curious, inquisitive minds. They also had the persistence and grit needed to decode what they were seeing in the flight if birds and how that would help them create their first flyer. Their father, Bishop Milton Wright and sister Katharine also helped as they could and provided support when needed.

All of the trials at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina over several years that eventually resulted in the first successful sustained flight on December 17, 1903 are faithfully recounted. It was quite frustrating to see the American government dismiss the Wright brothers and their invention; while the Smithsonian wasted 70,000 thousand dollars trying to achieve what the brothers had already figured out. It really wasn't until the French embraced them that Americans started to take note.

McCullough includes numerous photos and excerpts from newspapers and letters throughout the book that are credited. As is my wont, I was thrilled to see the extensive Source notes, Bibliography, and index.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Simon & Schuster for review purposes.

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