The Wright Brothers Hardcover – May 5 2015
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“A story of timeless importance, told with uncommon empathy and fluency. . . . A story, well told, about what might be the most astonishing feat mankind has ever accomplished. . . . The Wright Brothers soars.” (Daniel Okrent The New York Times Book Review)
“David McCullough has etched a brisk, admiring portrait of the modest, hardworking Ohioans who designed an airplane in their bicycle shop and solved the mystery of flight on the sands of Kitty Hawk, N.C. He captures the marvel of what the Wrights accomplished and, just as important, the wonder felt by their contemporaries. . . . Mr. McCullough is in his element writing about seemingly ordinary folk steeped in the cardinal American virtues—self-reliance and can-do resourcefulness.” (Roger Lowenstein The Wall Street Journal)
“The nitty-gritty of exactly how [the Wrights] succeeded is told in fascinating detail.” (Buzzy Jackson The Boston Globe)
“Few historians have captured the essence of America — its rise from an agrarian nation to the world's dominant power — like David McCullough. . . . McCullough has defined American icons and revealed new dimensions to stories that long seemed exhausted. . . . An elegant, sweeping look at the two Americans who went where no others had gone before and whose work helped create a national excellence in aviation that continues today." (Ray Locker USA Today)
"McCullough’s magical account of [the Wright Brothers'] early adventures — enhanced by volumes of family correspondence, written records, and his own deep understanding of the country and the era — shows as never before how two Ohio boys from a remarkable family taught the world to fly." (Reeve Lindbergh The Washington Post)
“[McCullough] takes the Wrights’ story aloft. . . . Concise, exciting, and fact-packed. . . . Mr. McCullough presents all this with dignified panache, and with detail so granular you may wonder how it was all collected.” (Janet Maslin The New York Times)
“David McCullough’s The Wright Brothers is a story about two brothers and one incredible moment in American history. But it’s also a story that resonates with anyone who believes deeply in the power of technology to change lives – and the resistance some have to new innovations.” (Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google)
"McCullough vividly re-creates the failures and disappointments as the Wright brothers puzzle out the scienceof bird- and insect-wing design. . . . [McCullough] continues to deliverhigh-quality material with familiar facility and grace." (Larry Lebowitz The Miami Herald)
"An outstanding saga of the lives of two men who left such a giant footprint on our modern age." (Booklist (starred review))
“[An] enjoyable, fast-paced tale. . . . A fun, fast ride.” (The Economist)
"[A] fluently rendered, skillfully focused study. . . . An educational and inspiring biography of seminal American innovators." (Kirkus Reviews)
"McCullough's usual warm, evocative prose makes for an absorbing narrative; he conveys both the drama of the birth of flight and the homespun genius of America's golden age of innovation." (Publishers Weekly)
“We all know what they did and where they did it — Kitty Hawk, on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. But McCullough digs deeply to find out how they did it, and why they did it, and what happened to them in the years that followed.” (Harry Levins The St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
"A compelling, upbeat story that underscores the importance of industriousness, creative intelligence and indomitable patience.” (Doug Childers Richmond Times-Dispatch)
"Pleasurable to read. . . . McCullough has a gift for finding the best in his subjects without losing perspective on their flaws." (Margaret Quamme The Columbus Dispatch)
“A master storyteller. . . . The brothers’ story unfolds and develops with grace and insight in a style at which McCullough is simply the best.” (David Henricks The San Antonio Express-News)
About the Author
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 Greater Journey, 1776, Brave Companions, The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, 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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
These items in McCullough's narrative were of special interest to me:
o Wilbur and Orville Wright never married because Wilbur was "woman-shy" and Orville would not marry until his older brother did.
o According to McCullough, they "worked together six days a week, ate their meals together, kept their money in a joint bank account" and even, according to Wilbur, "thought together."
o Also, "The difficulty was not to get into the air but to stay there." The Wrights built their first aircraft from split bamboo and paper. Kitty Hawk (North Carolina) had open space and an ample supply of a precious commodity: wind. The idea was to master gliding, after which Wilbur reckoned it would be easy to add a motor. "Maintaining equilibrium was the key--not much different than riding a bike."
o At the conclusion of Part I, McCullough summarizes the significance of successful experimentation, to date, in Kill Devil Hills: "They knew exactly what they had accomplished. They knew they had solved the problem of flight and more. They had acquired the knowledge and the skill to fly.Read more ›
Anyone hoping to understand how the Wright Brothers struck on the notion of controlled the shape of the wing or, perhaps more importantly, stuck with the notion through the long hours of trial-and-error. Nor will one understand why, after centuries of using sails as a source of power, there was so little understanding of air flow over surfaces that the Wright Brothers had to build their own wind tunnel and begin anew. One will, by contrast, be informed of the menu for the celebratory banquets or the diet at Kitty Hawk.
I heard an interview of McCullough in which he described this book as part of his American Trilogy; I think HST was much better.
He makes a compelling case that this was one of the most important developments of the 20th century, with all the more impact as it came in its first decade. A brilliant account.
Most recent customer reviews
Excellent biography without too much detail. I had no idea about all the Wright Brothers work leading up to the flight of the Wright Flyer in 1903.Published 2 months ago by AdamV
What a duo. Hard to imagine the two brothers conceived, built, tested and flew many iterations of their plane. Very informative about the era and flyingPublished 4 months ago by cathy
I would, and intend to, read everything written by David McCullough, my favourite writer of biography. His affection for his subjects in this work is clearly evident. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Patroclus 36
Should have had pictures as the planes changed. Had to look them up on the net myselfPublished 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very interesting book. The photos went well with the writing. I thought it fell short at the end and more could have been written about the subsequent lives of both brothers. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Dennis E. Vance
What a great read!
The book is very well researched and written. David McCullough did a marvelous job with the book. Read more
A truly wonderful book, beautifully written, about two extraordinary brothers.Published 10 months ago by Kathryn Hughes
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