The Wright Brothers

23 Dec

The Wright Brothers

The Wright Brothers

David McCullough

Language: English

Pages: 336

ISBN: 1476728755

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

The #1 New York Times bestseller from David McCullough, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize—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 brothers—bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio—changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe that the age of flight had begun, with the first powered machine carrying a pilot.

Orville and Wilbur Wright were men of exceptional courage and determination, and of far-ranging intellectual interests and ceaseless curiosity. 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 and little money 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, they risked being killed.

In this “enjoyable, fast-paced tale” (The Economist), master historian David McCullough “shows as never before how two Ohio boys from a remarkable family taught the world to fly” (The Washington Post) and “captures the marvel of what the Wrights accomplished” (The Wall Street Journal). He draws on the extensive Wright family papers to profile not only the brothers but their sister, Katharine, without whom things might well have gone differently for them. Essential reading, this is “a story of timeless importance, told with uncommon empathy and fluency…about what might be the most astonishing feat mankind has ever accomplished…The Wright Brothers soars” (The New York Times Book Review).











sister has been devotion itself”: Octave Chanute to Wilbur Wright, October 7, 1908, McFarland, ed., The Papers of Wilbur and Orville Wright, Vol. 2, 930. Most important by far: Katharine to Bishop Wright, October 2, 1908, Papers of Wilbur and Orville Wright, LOC. “Have lost eighty-two and a half dollars”: Katharine to Wilbur, October 2, 1908, Papers of Wilbur and Orville Wright, LOC. his temperature jumped to 101 degrees: Katharine to Bishop Wright, October 4, 1908, ibid. “I took Bollée (240

Mans flights of, 169–76 press response to demonstration of, 171–72 sale to French of, 129, 131–32, 142–43, 149, 153 shipping damage to, 162–63 two operators carried by, 156 Wilbur’s repairs of, 162–63 Flyer magazine, 215 Flying, 67 Fordyce, Arnold, 129, 131–32, 142, 204, 212 Fort Myer, Va., 178, 181, 182, 195, 229, 234–39 Orville’s crash at, 191–92, 193–95 Orville’s test flights at, 182–86, 189, 190–91 Fournier, Jules, 132 Fourth National Bank, 113 Fouts, W. C., 127–28 France,

and me.” With the onset of February and warmer days came a marked increase in the arrival of notables of the kind Pau was known for—counts and countesses, dukes and duchesses, lords and ladies, many of them English. There were members of the French cabinet, generals, lords of the press, and a number of American millionaires, as well as a former prime minister of England and two kings. Never in their lives had the three Wrights been among so many who, by all signs, had little to do but amuse

wealthy Irish couple and, as she reported to her father, knowing how it would please him, she had begun taking French lessons for two hours every morning, and with her background in Greek and Latin her progress was rapid. One of those helping her with her French was the son of Prime Minister Georges Clemenceau. Another she greatly liked was the Comtesse de Lambert, the attractive wife of Wilbur’s student the Comte de Lambert. Her complaints were few. On those days when there was no sun, the cold

who had not returned from his trip to Europe until October of 1910, died at his home on November 23, at age seventy-eight, before he and Wilbur had had an opportunity to see one another again. On hearing the news, Wilbur boarded a train to Chicago to attend the funeral and later wrote a long tribute to Chanute published in Aeronautics, leaving no doubt of how he felt. His writings were so lucid as to provide an intelligent understanding of the nature of the problems of flight to a vast number of

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