The Wright brothers / [electronic resource] David McCullough.

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    • Abstract:
      Summary: Two-time 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.On December 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Wilbur and Orville Wright́??s Wright Flyer became the first powered, heavier-than-air machine to achieve controlled, sustained flight with a pilot aboard. The Age of Flight had begun. How did they do it? And why? David McCullough tells the extraordinary and truly American story of the two brothers who changed the world. Sons of an itinerant preacher and a mother who died young, Wilbur and Orville Wright grew up in a small side street in Dayton, Ohio, in a house that lacked indoor plumbing and electricity but was filled with books and a love of learning. The brothers ran a bicycle shop that allowed them to earn enough money to pursue their mission in life: flight. In the 1890s flying was beginning to advance beyond the glider stage, but there were major technical challenges that the Wrights were determined to solve. They traveled to North Caroliná??s remote Outer Banks to test their plane because there they found three indispensable conditions: constant winds, soft surfaces for landings, and privacy. Flying was exceedingly dangerous; the Wrights risked their lives every time they flew in the years that followed. Orville nearly died in a crash in 1908, before he was nursed back to health by his sister, Katharine, an unsung and important part of the brotherś?? success and of McCullough́??s book. Despite their achievement, the Wrights could not convince the US government to take an interest in their plane until after they demonstrated its success in France, where the government instantly understood the importance of their achievement. Now, in this revelatory book, master historian David McCullough draws on nearly 1,000 letters of family correspondencé??plus diaries, notebooks, and family scrapbooks in the Library of Congresś??to tell the full story of the Wright brothers and their heroic achievement.
    • Notes:
      Read by the author.
    • Notes:
      Hard copy version record.
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Booklist Reviews - Audio And Video Online Reviews 1991-2018

*Starred Review* McCullough has long shown a gift for reanimating overlooked but hugely critical figures and events in American history, from the Brooklyn Bridge to John Adams to the Panama Canal and now Wilbur and Orville Wright, whose first powered, controlled flight, in December 1903, introduced a new era in travel and transportation. Theirs is an extraordinary story, not just for the intense focus they brought to a daunting task—a frustrated Wilbur declaring during their experiments that a successful flying machine would take another 50 years to build—but also for their respect for one another, their unflagging humor, their generosity even to rivals, their surprising worldliness, and, most remarkably, their almost complete lack of pretense through it all, especially in the global adulation that followed their success. As ever, the author masterfully sets period and place in our mind's eye—especially their middle-American hometown of Dayton, Ohio, and a nearly uninhabited Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. In his authoritative cadence, McCullough ably projects the personalities of the Wrights in the face of both failures and successes. His extensive knowledge of and personal enthusiasm for their accomplishments increases listeners' pleasures in this engaging history. Only McCullough could have narrated this audiobook—it would have been so disappointing to hear another voice—and if the 82-year-old's reading is not as crisp or definitive as, say, his narration two decades earlier in Ken Burns' The Civil War, this revelatory and inspiring story will carry listeners through, undeterred. Copyright 2019 Booklist Reviews.

LJ Reviews 2015 July #1

Most Americans learn at a young age about the Wright Brothers and their momentous flight at Kitty Hawk, NC, in 1906 but know little beyond the basic facts. Now McCullough (Truman) brings readers the story of how the brothers, with only high school educations, were able successfully to design, build, and fly the first heavier-than-air machine carrying a human. Although the book starts out slowly, it gains momentum as McCullough takes readers step by step through the invention and early flights, especially at Kitty Hawk, to the exciting times later when the brothers flew ever higher and longer for large crowds in France and England as well as in the United States, risking their lives with each attempt. Both brothers sustained injuries in serious crashes. The author, a flight enthusiast himself, does a capable job narrating. VERDICT This book will appeal to McCullough's many fans, to history buffs, and to readers interested in a story that celebrates the American Dream. ["Highly recommended for academicians interested in the history of flight, transportation, or turn-of-the-century America; general readers; and all libraries": LJ 4/1/15 starred review of the S. & S. hc.]—Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo

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