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Simon & Schuster Audio
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.
I purchased a copy of THE WRIGHT BROTHERS when it was first published in 2016, but sadly it has sat on my shelf untouched for over a year. So I finally borrowed the audio edition from my local library. It was a treat to listen to the author, 2-time Pulitzer Prize winner David McCullough, read his own book, though because of his advancing years, his voices is a little raspy and slow-paced. But he is still a wonderful narrator.
I thought I knew what there was to know about Orville and Wilbur Wright. Aren't we taught about Kitty Hawk and their historical first flight in 1903 in elementary school? This in depth biography dives deep into the brothers' lives and personalities and to their intricate, complex world of invention and innovation that literally change the course of history for the entire world.
McCullough tells us literally everything we never knew about these men and their fliers: the successes, their failures, their near-fatal crashes, their relationships with their sister and father and other innovators of their time. By the time the book was over, I felt like Orville and Wilbur were more than names and faces in a history textbook, they were old friends. And I admit I choked up as their story drew to a close.
THE WRIGHT BROTHERS is one non-fiction book I wouldn't mind reading again, and it should be a necessary addition to every home and school library.