Tuesday, January 17, 2017

The Wright Brothers

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough  320 pp.

As in his other books David McCullough does a meticulous job of chronicling the lives and achievements of Orville and Wilbur Wright and their accomplishments and failures while keeping it interesting and readable. The nearly inseparable brothers, both with a incredible sense of focus, used their talents to create a successful bicycle business in the days when bicycles were become more popular and useful. Every cent they made was put back into the business or used for their other venture: trying to build a flying machine that actually worked. Many others were also pursuing that goal and most were failing, some fatally so. Their dogged persistence finally carries them to success despite their detractors. The friendships and battles between the Wrights and their competitors and supporters include two others important in aviation history, Samuel Langley, who at that time was in charge of the Smithsonian, and glider pioneer, Octave Chanute. I enjoyed this book as I have others by McCullough. However, the description of the Wrights' rustic outpost at Kitty Hawk at Kill Devil Hills on the Outer Banks of North Carolina made me wonder what they would think of it now with multi story vacation condos built right up to the edge of the  property housing the Wright Brothers National Memorial and Museum.

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