The Wright Brothers (Unabridged)
by David McCullough
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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 Wright'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 on a small sidestreet 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 the Wrights were determined to solve. They traveled to North Carolina'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 but was nursed back to health by his sister, Katharine - an unsung and important part of the brothers' success and of McCullough'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 correspondence plus diaries, notebooks, and family scrapbooks in the Library of Congress to...
Love Mr. McCullough's work, not so much narration
I have never given the Wright bros. due diligence so this book seemed perfect as a way to "catch up" on them. It's a shame they had the author narrate it; his voice is not strong. I recommend buying this book to read, not listen to.
The author/narrator makes a stark error in stating that the fourth (and longest) flight was half a mile. It was 852 feet-approximately 1:6 mile.
ONLY ONE TRACK
There is ONLY 1 Track—There is ONLY 1 Track
The ONE track has minuscule markers allowing you to skip through but only ONE track.
This makes it hard to spot where you are at and hinders going directly to a section, or to pick up where you left listening to it (ex. listening to it over several day and NOT Listening to it for 10 hours straight, or listening to it interspersed with something else) (Or how far do you go scroll back to repeat what you just heard—a millimeter skips a long ways) (Hard to find where you were at—when I try to pick up where I left off—I have discover areas that I have accidentally skipped)
The ONE TRACK need to be broken into smaller sections (Like even Chapters or Parts) EXAMPLE the book has (11 Chapters which are in 3 Parts + Epilogue)
Now to the Audio Book: Other than the TRACK issue, I enjoyed the audio book and have listened to it several times and perused the book a number of time too. Reader: David McCullough does not give voice variations to the different characters, although his voice is pleasant to listen to. I appreciated the personal family insights he gleaned from the many letters between the Wright Brothers, Sister and Father. I especially learned more about sister Katherine's involvement. He gave interesting insights into Charlie Taylor, and behind the scenes with the Wrights in Paris.
If you want a side by side comparison of what was happening with others in flight (Langley, Bell, Curtis, etc) each year during their pursuit of flight, I recommend To Conquer the Air: The Wright Brothers and the Great Race for Flight by James Tobin. + Audio Version if you can find it.
A LAZY BOOK
I really wanted to like this as I do like the author's style. However, this was a lazily written book. It adds nothing to what is known about the Wright Brothers other than endless lists of things like why they ate in Paris, why they saw in Europe and in and on. Saddened by the lack of real insight or interesting content. And the author should not have read the book. Makes it even more dull. Stay away, you can do better.