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Extended Audio Sample The Wright Brothers, by David McCullough Click for printable size audiobook cover
4.83 out of 54.83 out of 54.83 out of 54.83 out of 54.83 out of 5 4.83 (6 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David McCullough Narrator: David McCullough Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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David McCullough, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, tells the dramatic story-behind-the-story of Wilbur and Orville Wright—the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly.

On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two unknown brothers from Ohio changed history—but it would take the world some time to believe what had happened. The age of flight had begun with the first heavier-than-air, powered machine carrying a pilot.

Who were these men, and how was it that they achieved what they did?

Far more than a couple of unschooled Dayton bicycle mechanics who happened to hit on success, they were men of exceptional courage, determination, far-ranging intellectual interests, and ceaseless curiosity, much of which they attributed to their upbringing. The house they lived in had no electricity or indoor plumbing, but there were books aplenty, supplied mainly by their preacher father, and they never stopped reading.

When they worked together, no problem seemed to be insurmountable. Wilbur was unquestionably a genius, and Orville had mechanical ingenuity few had ever seen. That they had no more than a public high-school education, little money, and no contacts in high places 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 in one of their contrivances, they risked being killed.

In this thrilling book, master historian David McCullough draws on the immense riches of the Wright Papers, including private diaries, notebooks, scrapbooks, and more than a thousand letters from private family correspondence, to tell the human side of the Wright Brothers’ story, including the little-known contributions of their sister Katharine, without whom things might well have gone differently for them.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “[An] enjoyable, fast-paced tale…A fun, fast ride.”

    Economist

  • “Another work of blue-chip history from this exalted source.”

    New York Times

  • “A story of timeless importance, told with uncommon empathy and fluency…A story, well told, about what might be the most astonishing feat mankind has ever accomplished…The Wright Brothers soars.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • “McCullough…brings his deft touch with language and his eye for humanizing details to the unusually close relationship between a pair of brothers from Dayton, Ohio, who changed aviation history…Like other great biographies before it, The Wright Brothers tells the story about the individuals behind the great moments in history, while never sacrificing beauty in language and reverence in tone.”

    Amazon.com

  • “Does more than chronicle their painstaking, game-changing breakthrough…It reveals what truly remarkable men they were: their unparalleled work ethic, their dogged persistence, their unwavering modesty.”

    Associated Press

  • “Draws on Wright family archives to tell the story of this remarkable duo, whose first solo flight in 1903 marked a turning point for science, travel and warfare. McCullough brings special insight to the dynamics of the Wright family, including Orville and Wilbur’s outgoing sister Katharine, who tirelessly supported the brothers in their work.”

    BookPage

  • “McCullough effectively blends impeccable writing with historical rigor and strong character definition in his biography…Highlights of McCullough’s narrative include his discussions of the Wrights’ innovative conception of wing-warping as a means of flight control…Highly recommended.”

    Library Journal (starred review)

  • “An outstanding saga of the lives of two men who left such a giant footprint on our modern age.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “McCullough’s usual warm, evocative prose makes for an absorbing narrative; he conveys both the drama of the birth of flight and the homespun genius of America’s golden age of innovation.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “A charmingly pared-down life of the ‘boys’ that grounds their dream of flight in decent character and work ethic…McCullough highlights the intellectual stimulation that fed these bookish, creative, close-knit siblings…An educational and inspiring biography of seminal American innovators.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • “A stellar production on every count and a supremely satisfying listening experience. McCullough’s calm, avuncular voice, familiar to millions from his PBS productions, is for many of us the voice of history itself. In the Wrights he sees exemplified the values of courage, character, and perseverance, which he has honored in book after book, never with such unqualified admiration as here. McCullough concentrates on the first decade of the 1900s—the Wrights’ years of labor and invention and a period of unparalleled public excitement their first flights inspired in Europe and America. The text is concise, rich in telling and illuminating detail. You feel you’re not just listening but seeing the story unfold before your eyes. Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award.”

    AudioFile

  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month for May 2015
  • A BookPage Top Pick in Biographies for May 2015
  • A New York Times Editor’s Choice
  • A Wall Street Journal Bestseller
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • A Boston Globe Pick of Books to Read This Summer
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • A 2015 Amazon Best Books of the Year Selection for History
  • A New York Times Best Book of 2015

Listener Opinions

  • 4.333333 out of 54.333333 out of 54.333333 out of 54.333333 out of 54.333333 out of 5 by Tim | 9/13/2016

    " Book club was about to meet and I had lots of driving to do in the final three days. I got the audiobook in minutes, listened for the hours I was in the car, and was totally prepared for the meeting of the club. McCullough's gravitas and deliberate reading gave me a strong sense of HOW he saw the historical figures. Although he is not animated as a reader, he was clear. "

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