The Wright Brothers by David McCullough


Read The Wright Brothers by David McCullough not only for the wonderful narrative about the Ohio bike mechanics who invented the airplane, but for the stunning photos that document their achievement.

My personal favorite is the photo of the flying machine over the Statue of Liberty.

But it was the first plane, which Orville flew for 12 seconds near Kitty Hawk, South Carolina, that really is amazing. In the whole scheme of things, air travel is not that old. You can actually go see the original plane at the Air and Space Museum.  

Until reading this book, I didn't realize the pilot was lying on his stomach, using his weight to maneuver the plane.

McCullough, the author who also narrated the Civil War series by film maker Ken Burns, is a talented story-teller in his own Wright (ha-ha). He deftly introduces us to the Wright family, describing how meticulous and dedicated each is to the pursuit of knowledge. That's what led to the first airplane; not a desire for wealth or fame.

I loved the way he concluded the biography, noting that Neil Armstrong was also an Ohio native. To honor the Wrights, Armstrong carried a piece of muslin cloth from the original 1903 flyer when he walked on the moon in 1969.


I have this beautiful silver coin which commemorates the first flight. It means a lot more to me now that I know their story. 

Posted on October 11, 2015 .