Brilliant, self-trained engineers, the Wright brothers had a unique blend of native talent, character, and family experience that perfectly suited them to the task of invention but left them ill-prepared to face a world of skeptics, rivals, and officials. Using a treasure trove of Wright family correspondence and diaries, Tom Crouch skillfully weaves the story of the airplane's invention into the drama of a unique and unforgettable family. He shows us exactly how and why these two obscure bachelors from Dayton, Ohio, were able to succeed where so many better-trained, better-financed rivals had failed.
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(234mm x 157mm x 28mm)
WW Norton & Co
Publisher: WW Norton & Co
Country of Publication:
US Kirkus Review »
From Crouch (A Dream of Wings, 1981), a hefty, accomplished, and laudatory biography of the Wright brothers. Crouch paints a deep portrait here, devoting much space to the Wrights' roots, especially to daddy Bishop Milton Wright, the most controversial figure in the history of the Church of the United Brethren of Christ - and the man from whom the brothers, according to Crouch, inherited strength of character, firmness of purpose, absolute confidence in their own abilities, and a contentious and litigous nature ("I love to scrap with Orv," Wilbur once said). Crouch places heavy emphasis on the isolated nature of Wilbur and Orville's family life (neither ever married), showing how that very penchant for solitude suited perfectly their vocation as inventors. The author also spends considerable time - expanding his arguments in A Dream of Wings - debunking those who claim that others solved the problem of human flight prior to December 17, 1903, in Kitty Hawk. Told well and with much affection ("Orville's interest in technological problem solving was that of a small boy with insatiable curiosity and childlike enthusiasm for all things mechanical"), this eighth extant account of the Wright boys works as both history and biography. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Tom D. Crouch
Tom D. Crouch, author of The Bishop's Boys and A Dream of Wings, is senior curator of the aeronautics division at the National Air & Space Museum. He lives in Fairfax, Virginia.