Proving again why he remains among the world’s preeminent historians, McCullough delivers another outstanding book, this time a splendid biography of Wilbur and Orville Wright. In addition to the excitement generated around the brothers’ ingenuity as the first to design a “flying machine,” their story is most inspirational for how self-taught and determined they were in accomplishing their dream. McCullough sets the narrative at a thrilling pace. He moves seamlessly from the brothers’ upbringing in the thriving town of Dayton, Ohio to the sandy dunes of Kitty Hawk, North Carolina where they practiced their initial flights and then to their travels abroad in France where they showcased their flying talents.
In charting the brothers’ innovations, McCullough has the ability to cover the science of aeronautics in an understandable way. He shows how brilliant the brothers were in putting their minds to the task of overcoming one obstacle after another, all of which had stumped aviation inventors for decades. As lifelong learners with a zeal for discovery, the brothers went from building their own bicycles to studying birds to finally developing the first airplane. Their success had a distinctly family influence as both their father and sister, Katharine, played vital roles in encouraging them every step of the way. The brothers’ courage and perseverance resonate throughout the book, and their achievements leave you feeling uplifted with hope for what humanity can achieve through the power of resilience and hard work.