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Wright brothers, wrong story : how Wilbur Wright solved the problem of manned flight
2018
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Publishers Weekly Reviews

The idea that Orville and Wilbur Wright were equals in ushering in the era of manned flight is a myth, posits Hazelgrove (Al Capone and the 1933 World's Fair) in this intriguing recasting of the brothers' now-legendary story. "The truth was," he declares, "that Wilbur was the primary inventor and pilot"; Orville was "a glorified mechanic assisting his older, smarter, genius brother." This fact was buried due primarily to two factors: the famous photo of the 1903 flight at Kitty Hawk, which immortalized Orville's turn in the plane and thereby eclipsed Wilbur's subsequent longer ride, and Wilbur's early death from typhoid fever in 1912, which gave his brother 36 years to shape their story. Hazelgrove makes a strong case, citing numerous primary sources, notably Wilbur's correspondence with engineer and aviation researcher Octave Chanute. The writing, however, can be rambling and repetitive, and awkward fictionalized passages from various characters' perspectives distract from the solid thesis ("Wilbur turned, stared out the window.... Sand. Yes, the sands of time would cover it all.... This was one of his babies. Of course he would never have children..."). But despite these flaws, Hazelgrove's original take on two of the pioneers of human flight will greatly interest flight buffs and popular-history aficionados. Agent: Leticia Gomez, Savvy Literary Services. (Dec.)

Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly.

Annotations

Takes a new look at the Wright Brothers, and suggests that it might be Orville rather than Wilbur who uncovered the key to manned flight, based on original archives and family letters as evidence. - (Baker & Taylor)

Analyzes the myth of the Wright Brothers and their accomplishments in the world of aviation and makes a convincing case that Wilbur, and not Orville, did most of the work on the first successful airplane. - (Baker & Taylor)

"This book is the first deconstruction of the Wright Brothers' myth. They were not -- as we have all come to believe--two halves of the same apple. Each had a distinctive role in creating the first 'flying machine'."--Provided by publisher. - (Baker & Taylor)

Drawing on archives and family correspondence, this work for general readers charts the history of the Wright brothers’ innovations in manned flight, focusing on their early years of experimentation at Kitty Hawk, and seeks to prove that Wilbur Wright was responsible for the experiments’ success, while Orville Wright later wrote a greater role for himself after his brother Wilbur Wright died. The book highlights their different personalities and their struggles with physical and mental illnesses, and also documents other milestones in flight. B&w historical photos are included. Annotation ©2019 Ringgold, Inc., Portland, OR (protoview.com) - (Book News)

How could two misanthropic brothers who never left home, were high-school dropouts, and made a living as bicycle mechanics have figured out the secret of manned flight? This new history of the Wright brothers' monumental accomplishment focuses on their early years of trial and error at Kitty Hawk (1900-1903) and Orville Wright's epic fight with the Smithsonian Institute and Glenn Curtis. William Hazelgrove makes a convincing case that it was Wilbur Wright who designed the first successful airplane, not Orville. He shows that, while Orville's role was important, he generally followed his brother's lead and assisted with the mechanical details to make Wilbur's vision a reality.Combing through original archives and family letters, Hazelgrove reveals the differences in the brothers' personalities and abilities. He examines how the Wright brothers myth was born when Wilbur Wright died early and left his brother to write their history with personal friend John Kelly. The author notes the peculiar inwardness of their family life, business and family problems, bouts of depression, serious illnesses, and yet, rising above it all, was Wilbur's obsessive zeal to test out his flying ideas. When he found Kitty Hawk, this desolate location on North Carolina's Outer Banks became his laboratory. By carefully studying bird flight and the Rubik's Cube of control, Wilbur cracked the secret of aerodynamics and achieved liftoff on December 17, 1903.Hazelgrove's richly researched and well-told tale of the Wright brothers' landmark achievement, illustrated with rare historical photos, captures the excitement of the times at the start of the "American century." - (NBN)

This book is the first deconstruction of the Wright brothers myth. They were not -- as we have all come to believe--two halves of the same apple. Each had a distinctive role in creating the first "flying machine."

How could two misanthropic brothers who never left home, were high-school dropouts, and made a living as bicycle mechanics have figured out the secret of manned flight? This new history of the Wright brothers' monumental accomplishment focuses on their early years of trial and error at Kitty Hawk (1900-1903) and Orville Wright's epic fight with the Smithsonian Institute and Glenn Curtis. William Hazelgrove makes a convincing case that it was Wilbur Wright who designed the first successful airplane, not Orville. He shows that, while Orville's role was important, he generally followed his brother's lead and assisted with the mechanical details to make Wilbur's vision a reality.
     Combing through original archives and family letters, Hazelgrove reveals the differences in the brothers' personalities and abilities. He examines how the Wright brothers myth was born when Wilbur Wright died early and left his brother to write their history with personal friend John Kelly. The author notes the peculiar inwardness of their family life, business and family problems, bouts of depression, serious illnesses, and yet, rising above it all, was Wilbur's obsessive zeal to test out his flying ideas. When he found Kitty Hawk, this desolate location on North Carolina's Outer Banks became his laboratory. By carefully studying bird flight and the Rubik's Cube of control, Wilbur cracked the secret of aerodynamics and achieved liftoff on December 17, 1903.
     Hazelgrove's richly researched and well-told tale of the Wright brothers' landmark achievement, illustrated with rare historical photos, captures the excitement of the times at the start of the "American century." - (Random House, Inc.)

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