The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

Another enjoyable McCullough history rich with evidence. McCullough allows the personalities of his subjects to drive the story and Orville and Wilbur Wright are morally driven, humble, and hardworking. One has moods the other is a wonderful public speaker. I loved being flown to the early 1900s, a time before the great wars, a time of innovation, world travel, and excitement.

I read this in an attempt to lessen my anxiety around flying, initially it did not help; however, as I flew on an airplane all by myself for the first time, I found myself remembering the Wright brothers’s joy in flying. Being human without feet on the ground. While in an airplane, I have no control, but I tried to experience the miracle of flight.

I am awed by human intelligence, resilience, and ambition. How did the Wrights know flying was possible? They had to know it to invent the design plans, the propeller, and the engine in ways that had never been done before. Extraordinary! While I still have anxiety around flying, I did find myself in awe at the science, speed, and design of human flight for the first time in my life.

The Wright brothers remind me of my ancestors who didn’t drink or smoke, and who were driven by knowledge, loyalty, and family instead of power and wealth. McCullough humanizes history.