From Publishers Weekly
Adams, cohost of NPR's All Things Considered and author of Piano Lessons, sets out to learn about the Wright Brothers, their family and why they loved to fly so much. Adams visits all the spots important to the brothers, from the Outer Banks of North Carolina, where they flew gliders, to France; Dayton, Ohio; and New York. The most appealing part of the book is the look at the close relationship between Orville, Wilbur and their sister Katherine. Following the death of their mother, the three were devoted to one another and planned on living together. In fact, after Wilbur's death, when Katherine announced her plans to marry, at age 50, Orville was devastated and ended up not seeing his sister until she was on her deathbed a few years later. Adams uses letters and diaries to describe the lives of the Wrights; some of these details are not widely included in other books that focus on their inventions and accomplishments. Adams intersperses his personal musings as he re-creates the travels of the Wrights: "Wilbur's Arlington Hotel is gone, replaced by a three-story condominium, the La Casita. I put up at the Comfort Inn, out at the bypass. I had plans for my own boat trip, leaving at first light." In the end, he's a personable guide into the Wright Brothers' world, offering a refreshing look at these aviation pioneers.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
This book is more than just another history of the Wright Brothers' first flight. Adams, host of National Public Radio's All Things Considered
, retraced Wilbur Wright's first trip--by train and boat--to North Carolina's Outer Banks in 1900 and stopped by the Wright family plot in Woodland Cemetery in Dayton, Ohio. Adams visited the Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio that had its beginnings as the Huffman Prairie Flying Field. Orville had left a sketch of the field from 1904, designed by the two brothers and their mechanic, Charlie Taylor. Adams also visited the horseracing track in France where the Wright Flyer
set records as the European aviation community watched. The author toured Governors Island in New York Harbor, the spot where Wilbur made a 20-mile, roundtrip up the Hudson River, and the parade grounds of Fort Myer, Virginia, where Orville conducted test flights for the U.S. Army. Much of Adams' research was done at the Library of Congress and the archives of Dayton's Wright State University, where he read thousands of letters and examined photo albums, microfilm, notebooks, and ledgers--and even Orville's lifelong collection of business and calling cards left by visitors. This is the closest look yet at the Wright family, including the troubled relationship between Orville and his sister, Katharine. George CohenCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved