In this fascinating, highly readable biography, Fred C. Kelly, a former newspaperman, author, and an old friend of the Wrights, tells the story of the two brilliant, dedicated, flight-obsessed bicycle mechanics from Ohio who first realized mankind's age-old dream of conquering the skies. Long considered the definitive Wright biography (the manuscript was read and approved by Orville Wright), this book recounts the Wrights' small-town boyhood, their early interest in all things mechanical, the establishment of the Wright Cycle Shop, and the complete behind-the-scenes story of how they designed, built, tested, and flew (December 1903) the first "Flyer."
Enhanced with sixteen rare photographs, Mr. Kelly's engaging account avoids minute technical description, yet describes simply and clearly the technological innovations that enabled the two brothers to succeed where so many others had failed. Anyone interested in the mechanics of flight or early aviation will find this volume a splendid introduction to the Wright brothers and their epochal achievement.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This, now 70 + year old, biography of the Wright brothers is valuable because the author, newspaperman Fred Kelly, was a friend who covered the brothers for years, and was even instrumental in ending the quarrel between Orville and the Smithsonian. As a result, this work is Orville making his case to posterity, through a friend. It is written in the style of the journalism of the time period, but because it is the only authorized biography of the brothers, it brings a freshness and closeness that other books, like the recent David McCollough book, do not. Because Wilbur died at a relatively young age, and this book was written towards the end of Orville's life, it does tend to focus a bit more on Orville. But the great value of this book is the vivid, almost first hand accounts of the brothers early years, and later their fight for recognition of their flight achievements.