2017 The Wright Brothers

Last Updated: Wednesday, 16 August 2017

About the Book

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two brothers—bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio—changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe that the age of flight had begun, with the first powered machine carrying a pilot. The Wright Brothers is the dramatic story-behind-the-story of the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly.

Orville and Wilbur Wright were men of exceptional courage and determination, and of far-ranging intellectual interests and ceaseless curiosity. When they worked together, no problem seemed to be insurmountable. Wilbur was unquestionably a genius. Orville had such mechanical ingenuity as few had ever seen. That they had no more than a public high school education and little money never stopped them in their mission to take to the air. Nothing did, not even the self-evident reality that every time they took off, they risked being killed.

Author and master historian, David McCullough crafts an enjoyable, fast-paced account of history that reads like fiction. He draws on the extensive Wright family papers to profile not only the brothers but also their sister, Catherine. Acclaimed as “essential reading,” this story delves into the lives of two men so important to history in Dayton and beyond.


About the Author

davidDavid McCullough is the author of multiple #1 New York Times bestsellers, including The Wright Brothers and The Greater Journey: Americans in Paris. Other widely acclaimed works include 1776 and John Adams, which was published in 2001 and remains one of the most praised and widely read American biographies of all time. Mr. McCullough’s other books include The Johnstown Flood, The Great Bridge, The Path Between the Seas, Mornings on Horseback, Brave Companions, and Truman. His books have been published in nineteen languages and none of his books has ever been out of print. He is currently at work on the book The Pioneers (scheduled for 2019), which centers around the first settlers of the Northwest Territory.

McCullough has been acclaimed as a “master of the art of narrative history.” He is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Francis Parkman Prize, and has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award. He is also the recipient of the 2016 Combs Gates Award from the National Aviation Hall of Fame for his book The Wright Brothers. He has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, as well as the American Academy of Arts and Letters and has received fifty-four honorary degrees.

In a crowded, productive career, McCullough has been an editor, teacher, lecturer, and familiar presence on public television—as host of Smithsonian World, The American Experience, and narrator of numerous documentaries including Ken Burns’ The Civil War. His is also the narrator’s voice in the movie Seabiscuit. John Adams, the seven-part mini-series on HBO produced by Tom Hanks, was one of the most acclaimed television events of recent years.

Born in Pittsburgh in 1933, McCullough was educated there and at Yale. He is an avid reader, traveler, and has enjoyed a lifelong interest in art and architecture. He is also a devoted painter. He and his wife Rosalee Barnes McCullough have five children and nineteen grandchildren.

Book and Author Resources

Author Website

Author’s Facebook Page

Official Book Website with Videos about the Book

Q&A with the Author