Great Booklist Review of Wright Brothers Wrong Story

Oct 18, 2018 by

Wright Brothers_cover

Wright Brothers, Wrong Story: How Wilbur Wright Solved the Problem of Manned Flight.
By William Hazelgrove
Dec. 2018. 288p. Prometheus, $24 (9781633884588); e-book, $11.99 (9781633884595). 629.130092

Hazelgrove sets out to revise the commonly received story of aviation pioneers Wilbur and Orville Wright. Hazelgrove contends that Wilbur was by far the dominant brother, the real innovator, and that Orville did not contribute as much to the brothers’ success as conventional history has held. Having outlived Wilbur by several decades, Orville reworked history to make his own role equal to his brother’s. Family friend Fred Kelly, the Wright brothers’ official biographer, Hazelgrove contends, had a hand in this revision, changing Wilbur’s “I” to “we.” A little literary mathematics reveals that this official biography mentions Orville 25 percent more often than Wilbur. Hazelgrove also speculates on the brothers’ sex lives and the character of their sister Katharine, who kept house for their widowed father and was the only one of the siblings to graduate from college. Another conspirator appears to be Orville’s secretary Mabel Beck, who
fiercely guarded all access to Orville. Hazelgrove’s biography will surely add controversy to the history of these singular siblings who changed the world. Includes an extensive bibliography.

Wright Brothers Wrong Story

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Born in Richmond, Virginia, and carted back and forth between Virginia and Baltimore, I blame my rootless, restless personality on my father. He was and is a traveling salesman with a keen gift of gab, great wit, a ready joke, and could sell white tennis shoes to coal miners. [read more...]

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