Stellar Review of Wright Brothers Wrong Story in Choice Magazine

Jul 22, 2020 by

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Choice
Coming 115 years after the inaugural powered flight at Kitty Hawk, Hazelgrove’s book offers the first major deconstruction of the myth that the Wright brothers played coequal roles in inventing the “flying machine.” Concentrating on their personal lives, particularly the pre-December 1903 period of thought, trial, and error, the author examines the way in which these misanthropes–who were high-school dropouts, never strayed from home, and lived by their skill as bicycle mechanics–uncovered the secrets of powered flight. In the process, Hazelgrove reveals that Wilbur actually fully envisioned and designed the first Flyer. Orville’s role, Hazelgrove contends, was less important–he largely assisted with mechanical details, emulating his brother’s lead and making the epic initial takeoff. Thereafter, by outliving his sibling by 37 years, he was able to mold their biography, convincing the world that they were jointly responsible for the achievement. Well researched, documented, and controversial, this indexed work comes during a renewal of Wright interest that includes Lawrence Goldstone’s Birdmen: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies (CH, Oct’14, 52-0808) and David McCullough’s The Wright Brothers (CH, Sep’15, 53-0219). Summing Up: Highly recommended. Advanced undergraduates and above; general readers. –Myron J. Smith, emeritus, Tusculum University

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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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