To Conquer the Air
The Wright Brothers and the Great Race for Flight
By James Tobin
(Free Press, Paperback, 9780743255363, 448pp.)
Publication Date: April 27, 2004
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.
Award-winning author James Tobin has at last penned the definitive account of the inspiring and impassioned race across ten years and two continents to conquer the air. For years, Wilbur Wright and his younger brother, Orville, experimented in obscurity, supported only by their exceptional family. Meanwhile, the world watched as Samuel Langley, armed with a contract from the U.S. War Department and all the resources of the Smithsonian Institution, sought to create the first manned flying machine. But while Langley saw flight as a problem of power, the Wrights saw a problem of balance. Thus their machines took two very different paths--Langley's toward oblivion, the Wrights' toward the heavens--though not before facing countless other obstacles. With a historian's accuracy and a novelist's eye, Tobin has captured an extraordinary moment in history. To Conquer the Air is itself a heroic achievement.
Co-author of Flags of Our Fathers
What The Metaphysical Club was to the development of philosophic thought in America, this beautiful book is to the development of man in flight. Far more than a mere account of the Wright brothers' triumph, To Conquer the Air is a yeasty, richly drawn evocation of an era and of the strange, visionary, obsessed, and difficult men who battled one another to claim it in their name.
Tobin is interested as much in the personalities of Orville and Wilbur Wright as he is in the technical aspects of their feat. And he outlines their lives with style and brio.
Bookpage A magnificent book about magnificent men.
The Seattle Times Fabulous...fascinating...A tale about the triumph of sweat and labor over might and money. It's hard to think of a better book to bring next time one climbs aboard an airplane.