The Wright Brothers: Pioneers of Power Flight Critical Essays

Carroll V. Glines


Especially for young readers interested in biography, aviation, United States his-tory, and science, The Wright Brothers will be of interest. The book responds to readers’ curiosity about the flight of the first airplane and answers their need for information. In addition to providing information about the construction and flight of the first airplane, Glines documents personal events in the Wright brothers’ lives: the reuniting of Wilbur, Orville, and Katharine Wright in France after the Wright brothers’ rise to fame; the only flight the brothers made together (in May of 1910); Orville Wright’s only flight with his father (who was then eighty-two years old) on the same day; and Wilbur Wright’s untimely death of typhoid in 1912.

Glines’s tone is clearly one of admiration for the Wrights. His sympathy is most clearly with them during their negotiations with the U.S. government and during Orville Wright’s conflict with the Smithsonian. Glines also praises the integrity and business sense of the brothers: They refused outside funding for their work, they won all of their legal disputes surrounding patents, and—until 1903—they spent less than two hundred dollars on their experiments, while another experimenter, who failed, had received fifty thousand dollars in government funding. Through such information, Glines establishes credibility. He cites several primary sources, such as a 1904 interview that the Wright brothers granted the...

(The entire section is 415 words.)