The Wright Brothers by Fred C. Kelly is the biography authorized by Orville Wright after his brother’s death. Fred C. Kelly was a journalist and friend of the Wrights.
Kelly does write like a reporter, but he also tells a story. Like a reporter, he brings the story to the reader, avoiding too many technical details.
THE aim in this book has been to satisfy the curiosity of the average, non-technical reader regarding the work of the Wright Brothers, and to do so as simply as possible. No attempt has been made to go into minute technical details. Nor does the book cover the scientific researches and numerous inventions by Orville Wright since the death of his brother.
The book begins at the beginning with the Wright Brothers’ boyhood. Other chapters detail the road to and from that First Flight including:
- Thinking about flight.
- The question of power.
- Kitty Hawk.
- The aftermath of that first flight.
- Other experiments.
- Global recognition.
- Patent suits.
- Other curious details.
Hard as it is to believe now, initially no one really saw the value in the Wright Brothers’ invention. From beginning to end, this is truly an amazing story. Don’t miss the footnotes.
Interestingly the book takes time in the second chapter to explore what it was that made the Wrights inventors — the character traits and circumstances that worked together to make them who they were. Orville relates that they DID have special advantages:
“Simply that we were lucky enough to grow up in a home environment where there was always much encouragement to children to pursue intellectual interests; to investigate whatever aroused curiosity. In a different kind of environment our curiosity might have been nipped long before it could have borne fruit.”
Ah. Take note!
We have found quite a few resources covering the Wright Brothers (see below), but Kelly’s book really is a treasure.
- Read online
- Various formats (EPUB, Kindle)
- LibriVox audio
Free Science Studies: Orville & Wilbur Wright
Most of our resources in one place including notebooking pages and other book recommendations.