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To Conquer the Air By James Tobin

To Conquer the Air

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Based on extraordinary research in the rich archives of American aviation, and written by one of the nation's most gifted narrative historians, "To Conquer the Air" brings to life one of history's most exciting contests.

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To Conquer the Air Summary


To Conquer the Air: The Wright Brothers and the Great Race for Flight by James Tobin

"For some years I have been afflicted with the belief that flight is possible to man. My disease has increased in severity and I feel that it will soon cost me an increased amount of money if not my life."So wrote a quiet young Ohioan in 1900, one in an ancient line of men who had wanted to fly -- men who wanted it passionately, fecklessly, hopelessly. But now, at the turn of the twentieth century, Wilbur Wright and a scattered handful of other adventurers conceived a conviction that the dream lay at last within reach, and in a headlong race across ten years and two continents, they competed to conquer the air. James Tobin, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography, has at last given this inspiring story its definitive telling.For years Wright and his younger brother, Orville, experimented in utter obscurity, supported only by their exceptional family. Meanwhile, the world watched as the imperious Samuel Langley, armed with a rich contract from the U.S. War Department and all the resources of the Smithsonian Institution, sought to scale up his unmanned models to create the first manned flying machine. But while Langley became obsessed with flight as a problem of power, the Wrights grappled with it as a problem of balance. Thus their machines took two very different paths -- his toward oblivion, theirs toward the heavens.As Tobin relates, the Wrights' 1903 triumph at Kitty Hawk, however hallowed in American lore, was ill-reported and disbelieved. So, while the two brothers struggled to transform their delicate contraption into a practical airplane, others moved to overtake them as the leading pioneers of flight. In France, rivals scoffed at the Wrightseven as they rushed to imitate them. At home, the great inventor Alexander Graham Bell seized the fallen banner of his friend Langley and thrust it into the hands of a circle of young daredevils, urging them to get into the air. From this group emerged the motorcyclist Glenn Curtiss, fastest man in the world, whose aerial challenge to Wilbur Wright culminated in an unforgettable showdown over New York harbor."To Conquer the Air" is a hero's tale of overcoming obstacles within and without that plumbs the depths of creativity and character. With a historian's accuracy and a novelist's eye, Tobin has captured the interplay of remarkable personalities at an extraordinary moment in our history. In the centennial year of human flight, "To Conquer the Air" is itself a heroic achievement.

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To Conquer the Air Reviews


David M. KennedyAuthor of "Freedom from Fear: The American People in Depression and War, 1929-1945," winner of the Pulitzer Prize James Tobin explains with meticulous clarity the mysteries of nature and the challenges of technology that vexed the Wright brothers' pursuit of machine-powered flight. He also tells the riveting tale of their fevered rivalry with the imperious head of the Smithsonian Institution, Samuel Pierpont Langley, with fabled inventor Alexander Graham Bell, and with the brash daredevil Glenn Curtiss. How two homespun Midwestern tinkerers prevailed against such formidable competitors in the race to achieve the miracle of flight is a tale as thrilling as it is inspirational. An utterly engrossing read.

Additional information

GOR010008001
To Conquer the Air: The Wright Brothers and the Great Race for Flight by James Tobin
James Tobin
Used - Very Good
Hardback
Simon & Schuster
2003-04-22
352
0684856883
9780684856889
N/A
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us.