The book is about the Wright brothers trying to get their plane to work. The book explains how Orville and Wilbur are doing math calculations and redesign their plane. Eventually they redesign a plane to get a propeller and a four cylinder engine. It explains how Orville and Wilbur had to endure the elements in Kitty Hawk. And their competitor, Samuel Langley, who for a while it looked like was going to beat them to be first to fly. On the day they achieved flight no one thought that they would fly because it was too windy in Kitty Hawk. However, they achieved flight for 12 seconds. Wilbur went to France to sell their plane. The French thought that the American plane was insignificant compared to the French planes. But Wilbur demonstrated that the Wright plane had superior maneuverability. In America Orville was not as successful. He attempted to do the first recorded flight with a passenger, Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge. But he crashed and killed the Lieutenant. Eventually they got a military contract for 30,000 dollars. Other companies started to attempt to claim the work the Wright brothers had done. Then Wilbur was fighting the court cases before he died. Orville couldn’t fight the cases on his own, so the Smithsonian gave Samuel Langley, and Glenn Curtiss the credit. Eventually the Smithsonian went and gave the Wright the credit for the first flight.
I enjoyed this book very much because Lewis Helfand researched the information in the book very well. Because of this the book informed me about the Wright brothers, because I did not know a lot about them prior to reading this book. The book is not just about their flying but about their personal lives before and after the first flight was taken. Helfand’s writing portrayed how the Wright brothers were determined to do it on their own without any outside funding and even after they felt like they were failing they did not give up. I would recommend this to someone who is enjoys engineering and appreciates graphic art.