Written By: David McCullough

Narrated By: David McCullough

Date: May 2015

Duration: 10 hours 2 minutes


The #1 New York Times bestseller from David McCullough, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize—the dramatic story-behind-the-story about the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly—Wilbur and Orville Wright.

On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two brothers—bicycle mechanics from Dayton, Ohio—changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe that the age of flight had begun, with the first powered machine carrying a pilot.

Orville and Wilbur Wright were men of exceptional courage and determination, and of far-ranging intellectual interests and ceaseless curiosity. When they worked together, no problem seemed to be insurmountable. Wilbur was unquestionably a genius. Orville had such mechanical ingenuity as few had ever seen. That they had no more than a public high school education and little money never stopped them in their mission to take to the air. Nothing did, not even the self-evident reality that every time they took off, they risked being killed.

In this “enjoyable, fast-paced tale” (The Economist), master historian David McCullough “shows as never before how two Ohio boys from a remarkable family taught the world to fly” (The Washington Post) and “captures the marvel of what the Wrights accomplished” (The Wall Street Journal). He draws on the extensive Wright family papers to profile not only the brothers but their sister, Katharine, without whom things might well have gone differently for them. Essential reading, this is “a story of timeless importance, told with uncommon empathy and fluency…about what might be the most astonishing feat mankind has ever accomplished…The Wright Brothers soars” (The New York Times Book Review).


  • Rich

    Upon moving to the Dayton area I thought it would be good to actually know more than a second grader about the Wright Brothers. This book is a very interesting and comprehensive look at how these two amazing men accomplished what was at the time little more than an impossible dream. Both the writing and the narration are 5 Star!

  • Rob N

    The book is a gem. Dreamers who refused to give up, who remained humble and loyal to their family and to their dream, the Wright Brothers were risk-takers who had total support from their two older brothers, their amazing sister Katharine, and their patient and proud dad. What a family! What a story! This is David McCullough at his very best.

  • James L

    Excellent! An interesting history .

  • Andy Clark

    This is a David McCullough book, need I say more? Very well written and researched. If you like history, planes, Americana, or stories of triumph then this book is for you. Enjoy!

  • Robin Bailie


  • Karen Jacobson

    I really enjoyed The Wright Brothers. Anything by David McCullough is going to be thorough and well- researched. When you think of the impact of flight achievement on our way of life currently, from air travel, warfare, space travel, space travel and satellites, the impact is staggering. I was particularly interested in listening to this because my father was one of those young men that dreamed of flying and left the farm where he grew up against his father's wishes to join the Air Force and fly planes in WW II. What the Wright's achieved thru their genius, methodical and meticulous work and diligence was amazing and beat out other entrepreneurs thru out the world.

  • Elly Loeser

    It's a fascinating story. Never learned the extent of the Wright's contribution to first flight. I, though, am not a fan of McCullough's narration. To much slurring of words and throat rattle.

  • Roz Gentry

    Excellent book. Really enjoyed the history. The Wright brothers were so amazing.

  • Jose Rio Dumaraog

    Inspiring! Hard work and perseverance won again. The Wright Brothers is a must read and will teach you about humility in the midst of success, firmness and gentleness and most of all the importance of family.

  • Alex Coclanis

    Great book. Concise and incisive. It's impossible to come away from without immense respect for the Wright Brothers.

  • Jeff Hymas

    I enjoyed how McCullough brought the Wilbur and Orville Wright to life. I felt like I knew who they were. I especially appreciated that I got to know their sturdy character, their simple and faithful belief in God and honoring his Sabbath Day, their homegrown and constant simplicity, etc. This book made me want to be a better, more patient and diligent husband and father as I work through, as all do, the mishaps and setbacks of real life. I was inspired.

  • Anonymous

    This is a well read book (by the author) and gives a view of the Wright Brothers I was not aware. They came from a remarkable family and labored long and hard on flight, then man powered flight a very interesting story.

  • Beverly Hope

    A great American story that comes to life with intimate insight into the Wright Brothers personalities, quirks, relationships, drive, talents and accomplishments. They were unique brothers in a unique family at a time in history perfect for them to fulfill their destiny and secure their legacy in history. It is a treasure and a gift to hear David McCullough read his own words in this most inspirational American story. I loved it and highly recommend this book!

  • Ben Finklea

    As an entrepreneur it was really interesting for me to read about the Wright brothers. I very much enjoy McCullough. I was surprised to find out how iterative the process was and how secretive the Wright brothers were about their invention.

  • Nick Bergquist

    Mr. McCullough is a little difficult to understand at times due to the slurring nature of his voice. However, as time elapses the ear becomes accustomed to his style. He is an excellent author who always tells great history. I highly recommend this book!

  • David Johnson

    Great book! Well written with plenty of detail about the Wrights but not tedious. Watched a movie about the Wright Brothers when about half way through the book and it was terrible. Acting was bad but the story was not very accurate - I suppose that shouldn't surprise me!

  • Tom Flickinger

    Always thought I knew the story of the Wright brothers but again was proven wrong by the wonderful flight Mr. McCullough allowed me to travel with the brothers and Katherine. I felt I was an attendee to many of the events and struggles of the Wrights and privy to their most inner thoughts. Loved the book and the efforts of both the Wright brothers and Mr. McCullough.

  • James Knauff

    Always hungry for historical novels and a taste of this author's knowledge. To have Mr. McCullough read to me is a treasure.

  • Mike Landry

    Wonderfully detailed, inspirational, and surprising. The obstacles to flight were no match to the resoluteness, persistence, and meticulous detail of the Wright Brothers. So many leadership lessons to be found here. I recommend this book highly to all who desire to excel and to those who wonder how long and how graciously one needs to endure opposition and maneuver around the constant obstacles one regularly faces when committed to changing the world.

  • Jeff Nischwitz

    This was a fantastic read with interesting insights to the Wright brothers history, innovation and obstacles. It was particularly interesting to learn about the many people who doubted their accomplishments, including the slow coming around of the United States government. As someone who grew up in Dayton Ohio, it was also fascinating to hear so many bits of history about the Dayton area in general and specifically regarding the Wright brothers.

  • LaMarr Anderson

    Informative and enlightening history very effectively brought to life. Doesn't bog down in too many details but provides sufficient details to make one appreciate as never before the character, contributions and accomplishments of the entire Wright family. -

  • Amy Bell

    I could listen to David McCullough read the phone book - I wish he narrated everything he has written. I will have to content myself with 1776 and this, a captivating read even though we all know the Wrights succeed in the end. So much about how they got there was unknown to me before this book.

  • dayne sieling

    Fascinating story beyond the basic first to fly headline Interesting to see historical and multi country connections to first aviation Well worth the listen

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by David McCullough

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