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The Wright Brothers

Unabridged Audiobook

Written By: David McCullough

Narrated By: David McCullough

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Date: May 2015

Duration: 10 hours 2 minutes


Two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize David McCullough tells the dramatic story-behind-the-story about the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly: Wilbur and Orville Wright.

On December 17, 1903 at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, Wilbur and Orville Wright’s Wright Flyer became the first powered, heavier-than-air machine to achieve controlled, sustained flight with a pilot aboard. The Age of Flight had begun. How did they do it? And why? David McCullough tells the extraordinary and truly American story of the two brothers who changed the world.

Sons of an itinerant preacher and a mother who died young, Wilbur and Orville Wright grew up in a small side street in Dayton, Ohio, in a house that lacked indoor plumbing and electricity but was filled with books and a love of learning. The brothers ran a bicycle shop that allowed them to earn enough money to pursue their mission in life: flight. In the 1890s flying was beginning to advance beyond the glider stage, but there were major technical challenges that the Wrights were determined to solve. They traveled to North Carolina’s remote Outer Banks to test their plane because there they found three indispensable conditions: constant winds, soft surfaces for landings, and privacy.

Flying was exceedingly dangerous; the Wrights risked their lives every time they flew in the years that followed. Orville nearly died in a crash in 1908, before he was nursed back to health by his sister, Katharine, an unsung and important part of the brothers’ success and of McCullough’s book. Despite their achievement, the Wrights could not convince the US government to take an interest in their plane until after they demonstrated its success in France, where the government instantly understood the importance of their achievement. Now, in this revelatory book, master historian David McCullough draws on nearly 1,000 letters of family correspondence—plus diaries, notebooks, and family scrapbooks in the Library of Congress—to tell the full story of the Wright brothers and their heroic achievement.


  • 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.

Wright Brothers

by David McCullough

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Wright Brothers, David McCullough