I have updated this piece and re-blogged it in honor of Mr. McCullough, who died yesterday at 89. He is the finest biographer I have read. I just discovered today that he was such a fine narrator he narrated Ken Burns’ unforgettable breakthrough documentary on the Civil War.
I had the rare pleasure of reading this engaging biography. Orville and Wilbur were so driven that they spent both their lives single and childless. The two had enormous intellectual curiosity, keen judgement and great courage.
Prior to their success, there had been many failed and dangerous attempts to fly similar vehicles. David McCullough seems to attribute much of their success to their balanced judgement. McCullough never diminished their daring attitudes but noted its softening with an eye to safety. For example, they performed test flights over soft sand dunes.
The author’s prose is rich and absorbing. The lives of the Wright brothers fascinated him. David’s enthusiasm is contagious as one reads his prose. I have read a lot of his historical biographies, some of which have won the Pulitzer. I consider this book McCullough’s “finest hour.” For me, it was a fascinating read.
David, you will be missed but long remembered in your in your superb, biographic work.
H. Robert Rubin, a best-selling, Amazon writer and author of Look Backward Angel, How Did I Get Through This? Please Save the Third Dance for Me (memoirs) and The Bloom is on the Rose (novelette), all available on Amazon.