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To Conquer the Air: The Wright Brothers and the Great Race for Flight
To Conquer the Air: The Wright Brothers and the Great Race for Flight
To Conquer the Air: The Wright Brothers and the Great Race for Flight
Audiobook6 hours

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

Written by James Tobin

Narrated by Boyd Gaines

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars



About this audiobook

"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 -- wanted it passionately, fecklessly, hopelessly. But 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. 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 create the first manned flying machine. 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 -- one toward oblivion, the other toward the heavens.
To Conquer the Air is a hero's tale of overcoming obstacles within and without. It is the story of mankind's most wondrous technological achievement; and it is an account of the mystery of creativity and character. Years later, Orville Wright would remark to Charles Lindbergh: "No one quite understands the spirit and conditions of those times." In the centennial year of human flight, To Conquer the Air is itself a heroic achievement.
Release dateApr 1, 2003

James Tobin

James Tobin won the National Book Critics Circle Award in biography for Ernie Pyle’s War and the J. Anthony Lukas Work-in-Progress Award for To Conquer the Air: The Wright Brothers and the Great Race for Flight. Educated at the University of Michigan, where he earned a PhD in history, he teaches narrative nonfiction in the Department of Media, Journalism, and Film at Miami University in Oxford, OH.

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Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    James Tobin's "To Conquer the Air: The Wright Brothers and the Great Race for Flight" tells the story of three efforts (mainly) to prove that man could take to the skies. Its major focus is on the success of the Wilbur and Orville Wright, who were the first to successfully fly an airplane on the fields at Kitty Hawk, N.C. It also features the stories of Samuel Langley and Alexander Graham Bell, who approached the problem of flight with different (and less successful) ideas.Overall, I found the book to be very comprehensive and well written. It contains lots of little insights into the personalities and differing attitudes of the major players in the "Great Race for Flight." My only real complaint is that sometimes there was a little too much information so the story started to drag a little bit. Definitely a great book for someone interested in the history of flight.... not as interesting for the casual reader though.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    Decent history of the Wright Brothers and their quest to invent a flying machine.
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    Tobin has created a tremendously engaging work detailing the pursuit of manned flight. The author takes a sympathetic view of the Wright brothers and yet maintains an admirable degree of objectivity concerning the other major players as well. The result is a story of conflicting personalities, attitudes, ideas, and even nations. The Wrights labored patiently in the midst of persistent skepticism and were rewarded with the glory that they deserved.