Welcome to Week 3 of the Online Book Club!
In the second section, chapters five through eight, the story really gets interesting. In chapter five, the brothers finally have success and are able to fly. Wasn’t it so interesting to see the text from the telegram that Orville sent home to his sister and father? I couldn’t believe that the telegram misspelled his name and misstated the length of the flight.
The last page of chapter five contained one of the most fascinating facts from the book, for me. McCullough claims that in the three years that the brothers were working on their plane, they only spent $1,000. That figure includes the materials and the traveling between Dayton and Kitty Hawk. Can you believe that they were able to achieve such a great historical achievement with so little money—and without borrowing any money? McCullough notes that the money they spent on flight was just money that came from profits of their bike shop.
Were you surprised that most of the early interest the Wright brothers had with their planes was from France? Before reading this, I just assumed that when the Wright brothers first flew, everyone in America immediately took notice. But, as the book notes, the first interest in the plane came from the British government, not the American government. Why do you think that the American government was so uninterested in the Wright Brothers? I guess it makes sense that they were careful to get too excited about flight since so many others had promised exciting airplanes, but still, it seems like the Wright brothers were so consistent and successful, so I am surprised that people weren’t more excited when they heard about the planes the brothers were constructing.
One thing I have really enjoyed about reading this book is the fact that it has encouraged me to look the archives of some local papers and read some old articles about the Wright Brothers. I’ve found so many great articles by looking at the newspaper databases on the Greene County Public Library website. If you type in the Wright Brothers in the search box on the Dayton Daily News database, you can find so many cool original articles. I highly recommend that you take a little time to explore the databases and articles. It’s just really fascinating to see firsthand accounts about the feelings surrounding the Wright Brothers.
If you’re interested in seeing a video showing a test flight made by the Wright brothers, check out this video on the History Channel’s website.
I hope you enjoyed this section. Please let me know what you thought by leaving a comment. And I hope to see you next week as we talk about the final chapters!