Welcome to Week 4 of the Online Book Club!
In chapter nine, we find that Orville had a really serious plane crash in 1908. This plane crash left Orville with a broken leg, hip, and some broken ribs, but, unfortunately, it took the life of his passenger, Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge. The death of Selfridge was the first fatality of an airplane passenger—it’s interesting to think that the Wright Brothers were responsible for the first successful manned airplane flight and the first fatality of an airplane passenger. I found this New York Times article about the crash, 100 years later, to be really interesting. Be sure to check it out if you want to read more about the repercussions of the crash.
I really enjoyed how Katharine was talked about more in this last section. I was so glad that she was able to go to France with her brothers. It was really cool to see that other people enjoyed seeing her, and she kind of became famous in her own right.
I think I was most surprised by the fact that the brothers set so many records for flight. I had no idea that Wilbur won the Michelin Cup for flying for over two hours. It was really interesting for me to learn more about all of the flying they did after Kitty Hawk—I must have missed those lessons in history class.
Finally, I really loved the part where Wilbur attached a canoe to the bottom of his plane, just in case he crashed into the Hudson River. What a straightforward solution to a problem—that seems so indicative of both brothers. They were able to think of solutions to most any problem, and they were able to rig contraptions to suit their needs. I loved the picture of Wilbur flying around the Statue of Liberty. Make sure to look for it in the last group of pictures in the book, if you haven’t already.
If you’re interested to see more of each brother’s personality, you should check out this interview by Kate Carew. Kate Carew worked for The New York World, and she was famous for her interviews and caricatures. This article was hilarious, and I especially liked the cartoons. Please make time to read it!
Finally, check out this article from PBS about Orville Wright. The article’s pictures are larger than the ones in the book, so I felt like I was able to see more detail.
I hope you enjoyed the book this month! I have to say that I loved learning more about Dayton’s history, and I now feel inspired to visit some of Dayton’s historical spots. I hope to at least see where the brothers are buried. Please let me know what you thought by leaving a comment.
Join us next month as we read Small Island by Andrea Levy. I hope to hear from you then!