The conquest of the air at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, on 17 December 1903 was one of the supreme achievements of the 20th century. Two unknown American bicycle mechanics, Wilbur and Orville Wright, launched that day the first successful powered aeroplane, changing the world for ever. On the centennial of the historic first flights, biographer Ian Mackersey offers this fascinating new study of the lives of these eccentric geniuses. Their brilliance unlocked the secrets of mechanical flight to realise one of man's oldest dreams. Mackersey brings to life a family swept up in the fame, jealousies and law suits that exploded around them: the domineering figure of their father, Bishop Milton Wright, whose church wars raged distractingly alongside the process of invention; their feisty, adoring sister, Katharine, whose marriage led Orville never to speak to her again. Impeccably researched, Ian Mackersey's narrative explains accessibly, the aerodynamic breathrough that had defeated inventive minds for centuries.
Ian Mackersey is a writer and documentary film- maker, whose biographies of the beautiful reclusive pilot Jean Batten, the 'Garbo of the Skies', shortly to become a major film, and of the great Australian pilot Charles Kingsford Smith, were highly acclaimed.