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This is an auction for FIRST TO FLY: THE UNLIKELY TRIUMPH OF WILBUR & ORVILLE WRIGHT by James Tobin. review:

“In this centenary of the airplane, Tobin re-creates the course, in its technological and biographical dimensions, of the Wright brothers' claim to its invention. This is such commonplace knowledge as to make its reiteration seemingly unnecessary, but its acknowledgment was not conceded at the time by the partisans of Samuel Langley and Glenn Curtiss. Tobin adopts this disputatious aspect to the Wrights' story to distinguish his work from standard biographies such as Fred Howard's Wilbur and Orville (1987), so he pays careful attention to the differences between the Wrights' attack on the problem of flight and Langley's. Langley had advantages: scientific eminence, publicity, and a government subsidy, but he never personally tried to fly, nor measured the performance of wings, as the Wrights did. Confirming their superior methods and diligence, Tobin proceeds to their difficulties in capitalizing on their flying machine, ascribing woes to their own reticence and the rapidity of rivals' progress. Perceiving the Wrights' us-against-the-world mentality, Tobin transforms thorough research into a flowing narrative with news for even connoisseurs of Kitty Hawk.”

More very favourable reviews on

Paperback 2003.

431 pages + photographs.

Very good condition.

The cost of shipping is $4.95.

There is of course no charge for shipping if you collect this book from my shop in Palmerston North following the auction.

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  • Seller location: Palmerston North, Manawatu, NZ

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