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Group Read > The Wright Brothers - August 2016

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message 1: by Alias Reader (last edited Jul 29, 2016 07:23AM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19989 comments What's this ? Book Nook Cafe Group Read

Book: The Wright Brothers by David McCullough The Wright Brothers

Author: David McCullough David McCullough

When: We will start reading around the start of August and end on the 31th of August. Read at your own pace.

Where The discussion will take place in this single thread.

Spoiler etiquette: If discussing a spoiler, please note Page # and write SPOILER at top of your post. The book is written in 3 parts. It will be helpful to put the part # at the top of your posts.

Synopsis: On a winter day in 1903, in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, two unknown brothers from Ohio changed history. But it would take the world some time to believe what had happened: the age of flight had begun, with the first heavier-than-air, powered machine carrying a pilot.

Who were these men and how was it that they achieved what they did?

David McCullough, two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize, tells the surprising, profoundly American story of Wilbur and Orville Wright.

Far more than a couple of unschooled Dayton bicycle mechanics who happened to hit on success, they were men of exceptional courage and determination, and of far-ranging intellectual interests and ceaseless curiosity, much of which they attributed to their upbringing. The house they lived in had no electricity or indoor plumbing, but there were books aplenty, supplied mainly by their preacher father, and they never stopped reading.

When they worked together, no problem seemed to be insurmountable. Wilbur was unquestionably a genius. Orville had such mechanical ingenuity as few had ever seen. That they had no more than a public high school education, little money and no contacts in high places, never stopped them in their “mission” to take to the air. Nothing did, not even the self-evident reality that every time they took off in one of their contrivances, they risked being killed.

In this thrilling book, master historian David McCullough draws on the immense riches of the Wright Papers, including private diaries, notebooks, scrapbooks, and more than a thousand letters from private family correspondence to tell the human side of the Wright Brothers’ story, including the little-known contributions of their sister, Katharine, without whom things might well have gone differently for them. (From the publisher.)

About the Author: David Gaub McCullough born July 7, 1933 is an American author, narrator, historian, and lecturer. He is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the United States' highest civilian award.
• Birth—July 7, 1933
• Where—Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
• Education—B.A., Yale University
• Awards—National Book Award (twice); Pulitzer Prize (twice); Presidential Medal of Honor
• Currently—lives in Boston, Massachusetts

Book Details:
Hardcover: 262 pages
Also available in paperback, eBook, & audio


message 2: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19989 comments Discussion questions


1. Talk about the Wright family circle—especially Sister Katharine and Bishop Milton Wright—and the influence its members had on Orville and Wilbur and their achievement. This leads, inevitably, to the roles that upbringing and genetics play in individual accomplishment. To what extent are all of us shaped by our family environment? How much of our accomplishments are fully our own?

2. Talk about the differences—and similarities—between the two brothers?

3. Follow-up to Question 1: What goes into making genius like the Wright brothers, aside from sheer intelligence? Consider traits such as perseverance, focus, and energy. What else? What about the role of imagination?

4. In his book, David McCullough reveals that when Wilbur Wright was in France, he spent a fair amount of time at the Louvre and that he was deeply moved by the great Gothic works he saw. What is the importance that the author ascribes to that interest—and why? What does it suggest about the importance of the liberal arts even in the fields of science and technology?

5. Why were the Wright brothers dismissed in the United States but taken seriously in France? What was the difference in culture and/or politics that generated interest on the part of the French but not the Americans?

6. Wilbur and Orville displayed few emotions. Do you think this hampered the author in his attempt to characterize the two men, to portray them as rich, fully-developed human beings? How does McCullough bring them to life—does he, or doesn't he? Do the two men come across as heroic? Why or why not?

7. Why was the story of the Wright brothers' achievement so unlikely? Talk about the hardships, knowledge deficits, and other obstacles they had to overcome in order to get their invention off the ground, so to speak?

8. What struck you most in the story of the the Wright brothers? What surprised you or impressed you? How much did you know (or understand) before you read McCullough's book...and what did you come away having learned?

9. In 1908, when the Wrights finally showed their plane to the press, one reporter wrote: "this spectacle of men flying was so startling, so bewildering to the senses...that we all stood like so many marble men." Imagine yourself in that situation: how might you have reacted? Can you think of a future technological advancement that might astonish you the same way?

10. Were the brothers compensated fairly for their invention? As someone replied to Wilbur, "I am afraid, my friend, that your usually sound judgment has been warped by the desire for great wealth." What is your assessment of that remark—fair or unfair?

http://www.litlovers.com/reading-guid...


message 3: by madrano (new)

madrano | 12766 comments Happy to see this thread. It's getting me back on the history track. Here's a cute moment in our dull lives...I didn't mention to my DH that i was going to read the book, as he was out when i downloaded it. After i sunk into the sofa with the book, hours later, i read the first quote, which is endearing, to him. (see below). He looked startled and asked why i mentioned that. I explained i was reading it. He is planning a road trip for us, which includes Ohio and had just added the Wright Brothers home in Dayton, OH., to the places we'll visit. Hurrah! Now i can see what i am reading in a timely manner.

It is from Wilbur--"If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio."

Anyway, i'm further along than i realized, up to Chapter 6. The book moves smoothly. Because we visited Kitty Hawk in '05, i can recall how different it looked from what i expected. I liked it.

ANYway, i like the family and am pleased to read much about them, too. Not the two older brothers as much but the inclusion of the sole sister, Katherine, is informative. I'll share more later. Thus far, they really deserve the hero status we give them.


message 4: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19989 comments madrano wrote: "Happy to see this thread. It's getting me back on the history track. Here's a cute moment in our dull lives...I didn't mention to my DH that i was going to read the book, as he was out when i downl..."

Serendipity ! :)

I won't be starting it until August. If I read it sooner I'll never remember it enough to discuss it for my book group on the 25th.

Glad to hear it's a good read.


message 5: by madrano (new)

madrano | 12766 comments Alias, i fully understand about the timing of your reading. It's true for me, too, but since i don't have a group, i can just plow onward. Having written that, however, i am going to take a break now until the first of the month.

But i'll reply to a couple of the questions while my thoughts are still in the front of my mind. :-)


1. Talk about the Wright family circle—especially Sister Katharine and Bishop Milton Wright—and the influence its members had on Orville and Wilbur and their achievement. This leads, inevitably, to the roles that upbringing and genetics play in individual accomplishment. To what extent are all of us shaped by our family environment? How much of our accomplishments are fully our own?

McCullough wrote very well about this family. It's remarkable that the father was so often away, due to his position as itinerant preacher. It's clear the family was close. I think the sole weak part of the story thus far is that i have little sense of how the two older brothers fit into the dynamic. One lived nearby & was a help, when needed. I suppose there are no records from those years when they were young & at home. And the sense of their mother is vague in the book, too.

However, it's clear there were standards and each child lived up to them. What an industrious couple of kids Wilbur & Orville were! I'm guessing (although it isn't really stated) that this must have been something the entire family practiced.



2. Talk about the differences—and similarities—between the two brothers?

From where i am in the book (chapter 6) it seems they are almost two peas in a pod. The differences seem minor. This may be why they worked together so long. If i tried to work that long with any of my siblings, our story would have been written from an insane asylum.


3. Follow-up to Question 1: What goes into making genius like the Wright brothers, aside from sheer intelligence? Consider traits such as perseverance, focus, and energy. What else? What about the role of imagination?

Here i am reminded of Thomas Edison famous quote that "Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration." Once these two came up with an idea, they began work on it. (Or so McCullough depicts it.) By the time they finally fly they had already had many, many set backs and several visits to Kitty Hawk from Dayton. Talk about a willingness to commit not just time but their income to this project. From where did that confidence arrive, i wonder?


message 6: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19989 comments That's what's great about having threads like this. We can all go at our own pace.

Thanks for reading this with me !

I hope a few others are able to join in.


message 7: by madrano (new)

madrano | 12766 comments My pleasure. It has been on my TBR list since it came out but, you know me, having a buddy is what it took to move it off the list into my hands. It helps that McCullough is an author whose writing i find easy to read. And this story is remarkable in its simplicity.


message 8: by Petra (new)

Petra | 1084 comments I'm in. I should be able to pick this up sometime next week. Looking forward to reading this with everyone.


message 9: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19989 comments That's awesome, Petra !


message 10: by Carol (last edited Jul 27, 2016 07:44AM) (new)

Carol (goodreadscomcarolann) | 830 comments Hi Alias!!

It's been so busy lately. I am still purging a great deal of 'stuff' that we don't need any more, bringing it to Goodwill. Only the basement is left full of kid's toys and paint cans. Both my husband and I will be at a few weddings, beginning this weekend. In the fall, we will be going to TX in the fall to see our boys.

I check out the library for The Wright Brothers!


message 11: by madrano (new)

madrano | 12766 comments Petra, it will be great to hear your thoughts on this book. I've taken a break in order to help me remember & share ideas/thoughts in a more timely manner. If i post more now, i'll forget what i meant. As Usual.

Carol, you are such a fast reader that i know you will finish this book in no time, if you manage to find the time to read it. The book moves along nicely, not mired in details.


message 12: by Julie (new)

Julie (readerjules) | 1219 comments Decisions, decisions. I want to read this book, but I really need to get caught up on all the books I am in the middle of...


message 13: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19989 comments Julie, you have the whole month of August to read it. It's less than 300 pages and deb says it's an easy quick read.


message 14: by Julie (new)

Julie (readerjules) | 1219 comments Well I requested it from the library. We'll see if I get to it or not!


message 15: by madrano (new)

madrano | 12766 comments It can't hurt to try, right, Julie? I decided to try to wrap up reading on a couple of in-the-middle-of books between now & the end of this month, too. They are all older ones, free from Project:Gutenberg. It would be nice to release them.


message 16: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments I'm going to try to join in. I just requested the book from the library and I am #1 in the line so I should probably have It in the beginning of the week. They seem to have a ton of copies. Maybe it is a school read around here.


message 17: by madrano (last edited Jul 29, 2016 11:48AM) (new)

madrano | 12766 comments I have an ebook version now but it looks as though my library will have the paper version freed up by mid-next-week, too. I'd prefer it, i think, as i can make my notes better for some reason. We'll look forward to reading your thoughts on our book, too, Bobbie.


message 18: by Alias Reader (last edited Jul 29, 2016 12:05PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19989 comments Bobbie57 wrote: "I'm going to try to join in. I just requested the book from the library and I am #1 in the line so I should probably have It in the beginning of the week. They seem to have a ton of copies. Maybe i..."

Yahoo !!! So looking forward to reading this with you, Barbara.


message 19: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments My copy is available so I will definitely pick it up by Thursday.


message 20: by madrano (new)

madrano | 12766 comments I picked up mine today. Ready!


message 21: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19989 comments I am going to start reading tonight or tomorrow.


message 22: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments Might be able to start today otherwise not until Thursday. Going on a day trip with some friends on Wednesday.


message 23: by madrano (new)

madrano | 12766 comments Enjoy your day trip, Bobbie.

Last night i wrote down notes i'd made while reading the e-version of this book, so i could return it to the library. In the first several chapters i was struck by how often the characteristics that seemed to typify the brothers are mentioned in letters written by their father when he was on the road. As noted in many places, growing up well, in that household especially, helped create the men they became and their willingness to try again & again.


message 24: by Alias Reader (last edited Aug 02, 2016 08:39PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19989 comments Enjoy her trip, Barbara !

I like the photo that shows the two brothers at the start of the book. I don't know if I ever saw a photo of them.




message 25: by madrano (new)

madrano | 12766 comments Because i began with an e-version of the book, i found pulling up the photos was time consuming. So, i didn't actually see that photo until i got the paper edition. They don't fit the image i was creating in my head but my image was based on childhood photos i did see.

Previously i think i've only seen them flying in that plane. Funny, isn't it?


message 26: by madrano (new)

madrano | 12766 comments In chapter 1 McCullough mentions a poet i've long appreciated, Paul Laurence Dunbar. I didn't realize they went to school together and was tickled to learn that the Wright Brothers supported his writing efforts. Dunbar wrote in standard English and dialect. A number of poets did this & i marvel how well they accomplish both. Another well known poet who did this is Robert Burns.

Thanks to Maya Angelou, his poem "Sympathy" is one of his best know pieces. It contains a line she used for her autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. Of course i had to share this tidbit, right? :-)


message 27: by Alias Reader (last edited Aug 06, 2016 04:40PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19989 comments Thank you so much for sharing that, Deb. I never would have known that.

I am almost finished with chapter 1.

I did write down one author mentioned in this chapter to check out. I see that Susan Jacoby, whose book The Age of American Unreason I read and enjoyed wrote a book about him.
The Great Agnostic: Robert Ingersoll and American Freethought


Why I Am An Agnostic

I see that Ingersoll's books are in the public domain and free for the Kindle and I assume other eReaders.


message 28: by Alias Reader (last edited Aug 06, 2016 08:40PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19989 comments Chapter 2

Orville gets typhoid in this chapter so I looked up the disease on the internet.

Wiki--
Typhoid fever, also known simply as typhoid, is a bacterial infection due to Salmonella typhi that causes symptoms which may vary from mild to severe and usually begin six to thirty days after exposure. Often there is a gradual onset of a high fever over several days. Weakness, abdominal pain, constipation, and headaches also commonly occur. Diarrhea is uncommon and vomiting is not usually severe.Some people develop a skin rash with rose colored spots. In severe cases there may be confusion.Without treatment symptoms may last weeks or months. Other people may carry the bacterium without being affected; however, they are still able to spread the disease to others.Typhoid fever is a type of enteric fever along with paratyphoid fever.

The cause is the bacterium Salmonella typhi, also known as Salmonella enterica serotype typhi, growing in the intestines and blood. Typhoid is spread by eating or drinking food or water contaminated with the feces of an infected person. Risk factors include poor sanitation and poor hygiene.
------------
I never heard of anyone in the U.S. getting this. So I was quite surprised to read on Wiki--

In 2013 there were 11 million new cases reported.[10] The disease is most common in India, and children are most commonly affected.[1][5] Rates of disease decreased in the developed world in the 1940s as a result of improved sanitation and use of antibiotics to treat the disease.[5] About 400 cases are reported and the disease is estimated to occur in about 6,000 people per year in the United States.[4][11] In 2013 it resulted in about 161,000 deaths – down from 181,000 in 1990 (about 0.3% of the global total).[12] The risk of death may be as high as 25% without treatment, while with treatment it is between 1 and 4%.


message 29: by Alias Reader (last edited Aug 06, 2016 08:47PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19989 comments Did anyone watch the opening the of the Olympics? They had a plane in the opening ceremonies because they say that a man from Brazil, not O&W was the first to fly.

Here is a video clip from the ceremony and an article where they mention it.
Opening Ceremony stirs up debate: Who invented flight?
http://sports.yahoo.com/news/opening-...

I looked online and found this.

wiki
Alberto Santos-Dumont (Portuguese pronunciation: [awˈbɛʁtu ˈsɐ̃tuz duˈmõ]; 20 July 1873 – 23 July 1932) was a Brazilian aviation pioneer. The heir of a wealthy family of coffee producers, Santos-Dumont dedicated himself to aeronautical study and experimentation in Paris, France, where he spent most of his adult life.

Santos-Dumont designed, built, and flew hot air balloons and early dirigibles, his rising fame in this field culminating in his winning of the Deutsch de la Meurthe prize on 19 October 1901 on a flight that rounded the Eiffel Tower.

Following his pioneering work in airships, Santos-Dumont constructed a heavier-than-air aircraft, the 14-bis. On 23 October 1906 he flew this to make the first powered heavier-than-air flight in Europe to be certified by the Aéro Club de France and the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (FAI).

In his homeland, Brazil, Santos-Dumont is a national hero, having his name inscribed on the Tancredo Neves Pantheon of the Fatherland and Freedom. He is credited in Brazil as the "father of aviation" and "father of flight".[1] Santos-Dumont occupied the 38th chair of the Brazilian Academy of Letters from 1931 until his death in 1932.


message 30: by madrano (new)

madrano | 12766 comments I'll start with the last point. I didn't see the Opening Ceremony, unfortunately. However i've read about Santos-Dumont in our book. He lived in France, so i'm not sure i even realized he was from Brazil. My point is that we'll see him referenced later in the book. Interesting that came up, though.

Amazing fact about typhoid everywhere. I just assumed it was a Third World illness but it appears it's rather easy to get. Thanks for sharing that info.

Robert G. Ingersoll is often mentioned in books i read from the late 1800s to early 20th, usually by last name only. I recently finished reading The Haunted Bookshop & his name was mentioned in it. I think he was among the first to give the idea of agnosticism a reasoned presentation.


message 31: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19989 comments madrano wrote: "Robert G. Ingersoll is often mentioned in books i read from the late 1800s to early 20th, usually by last name only. I recently finished reading The Haunted Bookshop & his name was mentioned in it. I think he was among the first to give the idea of agnosticism a reasoned presentation. "

I read The Haunted Bookshop. I don't recall the name. However, there were so many great books mentioned that I can see how I don't recall it.

Thanks for the reminder.
Love the synchronicity of our books. :)


message 32: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19989 comments madrano wrote: However i've read about Santos-Dumont in our book. He lived in France, so i'm not sure i even realized he was from Brazil. My point is that we'll see him referenced later in the book. Interesting that came up, though.."

Interesting. A member of my library group finished the book and didn't recall Santos-Dumont. I'll have to keep an eye out for him.


message 33: by Bobbie (new)

Bobbie (bobbie572002) | 1084 comments My major impression at this point is how much I didn't know about the Wright Brothers and other experiments in different countries during the same time. They had more perseverance than anyone I ever knew. Pretty much having to rebuild the Flyer each time would have discouraged the heck out of me.


message 34: by madrano (new)

madrano | 12766 comments I agree, Bobbie. It's that persistence which is remarkable to me. I suppose that's what made the difference between so many who tried. They created projects in so many diverse areas, too. Adding the porch and other things to their home somehow really surprised me. You can see how the family would relish evenings outside.

Alias, i must say Santos-Dumont was a very small character in the book. I mentioned him because the day you posted, i had just seen his name. I presumed more would be said, but perhaps not.


message 35: by Julie (new)

Julie (readerjules) | 1219 comments Ok, I got the book and I am starting. Now I just need to find more time to read!


message 36: by madrano (new)

madrano | 12766 comments I put the book aside last week to wait for others & am now having problems just picking it up again. I want to pace myself but each time i start, i can't stop. They fascinate me.


message 37: by Alias Reader (last edited Aug 11, 2016 05:22PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19989 comments Chapter 5

A few times Darius Green has been mentioned.
In this chapter the author wrote, "Langley was compared to Darius Green, the comic fool of the famous poem whose ludicrous machine flew in one direction only, downward."

Here is the poem.

DARIUS GREEN AND HIS FLYING MACHINE

“If ever you knew a Yankee lad,

Wise or otherwise, good or bad,

Who seeing the birds fly, wouldn't jump

With flapping arms from stake or stump.


Or spreading the tail of his coat for a sail,

take a soaring leap from post or rail,

and wonder why he couldn't fly

and flap and flutter and wish and try.


If ever you knew a country dunce

who wouldn't try that as often as once.

All I can say is that's a sign

he never would do for a hero of mine.


An aspiring genius, was Darius Green.

The son of a farmer, age fourteen.

His body was long, lank and lean.

Just right for flying, as will be seen.

He had two eyes as bright as a bean

and a speckled nose that grew between.

A little awry, for I must mention

that he had riveted his attention

upon his wonderful invention.


And he twisted his tongue as he twisted the strings,

and he worked his face as he worked with wings.

And with every turn of gimlet and screw,

twisting and screwing his mouth around too,

'til his nose seemed bent to catch the scent,

around some corner, of new baked pies.


And his wrinkled cheeks and squinting eyes

grew puckered into a queer grimace

that made him look very droll in the face,

and also very wise.

And wise he must have been,

to do more Than ever a genius had done before.

Excepting Daedalus of yore, and his son Icarus.

Who wore upon their backs those wings of wax

he had read about in the old Almanacs.


Darius was clearly of the opinion

that the air was also man's dominion.

And that with paddle or fin or pinion

we soon or late shall navigate

the azure, as now we sail the sea.

The thing looks simple enough to me.


And if you doubt it,

see how Darius reasoned about it.

"The birds can fly, an why can't I?

Must we give in? says he with a grin,

that the Blue bird and Feeby

Are smarter than we be?"


"Just fold our hands and see the Swalla,

and the Black bird and the Cat bird beat us holla?

Or tell me that chatterin' sassy little wren knows more 'en men?

Just show me that. Or prove that the bat

has got more brains than's in my hat,

an I'll back down. An not till then."


"He argued further. Nor, I can't see,

what's the use of the wings to the bumble bee,

to git a livin' with, mor'en to me?

Ain't my business importanter than hissen is?"


"That Icarus was a silly, him and his daddy Deadalus.

They mighta knowed that wings made of wax

wouldn't stand sun heat or hard whacks.

I'll make mine of luther or sumfin or udder."


"But I ain't never goin' to show my hand

to mummies who never could understand

the first idea that big and grand.

They'd a laughed and made fun

of creation itself, afore it was done."


So he kept his secret from all the rest,

Safely buttoned within his vest.

And in the loft above the shed,

He locks himself with needle and thread,

and hammers and buckles and screws,

and all such things as geniuses use.


Two dead bats for patterns, curious fellows,

a charcol pot and a pair of bellows,

a carriage cover for tail and wings,

a piece of harness and straps and strings,

and a big strong box in which he locks

These and other things.


His grinning brothers, Reuben and Burke,

and Nathan and Jathan and Solomon lurk,

around the corner to see him work.

Sitting cross legged like a Turk.

And boring the holes with a comical quirk

of his wise old head and a knowing smile.


But vainly they mounted each others backs

and peeked through knot holes and pried through cracks,

With wood from the pile, and straw from the stack

he stopped up the knot holes and caulked up the cracks.


And a bucket of water that one would think

he had brought up into the loft to drink,

stood always nigh, for Darius was sly.

At chink or crevice a blinking eye,

and he let a dipper of water fly.


"Take that! And if ever ye git a peep

I guess ye'll catch a weasel asleep!

And he sings as he locks his big strong box.

The weasels head is small and trim.

And he is little and long and slim.

And quick of motions, and nimble of limb.

An if ye'll be advised by me,

keep wide awake, when ye are catching 'im.



"'Twas the fourth of July and the weather was dry.

Not a cloud was in all the sky,

excepting a few fleeces here and there, half mist, half air,

like foam on the ocean went floating by.

And 'twas the loveliest morning that ever was seen

for a nice little trip in a flying machine.


Thought cunning Darius, now I'll not go

along with the other fellows to see the show.

I'll say "I've got such a cough!"

An when the other folks had all gone off,

I'll have full swing to try the thing,

and practice a little on the wing.


"What! Ain't goin' to the celebration?" says Burke.

"Sure guess ye better go!". But Darius says "No".

Botheration. "I, I've got such a tooth ache.

My, my, Seems as though I should fly.

Shouldn't wonder if ye'd see me though, long about noon,

if I git rid of this jumpin', thumpin' pain in my head".


For, all the time to himself he said, "I'll tell you what.

I'll fly a few times round the lot,

to see how it seems. An soon's I've got

the hang of the thing, as likely as not,

I'll astonish the nation, an' all creation

by flyin' over the celebration."


"Over their heads I'll sail like an eagle.

I'll balance myself on my wings like a seagull.

I'll light on the chimney. I'll dance on the steeple.

I'll flap up to the windows, an scare all the people.


I'll light on the liberty pole and crow.

And I'll say to the gasping fools below,

"What world's this 'eer, that I've come near?

For I'll make em think I'm a chap from the moon.

And I'll try a race with their ol' balloon."


His brothers had gone but a little way

when Nathan to Jathan chanced to say,

"What on earths he up to, Hey?

Oh, I don't know. There's sompin' or other though to pay,

or he'd never stayed home today."


Says Burke, "His tooth ache's all in his eye.

He'd never miss a fourth of July

if he hadn't some old machine to try."

Then Solomon, the little one, spoke.

"Let's hurry back, an hide in the barn

an' pay him for tellin' us that yarn."


Agreed! And through the orchard they all crept back,

yonder that fence and back of the stack,

and through a hole in the wall they did crawl,

dressed in their Sunday garments all.


And what a wonderful sight was that

when each in his cobweb coat and hat

came up through the floor, like an ancient rat.

And there they hid. And Reuben slid

the fastenings back, and the door undid.

"Keep in the dark!" says he,

"while I squint, And see what there is to see."


As knights of old put on their mail,

from head to foot an iron suit,

iron jacket and iron boot

iron britches, and on the head

No hat, but an iron pot instead,

Under the chin, the bail

(I think they called the thing a swale).

Thus accorted they took the field

Sallying forth to overwhelm

the dragons and Pagans that plagued the Realm.


So our modern knight prepared to take his flight

Put on his wings and strapped them tight.

Buckled them fast to shoulder and hip.

Ten feet they measured from tip to tip.

And a helmet had he. But that, he wore

not on his head, like those of yore.

But more like the helm of a ship.


"Burk, stop laughin'. Solomon, keep still.

He's riggin' a spring board up in the sill.

I see his head. He sticks it out, an pokes it about,

lookin' to see if the coast is clear, an' anybody near.

Guess he don't know who's hid in here!"


Stepping carefully he travels the length

of the spring board, and teeters a little,

to try its strength.

Now he raises his wings, like a monstrous bat,

Peeps over his shoulder, this way and that,

looking to see if there's anybody passing by.

But there's none but a calf and a goslin' nigh.

They turn up at him a wondering eye. to see,

The dragon! He's going to fly!


What a jump! Flop, flop, and plump!!

To the ground, fluttering and floundering, all in a lump.

As a demon is hurled by an angels spear

head over heels to his proper sphere.

Heels over head, and head over heels,

dizzily down the abyss he wheels.

So fell Darius, upon his crown.

In the midst of the barnyard he came down.


Broken braces and broken wings,

shooting stars and various things.

Barnyard litter of straw and chaff,

And much that wasn't so sweet by half.

Away with a bellow flew the calf.

And what was that? Did the gosling laugh?

Tis a merry roar from the old barn door,

As he hears the voice of Jathan crying,

"Say, Darius, how do you like flying?"


Slowly, ruefully, where he lay,

Darius just turned a look that way.

As he wiped his sorrowful nose with his cuff.

"Well, I like flyin' well enough," He said.

"But there ain't such an awful sight

of fun in it when ye come to light."


Shall we notice the MORAL here?

This is the moral: Stick to your sphere.

But, if you insist, as you have a right,

on spreading your wings for a loftier flight,

the moral is, take care how you light!”

http://www2.hawaii.edu/~bemorton/Fami...


message 38: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19989 comments madrano wrote: "I'll start with the last point. I didn't see the Opening Ceremony, unfortunately. However i've read about Santos-Dumont in our book. He lived in France, so i'm not sure i even realized he was from ..."

I see in my hardcover edition of the book he is mentioned on page 132-133.


message 39: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19989 comments Bobbie57 wrote: "My major impression at this point is how much I didn't know about the Wright Brothers and other experiments in different countries during the same time. They had more perseverance than anyone I eve..."

I agree. Their dedication is amazing. The time away from the bicycle shop, which was their main job and using their own money to sponsor their dream showed their dedication and belief in their dream.

They seemed never to get down no matter how often the earlier tries failed. It reminded me of these famous quotes. Henry Ford is reported to have said, "Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently." And this Thomas A. Edison quote. "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. " Also as noted in the book, Katharine was the only family member to graduate college. Which brings to mind this quote from Calvin Coolidge,
"Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. "


I also admire the generosity when talking of competitors. They were always kind. I felt the brothers were a class act.


message 40: by madrano (last edited Aug 12, 2016 12:20PM) (new)

madrano | 12766 comments I agree about the class act. Even further into the book, i'm impressed by their kindness towards others, apparently even in writing home, when they could have been less kind. Admirable.

Thanks for the Darius Green poem, it is one of those things intended to look up later. You can see why it would be popular for family reading. Although, it's also funny that the Wright brothers seemed to disprove the moral, in some ways.

My hardback edition index lists Santos-Dumont several times, although each mention is either of him in a group of other aviators or in a quote by someone. I wonder why the index difference? Still, all are far from anything at all biographic about the man.


message 41: by madrano (last edited Aug 14, 2016 07:37AM) (new)

madrano | 12766 comments CHAPTER 6.

A local high school science teacher noted about the brothers, “the good humor of Wilbur, after a spill out of the machine, or a break somewhere, or a stubborn motor, was always reassuring…Their patient perseverance, their calm faith in ultimate success, their mutual consideration of each other, might have been considered phenomenal in any but men who were well born and well reared.”

I haven't read many books about inventors, so am unaware if this is something typical of them or not. Perseverance has to be one of the most important factors (next to an idea, i reckon) for them, so it must their temperament that sets them aside.

As i was reading about all their interests and abilities, i wondered if this is another thing we lose when citizens leave "the farm" for city life. My country-raised dad was a man of many skills and talents, as well as someone with a superb sense of humor. While his four children like to tinker and can fix things, there are no clever devices from us the way there were from him. (And well into his 80s, too, although those were often contraptions to accomplish tasks he wanted to do.)

ANYway, even looking at people of my generation, there aren't many who fiddle with material goods. Instead they began the "it's so cheap, let's just buy a new one" era of consumerism. And, as an added note, more women than men i know are the "fix it" members of families.

Additionally, the last man i knew who had a shop worthy of the name moved to the "big city" of Aberdeen, South Dakota, from the farm. And i must add that the reason we got to know him so well is because our 3 year old loved him & watching the man at work. And i never heard him utter a curse word, even when no children were around us. We called him "Daddy Kendall", that much did he mean to our son.

Anecdotal, to be sure, but i'm curious about others here. And the sense of humor typifies the fixers i know, too. I suppose it's something they learn as they try & try again.


message 42: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19989 comments madrano wrote: "CHAPTER 6.

As i was reading about all their interests and abilities, i wondered if this is another thing we lose when citizens leave "the farm" for city life..."


I guess it depends on the type of invention. I think currently most big inventions are computer related. And that does't have a city or country life aspect to it.

My reading has been on hold as I am helping out my niece who had a total knee replacement. I'll try to fit in some reading if I have any down time.


message 43: by madrano (new)

madrano | 12766 comments True, re. computers. My sister keeps telling me about some tv show she watches which has people who have invented ideas & are looking for investors. I don't know much else about it, however. Maybe my nostalgia is showing.

I hope your niece has a speedy recovery. She's young, which should help. We have a cousin who had one last year and it took her quite a long time to be able to care for herself without assistance. Of course she's old, 65, which is my age. :-)


message 44: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19989 comments madrano wrote: "True, re. computers. My sister keeps telling me about some tv show she watches which has people who have invented ideas & are looking for investors. I don't know much else about it, however. Maybe ..."

Shark Tank. I don't watch it but have heard about it.


message 45: by Alias Reader (last edited Aug 15, 2016 08:39PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19989 comments madrano wrote: "I hope your niece has a speedy recovery. She's young, which should help. We have a cousin who had one last year and it took her quite a long time to be able to care for herself without assistance. Of course she's old, 65, which is my age. :-)
..."


Thank you. She is in a lot of pain. PT person came to the house today for the first time. She will have PT 5 days a week for 2 weeks then her husband will have to drive her to a place that gives you PT.

She is a teacher and starts back to work in Sept. Also she signed up for grad classes for a second masters degree. This was before she new she was having surgery and she does't want to lose the fee if she doesn't go. Add in a 9 month old and a 3 years old. I really don't see how she is going to manage. I guess it will work out somehow.


message 46: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (cinnabarb) | 2950 comments Good luck to your niece Alias. She certainly has a lot on her plate.


message 47: by madrano (new)

madrano | 12766 comments Yes, that's quite a bit to attempt withing the next 30 days. Knee first, of course. Best of luck to her.


message 48: by Alias Reader (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19989 comments Thanks all. She get her staples taken out Monday. A nurse comes to the house to do it. That should be fun....NOT.


message 49: by Alias Reader (last edited Aug 18, 2016 06:27PM) (new)

Alias Reader (aliasreader) | 19989 comments Back to the Wright book.

I didn't know about various countries race to be the first in flight. Interesting stuff!

Though the Wrights have to run a business and use their own money unlike some of the others they are competing against.


message 50: by Petra (new)

Petra | 1084 comments I have a lot of catching up to do. I'm a bit late in starting this book and am enjoying the audio version (narrated by the author) of this book.

madrano wrote: "As noted in many places, growing up well, in that household especially, helped create the men they became and their willingness to try again & again. ..."
This struck me, too. I would have loved to grow up in such a free and open family that allowed for self-awareness and learning. Just the thought of being able to stay away from a structured school setting to study a topic of interest in your own fashion is dizzying. The Wright brothers and their siblings had a wonderful opportunity with this.

Alias Reader wrote " About 400 cases are reported and the disease is estimated to occur in about 6,000 people per year in the United States."......
I never gave Typhoid Fever in North America much thought, I must admit. However, we had Typhoid Mary. I guess as long as water systems aren't controlled well, there's a chance of getting the disease.

Alias Reader wrote: He is credited in Brazil as the "father of aviation" and "father of flight"."...
I'll keep my ears open for the mention of Alberto Santos-Dumont in this book.
This statement shows how history can be re-written by whoever writes it. The kids learn the "facts" and pass it on to the next generation. History is interesting in that way.

Alias, thanks for posting Darius Green & His Flying Machine. I just listened to that section on my way home today and was going to look it up.


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