Larry E. Tise
Palgrave Macmillan Trade
In seven crucial days of spring 1908, the Wright brothers prepared for what they thought would be a season of secret flights at Kitty Hawk, the culmination of five years spent perfecting their planes. However, they were soon discovered by a host of fast-paced reporters and photographers, forcing the brothers to try to outsmart the world press and avoid close scrutiny of their flying machine and its prowess. Within a few pivotal days, the brothers were catapulted into unwanted worldwide fame as the international press reported their every move using rudimentary telegraphs and early forms of photography. This comedy-of-errors pursuit of pilots and press resulted in a series of bizarre and far-fetched news stories splashed across front pages around the world, by journalists who knew they had just witnessed a milestone in history and were desperate to get to the story first.
In Conquering the Sky, Larry E. Tise tells the fascinating untold story of how the Wrights finally introduced the world to the power of flight, taught a legion of gaping aeronauts how to put a plane in the air and keep it there, and astonished thousands of eye-witnesses both in America and in Europe with their amazing feats.
"Drawing from a wealth of primary sources, Tise depicts the brothers' distinct personalities, strengths, and foibles fairly, though he's clearly an unabashed partisan. A tightly focused slice of Wright historiography."-- Library Journal, starred review
"This pivotal 11-day period is chronicled in a new book by East Carolina University professor Larry E. Tise, who is the school’s Wilbur and Orville Wright Distinguished Professor of History." —Dayton Daily News
“Tise--dogged researcher, mesmerizing storyteller, human encyclopedia on Wilbur and Orville Wright--has dug out the moment-to-moment, nearly secretive, details of seven days in May 1908 when the Wright Brothers changed the world. Anyone who loves airplanes will love vicariously experiencing the very beginnings of powered controlled flight.”
--David Hartman, aviation writer, TV documentary producer, and original host of Good Morning America
“Conquering the Sky is the most thorough report on the Wright brothers’ 1908 experiments at Kitty Hawk that has been written to my knowledge. It will fill an important gap in the Wright brothers’ history.”
--William Harris, former mayor of Kitty Hawk, retired director of the Wright Brothers Memorial, and President of the First Flight Society
“Larry Tise has captured the drama of a brief but crucial era in aviation history, when the Wright brothers' flying machines first made history worldwide. Extensively researched and far-reaching, this story provides enduring inspiration.”
--Kathleen C. Winters, author of Anne Morrow Lindbergh: First Lady of the Air
"In this sprightly new book, Larry Tise separates facts from the myths and deconstructs the many unreliable newspaper accounts about the events at Kitty Hawk. Full of colorful characters and telling details, Tise's book takes readers aloft during the first turbulent years of powered flight."
--Jeffrey J. Crow, Ph.D., State Historian for North Carolina and Deputy Secretary of Archives and History, North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources
"When the Wright Brothers returned to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, almost four and a half years after their first flight, to test their patented and improved aircraft for public demonstration, a dozen or so correspondents dogged them, hoping for a scoop or a photograph. Larry Tise recounts the stream of misinformation and missed opportunities that issued from Kitty Hawk, leaving the public unprepared for the spectacular performances of Orville Wright in the United States and Wilbur Wright in Europe in the ensuing months. The failure of the fifth estate contrasts comically with the triumph of the Wrights in this lively, fascinating history."
--Alex Roland, Professor of History, Duke University
"A perceptive examination of a brief but significant episode in the truly amazing story of the two brothers who pioneered practical powered flight. With unique insight, Larry Tise shows how those seeking news of the Wright brothers were misled with fanciful tales and fishermen's yarns, and how easily the truth was distorted and presented as published fact."
--Philip Jarrett, specialist historian and author on pioneer aviation