Race to the Sky

The Wright Brothers Versus the United States Government

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About the Book

In their struggle to fly, the Wright brothers were engaged in strife with their own government. President McKinley’s administration decided to dedicate an unprecedented amount of money to ensure that the first flyers would be American but the Wrights refused such financial support for fear of the strings attached, and resolved to go it alone.
This book tells the story of the raw ambition, high ideals, greed, and cloak and dagger tactics of each side. By 1903, the Federal venture was in its seventh year and the Wright brothers had been working nights and weekends, often in secret for four years. Everything came to a head in eight tense days in December when the battle—and the fame and fortune that would follow—was decided.

About the Author(s)

Stephen B. Goddard practices law and teaches history and public policy at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. The author of three books, he also writes for HistoryWire.com.

Bibliographic Details

Stephen B. Goddard
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 232
Bibliographic Info: photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2009 [2003]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-4332-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      vii

Preface      1

1. The Battle Is Joined      3

2. The Primal Urge      14

3. Not So Funny Anymore      23

4. A Critical Mass      35

5. A National Mission      44

6. The Chanute Factor      52

7. The Wright Stuff      61

8. No Simple Matter      76

9. The Clock Ticks On      89

10. A New Lease on Life      99

11. The Invitation      110

12. Down to the Wire      122

13. Grudging Acceptance      145

14. Aircraft for Sale      159

15. Their Just Deserts      167

Epilogue      177

Notes      203

Bibliography      213

Index      217

Book Reviews & Awards

Finalist, Connecticut Book Award
“contends that the Wright brothers became involved in a race with federal entities to build the first practical airplane…nicely written”—Choice; “very interesting book…this history is fascinating…recommended”—Catholic Library World; “numerous photos”—College & Research Libraries.