Birdmen PDF Þ Hardcover

Birdmen PDF Þ Hardcover

Birdmen ❮Read❯ ➳ Birdmen Author Lawrence Goldstone – Capitalsoftworks.co.uk From acclaimed historian Lawrence Goldstone comes a thrilling narrative of courage determination and competition the story of the intense rivalry that fueled the rise of American aviation   The feud From acclaimed historian Lawrence Goldstone comes a thrilling narrative of courage determination and competition the story of the intense rivalry that fueled the rise of American aviation   The feud between this nation’s great air pioneers the Wright brothers and Glenn Curtiss was a collision of unyielding and profoundly American personalities On one side a pair of tenacious siblings who together had solved the centuries old riddle of powered heavier than air flight On the other an audacious motorcycle racer whose innovative aircraft became synonymous in the public mind with death defying stunts For than a decade they battled each other in court at air shows and in the newspapers The outcome of this contest of wills would shape the course of aviation history—and take a fearsome toll on the men involved   Birdmen sets the engrossing story of the Wrights’ war with Curtiss against the thrilling backdrop of the early years of manned flight and is rich with period detail and larger than life personalities Thomas Scott Baldwin or “Cap’t Tom” as he styled himself who invented the parachute and almost convinced the world that balloons were the future of aviation; John Moisant the dapper daredevil who took to the skies after three failed attempts to overthrow the government of El Salvador then uickly emerged as a celebrity flyer; and Harriet uimby the statuesue silent film beauty who became the first woman to fly across the English Channel And then there is Lincoln Beachey perhaps the greatest aviator who ever lived who dazzled crowds with an array of trademark twists and dives—and best embodied the romance with death that fueled so many of aviation’s earliest heroes   A dramatic story of unimaginable bravery in the air and brutal competition on the ground Birdmen is at once a thrill ride through flight’s wild early years and a surprising look at the personal clash that fueled America’s race to the skiesPraise for Birdmen  “A meticulously researched account of the first few hectic tangled years of aviation and the curious characters who pursued it a worthy companion to Richard Holmes’s marvelous history of ballooning Falling Upwards”— Time   “The daredevil scientists and engineers who forged the field of aeronautics spring vividly to life in Lawrence Goldstone’s history”— Nature   “The history of the development of an integral part of the modern world and a fascinating portrayal of how a group of men and women achieved a dream that had captivated humanity for centuries”— The Christian Science Monitor   “Captivating and wonderfully presented a fine book about these rival pioneers”— The Wall Street Journal   “A vivid story of invention vendettas derring do media hype and patent fights with modern resonance”— Financial Times   “A powerful story that contrasts soaring hopes with the anchors of ego and courtroom” —Kirkus Reviews   “A riveting narrative about the pioneering era of aeronautics in America and beyond Goldstone raises uestions of enduring importance regarding innovation and the indefinite exertion of control over ideas that go public”— Publishers Weekly starred review.


10 thoughts on “Birdmen

  1. Nancy Kennedy Nancy Kennedy says:

    In a perverse sort of way I might have been better off not reading this book We Americans like our heroes to be likeable and inspiring The Wilbur and Orville Wright in our school textbooks are just that But in this book they come to life in a less than inspiring wayThe Wrights stood in a long line of aviation enthusiasts The problem of flight as it was called perplexed many a talented inventor and scientist The Wrights were simply the ones who identified and solved the four major problems life weight thrust and drag sufficiently enough to get off the ground in a controlled long distance flightBut all is not well from that famous Kitty Hawk moment on Competition lawsuits aviators falling from the sky to their mangled deaths the early history of flight got pretty ugly Through research into legal documents and personal letters the author brings to life the personalities behind the myths and it's not always pretty The Wrights became embroiled in a bitter legal feud with another early aviator Glenn Curtiss over a design issue Wilbur Wright is acerbic and unrelenting in his pursuit of glory and Orville is a lackluster sidekick whose life descends into bitterness and eccentricity after Wilbur's early deathThis book is a dense history of the early years of flight You have to be a very dedicated aviation fancier to read every word What fascinated me most was the story told at the very beginning of the book when industries that appear at first to be separate bicycles and automobiles begin to converge as brilliant innovators begin to piece together the elements of flight The Wrights for example began as owners of a printing business for which they built their own presses and then switched to bicycle building and repair before delving into manned flight This history brings a lot of perspective to the now eminently ordinary step we take into that cabin


  2. Jerome Jerome says:

    A well written book on a topic that that I have not read too much about I won it in a giveaway so I decided to give this a try Goldstone tells the story of the birth of heavier than air flight through the rivalry between Glenn Curtiss and the Wright brothers We see the strange phenomenon of America being the birthplace of heavier than air flight but being unable to field a battlefield worthy warplane The reason the ugly feud between Wilbur Wright and Glenn Curtiss which consumed an insane amount of time money and energy preventing either Wright or Curtiss from improving their inventions and sadly preventing other Americans from doing the same The Wright brothers didn’t even need money from lawsuits since they were already pretty rich Their feud with Curtiss was so obsessive that they hardly seemed to have time for anything else neither Wilbur nor Orville ever married and probably never had any kind of romantic relationship The Wright brothers’ greatest pleasure in life was seeing their rivals failThe Wright brothers spent time suing their rivals than developing aircraft They were obsessed with protecting and monopolizing their flying machine to the extent that actually developing and improving them became an afterthoughtThe Wrights wanted to sell their flying machines to the military but were hindered by their self imposed Catch 22 they refused to demonstrate that they would fly prior to signing a contract while the military refused to sign a contract until a plane’s capabilities were demonstrated People like Glenn Curtiss took advantage of the opportunity to sell their aircraft to the military without such legal obstacles angering the Wright brothers even Goldstone tries to blame this debacle on the actual concept of patents but this doesn’t make much sense a broad patent is rather problematic but regular patents aren’t are they? A patent lawsuit is just a tool for something else Goldstone also attempts to spread some of the blame on the “Protestant work ethic” but there is a fairly major difference between working hard for a profit and between suing anybody you dislike and besides the Bible condemns dragging fellow believers into court anyway Also after telling the story of the lawsuit and of Orville Wright’s determination to sue Curtiss Goldstone claims that the lawsuits were never resolved even though the Wrights received a judgment This part didn’t make a lot of senseA well written book although Goldstone seems to think the words “notorious” and “famous” mean the same thing


  3. Todd Stockslager Todd Stockslager says:

    Review title Flying off the handleThe history of the Wright brothers and the invention of powered flight has been well covered and usually from the position of admiring the brothers' ingenuity persistence and engineering prowess Goldstone instead focuses on Wilbur and Orville's prickly personalities patent problems and dearth of inventions after that first historic success While usually treated as the heroes pictured on stamps and license plates Goldstone doesn'tThe other side of the story is Glenn Curtiss who while initially friendly with the Wrights while they were both innovating uickly became a protagonist in court when the brothers switched to patent warfare to try to protect their monopoly on powered flight Curtiss was an engineering eual and in Goldstone's estimation a superior builder of engines and airframes But to the Wrights he was a thief who stole their ideas and profited from them While the Wrights lawyered up and withheld their planes from the market to try to drive up interest to bring in maximum profits Curtiss and other competitors took the opposite tack flying their latest inventions in public exhibitions that became increasingly daring dangerous and popular The barnstorming pilots according to Goldstone would later be recognized for their essential role in the advancement of aviation innovation but were prized by contemporaries for their flamboyent displays of showmanship While during one dire stretch of mishaps Goldstone records that a pilot was crashing fatally on average every ten days it was only the onset of war in 1914 that kept the European pilots home and turned attention toward military applications of the new transportation technology and brought an end to the barnstorming eraEven though he tries to balance out his criticism Goldstone focuses on the negatives in the brothers' personalities relationships with peers in the industry business decisions and engineering solutions He seems to have intentionally taken on the role of singlehandedly balancing out any positive assessment of Wilbur and Orville's position in history As such Birdmen is at times annoying and tedious to read; Goldstone seems as sour as he claims his subjects to be The balancing effort may have been necessary there is little doubt that their approach held back the advancement of aviation after their initial success in those early years but is not necessarily fun to read


  4. Debbie Debbie says:

    I received this book free from Goodreads and put is aside and just finally got around to reading it This book throws a different light on the Wright Brothers and the coming of manned flight I never knew much about the invention of flight vehicles and this book is pretty detailed I have been to Wright Patterson Air Force museum in Dayton Ohio 8 times and I'd like to go back again soon because I now have a whole new outlook on the early daysIf you have any interest in planes this is a great book


  5. Dolly Dolly says:

    I won this on goodreadsThis is than a history of the development of powered flight It's an examination of the interaction of the driven intelligent men who cracked the mystery of how to fly Most modern general aviation pilots me included were not aware of the patent war between the Wright's and everyone An examination of the perceived need to protect one's ideas and the relentless drive of technology Spoiler Wilbur Wright was the type of person you never want to know let alone work for


  6. Jasrotian Jasrotian says:

    This book recounts the bravery sacrifice and intrigues of the early fliers Birdmen – as they were called It is a mesmerising account of those daredevils who belied the Newton’s prophecy that the powered flight was impossibleWe are living in a world where the air travel seems so obvious; commonplace we seldom think about the debt we owe to the early fliers who tamed the sky for safe aviation with their blood toil tears and sweat Nobody could have imagined that the two brothers making bicycles will solve the puzzle of flying by two simple insights first to learn to fly one must learn to balance; as riding a bicycle and second the way to achieve stability in flight was to make it inherently unstable Phew Simple isn’t it? The first insight owe to their bicycle background and second to their meticulous observation of the flight of the birdsWhile the majority of early flying enthusiast were relying exclusively on the powerful motors to provide reuired upward thrust towards the sky; the duo betted on stability and control aspects of “the flying problem” – Wilbur Wright maintained that it was possible to fly without motors but not without knowledge and skill Among all other competitors Mr Glen Curtiss gave the Wright Brothers a real run for their money in every domain I think the author has done injustice to the portrayal of Glen Curtiss – who deserved eual glory as a hero as the Wright Brothers got in the book The Wright brothers accused Mr Curtiss of ripping off their “secret flying formula’’ by deceit The book leaves this accusation undisturbed perpetuating the conspiracy theorists claims and counterclaims as to whether the Wright Brothers were right or wrong?The reader also get a glimpse of some of the glaring shortcomings of the Wright brothers Despite their vast technological advance neither Wilbur nor Orville had grasped that no lead is insurmountable if you stop running before you’ve reached the finish line— moral of the TORTISE and RABBIT story Instead of piling on their invention they started fighting for fame and profit Interestingly despite their bicycle background they never considered wheels for their flier they used skids instead during the take offs Glen Curtiss used the wheels The author laments on the obsessive focus of the Wright Brother’s on “fame and monopoly” which blunted the technological edge of the Americans; the country lost a decade of innovationThe exciting details of air exhibitions which caught the fancy of the people across the Atlantic and murky patent battles are two other fascinating themes of the book As modern avatars of roman gladiators the early pilots entertained the crowds with their gravity defying aerial acrobatics often dying in pursuit of the records for speed endurance and altitude The master pilot Lincoln Beachy – who could perform any aerial stunt worth its name— instinctively knew the psychology of the masses “They all come to see me die’’ he said to one reporterAs soon as the patent details kick in the narration the reader gets tossed from the exciting world of birdmen to that filled with louche lawyers and clueless judges For that matter the patent laws remain as difficult to understand and administer today as it was in the time of Glen Curtiss and the Wright brothers Without the patent protection there will be no monetary incentive for the research and in the absence of a reasonable access to the patented knowledge the societies’ progress gets stifledAfter a long and bitter battle the Smithsonian Institution restored the honour of the first powered flight to the Wright brother but for many it is not a final word yet The list is long and growing day by day there are many who are vying for the honour Brazilian Alberto Santos Dumont; New Zealander Richard Pearse; FrenchmanFT Croix; Russian Alexander Mozhayskiy ; German Karl Jatho; and many Americans —Gustave Whitehead Samuel P Langley Herring and so onWith a little stretch of imagination on can see many parallels between the present day Silicon Valley culture and that of early aviation


  7. Biblio Files (takingadayoff) Biblio Files (takingadayoff) says:

    Many of the early aviators were dashing brave even foolhardy Not the Wright Brothers They were undoubtedly good designers and engineers but if there's any evidence that they enjoyed flying or making planes it's well hidden A dour unpleasant grudge holding anti social pair would be hard to find Wilbur and Orville spent much of their aviation careers in federal court fighting for the right to collect royalties on every airplane builtNot that they weren't entitled under federal patent law to the spoils of their inventions But they were already wealthy from their invention and rather than leave it to the lawyers to duke it out Wilbur was deeply involved in the court proceedings to the exclusion of further inventing or improving aircraft Neither Wilbur nor Orville ever married or had any romances at all as far as we can tell Their greatest pleasure it seems was when their rivals failed at something Meanwhile aviation was growing faster than any one person or team could keep up with The Wrights had been first at powered flight balloons were still thought by many to be the future of aviation but others had improved on their designs Many countries in the decade before World War I were wondering how these new flying machines could give them an edge in battle or in espionage Barnstormers were entertaining eager crowds There was plenty of glory for everyone and author Lawrence Goldstone tells story after story of the characters and the drama involvedBirdmen spells out the years long patent fights in great detail and also gives us a real picture of the two Wright brothers as individuals A little slow in spots but Goldstone has made a complicated story understandable and clear


  8. Socraticgadfly Socraticgadfly says:

    Pretty decent book I'd never read a bio of Wilbur and Orville before and knew even less about Curtiss other than knowing that by the start of WWI for nascent military air fleets he not the Wrights were the go to folksThat one s is in parentheses because Wilbur died in 1912 and Orville according to Goldstone didn't have the same energy for patent battles with Curtiss although he and sister Katherine both blamed alleged patent infringement by Curtiss for causing Wilbur's deathAhh let's start there SCOTUS Goldstone says created something called pioneer patents in the late 1890s when it gave very broad patent approval to the Westinghouse air brake To a degree this allowed patents of ideas something which has now been removedThe Wrights patented their wing warping for lateral control of planes but based on the Westinghouse ruling claimed this covered ALL methods of lateral control including the first versions of the ailerons that are used for that on all planes todayAfter about 1907 Wilbur spent almost all his time on US and European legal and business issues and little on design which allowed Curtiss a motor mechanic first and foremost to start passing the Wrights with the ailerons Meanwhile the French were working on rotary motors and monoplanes Curtiss eventually created the first flying boatRead about how both Wrights were poor businessmen Wilbur was a monomaniac on patent related issues and Orville was always second dog on the relationship between the brothers as well as the first group of stuntman fliersA lack of an additional 40 50 pages of detail were the one major thing along with a few bits of flow that kept this from a fifth star


  9. Beth Beth says:

    I've been to the Wright Brothers house in Dayton and I used to be a private pilot but I knew nothing of the forerunners of aviation other than Icarus Aristotle Archimedes Galileo Leonardo and the Hindenberg Disaster So I welcomed the early segment where I learned about George Cayley Octave Chanute Mouillard and Otto Lilienthal's studies As other reviewers have gone into the story in depth I would only remark on the brothers that they started so well and got so side tracked in pursuit of legalreparations that they lost focus It is no wonder others beat them outComplaints about the book? As one gets into the legal battle sections one gets partial dates like Jan 11 or November 15 etc but one is lost as far as which year one is reading about More years mentioned even if just in the chapter headings would be helpful Also the book totally misses another pioneer that did not know he should be pushing for publicity I live near Bridgeport CT where Gustave Whitehead made a flight that bested the Wright Brothers two years before they had their 1st flight The Smithsonian will not acknowledge the claim but Jane's All the World's Aircraft does If interested go to the Fox news site for that story


  10. Mark Bacon Mark Bacon says:

    The Wright Bros were not uite the American heroes we thought they were Yes they were our first powered fliers but they spent the decade after their history making flight in a protracted legal battle over patents The sued pioneer pilot and aircraft maker Glenn Curtiss and virtually anyone else who wanted to build an aeroplane that could be safely controlled The Wrights especially Wilbur and Curtiss could have advanced aircraft design much further than they did but instead spent too much time with attorneys Goldstone tells us that Wilbur was a design genius but let himself be taken over by the desire to monopolize flying Curtiss was a successful engine designer and builder who eventually created better aircraft than the WrightsGoldstone wanted to balance the story between the harrowing tales of early dare devil air shows the continued legal wrangling over the Wright's wing warping patent and the story of how early planes were designed and tested People who are interested in the details of early aircraft design and manufacture will be wanting for The tales of early air show pilots is compelling the details of the sad legal wrangling not so much


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

10 thoughts on “Birdmen

  1. Nancy Kennedy Nancy Kennedy says:

    In a perverse sort of way I might have been better off not reading this book We Americans like our heroes to be likeable and inspiring The Wilbur and Orville Wright in our school textbooks are just that But in this book they come to life in a less than inspiring wayThe Wrights stood in a long line of aviation enthusiasts The problem of flight as it was called perplexed many a talented inventor and scientist The Wrights were simply the ones who identified and solved the four major problems life weight thrust and drag sufficiently enough to get off the ground in a controlled long distance flightBut all is not well from that famous Kitty Hawk moment on Competition lawsuits aviators falling from the sky to their mangled deaths the early history of flight got pretty ugly Through research into legal documents and personal letters the author brings to life the personalities behind the myths and it's not always pretty The Wrights became embroiled in a bitter legal feud with another early aviator Glenn Curtiss over a design issue Wilbur Wright is acerbic and unrelenting in his pursuit of glory and Orville is a lackluster sidekick whose life descends into bitterness and eccentricity after Wilbur's early deathThis book is a dense history of the early years of flight You have to be a very dedicated aviation fancier to read every word What fascinated me most was the story told at the very beginning of the book when industries that appear at first to be separate bicycles and automobiles begin to converge as brilliant innovators begin to piece together the elements of flight The Wrights for example began as owners of a printing business for which they built their own presses and then switched to bicycle building and repair before delving into manned flight This history brings a lot of perspective to the now eminently ordinary step we take into that cabin

  2. Jerome Jerome says:

    A well written book on a topic that that I have not read too much about I won it in a giveaway so I decided to give this a try Goldstone tells the story of the birth of heavier than air flight through the rivalry between Glenn Curtiss and the Wright brothers We see the strange phenomenon of America being the birthplace of heavier than air flight but being unable to field a battlefield worthy warplane The reason the ugly feud between Wilbur Wright and Glenn Curtiss which consumed an insane amount of time money and energy preventing either Wright or Curtiss from improving their inventions and sadly preventing other Americans from doing the same The Wright brothers didn’t even need money from lawsuits since they were already pretty rich Their feud with Curtiss was so obsessive that they hardly seemed to have time for anything else neither Wilbur nor Orville ever married and probably never had any kind of romantic relationship The Wright brothers’ greatest pleasure in life was seeing their rivals failThe Wright brothers spent time suing their rivals than developing aircraft They were obsessed with protecting and monopolizing their flying machine to the extent that actually developing and improving them became an afterthoughtThe Wrights wanted to sell their flying machines to the military but were hindered by their self imposed Catch 22 they refused to demonstrate that they would fly prior to signing a contract while the military refused to sign a contract until a plane’s capabilities were demonstrated People like Glenn Curtiss took advantage of the opportunity to sell their aircraft to the military without such legal obstacles angering the Wright brothers even Goldstone tries to blame this debacle on the actual concept of patents but this doesn’t make much sense a broad patent is rather problematic but regular patents aren’t are they? A patent lawsuit is just a tool for something else Goldstone also attempts to spread some of the blame on the “Protestant work ethic” but there is a fairly major difference between working hard for a profit and between suing anybody you dislike and besides the Bible condemns dragging fellow believers into court anyway Also after telling the story of the lawsuit and of Orville Wright’s determination to sue Curtiss Goldstone claims that the lawsuits were never resolved even though the Wrights received a judgment This part didn’t make a lot of senseA well written book although Goldstone seems to think the words “notorious” and “famous” mean the same thing

  3. Todd Stockslager Todd Stockslager says:

    Review title Flying off the handleThe history of the Wright brothers and the invention of powered flight has been well covered and usually from the position of admiring the brothers' ingenuity persistence and engineering prowess Goldstone instead focuses on Wilbur and Orville's prickly personalities patent problems and dearth of inventions after that first historic success While usually treated as the heroes pictured on stamps and license plates Goldstone doesn'tThe other side of the story is Glenn Curtiss who while initially friendly with the Wrights while they were both innovating uickly became a protagonist in court when the brothers switched to patent warfare to try to protect their monopoly on powered flight Curtiss was an engineering eual and in Goldstone's estimation a superior builder of engines and airframes But to the Wrights he was a thief who stole their ideas and profited from them While the Wrights lawyered up and withheld their planes from the market to try to drive up interest to bring in maximum profits Curtiss and other competitors took the opposite tack flying their latest inventions in public exhibitions that became increasingly daring dangerous and popular The barnstorming pilots according to Goldstone would later be recognized for their essential role in the advancement of aviation innovation but were prized by contemporaries for their flamboyent displays of showmanship While during one dire stretch of mishaps Goldstone records that a pilot was crashing fatally on average every ten days it was only the onset of war in 1914 that kept the European pilots home and turned attention toward military applications of the new transportation technology and brought an end to the barnstorming eraEven though he tries to balance out his criticism Goldstone focuses on the negatives in the brothers' personalities relationships with peers in the industry business decisions and engineering solutions He seems to have intentionally taken on the role of singlehandedly balancing out any positive assessment of Wilbur and Orville's position in history As such Birdmen is at times annoying and tedious to read; Goldstone seems as sour as he claims his subjects to be The balancing effort may have been necessary there is little doubt that their approach held back the advancement of aviation after their initial success in those early years but is not necessarily fun to read

  4. Debbie Debbie says:

    I received this book free from Goodreads and put is aside and just finally got around to reading it This book throws a different light on the Wright Brothers and the coming of manned flight I never knew much about the invention of flight vehicles and this book is pretty detailed I have been to Wright Patterson Air Force museum in Dayton Ohio 8 times and I'd like to go back again soon because I now have a whole new outlook on the early daysIf you have any interest in planes this is a great book

  5. Dolly Dolly says:

    I won this on goodreadsThis is than a history of the development of powered flight It's an examination of the interaction of the driven intelligent men who cracked the mystery of how to fly Most modern general aviation pilots me included were not aware of the patent war between the Wright's and everyone An examination of the perceived need to protect one's ideas and the relentless drive of technology Spoiler Wilbur Wright was the type of person you never want to know let alone work for

  6. Jasrotian Jasrotian says:

    This book recounts the bravery sacrifice and intrigues of the early fliers Birdmen – as they were called It is a mesmerising account of those daredevils who belied the Newton’s prophecy that the powered flight was impossibleWe are living in a world where the air travel seems so obvious; commonplace we seldom think about the debt we owe to the early fliers who tamed the sky for safe aviation with their blood toil tears and sweat Nobody could have imagined that the two brothers making bicycles will solve the puzzle of flying by two simple insights first to learn to fly one must learn to balance; as riding a bicycle and second the way to achieve stability in flight was to make it inherently unstable Phew Simple isn’t it? The first insight owe to their bicycle background and second to their meticulous observation of the flight of the birdsWhile the majority of early flying enthusiast were relying exclusively on the powerful motors to provide reuired upward thrust towards the sky; the duo betted on stability and control aspects of “the flying problem” – Wilbur Wright maintained that it was possible to fly without motors but not without knowledge and skill Among all other competitors Mr Glen Curtiss gave the Wright Brothers a real run for their money in every domain I think the author has done injustice to the portrayal of Glen Curtiss – who deserved eual glory as a hero as the Wright Brothers got in the book The Wright brothers accused Mr Curtiss of ripping off their “secret flying formula’’ by deceit The book leaves this accusation undisturbed perpetuating the conspiracy theorists claims and counterclaims as to whether the Wright Brothers were right or wrong?The reader also get a glimpse of some of the glaring shortcomings of the Wright brothers Despite their vast technological advance neither Wilbur nor Orville had grasped that no lead is insurmountable if you stop running before you’ve reached the finish line— moral of the TORTISE and RABBIT story Instead of piling on their invention they started fighting for fame and profit Interestingly despite their bicycle background they never considered wheels for their flier they used skids instead during the take offs Glen Curtiss used the wheels The author laments on the obsessive focus of the Wright Brother’s on “fame and monopoly” which blunted the technological edge of the Americans; the country lost a decade of innovationThe exciting details of air exhibitions which caught the fancy of the people across the Atlantic and murky patent battles are two other fascinating themes of the book As modern avatars of roman gladiators the early pilots entertained the crowds with their gravity defying aerial acrobatics often dying in pursuit of the records for speed endurance and altitude The master pilot Lincoln Beachy – who could perform any aerial stunt worth its name— instinctively knew the psychology of the masses “They all come to see me die’’ he said to one reporterAs soon as the patent details kick in the narration the reader gets tossed from the exciting world of birdmen to that filled with louche lawyers and clueless judges For that matter the patent laws remain as difficult to understand and administer today as it was in the time of Glen Curtiss and the Wright brothers Without the patent protection there will be no monetary incentive for the research and in the absence of a reasonable access to the patented knowledge the societies’ progress gets stifledAfter a long and bitter battle the Smithsonian Institution restored the honour of the first powered flight to the Wright brother but for many it is not a final word yet The list is long and growing day by day there are many who are vying for the honour Brazilian Alberto Santos Dumont; New Zealander Richard Pearse; FrenchmanFT Croix; Russian Alexander Mozhayskiy ; German Karl Jatho; and many Americans —Gustave Whitehead Samuel P Langley Herring and so onWith a little stretch of imagination on can see many parallels between the present day Silicon Valley culture and that of early aviation

  7. Biblio Files (takingadayoff) Biblio Files (takingadayoff) says:

    Many of the early aviators were dashing brave even foolhardy Not the Wright Brothers They were undoubtedly good designers and engineers but if there's any evidence that they enjoyed flying or making planes it's well hidden A dour unpleasant grudge holding anti social pair would be hard to find Wilbur and Orville spent much of their aviation careers in federal court fighting for the right to collect royalties on every airplane builtNot that they weren't entitled under federal patent law to the spoils of their inventions But they were already wealthy from their invention and rather than leave it to the lawyers to duke it out Wilbur was deeply involved in the court proceedings to the exclusion of further inventing or improving aircraft Neither Wilbur nor Orville ever married or had any romances at all as far as we can tell Their greatest pleasure it seems was when their rivals failed at something Meanwhile aviation was growing faster than any one person or team could keep up with The Wrights had been first at powered flight balloons were still thought by many to be the future of aviation but others had improved on their designs Many countries in the decade before World War I were wondering how these new flying machines could give them an edge in battle or in espionage Barnstormers were entertaining eager crowds There was plenty of glory for everyone and author Lawrence Goldstone tells story after story of the characters and the drama involvedBirdmen spells out the years long patent fights in great detail and also gives us a real picture of the two Wright brothers as individuals A little slow in spots but Goldstone has made a complicated story understandable and clear

  8. Socraticgadfly Socraticgadfly says:

    Pretty decent book I'd never read a bio of Wilbur and Orville before and knew even less about Curtiss other than knowing that by the start of WWI for nascent military air fleets he not the Wrights were the go to folksThat one s is in parentheses because Wilbur died in 1912 and Orville according to Goldstone didn't have the same energy for patent battles with Curtiss although he and sister Katherine both blamed alleged patent infringement by Curtiss for causing Wilbur's deathAhh let's start there SCOTUS Goldstone says created something called pioneer patents in the late 1890s when it gave very broad patent approval to the Westinghouse air brake To a degree this allowed patents of ideas something which has now been removedThe Wrights patented their wing warping for lateral control of planes but based on the Westinghouse ruling claimed this covered ALL methods of lateral control including the first versions of the ailerons that are used for that on all planes todayAfter about 1907 Wilbur spent almost all his time on US and European legal and business issues and little on design which allowed Curtiss a motor mechanic first and foremost to start passing the Wrights with the ailerons Meanwhile the French were working on rotary motors and monoplanes Curtiss eventually created the first flying boatRead about how both Wrights were poor businessmen Wilbur was a monomaniac on patent related issues and Orville was always second dog on the relationship between the brothers as well as the first group of stuntman fliersA lack of an additional 40 50 pages of detail were the one major thing along with a few bits of flow that kept this from a fifth star

  9. Beth Beth says:

    I've been to the Wright Brothers house in Dayton and I used to be a private pilot but I knew nothing of the forerunners of aviation other than Icarus Aristotle Archimedes Galileo Leonardo and the Hindenberg Disaster So I welcomed the early segment where I learned about George Cayley Octave Chanute Mouillard and Otto Lilienthal's studies As other reviewers have gone into the story in depth I would only remark on the brothers that they started so well and got so side tracked in pursuit of legalreparations that they lost focus It is no wonder others beat them outComplaints about the book? As one gets into the legal battle sections one gets partial dates like Jan 11 or November 15 etc but one is lost as far as which year one is reading about More years mentioned even if just in the chapter headings would be helpful Also the book totally misses another pioneer that did not know he should be pushing for publicity I live near Bridgeport CT where Gustave Whitehead made a flight that bested the Wright Brothers two years before they had their 1st flight The Smithsonian will not acknowledge the claim but Jane's All the World's Aircraft does If interested go to the Fox news site for that story

  10. Mark Bacon Mark Bacon says:

    The Wright Bros were not uite the American heroes we thought they were Yes they were our first powered fliers but they spent the decade after their history making flight in a protracted legal battle over patents The sued pioneer pilot and aircraft maker Glenn Curtiss and virtually anyone else who wanted to build an aeroplane that could be safely controlled The Wrights especially Wilbur and Curtiss could have advanced aircraft design much further than they did but instead spent too much time with attorneys Goldstone tells us that Wilbur was a design genius but let himself be taken over by the desire to monopolize flying Curtiss was a successful engine designer and builder who eventually created better aircraft than the WrightsGoldstone wanted to balance the story between the harrowing tales of early dare devil air shows the continued legal wrangling over the Wright's wing warping patent and the story of how early planes were designed and tested People who are interested in the details of early aircraft design and manufacture will be wanting for The tales of early air show pilots is compelling the details of the sad legal wrangling not so much

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *