The Wright Brothers by David McCullough
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize David McCullough tells the dramatic story-behind-the-story about the courageous brothers who taught the world how to fly: Wilbur and Orville Wright.
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.
Freedom of Speech: Mightier Than the Sword by David K. Shipler
Publication Date: May 12, 2015
From the longtime New York Times reporter, best-selling author, and Pulitzer Prize winner--an expansive, timely assessment of the state of free speech in America.
David Shipler's recent best seller, The Working Poor, cemented his place among our most trenchant social commentators. Now, he turns his keen, illuminating focus to another endangered American ideal: freedom of speech. Through selected accounts of First Amendment invocation and infringement, Shipler maps a rapidly shifting topography of political and cultural norms: national security reporters using techniques more common in dictatorships to avoid leak prosecution; a Washington, D. C., Jewish theater’s struggle for creative control in the face of protests targeting productions critical of Israel; conservative ministers risking their churches' tax-exempt status to preach politics from the pulpit; history teachers in Texas quietly navigating around a conservative curriculum to give students access to unapproved perspectives. Anchored in personal stories--sometimes shocking, sometimes absurd, sometimes dishearteningly familiar--but encompassing a theme as sweeping and essential as democracy itself, Freedom of Speech brilliantly reveals the triumphs and challenges of defining and protecting the boundaries of free expression in modern America.