Birdmen: The Wright Brothers, Glenn Curtiss, and the Battle to Control the Skies

Recorded Books

Narrated by Jonathan Fried

14 hr 43 min

Wilbur and Orville Wright are two of the greatest innovators in history, and together they solved the centuries-old riddle of powered, heavier-than-air flight. Glenn Hammond Curtiss was the most talented machinist of his day; he first became the fastest man alive when he perfected the motorcycle, then turned his eyes toward the skies to become the fastest man aloft. But between the Wrights and Curtiss bloomed a poisonous rivalry and a patent war so powerful that it shaped aviation in its early years and drove one of the three men to his grave. Birdmen is at once a thrilling ride through flight's wild early years and a surprising look at the battle that defined an era of American innovation. Lawrence Goldstone is the author or co-author of fourteen books of fiction and nonfiction, most recently LEFTY: An American Odyssey. His work has been profiled in the New York Times, The Toronto Star, Salon, and Slate, among others. He lives on Long Island with his wife and daughter.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Recorded Books
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Published on
May 6, 2014
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Duration
14h 43m 22s
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ISBN
9781490603964
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Science & Technology
History / United States / 20th Century
Transportation / Aviation / History
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Eligible for Family Library

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NATIONAL BESTSELLER • From America’s “forgotten war” in Korea comes an unforgettable tale of courage by the author of A Higher Call.

Devotion tells the inspirational story of the U.S. Navy’s most famous aviator duo, Lieutenant Tom Hudner and Ensign Jesse Brown, and the Marines they fought to defend. A white New Englander from the country-club scene, Tom passed up Harvard to fly fighters for his country. An African American sharecropper’s son from Mississippi, Jesse became the navy’s first black carrier pilot, defending a nation that wouldn’t even serve him in a bar.

While much of America remained divided by segregation, Jesse and Tom joined forces as wingmen in Fighter Squadron 32. Adam Makos takes us into the cockpit as these bold young aviators cut their teeth at the world’s most dangerous job—landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier—a line of work that Jesse’s young wife, Daisy, struggles to accept.

Deployed to the Mediterranean, Tom and Jesse meet the Fleet Marines, boys like PFC “Red” Parkinson, a farm kid from the Catskills. In between war games in the sun, the young men revel on the Riviera, partying with millionaires and even befriending the Hollywood starlet Elizabeth Taylor. Then comes the war no one expected, in faraway Korea.

Devotion takes us soaring overhead with Tom and Jesse, and into the foxholes with Red and the Marines as they battle a North Korean invasion. As the fury of the fighting escalates and the Marines are cornered at the Chosin Reservoir, Tom and Jesse fly, guns blazing, to try and save them. When one of the duo is shot down behind enemy lines and pinned in his burning plane, the other faces an unthinkable choice: watch his friend die or attempt history’s most audacious one-man rescue mission.

A tug-at-the-heartstrings tale of bravery and selflessness, Devotion asks: How far would you go to save a friend?

Praise for Devotion

“Riveting . . . a meticulously researched and moving account.”—USA Today

“An inspiring tale . . . portrayed by Makos in sharp, fact-filled prose and with strong reporting.”—Los Angeles Times

“[A] must-read.”—New York Post

“Stirring.”—Parade

“A masterful storyteller . . . [Makos brings] Devotion to life with amazing vividness. . . . [It] reads like a dream. The perfectly paced story cruises along in the fast lane—when you’re finished, you’ll want to start all over again.”—Associated Press

“A delight to read . . . Devotion is a story you will not forget.”—The Washington Times

“My great respect for Tom Hudner knows no bounds. He is a true hero; and in reading this book, you will understand why I feel that way.”—President George H. W. Bush

“This is aerial drama at its best—fast, powerful, and moving.”—Erik Larson, New York Times bestselling author of Dead Wake

“Though it concerns a famously cold battle in the Korean War, make no mistake: Devotion will warm your heart.”—Hampton Sides, New York Times bestselling author of Ghost Soldiers and In the Kingdom of Ice

“At last, the Korean War has its epic, a story that will stay with you long after you close this book.”—Eric Blehm, New York Times bestselling author of Fearless and Legend
Miles Coverdale, embarks on a quest for the betterment of the world through the agrarian lifestyle and community of the Blithedale Farm. The story begins with a conversation between Coverdale and Old Moodie, a character who reappears throughout the story. The legend of the mysterious Veiled Lady is introduced; she is a popular clairvoyant who disappears unannounced from the social scene. Coverdale then makes the voyage to Blithedale, where he is introduced to such characters as Zenobia and Mr. and Mrs. Silas Foster. At their first community dinner they are interrupted by the arrival of Hollingsworth, a previous acquaintance of Coverdale's, who is carrying a frail, pale girl. Though Hollingsworth believes the girl (whose age is never clarified) is an expected guest, none of the Blithedale citizens recognize her. She immediately develops a strong attachment to Zenobia, and reveals her name to be Priscilla. Soon after, Coverdale becomes severely ill and is bedridden. During his sickness, he believes he is on the brink of death and develops a closeness with Hollingsworth due to their anxiety-ridden situation and discussion of worldly ideals. Hollingsworth and Zenobia take care of him, and he returns to health shortly. As he recovers and spring comes, the residents of the community begin to work the land successfully and prove to their neighbors the plausibility of their cause. Priscilla starts to open up, and relationships between the other characters develop as well. Tension in the friendship between Coverdale and Hollingsworth intensifies as their philosophical disagreements continue. Meanwhile, Zenobia and Hollingsworth become close and rumor flies they might build a house together. Mr. Moodie makes a reappearance and asks about Priscilla and Zenobia for reasons to be revealed later. Coverdale then meets a stranger who turns out to be a Professor Westervelt. Westervelt also asks about Zenobia and Hollingsworth. Coverdale does not like the Professor, and when he is retreating in a tree he overhears the Professor talking to Zenobia and implying that they have a prior relationship.
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