Everyone kws that the Wright brothers were the first to fly, but few people kw that they were engaged in a David and Goliath struggle with their own Federal Government. President McKinley's administration decided to dedicate an unprecedented amount of money and to tap such men as Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell and Samuel P. Langley to make sure that the first flyers would be American. The Wright brothers refused financial support from the government for fear of the strings that might be attached to it, and resolved to go it alone. This book tells the story of the struggle between the Wright brothers and the Federal Government, and 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, but everything came to a head in eight tense days in December when the battle - and the fame and fortune that would follow - was decided and the Wright brothers emerged victorious.
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.