By an overwhelming majority, Miami Valley readers selected David McCullough's latest nonfiction book, The Wright Brothers, to be the Big Read title for 2017. The book received 46.1% of the 2,193 votes cast online and at area libraries, beating the runner up Lock In by 529 votes. Third place was Being Mortal and fourth place was Between the World and Me.
The Wright Brothers will be the subject of book discussions and programs taking place at many area libraries, schools and other venues during the Books & Co. community reading project, March 12-April 16, 2017. The ending date coincides with the 150th anniversary of Wilber Wright’s birth.
“I believe the community overwhelmingly chose this book to be the next Big Read because it appeals to us on a personal level,” said Ben Murphy, Chair of the Big Read committee. “Dayton is clearly proud of its aviation history and our connection to the Wright Brothers.”
A #1 New York Times bestseller, The Wright Brothers tells the dramatic story of the Dayton duo who changed the course of history with powered flight. Author David McCullough, known as America’s historian, is a two-time Pulitzer Prize winner and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
McCullough read hundreds of family letters and personal diaries while writing the book. Some of his research brought him to the Dayton area, including the Special Collections and Archives at Wright State University. Dayton plays a pivotal role in his book.
“Dayton was a place where people were making things. Factories made big items like railroad cars, heavy machinery, and cash registers, but also small things of all kinds,” said McCullough. “People were trying new things all around the Wright brothers, and it was a very stimulating atmosphere.”
The book focuses not only on the brothers, but on their sister Katharine as well.
“This remarkable woman deserves to be front and center stage. She’s a very entertaining, likable character,” McCullough said. “I’m pleased to give Katharine her due time in the limelight in a book for the first time.”
The Wright Brothers will be available at The Dayton Metro Library in all formats, including large print, eBook and audio book. Actor Tom Hanks and HBO have agreed to partner in making the book into a mini-series.
“The more I learned about these two men and understood what they were like, the more I felt that their story had powerful lessons we can all learn from,” McCullough said.
The Big Read is a partnership among the following libraries and organizations: Books & Co., Bradford Public Library, Brown Memorial Public Library, Dayton Metro Library, Franklin-Springboro Public Library, Greene County Public Library, MidPointe Library System, New Carlisle Public Library, Project READ, Sinclair Community College, Tipp City Public Library, Troy-Miami County Public Library, University of Dayton, Washington-Centerville Public Library, Wright Memorial Public Library and Wright State University.
For more information on The Big Read, including book and author details, visit BigRead.org. A schedule of activities and book discussions will be posted in February.