Dawn over Kitty Hawk is a fictional tale with a mixture of historical fact, historical revisionism, and characters of a Wright family from an alternate universe; the brothers in no way representative of our favorite sons from Dayton. Please do not read this book with the idea that a clearer understanding of the Wright's personalities will be obtained, as it is a book of fiction. The author apparently either was unwilling to portray the historical moral celibate nature of Wilbur, Orville, and Katharine during the time frame of the story, or he just chose to spice up the novel at the expense of the Wright's reputation. The loving relationship and adoration they shared with their Father is not in question historically, yet, in this novel, Bishop Wright is unrecognizable, often belittling his children, with this theme continued throughout the story as if the author had some ulterior motive to destroy the Bishop's reputation. In the novel, Bizarro Wilbur is living for the day he can break away from his domineering Father. Contrast this with the Wright's comments from OUR universe:
"If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio."- Wilbur Wright, 1910
"I hereby give to my father Milton Wright, of Dayton, Ohio, my earnest thanks for his example of a courageous life, and for his earnest sympathy with everything tending to my true welfare..." Last Will and Testament of Wilbur Wright, May 1912.
"A friend said that `Even though what you accomplished was without the idea of making money, the fact remains that the Wright brothers will always be favorite examples of how American lads with no special advantages can get ahead.' But, that isn't true. Because you see, we did have special advantages. Simply that we were lucky enough to grow up in a home environment where there was always much encouragement to children to pursue intellectual interests; to investigate whatever aroused curiosity. In a different kind of environment our curiosity might have been nipped long before it could have borne fruit".- Orville Wright
The novel also has Bizarro Orville desiring to break away from his brother's influence and going out on his own, which is just so far from historical reality.
Consider the Wright's comments from OUR universe:
"We had hoped in 1906 to sell our invention to governments for enough money to satisfy our needs and devote our time to science, but for the jealousy of certain persons blocked this plan, and compelled us to rely on our patents and commercial exploitation. We wished to be free from business cares so that we could give all our own time to advancing the science and art of aviation, but we have been compelled to spend our time on business matters instead during the past five years. When we think what we might have accomplished if we had been able to devote this time to experiments, we feel very sad, but it is always easier to deal with things than with men, and no one can direct his life entirely as he would choose". (Wilbur to M. Hevesy, January 25, 1912)
In June 1916, Orville began work on a one-story laboratory at 15 North Broadway, just down the block and around the corner from the bicycle shop. He and Will had long dreamed of a specialized workshop where they could recapture the thrill of discovery. The brothers had purchased the lot in 1909, when they were too involved with business problems to plan the laboratory. (The Bishop's Boys, page 468)
The book is insulting to the memory and character of the Wright Family. The boys loved their Father, and he loved them. Wilbur and Orville were inseparable as twins to the day Wilbur died in 1912. The actual historical fabricated news account of Wilbur's "affair" was totally untrue and slanderous, and upset Wilbur greatly. How does it honor Wilbur's memory to turn this fabrication into fact in this novel? Why dishonor Orville with the distasteful storyline of his relationship with his sister? How is Katharine's memory honored by fabricating a sexual relationship with an imagined character in her College years? How is Bishop Wright's memory honored by portraying him in such a negative way?
The true story of the Wright Brothers needs no embellishment. A great American family doesn't deserve this treatment.