Practically everyone knows about the Wright brothers’ historic flight at Kitty Hawk. After that epic accomplishment, it was not just a variety of airplanes that soared, it was also the ambitions of many Birdmen who got into the exploding field of aviation. Occupying center stage were the brothers and Glenn Curtiss. The two sides’ protracted court battles over their craft, framed by U.S. patent law, shows what gets lost in such tussles. Even if the narrative stalls often, and you wonder if there is a piece of research that Lawrence Goldstone hasn’t crammed into Birdmen, it is compelling reading.