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Rocket Boys: A Memoirby Homer H. Hickam
Synopses & Reviews
Until I began to build and launch rockets, I didn't know my hometown was at war with itself over its children, and that my parents were locked in a kind of bloodless combat over how my brother and I would live our lives....And I didn't know that the enthalpy decrease in a converging passage could be transformed into jet kinetic energy if a divergent passage was added. The other boys discovered their own truths when we built our rockets, but those were mine.
So begins Homer "Sonny" Hickam, Jr.'s extraordinary memoir of life in Coalwood, West Virginia — a hardscrabble little company town where the only things that mattered were coal mining and high-school football. The son of the mine's superintendent and a mother determined to push her son to a better life, Sonny fell in with a group of misfits for whom the future looked uncertain. But in 1957, after watching the Soviet Satellite Sputnik streak across the sky, Sonny and his teenage friends took their future into their own hands, changing their lives and their town forever.
Looking back after a distinguished NASA career that fulfilled his boyhood ambition, Hickam shares the story of his youth, taking listeners into the life of the little mining town and the boys who came to embody both its tensions and its dreams. With the help — and sometimes hindrance — of the people of Coalwood, the Rocket Boys learn not only how to turn mine scraps into rockets that soar miles into the heavens, but how to find hope in a town that progress is passing by.
In this uniquely American memoir, Homer Hickam beautifully captures a moment when a dying town, a divided family, and a band of teenage dreamers dared to set their sights on the stars — and saw a future that the nation was just beginning to imagine.
In 1957, when 14-year-old Homer Hickam, a.k.a. Sonny, watches Sputnik fly over his hometown of Coalwood, West Virginia, his life is changed forever. Knowing he wants to be part of the space race, Sonny and his friends, set out to learn as much as they can about launching rockets. Soon, these Rocket Boys wind up enlisting the help of everyone in town. Set against a backdrop of miners' strikes, the beginning of the Cold War, and America's loss of innocence, this book reads like a novel.
The #1 New York Times bestselling memoir that inspired the film October Sky, Rocket Boys is a uniquely American memoir — a powerful, luminous story of coming of age at the dawn of the 1960s, of a mother's love and a father's fears, of a group of young men who dreamed of launching rockets into outer space...and who made those dreams come true. Nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Homer Hickam's lush, lyrical memoir is a marvelously entertaining chronicle of triumph.
About the Author
Homer H. Hickam, JR., was born and raised in Coalwood, West Virginia. The author of Torpedo Junction, a Military History Book-of-the-Month Club selection, as well as numerous articles for such publications as Smithsonian Air and Space and American History Illustrated, he is a retired NASA engineer, consults on aerospace projects that interest him, and lives in Huntsville, Alabama.
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