- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 10 hours and 8 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: HarperAudio
- Audible.com Release Date: December 2, 2009
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B002ZOVVTS
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope Audible – Unabridged
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Top Customer Reviews
The story is in three parts. The first part tells of Willam's life growing up and that of his father, giving a fascinating glimpse of the village life of subsistence farmers whose culture has changed little in thousands of years. Daily existence includes very real fears of witchcraft, shamans for healing, and strong currents of superstition. Although written in clear, simple narrative (mostly by the co-author, Bryan Mealer, an AP reporter with extensive experience across Africa), it is by no means a child's bedtime story. Malawi, an interior country of 13 million, has minimal health care, primitive agriculture, and no free public high schools. Villagers can be killed by wild animals in the forest. In 2001 the maize crops failed, plunging the countryside into famine and near social collapse, and William loses friends to disease and starvation. The government comes off badly in this episode, incompetent, brutal against the local village chief who complains, and corrupt.
William is a bright boy eager for school, but his family cannot afford the fees. He is forced to drop out. In the second part of the story, doing the best he can in spite of this disappointment, William finds an elementary physics textbook in a local library and sees diagrams of windmills - he cannot even read the English text. From this bit of information, with impressive focus and persistence he manages to build his own version from scraps of wire, an old bicycle hub, and flattened PVC pipe for blades.Read more ›
But this is much more than a story about an African boy who built a working windmill. It's a monument to the human spirit. In fact, we don't even get to making the windmill itself until halfway through the book. In the first half, William tells us a lot about his life in Africa, the terrible famine that swept his land, how he and his family survived, and the clues along the way which eventually led to him making the windmill. Even as a little kid, he was taking apart radios to see how they worked -- with no books or training, just trial and error. Then he saw a bicycle light that ran from a mechanical dynamo -- the kind that generates electricity when you pedal. Experimenting with this, he figured out how to get it to power his radio when he turned the bike pedals.Read more ›
For the first 10% of the book (Kindle doesn't have page numbers) I really was regretting the purchase. The pages were filled with stories of William (main character) as a young boy and the various predicaments he found himself in. The stories told of magic and witchcraft that caused all kinds of terrible things to happen and the overall direction of the book seemed to bounce back and forth from story or idea to another story or idea. I found myself thinking that these stories were so farfetched, how is the remainder of the book going to integrate these magical tales. At that point, I wasn't looking forward to reading more of the book. Nevertheless I persevered and was happily rewarded.
As William grows older (relatively speaking), the story - rather than witchcraft and magic - turns to real life events (famine and hardship) which actually brings you closer to William and his family. Not that many of us can relate to devastating famine where it wipes out entire populations, but it does help us understand what William had to deal with during such a trying time. Some touching moments are created in these pages and definitely rewards for turning the pages.
Once William begins his journey of harnessing the wind, for me, this was the most interesting part of the book. It truly was fascinating to me to not only learn how some of the things we take for granted (like electricity) can play such an integral role in communities that are essentially third world countries but also how one would go about constructing things with no money.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
William Kamkwamba grew up on a farm in Malawi during a time when drought and famine brought poverty, starvation, and death to many people across his homeland. Read morePublished 2 days ago by Jason Tucker
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The story is one of resilience and perseverance.Published 6 days ago by LJHccm
This was a required reading of mine. It is hundreds of pages of a man patting himself on the back for breaking out of poverty and teaching himself about physics. Read morePublished 13 days ago by Kate The Kritic
Enjoyed this story very much. I learned more about Africa and it's people and the way they live than I have from all other sources over years. Read morePublished 15 days ago by truseeker
This should be mandatory reading for anyone who thinks that they cannot make a difference in the world. I am inspired by William's resolve and creativeness.Published 22 days ago by Jack Kantola
A boy who is so poor that his parents can't afford to send him to school, builds a windmill in his village so that they never have to go hungry again. Sounds odd but simple. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Janet Cohen
What a great story of the will of people to survive and help others to survive.Published 23 days ago by A. Bennett
A remarkable story told with innocence and wonder. William seems as amazed as we are when his gadgets somehow work. Read morePublished 24 days ago by dpd
It was an uplifting story. The description of starvation time was daunting.
William has the talent of an inquisitive mind. Read more
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