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Customer Review

on April 26, 2010
The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer is a true story about a boy who built a windmill in Malawi. William's dream was to provide electricity to his family's home and also to pump water to irrigate the farm. Irrigating the farm would mean his family would be able to plant the farms twice, bring in two harvests, and never go hungry again.

Malawi is a very poor country that had just gone through a famine when William began to build his windmill from pieces of scrap and junk he found in a local junkyard. He was inspired by books he read from a little library in the village that had been supplied with cast-off books from the UK and the United States.

William details his life from early childhood through his late teens. He talks about his deeply rooted belief in witchcraft, his discovery of science, and gift for repairing and inventing things. He talks about watching his cousin squander a profitable business after inheriting it from his uncle, his struggles to gain admission to a good secondary school, living through the famine, and his enthusiasm in learning about electricity and building his windmill.

William's book is an extremely interesting account of life in Malawi and a fast reader. I enjoyed the parts about his belief in witchcraft and how that affected his life. I began to understand how deeply rooted these beliefs really area. William goes into detail of how he put together various pieces of his windmill and at points these descriptions did drag a bit - probably due to my lack of interest in building electrical gadgets. Overall, this is an exceptional account of an exceptional young man who was determined to create "electric wind" for his family and bring them out of poverty, educate his sisters, and never go hungry again.

This book is a "must read" for anyone interested in Malawi, Africa, or inventions.
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