The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind : Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope

4.08 (15,622 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

William Kamkwamba was born in Malawi, a country where magic ruled and modern science was mystery. It was also a land withered by drought and hunger, and a place where hope and opportunity were hard to find. But William had read about windmills in a book called Using Energy, and he dreamed of building one that would bring electricity and water to his village and change his life and the lives of those around him. His neighbors may have mocked him and called him misala--crazy--but William was determined to show them what a little grit and ingenuity could do.Enchanted by the workings of electricity as a boy, William had a goal to study science in Malawi's top boarding schools. But in 2002, his country was stricken with a famine that left his family's farm devastated and his parents destitute. Unable to pay the eighty-dollar-a-year tuition for his education, William was forced to drop out and help his family forage for food as thousands across the country starved and died.Yet William refused to let go of his dreams. With nothing more than a fistful of cornmeal in his stomach, a small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks, and an armory of curiosity and determination, he embarked on a daring plan to bring his family a set of luxuries that only two percent of Malawians could afford and what the West considers a necessity--electricity and running water. Using scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves, William forged a crude yet operable windmill, an unlikely contraption and small miracle that eventually powered four lights, complete with homemade switches and a circuit breaker made from nails and wire. A second machine turned a water pump that could battle the drought and famine that loomed with every season.Soon, news of William's magetsi a mphepo--his "electric wind"--spread beyond the borders of his home, and the boy who was once called crazy became an inspiration to those around the world.Here is the remarkable story about human inventiveness and its power to overcome crippling adversity. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual's ability to change his community and better the lives of those around him.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 273 pages
  • 160.02 x 231.14 x 27.94mm | 884.5g
  • New York, NY, United States
  • English
  • Frontispiece; Illustrations, black and white
  • 0061730327
  • 9780061730320
  • 418,829

Review quote

"This book.... is a testament to the power of a dream and the freedom that comes from accomplishing a sustainable way of life. Read this book, act on its message and pass it on."--Carter Roberts, President & CEO, WWF
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Review Text

"William Kamkwamba's achievements with wind energy should serve as a model of what one person, with an inspired idea, can do to tackle the crisis we face. His book tells a moving and exciting story." Al Gore, former Vice President and Nobel Laureate
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Rating details

15,622 ratings
4.08 out of 5 stars
5 37% (5,748)
4 41% (6,362)
3 18% (2,749)
2 3% (545)
1 1% (218)

Our customer reviews

Even if you don't usually read nonfiction or memoirs, I still think that you'll love this book for the writing, the story, and because of William Kamkwamba.rnrnWilliam tells the story of his childhood in the small agricultural village in Malawi. From the the general bias towards magic and superstition over science, the crippling impact of the drought, and the isolation and difficulties that William, his village, and Malawi, the obstacles that they face are huge and clear. Reading the book, I first thought that my experiences in the "Third World" helped me understand the William's life from the superstition to the the impact of the drought and the opportunistic price gouging during the famine. But that interpretation fails to give enough credit to William and his book. The power of his story and the clarity of the writing surely guarantee that The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind will speak to people regardless of their experience and their home country. I cannot recommend this book more! I look forward to more news from William Kamkwamba and to meeting him during his book tour stop in NYC.rnrnPublisher: William Morrow (September 29, 2009), 288 pages.rnCourtesy of the Harper Collins and the author.show more
by Gaby @ Starting Fresh
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