October Sky (The Coalwood Series #1)

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9780440235507: October Sky (The Coalwood Series #1)

The true story, originally published as Rocket Boys, that inspired the Universal Pictures film.

It was 1957, the year Sputnik raced across the Appalachian sky, and the small town of Coalwood, West Virginia, was slowly dying.

Faced with an uncertain future, Homer Hickam nurtured a dream: to send rockets into outer space. The introspective son of the mine’s superintendent and a mother determined to get him out of Coalwood forever, Homer fell in with a group of misfits who learned not only how to turn scraps of metal into sophisticated rockets but how to sustain their hope in a town that swallowed its men alive.

As the boys began to light up the tarry skies with their flaming projectiles and dreams of glory, Coalwood, and the Hickams, would never be the same.

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Review:

Inspired by Werner von Braun and his Cape Canaveral team, 14-year-old Homer Hickam decided in 1957 to build his own rockets. They were his ticket out of Coalwood, West Virginia, a mining town that everyone knew was dying--everyone except Sonny's father, the mine superintendent and a company man so dedicated that his family rarely saw him. Hickam's smart, iconoclastic mother wanted her son to become something more than a miner and, along with a female science teacher, encouraged the efforts of his grandiosely named Big Creek Missile Agency. He grew up to be a NASA engineer and his memoir of the bumpy ride toward a gold medal at the National Science Fair in 1960--an unprecedented honor for a miner's kid--is rich in humor as well as warm sentiment. Hickam vividly evokes a world of close communal ties in which a storekeeper who sold him saltpeter warned, "Listen, rocket boy. This stuff can blow you to kingdom come." Hickam is candid about the deep disagreements and tensions in his parents' marriage, even as he movingly depicts their quiet loyalty to each other. The portrait of his ultimately successful campaign to win his aloof father's respect is equally affecting. --Wendy Smith

From the Publisher:

"[T]horoughly charming....Hickam builds a story of overcoming obstacles that is worthy of Frank Capra...[in its]...eloquent evocation of a lost time and place."
--Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times

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Book Description Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc, United States, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Media tie-in. Language: English . Brand New Book. Looking back after a distinguished NASA career that fulfilled his boyhood ambition, Hickam shares the story of his youth, taking readers 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. A uniquely American memoir, Rocket Boys is at once an inspiring chronicle of triumph and a luminous story of a mother s love, a father s fears, and a young man s coming of age. With the effortless grace of a natural storyteller, Homer Hickam beautifully captures a moment when a dying town, a divided family, and a band of teenage dreamers dared to look beyond their differences and set their sights on the stars -- and saw a future that the nation was just beginning to imagine. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780440235507

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Book Description Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group Inc, United States, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Media tie-in. Language: English . Brand New Book. Looking back after a distinguished NASA career that fulfilled his boyhood ambition, Hickam shares the story of his youth, taking readers 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. A uniquely American memoir, Rocket Boys is at once an inspiring chronicle of triumph and a luminous story of a mother s love, a father s fears, and a young man s coming of age. With the effortless grace of a natural storyteller, Homer Hickam beautifully captures a moment when a dying town, a divided family, and a band of teenage dreamers dared to look beyond their differences and set their sights on the stars -- and saw a future that the nation was just beginning to imagine. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780440235507

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