Customer Reviews for

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

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

10 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

Beautifully written, powerful story, and amazing young boy! Loved this book!

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.

William tells the story of his childhood in the small agricultural village in Malawi. From the the general bia...
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.

William 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.

Publisher: William Morrow (September 29, 2009), 288 pages.
Courtesy of the Harper Collins and the author.

posted by gl on August 31, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

An inspiration

William Kamkwamba¿s memoir tells the story of his life growing up in a poor African farming village in Malawi. Without running water or electricity, William and his family live a life of subsistence dependent upon the success of their annual maize crop. Raised in a cult...
William Kamkwamba¿s memoir tells the story of his life growing up in a poor African farming village in Malawi. Without running water or electricity, William and his family live a life of subsistence dependent upon the success of their annual maize crop. Raised in a culture entrenched in mysticism and superstition, William¿who must repeatedly drop out of school because his family is too poor to pay for his tuition and fees¿becomes curious about science. A chance encounter with a bicycle dynamo sparks his interest in electricity, and soon he is scavenging his village for any available resource that will help him build his inventions. While exiled from school, William spends a great deal of time in a village library, where he devours books on physics and mechanics, and¿with the help of his friends¿he builds a working windmill that supplies him and his family with electricity. This book, however, tells more than just the story of how William ¿harnessed the wind¿; it also tells of the abject poverty that is rampant throughout most of sub-Saharan Africa, the sickness its people endure (malaria chief among them), and the corrupt politics that dominate many African governments. Through all these hardships, William endures, persists, never abandons his goals. His story is, quite simply, an inspiration.

posted by JimRGill2012 on December 22, 2011

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  • Posted April 18, 2014

    This was a very interesting read.  I didn't know what to think a

    This was a very interesting read.  I didn't know what to think about it at the beginning.  I know I have said this before, but I don't usually read book like this.  I read to escape reality, not read about it.  This was so interesting though.  




    While reading this book, I thought to myself over and over "how spoiled am I?".  This young man was poor, and wanted to go to school so bad, but had to give it up because his family couldn't pay for it.  Again, I thought, "man how lucky!  I HATED school".  Well, after reading this book, I am ever so grateful for the opportunity that I had to attend school.  




    William was an amazing young man.  He worked hard, and did things he had to to make things better for himself and his family.  He studied books in the library that he was interested in, and learned things on his own.  Sometimes by trial and error, but isn't that how we all learn things?  




    This reference may offend some, but this young man made me think a lot about some people in the scriptures.  He built something, and all the while people made fun of him.  It wasn't until they saw the result of his windmill, that people started to respect the work William was doing.  It made me think of Noah, and Nephi.  Why is it so hard for people to accept that others may have more inspiration than others?  Anyway, just a thought.




    I love the story in this book about how his parents met.  It is so sweet and so innocent.  Then when William meets his wife it's kind of the same thing.  It's sweet, and super cute. 




    This young man was such a great example of not giving up.  He wanted to learn, he wanted to build, and he wanted to make things better for his people.




    To me it doesn't seem like all that long ago that this book took place.  So, I was just a little blown away, at how different Williams life was compared to mine.  While his country was in a famine I was comfortably sitting in my house with plenty of food to eat, and water to drink.  It really made me reflect on all the blessing I have.  




    While William, was building his windmill and having so many problems with it, all I could think is "man, this young man should see Palm Springs, CA".  Well, in the book he gets invited to Palm Springs, to see the windmill farms.  While he was struggling to build ONE, we in America had thousands.  It was so eye opening to me on so many levels.




    This young man went through a lot of hardships in his life, yet he always worked hard, and never gave up.  I love William.  I think he is the kind of man, that I would like my son to become.  He is intelligent, kind, inventive, loving, and a hard worker.  All great qualities.  




    I really enjoy reading, and learning from this book.  It was enlightening, and so what I needed to read right now.  I will have to remember this book, and many others I have read, when I start to feel "down" about what I have and what I don't have.  After reading this book, I have absolutely no room to complain.  I am blessed beyond measure.  I am so thankful for all the good things that happen to William because of his hard work.  I am sure even today he is an amazing man.  He is the perfect example of "you can do anything, if you put your mind to it"!




    Source:  I purchased this book from Amazon for myself.  I am not affiliated with Amazon, and was not compensated for this review.  These are my own PERSONAL thoughts on the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 9, 2013

    I had to read this book once William¿s story was blogged on ever

    I had to read this book once William’s story was blogged on every site on the Web. I was fascinated that he brought such improvement to his family with just a single electric bulb. This book really highlights so much of what I take for granted in my comfortable suburban life. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 9, 2013

    William Kamkwamba is a clever man that was not swayed by what th

    William Kamkwamba is a clever man that was not swayed by what the neighbors thought. He created a windmill from virtual garbage and changed the opinions of his neighbors. He was no longer crazy but had harnessed magic. This is a wonderful memoir of innovation. 

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 15, 2013

    highly recommended

    I enjoyed reading this book and gave a copy to two of my grandchildren. It shows how one young man did amazing things because of his drive for an education and the drive to help his family and village.

    It, also, shows how lucky we are to live in a free country with so many opportunities, and how others suffer with not even enough food to eat.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2014

    Hi

    Bye

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2012

    Snowbird

    Im leaving. Ran out of the clearing.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 9, 2012

    Best Book

    As a child I was very curious. I always used crawl around the house exploring. Also, I remembered asking my mother how things worked, such as a T.V. After reading The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer, I could relate to how William thought everything happened because of magic as a child.

    William’s book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind was very relatable because of the many different and strange events that the protagonist experienced. Before he began to discover science, William thought magic was how things worked, especially strength. He meets a kid who claims he has super strength when it is really a steroid which the kid calls magic. When William and his friend Geoffrey make a small business fixing radios, I realized how William evolved from believing strength came from magic and other events, to discovering that radios work through science. I also could relate to how William thinks of his father as very strong. As William tells the story about his father fighting twelve men, he says, “And that is the story of how my father fought twelve men and won” (31). I have always, and still do, think my father is strong because of what he does.

    Although I don’t like to read, this memoir made me want to read more and more because I could relate to it so much. I would recommend this memoir to people of all ages because of how easily understood the character development is.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2012

    Raven

    Ignore him

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2012

    Geckoleaf to All

    "Guys, it's not dying out. Everbody is at dark wind," l inform them. "Trust me. We're not dying out. And l'm going to give Mistystar until Friday. If she's not on then, l will step up as leader." I turn and go to my den, weary.+Geckoleaf

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 29, 2012

    A must read for innovators

    For anyone who has endured the skepticism of others who freely offer their observation that "it can't be done," this book reinforces the courage required to act on one's beliefs.

    Overcoming not only his peer group's derision, young William was forced to navigate geographic, cultural and social roadblocks well beyond his control.

    Well written and clearly presented, The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind is entertaining and spiritually uplifting.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2012

    Mistystar

    I have to go. I might not be on this week. If cats want to join, they can, and if any cats attack, go to the backup camp. Bye!

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 30, 2010

    Inspiring book

    I gave this book to me son, who is in environmental studies and interested in sustainable development. He's really found it interesting.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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    Posted January 19, 2010

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