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The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope | [William Kamkwamba, Bryan Mealer]

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

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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Publisher's Summary

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.

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 80-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.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2009 William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers

What the Critics Say

"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)
"This exquisite tale strips life down to its barest essentials, and once there finds reason for hopes and dreams, and is especially resonant for Americans given the economy and increasingly heated debates over health care and energy policy." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.0 (152 )
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    L. Lyter Kempton, PA 12-27-10
    L. Lyter Kempton, PA 12-27-10 Member Since 2010

    Runner, Commuter, Dietitian with a passion for U.S. History.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Just Wonderful"

    Inspirational story of a boy who grows up with next to nothing in Africa and loses even that in a famine. Incredibly, secondary education is not accessible for this bright, curious boy and this is the cruelest blow of all. William triumphs over these obstacles by building a windmill largely from junkyard parts. I wish nothing but the best for William. The narration was unique but fit the story well. The toughest thing about listening to this book is coming back to reality and our materialistic, self centered lives.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Regis New York, NY, United States 12-08-10
    Regis New York, NY, United States 12-08-10
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    "Incredible!"

    One of the most inspiring book I have ever read... I mean, heard! William Kamkwamba is my new hero. His strength, clear mind and general goodness inspire awe and humility. The narrator's native accent makes it even more poignant! A must listen.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 09-14-10
    Roy Beaumont, TX, United States 09-14-10 Member Since 2005
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    "A Coming of Age Story with a Twist"

    This is a curious story (for those who like fiction), introduction to technology for the unitiated, and a coming of age tale. It is satisfying, informative and inspirational all at one time. This is the story og one William Kamkwamba who speaks little English. Despite that, he masters the basics of electricity through reading books he has available to him. In the mean time, there is a famine, he doesn't have the money to go to school, and he is teaching himself. In the end he harnesses the wind through the building of a windmill and "lives happily ever after."

    This wonderful book is written by Kamkwamba with Bryan Mealer. The reading of Chike Johnson is just grand. Don't let this book get past you.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brandon Santa Monica, CA, United States 09-01-10
    Brandon Santa Monica, CA, United States 09-01-10
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    "Thick accent"

    I was very interested in the story and was really looking forward to listening to this, but the narrator's accent is simply too thick to listen to for a long amount of time.

    The accent isn't difficult to understand, and is perfectly fine for a short amount of time, but listening to it for hours on end is exhausting and I had to give up.

    I'd recommend reading this book over listening to this audiobook recording.

    3 of 7 people found this review helpful
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  • marina
    hove, United Kingdom
    9/3/13
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    "Positive Uplifting True Story"

    Really enjoyed this book. Its a true story and he even has a TED talk.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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