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Publisher's Summary

The New York Times best-selling memoir that inspired the film October Sky, Rocket Boys is a uniquely American memoir - a powerful, luminous story of coming of age at the dawn of the 1960s, of a mother's love and a father's fears, of a group of young men who dreamed of launching rockets into outer space... and who made those dreams come true. Nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award, Homer Hickam's lush, lyrical memoir is a marvelously entertaining chronicle of triumph.

©1998 Homer Hickam (P)2011 Simon & Schuster

Critic Reviews

"A thoroughly charming memoir... [An] eloquent evocation of a lost time and place." ( The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Paula
  • Overland Park, KS USA
  • 10-03-16

Endearing Memoir of the Early Space Race

Born in the 40's or 50's? This book is for you -- full of nostalgic events and settings that will take you back to a time when poodle skirts and DA hair cuts, saddle oxfords and suede shoes were the fads of the day. Most of all, this memoir recounts in a wonderful voice, the coming to age of Homer Hickam in the coal country of West Virginia. While the story is mostly about boys, it is not just a story of interest to boys. Yes, it has science in it and views the world from the personna of a teenage male, but it will interest women who may remember these days too. It may even interest younger women who want to better understand the events that chartered America's leadership of the space race.

Great narration of a well crafted story. Highly recommended.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Joseph
  • YORK, PA, United States
  • 04-21-12

A memoir that reads like a novel

This is a coming of age story in a small West Virginia coal mining town. Not only does the author captivate you with his childhood story, he makes you applaud his and his friends accomplishments with amateur rocketry. His passion and imagination takes him to the stars. A great story showing that with a lot of passion and support, one can do anything in life. Except for his singing, the narrator did a good job. I think he would have been better off reading the lyrics.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Great Story about Growing Up

This book is probably my all time favorite memoir, though I admit I've read relatively little of the genre. It presents a rich portrait of life in late 1950's West Virginia that is simultaneously colored with nostalgia and lamentation. Ultimately though, there is a mostly happy ending that will leave the reader satisfied and with some lasting observations to ponder.

When I first read this book while still in school almost a decade ago, the part that grabbed my attention was the unifying narrative of the BCMA. The observations about the community were interesting, but rather removed from my experience, as was the complicated family dynamic. Now, though still somewhat foreign, and perhaps for that reason, the author's experiences struggling with his parents and the atmosphere of uncertainty that shaped the lives of everyone in his West Virginia mining town are just as if not more intriguing. The book while being nominally about something else, manages to explain the mechanics of mining, and life as a miner. If you didn't go to a high school where the only three likely outcomes for a boy were becoming a miner, a soldier, or going to college on a football scholarship, I think you would find these details enlightening.

The power of an education in science and math is something else this book illustrates wonderfully, and is a lesson I wish I'd heeded as a younger man. We can't all be engineers of course, but it seems like more couldn't hurt.

Tom Stechschulte seems to have a voice purposefully designed for nostalgic contemplation. It is at once deliberate and subtly emotional. In short, it feels like the perfect vehicle for the author's recollection. This is not a performance in which characterizations really jump out at you, but it isn't meant to be.

I would recommend this book to anyone.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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loved it so much!

best west Virginia story told I've heard!!! being from west virginia I can relate to this book and enjoyed it a lot

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excellent book

this is an excellent book I loved the movie so wanted to check this out and the movie does not do the book justice

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Great story and performance

Better than the movie! Writing and story are excellent! I’m afraid to get the rest of the series now because the performance may not be as good; the narrator is different for the rest of the books. An amazing autobiography!

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The BEST Narrator!

I listened to this on audio, and let me tell you, that was the RIGHT choice. The narrator is AMAZING.

I was already a fan of the movie October Sky, and I owned a secondhand paperback copy of this book when I decided to get the audiobook.

It was everything I hoped it would be and I cried (along with the narrator who seemed to genuinely choke up at a certain point) during the last half hour.

I am still a little emotionally raw at the moment, but trust me, this book (and the audio version!!!!!) are sooooo worth the time.

I loved this book.

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Amazing Story & I can't wait to listen to it Again

This is a story I can't wait to share with my Son when he gets older. I believe it will inspire him to do great things in life.

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inspiring, exhilarating, entertaining

I was recommended this book by my brother and was not disappointed. it is a story both individual and societal of an awakening from the way things are to what they will become

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    5 out of 5 stars

The best book of the year for me

Tom Stechschulte he could read the phone book and it would be interesting what a wonderful story