Rocket Boys

Rocket Boys

A Memoir

Book - 1998
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"Until I began to build and launch rockets, I didn't know my home town was at war with itself over its children, and that my parents were locked in a kind of bloodless combat over how my brother and I would live our lives. I didn't know that if a girl broke your heart, another girl, virtuous at least in spirit, could mend it on the same night. And I didn't know that the enthalpy decrease in a converging passage could be transformed into jet kinetic energy if a divergent passage was added. The other boys discovered their own truths when we built our rockets, but those were mine."

So begins Homer "Sonny" Hickam Jr.'s extraordinary memoir of life in Coalwood, West Virginia-a hard-scrabble little company town where the only things that mattered were coal mining and high school football. But in 1957, after the Soviet satellite Sputnik shot across the Appalachian sky, Sonny and his teenaged friends decided to do their bit for the U.S. space race by building their own rockets--and Coalwood, Sonny and A powerful story of growing up and of getting out, of a mother's love and a father's fears, Homer Hickam's memoir Rocket Boys proves, like Angela's Ashes and Russell Baker's Growing Up before it, that the right storyteller and the right story can touch readers' hearts and enchant their souls.

In a town where the only things that mattered were coal-mining and high-school football, where the future was regarded with more fear than hope, a young man watched the Soviet satellite Sputnik race across the West Virginia sky--and soon found his future in the stars. In 1957, Homer H. "Sonny" Hickam, Jr., and a handful of his friends were inspired to start designing and launching the home-made rockets that would change their lives and their town forever.

Looking back after a distinguished NASA career, Hickam shares the story of his youth, taking readers into the life of the little mining town of Coalwood and the boys who would come to embody its dreams. Step by step, with the help (and occasional hindrance) of a collection of unforgettable characters, the boys learn not only how to turn scrap into sophisticated rockets that fly miles into the sky, but how to sustain their dreams as they dared to imagine a life beyond its borders in a town that the postwar boom was passing by.

Rocket Boys has already caught the eye of Hollywood: The producer of Field of Dreams is now working to produce a major motion picture in time for next year's Academy Awards.

A uniquely endearing story with universal themes of class, family, coming of age, and the thrill of discovery, Homer Hickam's Rocket Boys is evocative, vivid storytelling at its most magical.
Publisher: New York, N.Y. : Delacorte : 1998
ISBN: 9780385333207
038533320X
Branch Call Number: 629.1092 H524r
Characteristics: 368p

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k
kevinjtate
Dec 24, 2016

An inspiring memoir that features determination and team work. Very enjoyable read.

m
mccannxgrande
Jun 16, 2015

The book was great, but it was slow at times. I would recommend this book to my friends.

AKerr70 Jun 03, 2015

A good book, as long as you are not being forced by your mom to read it within three days.

d
Dixiedog2
Feb 23, 2014

While it was a dated book from a different era, it was a very entertaining book even for a teenage reader. Doctor-at-Bass! T. A.

d
dixiedog
Feb 13, 2014

Rocket Boys – A Memoir by Homer H. Hickam Jr. – teenage prodigy, Vietnam veteran, Aeronautical Engineer, and former employee of NASA is a warm and very rewarding adult rated book; suitable for readers 16 years of age and older. The book was a little slow for the first fifty to sixty pages while Mr. Hickman describes his childhood and his arduous relationship with his father and older athletic brother Jim. He also describes in detail what life was like in a coal mining town in West Virginia in the 1950s. Homer was a typical teenage boy of the early space race era and perhaps this book may appeal more readers who were youngsters or teenagers in the period 1950-1970. The book picks up nicely when Homer and his friends build their first rocket so-to-speak; i.e., it performed more like a stick of dynamite than a shooting star. The author has a great sense of humour which is scattered sparsely throughout his book. The book grows on you and I personally hated to see it end. Homer’s story was made into the movie ‘October Sky’ which is also available at the Ottawa Public Library. The movie of course deviates somewhat from the book and while very entertaining, the book in many ways was better. Highly recommended by Senior Doctor-at-Bass! D. A.

Shsunon May 16, 2011

A great read--A boy's interest in rockets, his shaky relationship with his father explored. And his winning of a national science fair--true story---

Made into a movie--October Sky!!

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red_spider_244 Jun 16, 2014

red_spider_244 thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over

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