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

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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. But William had read about windmills in a book called Using Energy, and he dreamed of building one that would bring electricity and water to his village and change his 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. But William had read about windmills in a book called Using Energy, and he dreamed of building one that would bring electricity and water to his village and change his life and the lives of those around him. His neighbors may have mocked him and called him misala—crazy—but William was determined to show them what a little grit and ingenuity could do. 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 eighty-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.


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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. But William had read about windmills in a book called Using Energy, and he dreamed of building one that would bring electricity and water to his village and change his 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. But William had read about windmills in a book called Using Energy, and he dreamed of building one that would bring electricity and water to his village and change his life and the lives of those around him. His neighbors may have mocked him and called him misala—crazy—but William was determined to show them what a little grit and ingenuity could do. 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 eighty-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.

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Will Byrnes

    William Kambkwambwa was always a curious child. His curiosity about the workings of the world took a hit when his family was unable to afford to keep him in school. But he tried to keep up, going to the library and reading everything he could. He was particularly taken with books on science and on how things work. In this engaging and uplifting story, the young inventor tells of his experience in Malawi constructing a working windmill from bits and pieces retrieved from junkyards, using a design William Kambkwambwa was always a curious child. His curiosity about the workings of the world took a hit when his family was unable to afford to keep him in school. But he tried to keep up, going to the library and reading everything he could. He was particularly taken with books on science and on how things work. In this engaging and uplifting story, the young inventor tells of his experience in Malawi constructing a working windmill from bits and pieces retrieved from junkyards, using a design based on a book he got from the library. But the story goes well beyond his personal experience. William Kambkwambwa - image from kickstarter He tells us about his community, a small village reliant on agriculture for sustenance and imperiled by the vagaries of nature and a corrupt government. He introduces us to his family, his much-admired father, his friends, the village chief, and offers a real feel for what life looks like in this part of the world. There is a long section in which Kambkwamba reports the frightening details of when famine struck his village, how the families coped, or failed, how the government responded. It is riveting material. Also of considerable interest is the degree to which people in Malawi hold on to a belief in magic one would have thought had faded long ago. William was at risk of being persecuted as a witch for his invention. Some people were killed as the hungry sought a magical explanation for the lack of rain, and scapegoats were found. That is as chilling as his tale of drought and desperation. Chiwetel Ejiofor as Trywell Kamkwamba and Maxwell Simba as William - from the Netflix film In the latter part of the book, the young inventor is finally discovered and we see some of his wonder as he is introduced to a much wider world and finally comes to gain a society of peers. There can be no doubt that William Kambkwamba is a remarkable young man, and that he will continue to achieve great things, for himself, for his family, for his village, nation and for Africa. This book should be counted among those achievements. =============================EXTRA STUFF Links to the author's personal, Twitter, and Facebook pages A film based on the book is available on Netflix as of March 1, 2019 A kickstarter campaign to finance making of a documentary of William's life

  2. 5 out of 5

    Margitte

    I once listened to an interview with Sydney Poitier, in which he said that the people who ultimately sent a man to the moon played cricket on the open fields and beaches with sticks and stones. They did not even know what a computer was as young children but they had the imagination to find their toys in the right places. They made something from nothing. It is for this reason that I wanted to read this book of the young Malawian boy who made life better by using his intellect, despite being I once listened to an interview with Sydney Poitier, in which he said that the people who ultimately sent a man to the moon played cricket on the open fields and beaches with sticks and stones. They did not even know what a computer was as young children but they had the imagination to find their toys in the right places. They made something from nothing. It is for this reason that I wanted to read this book of the young Malawian boy who made life better by using his intellect, despite being thrown out of school due to a lack of payment, and a devastating famine, which pushed their community to the ground and beyond. He persisted with his dream to create electricity for his family and community. And he did it. A good inspiring read that made a difference to many lives. Young people should read this, if they can get over their own me-me-me-self-entitlements. The story speaks to the heart and highlight values that might be foreign to many young people nowadays. I felt so happy when I finished reading this book. It gave me hope for the future.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    2.5 This book presented me with quite a challenge. I started out listening on audio, but had trouble understanding the narrator. His accent is probably authentic yet his sing ding voice and rise in dramatically storytelling, sent me to the pages of print. Luckily, I had that option. I found my enjoyment of the story varied I different sections. I enjoyed learning of their culture, their storytelling tradition, but there was some information that I wish had been left out. The famine was awful, it 2.5 This book presented me with quite a challenge. I started out listening on audio, but had trouble understanding the narrator. His accent is probably authentic yet his sing ding voice and rise in dramatically storytelling, sent me to the pages of print. Luckily, I had that option. I found my enjoyment of the story varied I different sections. I enjoyed learning of their culture, their storytelling tradition, but there was some information that I wish had been left out. The famine was awful, it was difficult to read, but the part that included the demise of the dog, I am having a hard time getting it out of my head. It's only a small part, so if I knew it was coming i could have skipped that section. Unfortunately, it colored everything I went on to read from that point forward. Silly I know, but something I was unable to conquer. The importance of libraries, where William checked out books that he used to learn how to build his windmill, was wonderful. This young man's persistence and curiousity is beyond admirable. Even with books I could not have done what he did. I also loved his family who surrounded him with love and acceptance. So, a rather mixed read for me, again. I am glad though to have met William and glad he was able to tell his story.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Kenny

    “I went to sleep dreaming of Malawi, and all the things made possible when your dreams are powered by your heart.” William Kamkwamba ~~ The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope I loved this book. But, I felt too much time was given over to the famine in Malawi and the superstitions of witchcraft, and not enough time to William. The last 1/3 of the book was rushed as we learned about the windmill, and his accomplishments.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kinga

    Finally good news. I can't begin to tell you what a joy to read this book was. Every adult and every kid should read it (except for those kids whose parents are not ok with them reading vivid descriptions of someone dying from gonorrhoea - but even those kids should probably rebel against their parents and read it anyway). As any review will tell you 'The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind' is about a boy who did just that - he built a windmill from junk using some second-hand book about physics that was Finally good news. I can't begin to tell you what a joy to read this book was. Every adult and every kid should read it (except for those kids whose parents are not ok with them reading vivid descriptions of someone dying from gonorrhoea - but even those kids should probably rebel against their parents and read it anyway). As any review will tell you 'The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind' is about a boy who did just that - he built a windmill from junk using some second-hand book about physics that was donated to his village library. He then became one of the TED speakers and basically put Malawi on the map. Make no mistake, though. This book is definitely not a boring account of how one makes electricity from trash (although there are plenty of practical tips should you need them). It's a vivid memoir, written in a simple but compelling way. It starts, like any good African narrative with some ancestral tales and a little bit of magic. William's first years are lived in the fuzzy area between science and magic. His curiosity and ingenuity is obvious from the first chapters which describe the games he used to play with his friends and the little radio fixing business he set up with his cousin when they were just little boys. It goes on to the painful part where William is forced to drop out from the secondary school after it barely started because his parents can't afford the fees. This chapter is followed by a harrowing account of the famine in Malawi in 2001. I don't think I will forget it any time soon. It starts out benignly enough - the family decides to skip breakfast and have only two meals a day. Pages later they can barely get up and all look like their own shadows. As I mentioned in my review of Mindless Eating I do have this very unreasonable fear of dying from hunger and this chapter affected me deeply. I still can't get over it. One day I will probably forget all the intricacies of building a windmill but that vision of whole villages dying of hunger will stay to haunt me forever. (I remember reading this romantic novel 'The Bronze Horseman' which turned out to be almost entirely forgettable except for those chapters dealing with the famine during the siege of Leningrad. Even just thinking about this makes me hungry.) Despite all odds, William survives and thrives. It's not only poverty he is up against, it's the children who still go to school who mock him for spending all his days at the scrapyard digging through trash and reading 'Using Physics'. Everyone thinks him a madman until he triumphs. Now, this is what I call heart-warming! Not some bullshit stories about cats.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Chrissie

    My rating is of the book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope, not William Kamkwamba and what he has accomplished. I praise the man for his curiosity, his indefatigable spirit and what he has achieved with little help and against all odds. The book is co-authored by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. I wish it had been clearly stated how the two split their work; exactly who did what should have been explained. It is the prose style, the language, the My rating is of the book, The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope, not William Kamkwamba and what he has accomplished. I praise the man for his curiosity, his indefatigable spirit and what he has achieved with little help and against all odds. The book is co-authored by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. I wish it had been clearly stated how the two split their work; exactly who did what should have been explained. It is the prose style, the language, the writing of the book that gives me trouble. It is simplistic, to the extreme. We are to imagine a young William Kamkwamba telling us how he at the age of fourteen made a windmill from scratch, although he had no education and was ridiculed and laughed at by family, friends and villagers. What he achieved and his success is both inspiring and admirable. This is not debatable. The authors chose to have the story told by a child. One might argue that this explains the simplistic prose style, but the book was first published in 2009, when William Kamkwamba was twenty-two. It needn’t have been written from a child’s perspective. This was a choice that in my view was wrong or in any case unsuccessfully carried out. The writing might appeal more to a child. Nothing is said for whom or for what purpose the book has been written. Has it been written to inspire kids? It seems so to me. With the choice having been made that the young William is to tell his own story, when fame and success have been achieved it is he that informs us of his success. He speaks not with a humble tone but in a braggart, self-promotional manner. This too is not to my liking. William speaks of his childhood. In this way readers are acquainted with his home environment and what has shaped him. Witchcraft and religion are two forces that predominate in the Malawian village community of his childhood. The author was born in 1987. The extent to which belief in witchcraft still held sway at the beginning of the 21st century is eye-opening. Prevailing male chauvinism and the tendency to resolve disputes through violence are blatantly visible. The poverty, the mindset and the famines that plague Malawi are not shied away from, and rightly so, for this was the boy’s life, his reality. The book gives the reader an informative view of daily life in the community--traditions, customs and beliefs, the horror of the 2001 - 2002 famine, inadequate education and healthcare facilities and infrastructure. It is by observing the villagers’ lives that we learn about the community. The grave illness of William’s mother, the death and subsequent funeral of his best friend’s father, the mysterious beasts that are believed to be attacking and eating villagers are but a few examples. William’s battle to return to school, his inquisitive mind and his continued attempts in using science to improve life in the community are inspiring. After building the windmill, he works with installing lights and pumping water into his home, increases his knowledge of bio-gas and transformers and involves himself in informing about HIV and AIDS, always speaking out for more and better educational facilities. A lot of time, too much time, is spent on describing exactly how William went about building the windmill and his later inventions. Despite the simplicity of the language employed, I still failed to understand the step by step procedures detailed. Failing to bring clarity, they could have been shortened. Better editing is in my view warranted, not just here but in other parts too. The audiobook is narrated by Chike Johnson. It is read so we hear that a young African boy is speaking. I want to hear words clearly, and this is not the case here. I do not like the narration and so have given it one star. I’ll take clarity over ambiance any day. This book provides interesting information about the author’s Malawian community and the devastating famine of 2001-2002. Had it been written as a straightforward biography rather than being told as a young boy’s tale, I would have liked it much more. My giving the book two stars indicates that although not bad, for me it is merely OK.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    No more skipping breakfast; no more dropping out of school. With a windmill, we'd finally release ourselves from the troubles of of darkness and hunger. In Malawi, the wind was one of the few consistent things given to us by God, blowing in the treetops day and night. A windmill meant more than just power, it was freedom. This story about a boy who grows up in poverty in the farming villages of Malawi, survives famine and diseases, drops out of grade school because of poor grades, and ends up No more skipping breakfast; no more dropping out of school. With a windmill, we'd finally release ourselves from the troubles of of darkness and hunger. In Malawi, the wind was one of the few consistent things given to us by God, blowing in the treetops day and night. A windmill meant more than just power, it was freedom. This story about a boy who grows up in poverty in the farming villages of Malawi, survives famine and diseases, drops out of grade school because of poor grades, and ends up becoming one of the world's inventors and later a college graduate, is uplifting. Exceptional protagonist--and I only use the word protagonist because this book was co-written. The story about how William Kamkwamba discovers a way to give his house free electricity is fascinating: his discovering the difference between alternating and direct current by flipping a bike upside down, pedaling, and stacking batteries from a radio and running a wire from batteries to bulb; his collection of windmill pieces (i.e: shock absorbers, tractor fans )in his bedroom, and how he educated himself through books like Explaining Physics, Integrated Science, and Using Energy: Energy is all around you every day, it said. Sometimes energy needs to be converted to another form before it is useful to us. How can we convert forms of energy? Kamkwamba came of age during controversial Malawian President Muluzi's administration, where the country's maize supply (the main food staple) was at an all-time low allegedly due to the administration's corruption. Yet, he was still determined, despite knowing that this energy project wasn't putting food on the table nor paying his tuition. It was this determination while in the midst of poverty and famine, this stubborn self-education from used library books, as well as the people who supported him throughout the process, (like the local African intellectual and historian who marched to the Ministry Of Education demanding that this young inventor be accepted back into school despite his grades and age), that were the highlights for me. Reading a memoir co-written by another is tricky though, because you're never too sure when you're actually hearing from the protagonist or the writer. Did William Kamkwamba really want to utilize a few pages making generalizations of Africa or Malawi, or did he want to simply talk about the village that he loved? Did he want chapter after chapter of brutal, descriptive, elaborate imagery of hunger and sickness or did he see hunger as smaller pockets in his larger narrative of human strife? Did he want the information about how his knowledge of energy prompted him to drill his mother a well for drinking water, and assemble a solar-powered pump for his father's field to only appear in one paragraph of the book? We'll never know. Nonetheless, this is a book I would highly recommend for readers of inspirational non-fiction, and one I really hope more middle and high school teachers will adopt.

  8. 5 out of 5

    PDXReader

    This book sat on my shelf for over a year mostly due to its unfortunate title. It certainly sounded boring! I only read it because it filled a challenge need. I was delighted to find, though, that it was far from dull, and I can honestly say that it's become one of my new all-time favorites. It's one of those books I want to hand to all my friends and say, "Read this. You'll love it!" Although the book is certainly about Kamkwamba creating a way to generate electricity, that part of his story This book sat on my shelf for over a year mostly due to its unfortunate title. It certainly sounded boring! I only read it because it filled a challenge need. I was delighted to find, though, that it was far from dull, and I can honestly say that it's become one of my new all-time favorites. It's one of those books I want to hand to all my friends and say, "Read this. You'll love it!" Although the book is certainly about Kamkwamba creating a way to generate electricity, that part of his story comes well past the midway point. First readers get to enjoy African folk tales, which are followed by the harrowing story of William's life in famine-stricken Malawi. THEN comes the part about electricity. It's very entertaining, interesting, and exceptionally well-told. The first-person account is by turns moving, funny, horrifying, and, yes, inspiring. I completely enjoyed it and highly recommend it, even to people who don't generally read non-fiction.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    This is one of the most inspiring books I've ever read. It's the true story of a Malawian teenager named William Kamkwamba. When forced to drop out of school by poverty, he used library books to teach himself enough about electricity and engineering to construct a windmill and bring electricity to his family's farm. His ingenuity, thirst for knowledge, perseverance and strength of character are truly inspiring. The co-author manages to write with transparent prose, allowing Kamkwamba's own voice This is one of the most inspiring books I've ever read. It's the true story of a Malawian teenager named William Kamkwamba. When forced to drop out of school by poverty, he used library books to teach himself enough about electricity and engineering to construct a windmill and bring electricity to his family's farm. His ingenuity, thirst for knowledge, perseverance and strength of character are truly inspiring. The co-author manages to write with transparent prose, allowing Kamkwamba's own voice to shine through.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jay

    I was surprised that the boy who harnessed the wind didn't get around to that wind harnessing until well into the second half of the book. Prior to that, the book might have been titled "Growing Up in a Small Village in Africa" - the first half of the book really is there to set the stage on the location, the people, and the situation. What the reader will remember is the description of the famine that hit the author's country. When the author finally gets around to his windmill, I was pleased I was surprised that the boy who harnessed the wind didn't get around to that wind harnessing until well into the second half of the book. Prior to that, the book might have been titled "Growing Up in a Small Village in Africa" - the first half of the book really is there to set the stage on the location, the people, and the situation. What the reader will remember is the description of the famine that hit the author's country. When the author finally gets around to his windmill, I was pleased to read the detail around how he thought about his project and how he was able to put the pieces together. To me, that made the book worthwhile, seeing an example of someone being resourceful in his situation. The ending of the book was a bit of a fish out of water story with the author presenting at a TED conference, but I was disappointed that the author's plans for using wind power to provide irrigation was covered in a measly page or less, and was accomplished not through his proven mechanical know-how, but through donations from the West. And using solar cells, not wind. The author uses donations to provide power and water to his village - it sounded like he chose for who and where he had projects done. The last 10% of the book could have been called "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wealthy Donor". I hope Kamkwamba perseveres in his mechanical talent and avoids settling for the money -- his ingenuity can take him far.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Mal Warwick

    A debate has been raging for years within that rarefied global community that earns its keep from the business of what we Americans call “foreign aid.” (Others, less afflicted by an aversion to international engagement, call the field “overseas development assistance.”) On one side are the advocates for large-scale bilateral and multilateral aid, insisting that huge grants from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and their ilk are the A debate has been raging for years within that rarefied global community that earns its keep from the business of what we Americans call “foreign aid.” (Others, less afflicted by an aversion to international engagement, call the field “overseas development assistance.”) On one side are the advocates for large-scale bilateral and multilateral aid, insisting that huge grants from the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and their ilk are the only source of real hope for the many desperately poor nations of what is broadly, though incorrectly, called the Global South (Asia, Africa, and Latin America). The advocate-in-chief for this perspective is Professor Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University, who has argued that massive infusions of aid to the governments of the poorest nations can lift them out of poverty in short order. In 2006, Sachs published his seminal book, The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time, a work that provided the rationale for the Millennium Development Goals. Arrayed against Sachs and his colleagues are the born-again critics of government-to-government aid, most noticeably William Easterly, a long-time World Bank economist who came in from the cold in recent years to testify to the widespread failure of “foreign aid.” His 2007 book, The White Man’s Burden: Why the West’s Efforts to Aid the Rest Have Done So Much Ill and So Little Good, set off the debate between the two opposing camps. The gist of the difference between the two perspectives is simple: One side insists that the problem of poverty is far too big to be addressed through anything other than large-scale action carried out within each poor country on a national scale. The other side contends that top-down, nationwide development programs rarely work and that only solutions crafted at the grassroots and adopted by those who are most affected by them can bring about genuine social change. Though I’ve read a number of other books taking one side or another in this debate, the work that has cast the most light on the topic is one that paid no attention whatsoever to “foreign aid” or economic development schemes, whether large or small. It’s an extraordinary, first-person tale by a young man from Malawi entitled The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. William Kamkwamba, the narrator of this awe-inspiring story, was a seventh-grade dropout who mastered fundamental physics by reading an out-of-date English textbook in a local, three-shelf library near his village and using his knowledge to construct a working windmill out of junkyard parts to generate electricity to irrigate his father’s farm. He was 14 years old. You can read news reports and even the most perceptive magazine articles about the challenges of development, but you won’t get nearly as close to the essential truth of the challenge as you will from reading The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. Kamkwamba’s tale is unsparing of himself, his community, and his country. Through his all-seeing eyes, we witness the tragic consequences of the profound official corruption that held sway in Malawi for so many years after it gained its independence from Britain in 1964. We feel the unrelenting hunger he and his family experienced for months on end in the famine of 2001-2002. We see the darkness descend all around us as William is hounded by fearful villagers who can only explain his windmill as magical. But, most of all, we observe the steady evolution of his brilliant young mind as he confronts one setback after another, and prevails over them all. If there is hope for Africa, as I firmly believe, it lies in the minds and hearts of William Kamkwamba and other young people whose innate genius is unlocked by the spread of education and opportunity for self-expression at the grassroots. There are hundreds, maybe thousands, of William Kamkwambas across Sub-Saharan Africa. And it will be a combination of top-down aid – to build schools, train teachers, and buy textbooks – with the local action of countless NGOs, with both local and international support, that will provide them with the tools and the freedom to solve the problems that have held down their forebears for generations past. I don’t think genuine development – thorough-going social change – will come any other way.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Calzean

    There's a lot of books about the problems in Africa; this memoir does contain the usual list of corruption, poverty, subsistence farming, disease and the impact of droughts. But it is one staggering story of uneducated William, with little English, and with the help of a couple of text books he finds in the local primary school library makes a windmill to generate electricity using pieces of junk. He figures out solutions to numerous problems (including working out what AC and DC means, building There's a lot of books about the problems in Africa; this memoir does contain the usual list of corruption, poverty, subsistence farming, disease and the impact of droughts. But it is one staggering story of uneducated William, with little English, and with the help of a couple of text books he finds in the local primary school library makes a windmill to generate electricity using pieces of junk. He figures out solutions to numerous problems (including working out what AC and DC means, building a step up transformer, how to manage friction, and so on). He is one impressive guy. And he did it all without Mr Google. The chapters dealing with the drought are so raw. William is just not an inventor he is also an author who can write.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ross Blocher

    The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is an astounding, inspiring story told with natural humor and candidness. William Kamkwamba was born to poor farmers in Malawi, a southeastern African country at the bottom of the Great Rift Valley. If you're not one of the two million who have already seen his TED presentation, you can find it here, or see his later talk here. William starts by describing superstitions he was raised with, and what led him to question them. His natural inquisitiveness leads William The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is an astounding, inspiring story told with natural humor and candidness. William Kamkwamba was born to poor farmers in Malawi, a southeastern African country at the bottom of the Great Rift Valley. If you're not one of the two million who have already seen his TED presentation, you can find it here, or see his later talk here. William starts by describing superstitions he was raised with, and what led him to question them. His natural inquisitiveness leads William to wonder how things work. He builds a simple-but-effective bird trap, and disassembles radios so he can fix them for others. He helps with running the family maize farm, but his father is never able to save enough to send William to school. This problem is compounded horrendously by a national famine, described in excruciating detail, in which people die and fight for dwindling food scraps after the government sells grain stores to neighboring countries for profit. This particular part of the story is agonizing to read. While struggling to survive on a single meal per day, William tries to piece together his own education by visiting a local library with three shelves' worth of books. Physics in particular interests him, and he begins to get a feel for magnets, AC and DC power, and designing circuits. This real magic he has found? Turns out it's called science. He eventually discovers the book Using Energy, an American textbook with a row of windmills on the cover. As he borrows the same few books repeatedly, he begins to suspect that he can construct his own windmill to provide nighttime lighting and mechanized irrigation for his family. Over many months, he patiently scrounges parts from bicycles, a local scrapyard, and makes strategic purchases with the help of his generous and ever-so-slightly-less-poor friend Gilbert. It's not just that William is self-taught in a foreign language, or that he's persistent, or that he continues despite naysayers who go out of their way to discourage him. William's intelligence can't be overstated: he intuitively knows to test out ideas first at smaller scales, to seek out effective materials, to apply abstract concepts from diagrams to real-world construction, to question durability and safety, and to iterate on his ideas based on results. He's not happy with something that simply works, and constantly revises, rebuilds and improves. The moment of his first windmill success is worth the price of admission alone, but I was even more floored by his creation of a circuit breaker, among other modifications. The details are worth the read, and there are many more twists and turns along the way. I kept waiting for William to find ways to monetize his invention, but that's just not where his head was at. It is extremely gratifying when his brilliance is finally recognized and he is equipped with resources to improve his town and nation. I'm excited to learn more about his ongoing efforts (this book was released in 2009, and he is now in his early 30s), which you can support at his website. My wife had been recommending this to me as one of her favorites, and I pass along the recommendation. The audio version, read by Chike Johnson, is delightful.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kiwi Begs2Differ ✎

    Engaging story about a young African man who, defying the odds, manages to build a wind power generating turbine to help his family and village. William grows up in the corrupted country of Malawi, in farming village and without education. His story of survival is no exaggeration: illnesses like malaria and aids are endemic in the region, famine is a common occurrence, poverty is the norm, with no help from the government William and his people are facing daily struggles just to survive. It’s an Engaging story about a young African man who, defying the odds, manages to build a wind power generating turbine to help his family and village. William grows up in the corrupted country of Malawi, in farming village and without education. His story of survival is no exaggeration: illnesses like malaria and aids are endemic in the region, famine is a common occurrence, poverty is the norm, with no help from the government William and his people are facing daily struggles just to survive. It’s an inspiring story, like the other biography I read this month Educated, it shows the power of one, a dreamer who can change his future and, in William’s case, his family’s too. I have rated this book lower because of the inclusion of superstition (view spoiler)[(bizarre stories of wizards and witches with illogical evil powers) (hide spoiler)] and cruelty against animals (view spoiler)[(e.g. leaving his dog tied up to die) (hide spoiler)] which were a turn off for me, also I would have liked to know more about his long term plans to help his people beyond his success in the TED conference but overall it’s a worthwhile read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Erika

    The fascinating and true story of William Kamkwamba, a curious and ingenious 14 year old boy who is forced to drop out of school as his family teeters on the edge of starvation during a serious drought in his home country of Malawi (Africa). William, who unsuccessfully tries to sneak back into school, makes use of the public library in an attempt to teach himself and stay caught up with his class. In the library he discovers a book about generating electricity through windmills. He can hardly The fascinating and true story of William Kamkwamba, a curious and ingenious 14 year old boy who is forced to drop out of school as his family teeters on the edge of starvation during a serious drought in his home country of Malawi (Africa). William, who unsuccessfully tries to sneak back into school, makes use of the public library in an attempt to teach himself and stay caught up with his class. In the library he discovers a book about generating electricity through windmills. He can hardly read the words (as they are in English), but inspired by the pictures and his own imagination, and using items he scavenges from the dump and elsewhere, he builds a working windmill to generate electricity for his family's home. This story is an amazing one, and the book itself is well-written and interesting, giving background and stories on William's family, Malawi, the drought, and his progress since his windmill project was discovered by the worldwide media. A must-read for those interested in Africa, development, engineering, and the triumph of human innovation in the face of overwhelming odds.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Missy J

    "If you want to make it, all you have to do is try." A very inspiring book. William Kamkwamba is from Malawi and grew up in the countryside where his father worked as a farmer. Right before the start of his secondary education, a drought and then floods destroyed the family's and much of Malawi's crops, sending the country into a terrible famine. The family didn't have money to pay for William's school fees, so he had to drop out. After the terrible famine, William tried to catch up with his "If you want to make it, all you have to do is try." A very inspiring book. William Kamkwamba is from Malawi and grew up in the countryside where his father worked as a farmer. Right before the start of his secondary education, a drought and then floods destroyed the family's and much of Malawi's crops, sending the country into a terrible famine. The family didn't have money to pay for William's school fees, so he had to drop out. After the terrible famine, William tried to catch up with his studies by visiting the library regularly. His natural curiosity for electricity and how to generate it, led him to read science books and think about building his own windmill. Like I said, it's a very inspiring book. I loved learning about Malawi, their modern history, how people live there and their customs. I also enjoyed reading the words in Chichewa language, which is related to Zambia's Nyanja. The parts regarding the famine and how the family struggled to get through it, was truly heartbreaking. And I could totally feel that the author felt very bad about having to drop out of school. He was truly traumatized by that experience. I felt very sad, but I'm glad that his natural interest for electricity led him to the right path. Unfortunately the last third of the book, when the author explains his inventions and electricity, was a bit too scientific for me and kind of boring. I really wonder what William is up to now. "On any given day, you can visit the trading center and see a lot of boys who've dropped out of school and are now doing nothing. Instead of farming or trying to return to school, they're hanging outside the CHiPiKU store in their dirty, tattered clothing, working ganyu all day and drinking it away all night. Many of them become only dark shapes through the open door of the Ofesi Boozing Centre, or the zombies who stumble home each morning from the kachaso dens. In Malawi, we say these people are "grooving" through life, just living off small ganyu and having no real plan. I started worrying that I would become like them, that one day the windmill project would lose its excitement or become too difficult to maintain, and all my ambitions would fade into the maize rows. Forgetting dreams is easy."

  17. 4 out of 5

    Emma Deplores Goodreads Censorship

    This is one of those reviews for which not having a half-star option bothers me. This is better than a 3-star book (which is okay), but it is not at the 4-star level (which for me means excellent). So, this is a memoir by a young man from Malawi who, as a teenager, built a windmill – with only a book to guide him and using materials he was able to scrounge locally – to bring electricity to his home. William Kamkwamba is born one of several children in a farming family in rural Malawi, grows up This is one of those reviews for which not having a half-star option bothers me. This is better than a 3-star book (which is okay), but it is not at the 4-star level (which for me means excellent). So, this is a memoir by a young man from Malawi who, as a teenager, built a windmill – with only a book to guide him and using materials he was able to scrounge locally – to bring electricity to his home. William Kamkwamba is born one of several children in a farming family in rural Malawi, grows up without electricity or running water, and endures more than his share of hardship as a boy, including a severe famine and having to drop out of school (which is a real hardship for a smart and ambitious kid who loves science) due to his family’s inability to pay the fees. But he perseveres and ultimately gains international recognition and support. All that makes a great story, and ultimately a triumphant one, though readers shouldn’t expect a feel-good book from start to finish – the section on the famine is long and detailed. But it is a quick and easy read. In fact, the matter-of-fact writing style is perhaps too simple; it is unclear to me why there is a separate young-adult version of this book, when this is about as YA as a memoir can get. It is also most definitely written for an American audience: for instance, by explaining Malawian holidays in terms of American ones. But, I suppose the co-author’s job was making the story accessible, and in its content it feels true to the way a technologically-minded boy views the world. There is a lot of discussion of Kamkwamba’s projects (though again, written in a very accessible way) and much less insight into the people around him, only a few of whom get much notice. But I don’t want to criticize this book too harshly for not being a literary memoir, when it isn’t meant to be. It is meant to be the story of a talented kid who achieves his dreams in the face of incredible odds, and in that sense it’s a success.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Vy

    "I try, and I made it!" That quote from William Kamkwamba pretty much sums up this book. It is an amazing, inspirational, and deeply humbling story of a teenage boy from an impoverished farming family in Malawi. The first part of the book gives you insight into Kamkwamba's life and struggles. His challenges are the type that you can already imagine in broad strokes, but Kamkwamba and co-author Mealer help you experience them in a visceral way. The description of the famine was nearly too much to "I try, and I made it!" That quote from William Kamkwamba pretty much sums up this book. It is an amazing, inspirational, and deeply humbling story of a teenage boy from an impoverished farming family in Malawi. The first part of the book gives you insight into Kamkwamba's life and struggles. His challenges are the type that you can already imagine in broad strokes, but Kamkwamba and co-author Mealer help you experience them in a visceral way. The description of the famine was nearly too much to bear. At the same time, you see the sparks of curiosity, resourcefulness, determination, and intelligence that eventually lead him to try to build a windmill. His dream is to create electricity to help his family and maybe even his whole village. But this is no naively idealistic Quixote. Kamkwamba may be visionary but he has an ability to balance that with an acceptance of the realities he faces. I think that makes you want to root for him even more. I realized that I was holding my breath much of the time I as I read about the day he first hooked up the windmill and waited to see whether it could power a light bulb. A fabulous story and a well-written book.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kristy K

    Incredibly inspirational. William is a boy in Malawi who lives with no electricity, little schooling, and oftentimes hunger. Yet he inspires to do and be more than his situation normally allows. Teaching himself physics and other sciences through books all the while enduring ridicule, he creates a windmill to bring electricity to his home. I was awed and humbled many times throughout his story.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Val

    I chose to read this book as part as my world-lit challenge that I think I have already mentioned in other posts. My original book was a novel that I thought I would love, but that I could never find, haha. I then chose this one and I must say it was an amazing idea to do so. William Kamkwamba is a Malawian boy who, at age 14, builds his first "big windmill", having read some physics in borrowed books and grabbed metal pieces from an abandoned scrapyard. He then wrote and published this book I chose to read this book as part as my world-lit challenge that I think I have already mentioned in other posts. My original book was a novel that I thought I would love, but that I could never find, haha. I then chose this one and I must say it was an amazing idea to do so. William Kamkwamba is a Malawian boy who, at age 14, builds his first "big windmill", having read some physics in borrowed books and grabbed metal pieces from an abandoned scrapyard. He then wrote and published this book which is, indeed, his autobiography. I found it super interesting and what caught my attention the most was how, at some points, I actually thought I was reading a novel rather than an actual biography. I think this is due to the fact that William's life seemed so tough when he was a kid, that my subconscious didn't realize it wasn't fiction. I must admit that this book took me very long to finish, which in the end I found kind of annoying. I studied some physics at high school and so I understood some of the terms that William mentions throughout his autobiography, but some parts were very detailed and written in terms that made them quite tedious to follow. However it wouldn't have been the same without them, since they truly show how brilliant this man's mind is, and how much he achieved having lived a poor life. I'm very happy I chose to read this book, because it's inspiring and empowering (cliché?). But really, being a student in university I think this is something everyone should read, especially during exam periods in which one wants to drop everything. William Kamkwamba didn't and he got to where he wanted; why should anyone do, then?

  21. 5 out of 5

    Janice

    I loved this book. I won't go into a summary of the book as many have but will simply say I was very much reminded of the difference one person can make in the world. Bryan Mealy the co-author was brilliant in writing in William Kamkwambe's voice. I found myself comparing this book to Three Cups of Tea which is also a book about one person setting out to do what he believed he could do without any goals of self aggrandizement. They both simply wanted to make life a little better for the group of I loved this book. I won't go into a summary of the book as many have but will simply say I was very much reminded of the difference one person can make in the world. Bryan Mealy the co-author was brilliant in writing in William Kamkwambe's voice. I found myself comparing this book to Three Cups of Tea which is also a book about one person setting out to do what he believed he could do without any goals of self aggrandizement. They both simply wanted to make life a little better for the group of people in the immediate place around them.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    In the LDS Church, we are encouraged to fast for two consecutive meals on the first Sunday of every month. It's not just 'going hungry' - we are to ask for spiritual help with something, or to bless someone else, and to pray for an increased measure of the Spirit as we fast. Then we take the money we would have spent on those meals and donate it to the Church for the support of the poor in our area. I must admit that I am not great about following this practice. We have always been faithful in In the LDS Church, we are encouraged to fast for two consecutive meals on the first Sunday of every month. It's not just 'going hungry' - we are to ask for spiritual help with something, or to bless someone else, and to pray for an increased measure of the Spirit as we fast. Then we take the money we would have spent on those meals and donate it to the Church for the support of the poor in our area. I must admit that I am not great about following this practice. We have always been faithful in the payment of our fast offerings, donating as much as we could, much more than the cost of the food itself, whenever we can. But the going without food part is hard for me. This weekend I grabbed a library book that will forever change how I look at the fast. It's called "The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind," by William Kambewamba. William grew up in the African nation of Malawi, the son of a farmer. His family would grow maize, or corn, and tobacco every year, milling the food they needed for themselves and using the money they earned to provide for their needs for the year. One year they had planted their maize, as usual, but the rains didn't come. For weeks the crop struggled along, with the seeds barely breaking threw the soil. Then the rains came, but all once. The seeds were washed away in a flood. William's family planted again, but they couldn't afford fertilizer and the crop didn't have enough time to grow before the harvest. The entire nation was affected. His family got their grain milled, one bag at a time, but they had only five bags to last them all year. At first, they hoped that the government would come through with the food they needed. But instead, corrupt official sold what grain they could and the surplus disappeared. So people starved. When the grain was almost gone, the hungry people took the husks of the corn, the green part I throw away every time I cook corn, and ground that up and ate it. When it began to run out, they mixed the husks with sawdust and at that. They ate the leaves of the pumpkin vines. They even ate the seed corn, scrubbing off as much insecticide as they could. William's family saved their seed corn, but they were down to a tablespoon of food or so a day. Then it was time to plant. With their bellies aching from hunger, and sometimes too dizzy to stand and temporarily blinded, they found the strength to plant their seeds. And then they prayed. The rains came, and the people had food again. As I read William's story, and his desperate attempts to gain an education and break this cycle of subsistence farming, I found myself thinking about my cupboard full of food. All those stories of 'children starving in Africa' and how I needed to clean my plate ran through my head. And yet, what would William have done with my breakfast cereal, my mashed potatoes and meat loaf, my tuna casserole? They wouldn't have even known what it was, much less how to cook it. Their special Christmas treat was rice and meat. Last night I prepared for my fast today with a completely different attitude. It wasn't that by fasting I could somehow bless those who are hungry in tiny nations across the world. It wasn't even that I could somehow alleviate the hunger of those in this country. It was because I needed to remember that food is a blessing, that I am lucky to have enough to eat. If we run out of food and money again, I know that I can count on my church, on my government, on my family. The stores have plenty of food. But over the history of the world, most people were not that lucky. So my fast becomes an act of gratitude that I am blessed, and a reminder that I need to help others who are not so lucky. This was an amazing book. William's father ran out of money so could not pay for his son's education. William had to quit school and go to work on the farm. He tried to keep up with what his classmates were learning and found the local library. There he found books on electricity, physics, and energy. He decided to build a windmill. He scrounged parts from the junkyard, took apart radios and engines, and got help from his friends, but he succeeded. He was able to use his windmill to provide energy for little light bulbs in his house so he could see to read at night. Soon word of his project got out and he attracted the attention of journalists and scientists. They helped him make his windmill stronger and safer, dig a well so his family could have clean water, replace his grass roof with a tin one, and provide electricity for his entire village. It is an amazing story of determination and triumph over adversity that will inspire anyone. And it changed the way I look at what I have. I have a cupboard full of food, clean water with the turn of the faucet, a sturdy house, electricity and heating, a way to keep myself and my clothing clean. I am not afraid of soldiers with guns taking what I have. I can send my children to school for free. I can go to the doctor when I am sick. I am blessed. And I need to remember that.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Silvana

    A wonderful story of innovation, persistence, curiousity, and heart.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Diane

    The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope, will be released on September 29th. This memoir was one of those rare stories you won't want to miss. William Kamkwamba , was raised in Malawi - Africa. Malawi was a place where most people believed in magic and curses. It was a rural area where poverty was wide-spread, government corrupt, and the people lived without electricity or water. His family lived a very simple life; they had a small farm which they relied on for The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope, will be released on September 29th. This memoir was one of those rare stories you won't want to miss. William Kamkwamba , was raised in Malawi - Africa. Malawi was a place where most people believed in magic and curses. It was a rural area where poverty was wide-spread, government corrupt, and the people lived without electricity or water. His family lived a very simple life; they had a small farm which they relied on for food, and a small income. William's father wants his son to continue his education, so that he would have a better life, but here school is for families who have the money to pay for it. When the terrible drought occurs, Malawi experiences the worst famine in 50 years. When William's family can no longer afford tuition, he must drop out of school. William finds an old science textbook in the school's library, and he studied the diagrams and saw what windmills were capable of doing. This fourteen year old had a dream of bringing electricity and water to the people of Malawi. Mechanically inclined, and using old parts, wire, pipe and other things he could find and felt useful, he never gives up on his dream. While the people around him called him crazy, he persisted with his project, in the hopes of improving the lives of his family and the people around him. A dream, a vision, determination and hope was all it took. One of the most inspiring books that I have read in a long time, I'm pretty sure this book will touch most readers deeply, like it did to me. I know this story will stay with me for a long time to come. In my opinion, this book would be excellent reading and discussion material for high school classes and book clubs everywhere. RECOMMENDED

  25. 4 out of 5

    Marco Pavan

    This book is very well written. The flow of the story is excellent and the narration really works. William's story is a true inspiration. I was moved by his mental strength, the endurance through the hardships and the famine, and his ability to overcome difficulties and fight his way through giving himself an education, understanding the principles of physics and electromagnetism to build a windmill, and providing energy to power his house. The reason i found this story truly inspiring was This book is very well written. The flow of the story is excellent and the narration really works. William's story is a true inspiration. I was moved by his mental strength, the endurance through the hardships and the famine, and his ability to overcome difficulties and fight his way through giving himself an education, understanding the principles of physics and electromagnetism to build a windmill, and providing energy to power his house. The reason i found this story truly inspiring was because William, despite just being a young teenager, deeply understood the environment where he lived. It was never explicitly mentioned throughout the book, but in my opinion William's greatest strength was "observing", assessing and analyzing. Self teaching physics and the principles of electricity is already remarkable, a great feat for sure. But being able to observe and analyze the environment the way he did, that's genius. Observing that wind is abundant all year around, observing parts from the scrapyard, observing how people were using electricity, observing that his mother had to walk hours every day to get clean water. An then analyzing what to do to move forward, hitting roadblocks and working around them. He was already an engineer way before starting secondary school. Thank you William for sharing your story through such a wonderful book

  26. 4 out of 5

    Seth

    It's easy to say a book "isn't just about (insert subject)" but The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind really is not just about William Kamkwamba's windmill. The windmill doesn't even come to fruition until about two hundred pages in. The majority of the book is about William's life as a child and the culture of his homeland in Malawi (Africa), which at times is depressing - his family lives with the bare minimum, they survive a famine, and William wasn't able to attend school due to financial It's easy to say a book "isn't just about (insert subject)" but The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind really is not just about William Kamkwamba's windmill. The windmill doesn't even come to fruition until about two hundred pages in. The majority of the book is about William's life as a child and the culture of his homeland in Malawi (Africa), which at times is depressing - his family lives with the bare minimum, they survive a famine, and William wasn't able to attend school due to financial constraints. If you can't express pity for these people, you aren't human. The details of farming, magic (yes, magic as in wizardry and curses), and everything else surrounding William's life is dragged out a bit more than necessary, but it makes the "feel good" aspect that much more appreciated in the end. Having virtually no schooling or money, William toyed with the intricacies of electricity and ultimately constructed a working windmill. Most adults with a college education probably couldn't pull this off! This boy had nothing and now he has worldwide recognition, not to mention electricity in his home.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    I LOVED this book. I would give it 10 stars if I could. What an awesome story of perseverance. William Kamkwamba was a young boy when he had to leave school because his family could not afford the tuition. To stay out of trouble he visited the small library where he discovered books on science. He used what he learned in those books to build a windmill and bring electricity to his village. The story of the famine his country faced is heartbreaking. Although, Mr Kamkwamba became world famous for I LOVED this book. I would give it 10 stars if I could. What an awesome story of perseverance. William Kamkwamba was a young boy when he had to leave school because his family could not afford the tuition. To stay out of trouble he visited the small library where he discovered books on science. He used what he learned in those books to build a windmill and bring electricity to his village. The story of the famine his country faced is heartbreaking. Although, Mr Kamkwamba became world famous for his invention he remains a humble and likable person. His trials and errors reminded me of the golden age of invention when people like Edison used all types of implausible materials. At one point, when lacking a soldering iron, William used the heat from his mother's cooking stove to melt wires together. The human drama of the famine his country faced is heartbreaking. It's hard to believe that such terrible conditions could exist in today's world and even harder to believe that an uneducated young man could accomplish what Mr. Kamkwamaba has.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is an absolutely inspiring story. I was fascinated and amazed by the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the young Malawian boy who taught, equipped, and motivated himself to effect change amid his often brutal and demanding surroundings to better his life and the lives of those around him. More importantly, it was so refreshing to have a current-day perspective of a very real way of life outside the usual comforts of the United States. The true story, told from the The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is an absolutely inspiring story. I was fascinated and amazed by the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the young Malawian boy who taught, equipped, and motivated himself to effect change amid his often brutal and demanding surroundings to better his life and the lives of those around him. More importantly, it was so refreshing to have a current-day perspective of a very real way of life outside the usual comforts of the United States. The true story, told from the perspective of the main character whose family farms in a small village in Malawi, reminds this otherwise pampered American of the very real hardships of life for much of the world. I've decided to require my 11 year-old son to read this story (before Thanksgiving) to help give him a perspective I hope he will contemplate and understand. In the current, very American society in which we live, it's good to remember that food, shelter and medical care are no more entitlements than electricity.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Marina (Sonnenbarke)

    This is the most beautiful book I've read this year, so far. It's the story of how a poor boy in a poor country came to be famous all over the world creating a windmill to bring electricity to his village in Malawi. Kamkwamba writes the story of his entire life, he doesn't limit himself with telling the story of his windmill. So we follow him through his childhood, through the famine of 2001-2002, through his encounter with books and consequently the construction of his windmill and his This is the most beautiful book I've read this year, so far. It's the story of how a poor boy in a poor country came to be famous all over the world creating a windmill to bring electricity to his village in Malawi. Kamkwamba writes the story of his entire life, he doesn't limit himself with telling the story of his windmill. So we follow him through his childhood, through the famine of 2001-2002, through his encounter with books and consequently the construction of his windmill and his worldwide fame. I have written an in-depth review, in Italian, on my blog: https://sonnenbarke.wordpress.com/201...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Liza Gilbert

    I thought the stories of the author's boyhood and life in Malawi were charming and very touching. I thought his story of going to the library and learning physics in order to improve his village was incredible. The pacing for me was uneven. The beginning features stories about the author's village and family, in a series of short episodes. However, at the end of the book virtually all adjectives have been removed and the narrative is much more too the point. I believe it is an inspirational story, I thought the stories of the author's boyhood and life in Malawi were charming and very touching. I thought his story of going to the library and learning physics in order to improve his village was incredible. The pacing for me was uneven. The beginning features stories about the author's village and family, in a series of short episodes. However, at the end of the book virtually all adjectives have been removed and the narrative is much more too the point. I believe it is an inspirational story, but the text does nothing for me, and I found it very slow. Great story, not-so-great-book.

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