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OCTOBER SKY by Homer Hickam
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OCTOBER SKY (original 1998; edition 2000)

by Homer Hickam

Series: Coalwood (1)

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2,125493,082 (4.11)57
Member:updo
Title:OCTOBER SKY
Authors:Homer Hickam
Info:Dell Publishing (2000), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:rocket building, coal mining, inequality, abuse, family, futility, success

Work details

Rocket Boys by Jr. Homer H. Hickam (1998)

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» See also 57 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
The author recently spoke at our arts center before a showing of "October Sky" and I never got a chance to read the book before his visit. I'm glad I read it, though. Even if you think it sounds uninteresting --- rockets, coal mining and West Virginia aren't my favorite topics --- give it a chance. It's a great read. ( )
  DBrigandi | Jul 3, 2017 |
The author recently spoke at our arts center before a showing of "October Sky" and I never got a chance to read the book before his visit. I'm glad I read it, though. Even if you think it sounds uninteresting --- rockets, coal mining and West Virginia aren't my favorite topics --- give it a chance. It's a great read. ( )
  DBrigandi | Jul 3, 2017 |
A chronicle of growing up in the 1950's, when space exploration was in its infancy. Captivating, taking ordinary events of a 1950's childhood in a coal town and creating a compelling tale that led the author to become a rocket scientist. A genuine human story. ( )
  SandyAMcPherson | Jun 24, 2017 |
Book on CD read by Beau Bridges

Homer Hickam Jr (a/k/a Sonny) grew up in Coalwood, West Virginia – a “company town” in built and owned by the mining company for whom his father worked. The only thing that mattered in that small town was coal and high school football. And Sonny hadn’t much interest in either. Sonny and his friends, fellow misfits, didn’t seem to have much future to look forward to, until their imaginations were ignited by watching the Soviet satellite Sputnik. They began with simple “kitchen experiments,” learned from their failures, improved their rockets and garnered the admiration and support of the town.

In his memoir, Hickam brings the residents of Coalwood to life. He shares stories of growing up, of high school football, a beloved teacher, unlikely allies, young love, and his mother’s determination that her boys would NOT go into that mine. All the “Rocket Boys” went to college, three of them in engineering. The town of Coalwood was eventually abandoned when the mine was closed and allowed to fill with water.

Beau Bridges does an excellent job voicing the audio book. He has great pacing and a delivery that is just perfect for this story. ( )
  BookConcierge | May 8, 2017 |
Excellent book about a young boy coming of age, and his fascination with rockets. The boy grew up to become a rocket scientist. Highly recommended. ( )
  ramon4 | Nov 21, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 49 (next | show all)
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Epigraph
All one can really leave one's children is what's inside their heads. Education, in other words, and not earthly possessions, is the ultimate legacy, the only thing that cannot be taken away. - Dr. Wernher von Braun
All I've done is give you a book. You have to have the courage to learn what's inside it. - Miss Freida Joy Riley
Dedication
To Mom and Dad and the people of Coalwood
First words
Until I began to build and launch rockets, I didn't know my hometown 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.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
This book was re-released under the title October Sky (an anagram of Rocket Boys).
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0385333218, Paperback)

Inspired by Werner von Braun and his Cape Canaveral team, 14-year-old Homer Hickam decided in 1957 to build his own rockets. They were his ticket out of Coalwood, West Virginia, a mining town that everyone knew was dying--everyone except Sonny's father, the mine superintendent and a company man so dedicated that his family rarely saw him. Hickam's smart, iconoclastic mother wanted her son to become something more than a miner and, along with a female science teacher, encouraged the efforts of his grandiosely named Big Creek Missile Agency. He grew up to be a NASA engineer and his memoir of the bumpy ride toward a gold medal at the National Science Fair in 1960--an unprecedented honor for a miner's kid--is rich in humor as well as warm sentiment. Hickam vividly evokes a world of close communal ties in which a storekeeper who sold him saltpeter warned, "Listen, rocket boy. This stuff can blow you to kingdom come." Hickam is candid about the deep disagreements and tensions in his parents' marriage, even as he movingly depicts their quiet loyalty to each other. The portrait of his ultimately successful campaign to win his aloof father's respect is equally affecting. --Wendy Smith

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:48 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Homer Hickam, a NASA engineer, recounts his childhood in Coalwood, a West Virginia mining town, and discusses his dreams of launching rockets into outer space, and how he made those dreams come true.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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