The Coalwood Way by Homer Hickam

By Homer Hickam assessment during this follow-up to his bestselling autobiography *Rocket Boys*, Homer Hickam chronicles the eventful autumn of 1959 in his homeland, the West Virginia mining city of Coalwood. Sixteen-year-old Homer and his friends within the colossal Creek Missile company are highschool seniors, nonetheless construction home made rockets and hoping that technology will supply them with a price tag into the broader international of faculty and white-collar jobs. Such goals lead them to suspect in a conservative small city the place "getting above your self" is the final word sin and the place Homer's father, superintendent of the Coalwood mines, is stingy with compliment and doubtful approximately his son's goals. Homer's mom is still supportive, yet bluntly reminds him, "You cannot count on every thing to move your method. occasionally existence simply has one other plan." certainly, Hickam's unvarnished portrait of Coalwood covers classification conflict (union miners struggling with together with his authoritarian father), provincial narrow-mindedness (the neighborhood girls scorn a tender lady residing open air wedlock with a guy who abuses her), and unending gossiping alongside the wood "fence line." those sharp info make the unabashed sentiment of the book's ultimate chapters consider earned instead of effortless. Hickam can spin a gripping yarn and retain a number of underlying topics and metaphors going whilst. His gentle yet gritty memoir will contact readers' hearts and minds. *--Wendy Smith* From Publishers Weekly In his bestselling memoir, Rocket Boys (which grew to become the 1999 motion picture October Sky), former NASA engineer Hickam appeared again on the mining city of Coalwood, W.Va., while the 1957 ascent of Sputnik brought on Sonny and his teenage friends to release their very own rockets and objective on the stars. This sequel is determined in 1959, while Sonny is a highschool senior, nonetheless sending up rockets at "Cape Coalwood," at neighborhood launches that turned full-scale social occasions with various spectators: "Even the large Creek cheerleaders got here, wearing complete uniform." Hickam digs deeper into his family lifestyles, recalling an ambivalent dating together with his father, the superintendent of the neighborhood mine: "My dad was once, in lots of methods, [a] common, plotting process and strategies opposed to an unyielding foe, the mine itself." listening to the consistent miner's cough in her personal condo, Hickam's mom, Elsie, desires to go away the coal dust-covered neighborhood for the "fresh, fresh air" of Myrtle seashore, considering "she knew rather well lung spots by no means obtained smaller, basically bigger," yet Homer Sr. is set to stick and retailer the mine. Amid the ensuing family pressure, Sonny suffers from an inexplicable disappointment, regardless of his starting to be courting with an area lady and his a number of technological know-how and writing initiatives. His memories are sometimes such as the younger exploits in stories via Jean Shepherd and Ray Bradbury, yet Hickam's voice is his personal. Recalling a misplaced eraDthe transition among small-town lifestyles and the dawning of the hot technological ageDhe brings his American place of origin to existence with shiny pictures, attractive characters and significant literary magic. (Oct.) Copyright 2000 Reed company info, Inc.

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If only we could,” Sherman said once to my comment. ” Sherman always liked to remind us that we lived in a beautiful place and I guess we did, although sometimes it was easy to forget, especially since we’d never known anywhere else. Once, a rare snow goose, as purely white as moonbeams, landed on the old slack dump, perhaps fooled by the reflection from the slick surface of the coal tailings. We gathered around the great strutting bird, awed by the sight of her. Then I noticed that her wing tips were as black as the faces of Coalwood miners after a shift.

Wernher von Braun, the great rocket scientist. “I told you then he loved you just fine,” Mom said. “He was just too busy to show it. This is your chance to spend some time with him. ” I thought I did but I wasn’t certain. As we moved deeper into the Christmas season, I helped raise the tree and put up the decorations, I wrapped the presents I’d bought for Mom and Dad and Jim, I did all the Christmas things there were to do, but my heart wasn’t in it. I only had one thing on my mind, that dreaded moment each night when Dad would stop yelling on the black phone and start gathering up his things and I knew it was time for me to appear in the kitchen, prepared to go to the hospital with him.

We gathered around the great strutting bird, awed by the sight of her. Then I noticed that her wing tips were as black as the faces of Coalwood miners after a shift. O’Dell said the reason for the black tips was so the geese could see each other inside a white cloud. O’Dell knew a lot about animals so I believed his explanation, but it got me off to thinking. How did the snow geese decide what colors their feathers would be? Did they all get together up north somewhere a million years ago and take a vote?

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