Book Review of Wings of Fire: Introduction
I first read Dr. APJ Kalam’s autobiography, Wings of Fire, when I had just entered college and my respect for the then President grew leaps and bounds. This was one book that greatly inspired the engineer in me and since then I’ve always wanted to a book review of Wings of Fire.
The Missile Man of India as he’s fondly known has literally spent his lifetime developing indigenously made missiles in India and has been a key figure in implementing the various space research projects in India. Wings of Fire was released in 1999 and instantly made a huge impact across the country and abroad. After reading the book, one will greatly admire the extreme simplicity of the person, high thinking, and humility.
Book Review of Wings of Fire: Summary of Wings of Fire
The book, Wings of Fire, starts off with the childhood story of Dr. Kalam and recounts his days in the island town of Rameshwaram. It is essentially divided into 4 main sections namely; Orientation, Creation, Propitiation and Contemplation.
The 1st part, Orientation, covers the 1st 32 years of his life, starting from his childhood to his schooling, completion of his engineering and finally his moving to the US for a six month stint with NASA!
[pullquote]Do not look at Agni as an entity directed upwards to deter the ominous or exhibit your might. It is fire in the heart of an Indian. Do not even give it the form of a missile as it clings to the burning pride of this nation and thus is bright! – Dr. A.P.J.Abdul Kalam[/pullquote]The Creation phase of his life covers the next 17 years from 1963 to 1980 and includes his experiences and thoughts from his work at Langley in NASA and to his work with the SLV launches in India and finally culminating in his being awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1980. The way in which he has described his experiences and teaching have inspired me to a great deal.
The 3rd section titled, Propitiation, covers the period of his life from 1981 to 1991 and depicts his journey towards becoming the “Missile Man of India”. He shows great responsibility and leadership skills during this phase, setting up and guiding India’s Missile Development Program – starting from Prithvi and ending with Agni.
The below is an excerpt from the preface of the book, written by the co-author, Arun Tiwari
“I have worked under Dr APJ Abdul Kalam for over a decade. This might seem to disqualify me as his biographer, and I certainly had no notion of being one. One day, while speaking to him, I asked him if he had a message for young Indians. His message fascinated me. Later, I mustered the courage to ask him about his recollections so that I could pen them down before they were buried irretrievably under the sands of time.
This book is written for the ordinary people of India for whom Dr Kalam has an immense affection, and of whom Dr Kalam is certainly one. He has an intuitive rapport with the humblest and simplest people, an indication of his own simplicity and innate spirituality.”
Book Review of Wings of Fire: The Good Bits
The zeal and dedication of a scientist towards their work and towards the betterment of the country are the highlights of this book. For example, there is an incident in which Kalam misses his niece’s wedding because he had to stay up overnight for a meeting with the defense minister!
Book Review of Wings of Fire: Final Verdict on Wings of Fire
Wings of Fire is not an ordinary autobiography. For me, Wings of Fire is more about the great Indian dream – the dream of our founding fathers and the dream which Dr. Kalam made a reality! It doesn’t matter whether one is Hindu or Muslim; whether one is rich or poor; it’s about achieving what you’ve always dreamt of. This book is about Indianess, about collective goals, about collective triumphs and about taking pride in being an Indian!
A must read for every Indian, this book can easily be bought from Flipkart, which is offering a huge 30% discount on Wings of Fire! In case you have any comments about this book review of Wings of Fire, do feel free to comment below.