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Extended Audio Sample The Coalwood Way: A Memoir Audiobook, by Homer Hickam Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (617 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Homer Hickam Narrator: Frank Muller Publisher: Recorded Books, LLC Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: July 2016 ISBN: 9781464033988
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Homer Hickam is the #1 New York Times bestselling author whose life inspired the critically acclaimed film October Sky. In The Coalwood Way he returns to his childhood home of Coalwood, West Virginia for an inspiring memoir about growing up in a town that’s slowly fading away. Homer and his close buddies, who call themselves the Rocket Boys, are high school seniors in 1959. Their rocket building experiments amaze the locals, thanks to top-quality moonshine for fuel, “liberated” materials, and Homer’s self-taught understanding of higher math. But no matter how brilliant their experiments are, they can do little to help preserve Coalwood’s way of life. With the coal mine on its last legs, prospects for the town are unpredictable at best.

For anyone who’s ever dreamed of greatness or wondered what an uncertain future might bring, this book will seem warmly familiar. Frank Muller’s affectionate narration captures both the spirit of ambition and the specter of gloomy prospects.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Recalling a lost era—the transition between small-town life and the dawning of the new technological age—he brings his American hometown to life with vivid images, appealing characters and considerable literary magic.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Hickam’s unvarnished portrait of Coalwood covers class warfare (union miners battling with his authoritarian father), provincial narrow-mindedness (the local ladies scorn a young woman living outside wedlock with a man who abuses her), and endless gossiping along the picket “fence line.” These sharp details make the unabashed sentiment of the book’s closing chapters feel earned rather than easy.”

    Amazon.com

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rhonda | 2/14/2014

    " I really enjoyed this book about life from the perspective of a teen-age boy in coal mining town. It seemed very honest. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Cassandra Castro | 2/5/2014

    " i just finished it !! awesome "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Scott | 2/2/2014

    " Sequel to Rocket Boys/October Sky and my favorite of Homer Hickham's Coalwood Series. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 jeannine | 1/28/2014

    " Very well done. A mix of October Sky and other stories of his life. A very good read. Enjoyed it very much. Loved the squirrel parts! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mom | 1/2/2014

    " This is a good book showing how kids in a coal mining area want to get away and not be miners. These seniors want more. This is the way I felt when I wanted to get away from the town where my family grew up and stayed, working in the coal mines and staying around close to family members. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shauna | 12/30/2013

    " I really liked this book. Another book club selection, it reminded me a lot of what my grandparents must have dealth with in their life with the railroad. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jane | 12/27/2013

    " I thought this book was an excellent story of small town life in a West Virginia mining town during the 1950's. I grew up in a small town in Florida, yet could relate to Hickam's humor and description of Coalwood's activities. I liked reading a chapter/night and enjoyed the pace of the story and the memoir style. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Karen L. | 12/21/2013

    " If you liked the "Rocket Boys," you'll like this book. It tells the story of his boyhood town and it's people; their heartbreaks, sorrows and joys. Their lives are very interesting. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Janet | 11/16/2013

    " I really enjoyed the Coalwood series of books. They are autobiographical books about Homer Hickham's youth in West Virginia. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauren | 11/15/2013

    " A sequel to Rocket Boys (October Sky). More engaging and moving stories from growing up in the mining company town of Coalwood, West Virginia. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Beth | 11/3/2013

    " While I didn't find it as engaging as Sky of Stone, it definitely picked up steam as it went and was a great read. If you liked Rocket Boys or Sky of Stone, you'll enjoy this. I'm giving all three as a gift to my dad for Christmas - don't tell! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rj Roles | 11/2/2013

    " a fantastic sequel to an already fantastic story and must read to anyone that has lived in the shadows of the Appalachian mountains "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ellen | 10/26/2013

    " Enjoyable read, although not as good as "Rocket Boys" (aka October Sky). "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary | 10/26/2013

    " This is not as good as his others. He was mainly trying to appease people who were left out of Rocket Boys, I think. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joni | 10/25/2013

    " I loved this memoir of Homer Hickam growing up in a small mining community. I read the author's other novel October Sky and enjoyed it as well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Pat | 7/27/2013

    " Having loved "Rocket Boys" I was a bit disappointed in this entry in the series as I almost felt it was a redressing of story lines already touched upon in Rocket Boys; but still enjoyed it as I love Hickam's writing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shywvgrl | 7/25/2013

    " Must read after Rocket Boys! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ellis | 6/29/2013

    " I haven't read any of Homer Hickam's fiction books yet, but I've loved his memoirs. What a great storyteller. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rae | 6/21/2013

    " This memoir covers a lot of the same ground as October Sky but lets the reader in on Homer's personal and home life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kathy | 6/16/2013

    " Great story based on Homer Hickam's childhood. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James | 4/30/2013

    " My third Homer Hickham book. I still like the way he writes! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Eric | 4/5/2013

    " Since my Dad is from West Virginia, and my Grandpa was a coal miner, I found this book intriguing. Such a different life from the one I live in Ohio! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Treyvon | 3/4/2013

    " This book by Homere H. Hickam is a memoir about the rocket boys of Coalwood Virignia in the 50s and 60s. It was really a good book. It was amazing how fast things changed in this small town and how their community pulled istself together. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rick | 2/16/2013

    " Good, but his first was better. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sarah | 5/6/2012

    " I read this for my bookclub "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cheryl S. | 5/1/2012

    " Any book that makes me laugh and cry gets 5 stars. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sean Gillen | 3/26/2012

    " Another fantastic book by Hickam. Really enjoyed it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Coralie | 3/19/2012

    " Hickam is also the author of Rocket Boys/October Sky. In this book, the author tells more about his life in Coalwood, a mining town in West Virginia. This was a good book, but some of it was a repeat of Rocket Boys. "

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About the Author

Homer Hickam is the author of the New York Times bestseller Rocket Boys, which was made into the acclaimed movie October Sky. He has also authored the military history bestseller Torpedo Junction, along with several other popular historical and science fiction novels. A respected amateur historian, scuba expedition leader, and military veteran, he continues to write using his personal experience and history for creative material.

About the Narrator

Frank Muller (1951–2008) was an Audie Award–winning narrator. A classically trained actor, Frank appeared on both television and the stage. His credits include Hamlet, The Crucible, The Taming of the Shrew, The Importance of Being Earnest, Law & Order, All My Children, and many, many more. In 1999 Frank was awarded the AudioFile Lifetime Achievement Award, the top honor in the audiobook community. He has also won twenty-three Earphones Awards.