Book Review of Wings of Fire

Book Review of Wings of Fire

Wings of Fire is the autobiography of the former president of India, Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. It’s a book that was eyeing for a long time. As its the autobiography of the recipient of India’s three highest civilian awards – Padma Bhushan, Padma Vibhushan and Bharat Ratna. Furthermore, an autobiography of the most loved president of India. I thought that I could gain a lot of inspiration from Wings of Fire. And I Have decided to do a book review of Wings of Fire by APJ Abdul Kalam. So, I can convince you to read it as well. Although make a note, it is a book review of Wings of Fire by APJ Abdul Kalam and not of the one by Tui T. Sutherland.

Table of contents:

  • Synopsis
  • Wings of Fire summary
  • Conclusion


Avul Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam, the son of a little-educated boat-owner in Rameswaram, had an unparalleled career as a defense scientist. Culminating in the highest civilian award of India, the Bharat Ratna. As chief of the country’s defense research and development program, Kalam demonstrated the great potential for dynamism and innovation that existed in seemingly moribund research establishments. This is the story of Kalam’s rise from obscurity and his personal and professional struggles. As well as the story of Agni, Prithvi, Akash, Trishul and Nag-missiles that have become household names in India. And that has raised the nation to the level of a missile power of international reckoning. This is also the saga of independent India’s struggle for technological self-sufficiency and defensive autonomy. A story as much about politics, domestic and international, as it is about science.

Wings of Fire Summary

Kalam introduces us to his early life in Rameswaram. He was born and raised in a secure middle-class Tamil family. He proceeds to describe the communal harmony in Rameswaram. The book is filled with various monochrome pictures like learning from educators, upbringing, and many more. Kalam throws light on the time he got selected at Madras Institute of Technology (MIT) for engineering. His elder sister helped him economically when the finances of Kalams’ family were not very nice. This encouraged Kalam to study hard for a scholarship. At MIT, he dreamed to fly an aircraft and hence took up aeronautical engineering. Although, Kalam could not join the Indian Air force and hence, his dream to fly remained unfulfilled. Later, he got a job as a Senior Scientific Assistant at DTD&P (Air). 

Kalam throws light on his work schedule when he started leading projects. While working with DRDO, he participated in several satellite launches. In 1980, he was the manager of the SLV-III project which is India’s first indigenous Satellite Launch Vehicle. Moreover, as we know, Kalam is a poet and is a huge fan of poems. He has put in a lot of his poems in the book.

Sea waves, golden sand, pilgrims’ faith,

Rameswaram Mosque Street, all merge into one,

My Mother!

You come to me like heaven’s caring arms.

I remember the war days when life was challenge and toil—

Miles to walk, hours before sunrise,

Walking to take lessons from the saintly teacher near the temple…..

On the successful launch of India’s missile program, Kalam received the Padma Vibhushan. Kalam always said, “Failures are seeds of further learning” and strongly believed that India can be a technological leader.


Wings of Fire is not just a book about Dr. APJ Abdul Kalams’ journey before becoming the president of India. We find a reminiscent narrative of early India side by side. We get to read a lot of genius people in space research & rocketry have in good detail. Wings of Fire ends on a happy note with Kalam becoming the scientific advisor in India’s Defense Ministry. We get a lot of inspiration from wings of fire to go on. What stands out the most is the positive thinking of Kalam. It is a simple, secular, inspiring humanitarian book that gives us hope. We get to know Kalam as the most efficient feedback loop of the human mind ever. The book is pretty much insightful which some biographies fail to be. We also a lot of quotes from Wings of Fire which might stay with us forever. But I think this will the best one to end the book review of Wings of Fire.

I am a well in this great land
Looking at its millions of boys and girls
To draw from me
The inexhaustible divinity
And spread His grace everywhere
As does the water drawn from a well.

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