Wings Of Fire by APJ Abdul Kalam: Book Review

Wings of Fire Book Review
Ratings: Wings of Fire by A.P.J Abdul Kalam

Wings of Fire is an inspiring autobiography of the most respectable Former President of India – Dr.  A.P.J.  Abdul Kalam. Dr. Kalam along with Ankit Tiwari pens down the journey of a young boy and developing India.

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The book is very impactful and influencing. Published in 1999, Wings of Fire and “India 2020: A Vision For the New Millennium” became very popular.

This book deals with every essential aspect of Kalam’s life. The text takes us through the ups and downs faced by Kalam sir before tasting the success.

It also involves the moral lessons which we should adopt in our lives. It has something for both the academic and non- academic readers.

Wings of Fire divides into four segments – Orientation, Creation, Propitiation, and Contemplation. These divided sections enable the reader an easier comprehension of the text.

While, it serves with the vivid description of Rameswaram , and also pictures the developing nation. It is an intensive portrayal of rise of Kalam.

At the same time, the birth of AGNI, TRISHUL and NAG missiles that have become household names in India. These missiles have allowed international acknowledgement to India.

The autobiography makes us believe in the power of Dream, Belief and Hope. Dr. Kalam tells how with determination and consistency one can achieve anything.

It is a very encouraging tale of honorable Dr. Abdul Kalam. We find the book translated and published into thirteen languages . Globally, it is available to read in French and Chinese languages.

About Author- Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam

Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam -Booksloveme
Dr. A.P.J Abdul Kalam

Avul Pakir Jainulabdeen Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931 and died on 27 July, 2015. He was the eleventh President of India (2002-2007), and also knows as “THE MISSILE MAN OF INDIA” within and outside India.

Being a great Aerospace Scientist, he was a great politician too. Dr. Kalam spent his early years in Rameswaram, Tamil Nadu. Later he moved to Ramnathpuram and Chennai for higher studies.

He studied physics and aerospace engineering, and worked as a scientist at Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

Dr. Kalam contributed in military missile development efforts and India’s civilian space program. The development of ballistic missile and launch vehicle technology earned him the title of MISSILE MAN OF INDIA.

As a human, Dr. Kalam has been benevolent throughout his life. We find him keen to learn and grow. He did not have in himself a tinge of proud.

Dr. Kalam possessed a sense of compassion and gratitude for whosoever crossed his path. Not only did science but he also delved into literature.

Dr. Kalam held profound affection for his motherland. The support and blessings of his family, friends and mentors allowed him to step up. He received many prestigious awards including Padma Bhushan and Bharata Ratna Award.

While delivering a lecture At Indian Institute of Management (Shillong), he collapsed and left for heavens.

Wings of Fire- Book Review


The Wings of Fire throws a light on the life of Dr. Kalam. The story of a dreamer, who rose from rags to riches.

The division of text into four segments helps the reader to understand each section in a better way. The first segment deals with the childhood of the visionary.

He holds immense respect for his family, friends and mentors. The walk with Ahmed Jallaluddin is among the best memories of his childhood.

Wings of fire book insights
Wings of fire book insights

Dr. Kalam earned his first wages with the help of his cousin Samsuddin. The depiction of close knit relations among people of different religions is pleasing.

Once at school, Kalam became a victim of religious bigotry. The new teacher asked Kalam not to sit with a hindu boy. The teacher was later, made to apologize.

Another teacher of Kalam invited him for dinner at his place. The teacher’s wife denied serving a muslim boy in her holy kitchen.

Kalam was then, served the food by his teacher. The teacher called him again for dinner. This time the wife of the teacher served the meal to him.

Dr. Kalam’s mother inculcated in him kindness and faith in good. He inherited from his father self discipline and honesty.

His sister sold her gold jewellery to pay his fees. People around Kalam were noble and kind. They believed in the little seagull who aimed of flying.


This segment of Wings of Fire includes Kalam’s further education and work experience. At Ramnathpuram, his faculty Professor Iyer made him understand the importance of desire, belief and hope.

After completing Bachelors in Physics in 1950, he discovered that physics does not interest him. He moved to Chennai and enrolled himself into Madras Institute of Technology.

Dr. Abdul Kalam after casting vote
Dr. Abdul Kalam after casting vote

Dr. Kalam studied Aerospace engineering, and worked as a trainee engineer at Hindustan Aeronautical Limited. He got interviewed for both the Air Force and the Directorate of Technical Development and Production, DTD&P(Air), at the Ministry of Defense.

His dream of flying got shattered. The rejection from Air Force left him numb. He met Swami Sivananda who told him to believe in the journey and keep moving ahead.

Few years later, the transfer at ADE in Bangalore offered him the designation of a director. There, he worked at project Nandi.

Professor Sarabhai took his interview at ICSR. Professor Sarabhai influenced Kalam the most. He served as a rocket engineer at ICSR. In 1962, NASA welcomed Kalam for training of rocket launching.

Launched on 21 November, 1963 the first Indian Rocket brought success to him. Under the supervision of Professor Vikram Sarabhai, Kalam headed the project of Satellite Launch Vehicle.

The demise of Professor Sarabhai left Kalam in the state of utter shock. Dr. Kalam titled him as the Father of Indian Science. The project of SLV brought disappointment to him. The successful launch of SLV took place on 18 July, 1980.

Propitiation and Contemplation

These last two sections provide us with the picture of an established Kalam. He receives many awards during this tenure.

Chapter 4 of wings of fire
Chapter 4 of Wings of Fire

Dr. Kalam feels agitated when he does not find his father, mother, Jalaluddin, and Prof. Sarabhai to celebrate his achievements. His envisions of a technologically developed India. He toils day and night to make his dream come true.

The third section covers the years between 1980 to1991. After many struggles, Kalam gets appointed as a Director in DRDL in 1982.

Anna University, Madras confers the honorary degree of Doctor of Science on him. With the successful development of Ballistic Missiles, he gains the title of Missile Man of India.

Government of India honored him with Padma Bhushan on 26 January, 1981. The twenty four picture plates keeps a reader entertained.

Kalam’s contribution in some important technological developments is noteworthy. As a rocket scientist, he worked for triumphant launch of SLV3, AGNI, TRISHUL, AKASH and NAG missiles.

The last section covers the later years of Kalam’s life. Dr. Brahm Prakash played an important role in shaping his leadership skills.

Kalam held respect and integrity for his seniors. He mentions his vision for a proud India. He attains many honors and awards for his performance and talks about his dream for the year 2020.

In the epilogue, we get details about his three major scientific establishments. These establishments are Space, Defense Research and Atomic Energy.

My Understanding of Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam from The Wings of Fire

Dr. Kalam was a virtuous man. With his feet on the ground, he aspire to touch the sky. He was a great visionary. His contributions to India are huge. He worshipped science.

Dr. Kalam proved to the world that the union of science and faith is possible. He was a “spiritual scientist”, and a remarkable leader.

Dr. Kalam knew how to keep his team tact. He made sure that everyone has equal participation in the project. The most motivating aspect about him is his will to never give up.

He dreamed of a self-sufficient India. Dr. Kalam believed in producing “swadeshi” equipment’s rather than purchasing from other countries.

Dr. Kalam viewed the potential in India to develop her own rockets and satellites. Further, he laid foundation for missile technology in India, and attained the title of Missile Man of India.

As a young man, he was eager to learn. His reminiscence of Rameswaram was among his best memories.

He had many well-wishers including his family, friends and mentors. They had faith in the boy’s dream. Kalam possessed gratitude and kindness. His father’s blessing rendered as a support for him.

Dr. Kalam was an honest, self – disciplined and laborious human. He never fear to work hard irrespective of any situation.

People used to adore him for his courage and determination. He was a commendable poet, and was a man of morals and values.

What did I like the Most in Wings of Fire?

The narration of the text is praise worthy. The language used by the writer is simple. It seems that the author is talking straight way to the reader.

Initial chapters of the book are very intriguing. The description of natural beauty of Rameswaram is pictorial. Readers get a chance to walk around the lanes of Rameswaram. We come across how religious bigotry gets imbibed in young minds.

The representation of communal harmony is heavenly. The morals mentioned are a grooming session for everyone.

A burning desire in Kalam to do something is propelling. They tell us how delicate and essential our relationships are. He valued the people around him.

Something that I liked the most is poems. Dr. Kalam was quite fond of poems. The mention of different stanzas of poems at the end of the paragraph adds to its beauty.

Kalam’s use of poem gives a shining effect to the text. His devotion to science is also notable. Dr. Abdul Kalam was a humble man. His life has something to teach to everyone. The struggles of Kalam are genuine and may leave you in tears.

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Wings of Fire Quotes

Wings of fire Quotes
Wings of Fire Quotes

“Adversity always presents opportunities for introspection.”

“The importance of the peak lies only in the fact that it defines the sides.”

“Within the mind are all the resources required for successful living. Ideas are present in the consciousness, which when released and given scope to grow and take shape, can lead to successful events.”

“To succeed in life and achieve results, you must understand and master three mighty forces— desire, belief, and expectation.”

“We are all born with a divine fire in us. Our efforts should be to give wings to this fire and fill the world with the glow of its goodness”.

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