Faith. Trust. Triumph.
“I’m sorry,” the doctor said. “He is permanently and totally blind. There is nothing we can do for him.”
George and Sarah Hingson looked at each other, devastated. Their six-month-old son, Michael was a happy, strawberry blond baby boy, healthy and normal in every way except one. When the Hingsons switched on a light or made silly faces, Michael did not react. Ever. “My best suggestion is that you send him to a home for the blind,” the doctor continued. “He will never be able to do anything for himself.”
Forty-seven years later, a yellow Labrador retriever puppy was born in the whelping unit of Guide Dogs for the Blind in San Rafael, California. The puppy’s name was Roselle. On September 11, 2001, she saved Michael’s life. This is Roselle’s story too.
—From the Introduction
Every moment in Michael Hingson’s and Roselle’s lives seemed to lead up to this day. When one of four hijacked planes flew into the World Trade Center’s north tower on September 11, 2001, Michael Hingson, a district sales manager for a data protection and network security systems company, was sitting down for a meeting. His guide dog, Roselle, was at his feet. Paired for twenty-one months, man and dog spent that time forging a bond of trust, much like police partners who trust their lives to each other.
Michael couldn’t see a thing, but he could hear the sounds of shattering glass, falling debris, and terrified people flooding around him and Roselle. However, Roselle sat calmly beside him. In that moment, Michael chose to trust Roselle’s judgment and not to panic. They were a team.
Thunder Dog is a story that will forever change your spirit and your perspective. It illuminates Hingson’s lifelong determination to achieve parity in a sighted world and how the rare trust between a man and his guide dog can inspire an unshakable faith in each one of us.
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About the Author
Michael Hingson, national ambassador for the Braille Literacy Campaign, is a miraculous survivor of 9/11. He lives with his wife, Karen, in the San Francisco Bay Area with two guide dogs, Africa and Fantasia, and one cat, Sherlock.
Susy Flory is the author or coauthor of eight books, including the New York Times bestseller Thunder Dog. She lives in California and is the director of the West Coast Christian Writers Conference.
Read an Excerpt
THUNDER DOGTHE TRUE STORY OF A BLIND MAN, HIS GUIDE DOG, AND THE TRIUMPH OF TRUST AT GROUND ZERO
By MICHAEL HINGSON Susy Flory
Thomas NelsonCopyright © 2011 Michael Hingson
All right reserved.
Chapter OneDAY OF THUNDER
The bond with a dog is as lasting as the ties of this earth can ever be. KONRAD LORENZ
September 11, 2001: I can feel her body quivering. It's twelve thirty in the morning, and Roselle is afraid of the thunder. Again.
Drowsy, I prop myself up on one elbow and reach down to stroke her back, then touch her ears. I finger their velvety softness. She reaches up and noses my hand. Usually her nose feels cool and wet, but this time it feels warm. She's panting, and her damp, foggy breath hangs in the air between us.
I hear the rhythmic breathing of Karen, my wife. Good, she's still asleep.
Roselle's quivering becomes shaking, and I know I'll have to get up. I lie back for a moment and listen. I hear the wind testing the windows but nothing else yet. Roselle knows a storm is brewing. She usually gets nervous about thirty minutes before the thunder rolls in.
I yawn and rub my face, trying to wake up. My alarm is set for 5:00, and I realize that by the time I get up with Roselle, wait out the storm with her, and get her back to bed, I'm not going to get much sleep. She stands up and begins to pant again. I sit up and rub Roselle's chin and neck, then push my feet into my slippers and stand up, grabbing my robe. Roselle rubs against my legs, happy that she won't have to face this storm alone. Her powerful Labrador retriever tail slaps against my knees once or twice as I follow her out of the room.
We head down the hallway, partly open to the first floor, then down sixteen stairs. The wooden banister feels cooler down toward the bottom. I remember hearing yesterday on the news that this storm is a cold one, blowing down from Canada and bringing the first touch of autumn to Westfield, New Jersey.
Roselle's nails tap rhythmically as she crosses the oak floor in the entryway, passes the elevator door, and heads down the steps to the basement. I follow, listening for differences in the air that keep me oriented to the three-dimensional floor plan of our house.
* * *
I first began to hear my surroundings when I was four years old. Someone gave me a kiddie car that I could drive around the apartment. I quickly learned to work the pedals and tore through the rooms at high speed. One day, while out for a spin in the living room, I drove right into the coffee table. The hood of the car was just the right height to slide underneath, and my face slammed into the edge of the table. One hospital emergency room visit and three stitches in my chin later, I faced the wrath of Mom. I suppose she could have taken away the car to make sure I never had another accident, but she didn't. "Mike, you're going to have to do a better job of watching where you're going," she said. A funny thing to say to a blind kid, but what she meant was that I should listen better. So I did.
Thanks in part to Mom's encouragement, in part to my just working at it, and in large part to the desire to avoid more trips to the emergency room, I began to pay more attention to what I could tell about my surroundings through my ears. And somehow I learned to hear the coffee table as I approached it. I could hear a change as I passed from one room to another. When I walked, I could hear a doorway. As I continued to race around in my pedal car, my confidence grew, and I learned to get beyond the need for eyesight. How many other four-year-olds can race their pedal cars around the house at high speed in the pitch dark? Not the light-dependent ones.
* * *
As I follow Roselle down the stairs to my basement office, I begin to hear the first deep rumbles of the approaching thunderstorm. Roselle dives under my desk and begins panting again, this time faster and louder. She is one of the most easygoing dogs I've ever known, but thunder spooks her. It's funny, though; Roselle has guided me during storms, and even though she doesn't like it, her guide dog training prevails and she guides well.
No one knows for sure why some dogs are terrified of thunderstorms. It may be that they are more sensitive to drops in barometric pressure. Or perhaps, because dogs hear at much higher and lower frequencies, they are simply hearing the storm before we do. Another possibility is that dogs can smell a storm. Lightning ionizes air with the formation of ozone, which has a characteristic metallic smell. But more likely it has to do with changes in the static electric field that precedes a storm. An electrical engineer named Tom Critzer had a dog named Cody with a severe storm phobia much like Roselle's, so he designed a cape with a special metallic lining that discharges the dog's fur and shields it from the static charge buildup. I don't have a magical thunder cape for Roselle but I do crank up the volume of a radio news program to help mask the rumbling and booming.
As we wait through the storm together in the dark, Roselle cocooned at my feet, I turn on my computer and do some work to pass the time. Between the noise of the radio, my fingers tapping on the keyboard, and the rhythmic mutter of my screen reader, Roselle stops shaking, and I can sense her body starting to relax. I don't mind having the extra time to finish preparing for my morning meeting. We're expecting fifty guests for four sales training sessions, and as regional sales manager, I'm in charge of the presentation.
An hour and a half later, the thunderstorm has passed, and Roselle and I head back upstairs to bed. In less than six hours, we'll be at the World Trade Center.
We have a big day ahead.
Chapter Two1,463 STAIRS
It was one of those moments in which history splits, and we define the world as "before" and "after."
NEW YORK TIMES EDITORIAL, SEPTEMBER 12, 2001
Roselle is under my desk again. This time she's not quaking in fear but snoozing, as only dogs can, in utter relaxation. I'm scrambling to get ready for the morning sales training sessions.
It's already been a very busy morning. Between sitting up with Roselle during the storm and then getting up just a few hours later, at 5 a.m., I almost wish I'd had black coffee instead of my usual PG tips tea, but I am a tea drinker first and foremost.
Because of the scheduled meetings, I had set my alarm for a little earlier than usual. I needed to get to work early and make sure everything was perfect for both the presentation and the breakfast. I was looking forward to serving what I thought were the best ham and cheese croissants in New York City, ordered from the forty-fourth-floor Port Authority cafeteria called the Sky Dive.
While I'd shaved, showered, and dressed, Roselle had continued sleeping on her blanket next to the bed. She's probably still worn out from dealing with the thunderstorm. I let her sleep as long as I could. When it was time to go downstairs and eat, Roselle tracked my movements as usual, running ahead of me down the hallway and then downstairs to the kitchen. Since we did not have a fenced-in yard, I first took her outside on leash to relieve herself then came back in and turned on the TV. While I started in on a bowl of Special K, I listened to the news. My mind was on the morning meetings, but in the background I heard reports on the primaries; by the end of the day we'd know who was going to replace Mayor Giuliani. I got up and let Roselle back in. She grabbed her favorite Nylabone and played quietly while I finished breakfast.
A few minutes before six, I called Roselle and buckled up her harness. She has a pixielike personality, energetic and fun loving. She plays whenever she can and works when she has to. But the leather guide dog harness is like Roselle's uniform; when she wears it, her behavior changes. She becomes less bouncy, more focused, and she always takes her job seriously. She demands that I do my job too. And she loves being part of a team.
Charlie, the owner of Happy Fox Taxi, picked us up for the ten-minute cab ride to the New Jersey Transit station. We waited at the station for the 6:18 train, but the public address system announcement said the train would be fifteen minutes late. This was a surprisingly rare occurrence, especially disappointing on a day I had planned to arrive early in New York. After two more announcements of additional delays, the train finally arrived. The train was stuffed full of passengers, all equally annoyed, and our arrival at the Newark station couldn't happen too soon.
In Newark we immediately caught a PATH train headed for the World Trade Center. PATH stands for Port Authority Trans-Hudson and provides rail service between New York City and New Jersey. The tracks cross the Hudson River through century-old cast iron tubes that rest on the river bottom under a thin layer of silt and then continue through tunnels under the streets of Manhattan. We got off the train at the World Trade Center PATH station, which connected to the World Trade Center towers via an underground concourse and shopping station. The concourse connected the Twin Towers and was like a city, always bustling with people hurrying to work or going in and out of the restaurants, bars, and shops. We took our usual route through the underground parking lot on the fourth sublevel to an elevator that took us to the lobby of the North Tower, also known as Tower 1. The electronic security unit scanned my ID card, then Roselle and I entered the elevator.
I loved working in the World Trade Center. The Twin Towers dominated the building complex, made up of seven buildings and a concourse on sixteen acres of land. The last building in the project was completed in 1973. For one year, Towers 1 and 2 were the tallest buildings in the world. Each tower rose 1,353 feet and had 110 stories and 21,800 windows. Building components included 200,000 tons of steel, 425,000 cubic yards of concrete, and 600,000 square feet of glass window area. Together the two towers weighed 1.5 million tons. New Yorkers loved to brag that the World Trade Center even had its own zip code.
Roselle and I got off the elevator at the 78th floor. I unlocked the door to 7827, the office suite for Quantum/ATL, a Fortune 500 company that provided data protection and network storage systems. I served as the regional sales manager and head of operations in New York.
Our office suite consisted of four large rooms, side by side, measuring twenty-seven feet from hallway to the window wall overlooking southwest New York City. First was a small reception area. Beyond that were some tables and the ATL P-3000, our massive tape backup system; it was about 6 feet tall and weighed over 1,300 pounds. Through a door to the left was my office, also used for product demonstration, file storage, and housing our computer server. To the right was a conference room with an eleven-foot table, and further right was an office where the sales reps had desks.
Just five seconds after we arrived, so did the breakfast deliveryman. I helped him unpack and organize the hot plates, pastries, bagels, coffee, and ham and cheese croissants in the conference room. He left quickly, on to his next delivery.
A few minutes later, David Frank, a Quantum colleague, arrived, along with six people from Ingram Micro, a company we did business with. He had helped organize the day's seminars and would be attending the meeting. David was a tall, quiet, thoughtful man from our California headquarters.
Roselle and I welcomed them all, then I went back to work setting up the conference room and testing out the presentation on my laptop. Roselle snuggled into her favorite spot under my desk. This was her usual office hangout when not performing her self-assigned duty as greeter.
A little after eight, one of the Ingram people left to return to the lobby to meet and direct others as they arrived. This left five guests in the conference room. David and I worked in my office on a spreadsheet list of attendees, making a few additions and corrections as we confirmed names. We were preparing to print out a final list on Quantum stationery to fax downstairs to the WTC security people when I realized I was out of stationery.
I carefully slid my feet out from under Roselle's sleepy head. Then, just as I stand up and turn to the supply cabinet to get some more letterhead, I hear a tremendous BOOM! It is 8:46 a.m. The building shudders violently, then starts to groan and slowly tip to the southwest. In slow motion, the tower leans over something like twenty feet.
I grew up in earthquake country near the San Andreas Fault in Southern California, so my first instinct is to go and stand in the doorway, but I know this is no earthquake. Roselle stays put under my desk while David clutches it for support. Ceiling tiles fall to the floor. We are both confused. "What could that have been?" David and I ask.
Was it an explosion? Something hitting the building? What could make it tilt that way?
Could it be an attack? No, it doesn't make sense to put a bomb that high up. It must be some kind of a gas explosion.
As we talk, the building continues tilting. Disaster seems imminent. Another few seconds and I fear the building will fall over and we will plummet to the street. God, don't let this building tip over, I pray silently.
Tearfully, David and I say good-bye. I'm pretty sure I'm going to die.
Then slowly, miraculously, the tilting stops and the building begins to right itself. The whole episode lasts about a minute. Just then, Roselle decides to wake up from her nap. She emerges from under my desk and quietly looks around. I can't even imagine what she is thinking, but I emerge from the doorway and grab her leash to make sure we won't be separated. I have no idea what just happened, but I'm grateful to be alive.
David looks out the window behind my desk and shouts, "Oh, my God!" The windows above us have blown out, and there is smoke and fire and millions of pieces of burning paper falling through the air. I hear debris brushing past the windows.
* * *
What we didn't know until much later is that American Airlines Flight 11, a Boeing 767 leaving Boston for Los Angeles, had been hijacked. Five men affiliated with Al-Qaeda, a Muslim terrorist organization spearheaded by Osama bin Laden, had broken into the cockpit and taken over the plane. The hijacker-pilot, a thirty-three-year-old Egyptian man named Mohammed Atta, flew the commercial jet into our building at the speed of 500 miles an hour, cutting through floors 93 to 99. Loaded with ninety-two people and around 10,000 gallons of jet fuel, the plane blasted into the North Tower with a force equal to 480,000 pounds of TNT. The shock registered a magnitude of 0.9 on a seismograph at Columbia University, equal to that of a small earthquake.
The impact created a huge fireball. As the plane plowed through the building, it created a cloud of jet fuel that ignited into a firestorm, burning an estimated 1,000 to 3,000 gallons of jet fuel. An instant inferno, the blaze was so intense it drove temperatures as high as 2,000 degrees. The impact also caused acute structural damage, demolishing some thirty-five exterior columns between floors 94 and 98 and destroying portions of those floors.
* * *
Although the impact was more than a dozen floors above us and on the other side of the building, our office is a mess. The swaying of the tower caused the contents of the office to hit the floor along with ceiling tiles and building materials.
I hear our guests screaming in the conference room.
David yells, "We have to get out of here NOW!"
"I agree," I say. "But let's slow down and do it the right way." I want to get our guests out first then follow after we close up the office. I'd attended many of the World Trade Center emergency training sessions, and we did fire drills every six months. I run over the guidelines in my mind. Avoid the elevators. Take the stairs. And don't panic.
Don't panic. Some may think that might seem easy for me to say, since I can't see the flames, smoke, and debris out the window like David can. Here's the blind guy, telling David to do something contrary to what his eyes and his instincts are telling him. I have a good imagination, and I understand what's going on as much as anyone else could understand such an unexpected and catastrophic event.
But what David doesn't understand is that I have a piece of information he does not have. When the debris began to fall and the flames leaped out of the floors above us, and even while the people in the conference room screamed, Roselle sat next to me, as calm as ever. She does not sense any danger in the flames, smoke, or anything else that is going on around us. If she had sensed danger, she would have acted differently. But she does not. I choose to trust Roselle's judgment and so I will not panic. Roselle and I are a team.
Excerpted from THUNDER DOG by MICHAEL HINGSON Susy Flory Copyright © 2011 by Michael Hingson. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Introduction The Real Story....................xi
ONE Day of Thunder....................1
TWO 1,463 Stairs....................5
THREE My Other Soul Mate....................15
FOUR Hearing the Coffee Table....................31
FIVE Kicked off the Bus....................47
SIX Driving in the Dark....................63
SEVEN Warriors with Guide Dogs....................79
EIGHT I Forgot You Are Blind....................93
NINE Running with Roselle....................107
TEN We Are Pretty Much Just Like You....................121
ELEVEN Woman on Wheels....................137
TWELVE A Brush and a Booda Bone....................151
THIRTEEN Shake Off the Dust....................167
FOURTEEN It's All Worth It....................175
Timeline for September 11, 2001....................183
The Courtesy Rules for Blindness....................191
Blindness: A Left-Handed Dissertation by Kenneth Jernigan....................193
Resources for Blindness....................205
Glossary of Terms Related to Blindness....................215
For Further Reading....................229
About the Authors....................231
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Each tower has three stairwells. We head for Stairwell B, in the center. Safety is somewhere down below and 1,463 stairs are the only way out. ~ Michael Hingson Thunder Dog by Michael Hingson with Susy Flory is an autobiography of the author and his service guide dog and companion, Roselle. This touching and heartwarming story is different in scope than most books about September 11, 2001 and will forever change your spirit and perspective of this tragic day. Roselle is afraid of thunderstorms. The author had been up with his dog throughout the previous night during the thunder and lightning, but woke and went to work, September 11, 2001. When one of the hijacked planes flew into the World Trade Center's north tower, Roselle was fearless. Michael Hingson's description of their descent to the ground level is more detailed than any sighted account I've read to this date. His senses are so alert that he vividly describes smells, sounds, and reactions from Roselle that paint pictures for the reader. This book is not only about 9/11, but about his life as a blind man growing up in America. Throughout his journey down the stairs of the World Trade Center, he reflects on his lifetime of learning, and relates how he used that stored knowledge to his advantage in this situation. I learned little known information that happened on the inside of the WTC, until the printing of this story. My favorite part was the author sharing how God spoke to his heart and mind during this ordeal, calming and bring peace to his soul. I also learned about service dog training and how they are literally partners with their masters. This book concludes with a wealth of useful information including: a timeline for Sept. 11, 2001, 10 Courtesy Rules For Blindness, Blindness: A Left-handed Dissertation by Kenneth Jernigan, many resources for blindness, and a glossary on terms related to blindness. You will be captivated how Michael Hingson and Roselle depended on each other and God to live through this day.
Thunder Dog by Michael Hingson is the true story of his escape from the World Trade Center on September 11th with the help of his faithful guide dog Roselle. This story was so inspiring, and so amazing that I must recommend it to everyone! The detailed account of their descent from the 78th floor of the World Trade Center during the terrorist attacks, while amazing, is not the heart of the story. The story of how Michael Hingson overcame blindness to do things that a sighted person wouldn't imagine possible for a blind man is truly what makes this book great. The obstacles he has overcome and the accessibility that he helped pioneer for the blind community is awe-inspiring. This book made me think of blindness in an entirely new way. The limitations that so many sighted people place on blind people are really our own limitations. Reading about the work and training of the guide dogs was also very interesting. I highly recommend this book to everyone. Learning how to interact with others who have blindness is the best thing I took away from this book. Every person should read this and learn from this story! They will learn what courage really looks like! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze .com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
Every life lost on 9/11 was a treasure we will never recover but as I read Michael's story, I could not believe what an unimaginable loss of knowledge and experience in human factor design for the blind community would have gone with him if he had not made it out of the Twin Towers that day. You must read this story. It is so multi-faceted. Very well done. (I did not receive a complimentary copy of the book - I purchased it on my own.)
Thunder Dog is a book that is like no other! It is a true story of man who is blind, his guide dog, and ground zero. It is written by Michael Hingson with Susy Flory and published by Thomas Nelson. Anything about ground zero hits close to home for me as my husband is a firefighter. Reading this book, opened my eyes even more than I could have thought. Thanks to this wonderful seeing eye dog, and the courage both dog and owner had, they were both able to walk out of the tower when the first plane hit. Going down the stairs with a calmness that helped others in the process of it all. This truly is a heartfelt story, and I recommend it to any dog lover, firefighter, emergency responder and family of anyone involved in emergency response or the terror that took place on that fateful day. I am a huge animal lover, and I know their capabilities. To read the bravery and sincerity of this dog, along with it's loyalty to it's owner really moves me. This book is an A+ read!!!
I think that this book is an amazing story. This story really touches my heart. I compared thunder to my dogs and my dogs are nothing like thunder
Thanks for Thomas Nelson Publishing's Booksneeze program, I received a free copy of Thunder Dog, by Michael Hingson and Susy Flory for review purposes. I got it a few days ago and devoured it in very short order. The book is Mr. Hingson's account of his experience as a survivor of the attacks on the World Trade center in September of 2001. He worked on the 78th floor of the first tower to be hit, and the bulk of the story is about his journey down the stairs, guided by his guide dog Roselle. It's a great story bu itself, but made much more interesting by interspersed glimpses in the life of the author, starting as a child whose parents refused to send to a special school for the blind. They insisted he live as normal a life as possible, which sounds great in theory, but a little scary in practice. For example, they let him ride a bike as a kid. A blind boy was allowed to ride a bicycle throughout the neighborhood. using his sense of where obstacles should be to guide him and keep him from harm's way. As a whole, the story works. It's moving, exciting, heartwarming, heart-tugging, and powerful.
This book is about a blind man namead michael hingston and his guide dog, roselleand how they escaped the north tower (tower1) in the world trade center on9/11 2001. This is the greatest book i have ever read in my whole life. One of the reasons i love this book is that it tells you about michaels past and how it was.to be born blind. I highly recommend this amazing true stry to everyone weather you are young or old boy or girl, this book is perfect for everyone. :-)
I thought that this was pretty good, but to be honest I skipped the last 30 pages or so, as it was sort of confusing for me. It did a lot of jumping around towards the end, from Michael to his wife to somebody comparing a blind person to left handed people (was that Michael or someone else explaining I still don't know!) It's pretty moving as a book and I have a lot of respect for the guide dog and man in the book. I also have a new understanding of blind people, which I appreciate. BUT, and while I understand the author had a near death experience and is deeply religious, and I wouldn't of minded a little insight of this; I felt there was too much. Not that it was preachy so much, as I just didn't feel it was needed, and took away from the real story in my mind. When it started quoting psalms, it really withdrew me from the book, and from there to the end, I wasn't so into it. Glad I read it, and the beginning was very good, but because I skipped pages at the end, I couldn't give it five stars.
Couldnt put it down one of the most fascinating books i have ever read very highly reccomended
My classmates at school recomennded the book. The first couple of pages are boring but as you go on it gets better. Cio from Jallo
This book will make you cry
A little disappointing. I expected the book to be about the dog. Mainly, the book was about a blind man who was blinded at birth and his courage and resolve to navigate in the sighted world. It was if his guide dog was relegated to a background role in this book. It was informative regarding what it's like for the blind community and the advances in technology to support their needs. Some of the book seemed far-fetched: i.e., a blind child riding his bike throughout his neighborhood and as a man, learning to drive. It contained too much Christian preaching for my liking. Had this book been titled more honestly, I wouldn't have purchased it. I was expecting an animal story not a biography of a blind man. It was well written but not what I expected.
Reading Thunder Dog was a suspenseful, frightening and yet deeply spiritual experience. Starting with a thunder storm in the early hours of 11 September 2001, Michael Hingson and his guide dog, Roselle, takes the reader through the horrifying events at the World Trade Center. From the moment the first plane crashes into the north tower, down 1,463 steps and out into the chaos of the streets that surround the WTC, to the collapse of the towers and the author's perilous journey home; this is a reading experience nobody should miss. Having owned and trained numerous dogs and having had guide dogs of my own, I'm going to start my rave about this book with Roselle. Although a guide dog must be able to keep calm and continue working under most circumstances, it is still remarkable that Roselle, who is afraid of thunder, kept her head during the noise and stressful atmosphere of 9/11. More than that, she found time to touch the hearts of a woman who started panicking as well as a fire fighter on his way to the inferno higher up in the building. "He gives Roselle one last pat. She kisses his hand and then he is gone. I would realize later that this touch was probably the last unconditional love he ever got." Each chapter starts with a relevant quote that ties into the contents of that chapter. While the author tells about his experiences, he frequently flashes back to his youth and his life as a blind person. Although this is highly informative, it also serves to crank up the suspense of how, and in what state, he will eventually emerge from this disaster. Thunder Dog is called a page-turner in the foreword with good reason. The information about blindness and guide dogs in this book is presented in a positive, even fascinating way. Part of one chapter, told from Michael's wife's point of view, emphasizes the concern and fear felt by the loved ones of those caught up in the events of 9/11. The descriptions of what Michael experiences through hearing, touch and smell while exiting the building and leaving the area, is so vivid that it creates a realistic feeling of menace and fear for the reader. Add to this the scenes of chaos, seen through the eyes of a business associate, David Frank, and Thunder Dog becomes a book that truly lets one experience that day in history. Apart from all the descriptions and recollections in this book, there is also a profound spirituality to it. The question of faith and trust in God is addressed in a touching manner that definitely made an impact on me. "We have to get out of the dust or we are going to die. But even in the dust cloud, with my guide dog now blind, too, I feel God’s presence. He is with me. I am not alone. I am running with Roselle." Thunder Dog is not without its fair share of humor. The author has a fine sense of humor which is liberally distributed throughout the book. While walking down the 1,463 steps, isolated from what is happening outside, he makes the following suggestion: “I have an idea. On our first day back in the tower, let’s all meet on the 78th floor at 8:45 a.m. and walk down the stairs as a way to lose weight.” For a reading experience that will have you alternating between nail-biting suspense, the occasional laugh, and definitely a few tears, I recommend this unforgettable book as an absolute must read. Join Michael and Roselle on their walk to safety and share in their fear, uncertainty, mutual trust and eventual victory. (Ellen Fritz)
This book is amazing, though by the 2nd paragraph on page 2 I was crying. Michael Hingson is a person that everyone needs to know. It's a story about Michael and his Guide Dogs. It talks about 9/11 and his heroing escape from the North Tower, with Roselle, his then Guide Dog at his side. You can't put this book down and be prepared for tears. I would recommend this book to anyone who wants to read a true story about an amazing man and his Guide Dog! Thank you Michael for sharing your story!!!
I really liked this book alot. It opened my eyes to the life of a person with a guide dog and it also gave me a new perspective to being blind. When I read a book, I always want to learn something and/or learn a new perspective. This met that need. Roselle and Michael bonded like no other relationship I have experienced and the horrific acts of 9/11 showed that. I also appreciated Michael's challenges he has had to encounter in his life and what a difference a parent can make in the attitude/success of a child. I recommend this book - even with the tragedy surrounding what this book illustrates, it still makes you hopeful and energized to keep going "forward".
Thunder Dog is the best book I was born on 9/11/01 so it was even more special for me to read. You should read it. You will enjoy it.
Great true story of personal experience within the tragic happenings of the terror attack on 9-11. I gained new respect for the way blind people live their lives, and how their guide dogs help them to function.
Very informative on blindness, adaptations in the world and laws. Very heartfelt account of surviving 9/11 and the love of service dog Roselle. By the title, I thought there would be more about Roselle, the dog, rather than the blind history, but overall a good read.
Thunder Dog is no page turner. It is well written and enlightening as a book describing the life a blind man is capable of living; in that sense, it opened my mind to a new way of viewing the blind. However, I was disappointed that the description of the author's experience on 9/11 was not more dramatic. In fact, the escape from the tower with the help of his guide dog is only a small part of the book, being interrupted frequently by stories of the author's birth, childhood, education and employment and the history of technology that aids the blind. However, if you have an interest in guide dogs, getting a peek into the everyday life of a blind man or you are looking for a motivational biography of a man with a can-do attitude, you may like it. Look elsewhere to read about 9/11.
Such a good book... For all ages! My 10-year-old dauter loved it, too. This author has beautiful writing, I feel sooo connected to the characters. I totally recommend this to anyone and everyone. I guarentee you will enjoy, it is not a waste of dough at all!
This was an amazing read!!! Read it in just one day! His story is truly amazing and gives a sense of hope no matter what the situation.
Great book. I highly recommend it
This book is the best book ive read in my life even though im 9 years old!!!!!!
Bought this on sale, read it in hours. Great story remembering 9/11, depicting teamwork and a gammut of emotions.