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Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man,…
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Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph… (2011)

by Michael Hingson

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When the first plane hit the North Tower on the morning of 9/11, Michael Hingson was at work on the 78th floor, preparing to start a presentation to visiting clients of his employer, Quantum. The building shook, and tilted, and his sighted colleagues, who could see the burning papers and other debris falling, started to panic. It was Hingson, believing what he was told but not able to see it, and influenced by the calmness of his guide dog, Roselle, clearly indicating that they weren't in immediate danger, who took control and led an orderly evacuation of the office.

Thunder Dog interleaves the story of Hingson, Roselle, and Hingson's colleagues escaping from Tower One, with the story of Michael Hingson growing up blind in a family that refused to follow then-typical medical advice to isolate him in a home for the blind, but instead "mainstreaming" him before the term was invented. We see how his atypical upbringing--both the fact of his blindness, and the fact that his family expected and supported his full integration into everyday, "sighted" life, helped to develop the skills that in turn enabled him to be a leader in the 9/11 evacuation. Courage was necessary to be a steady, calm force in the stairwell of Tower One, but in many ways it took more courage to get to that point, to overcome assumptions, expectations, and bias to be working, productive professional despite the barriers created by not only his blindness but others' attitudes toward it. This is not the story of a dog, but the story of a partnership between dog and man, each supporting the other, putting their talents and strengths together for the benefit of not only themselves, but everyone around them.

Hingson tells his story with grace and humor, and it's read very effectively by Christopher Prince. As a bonus extra in this audio version, we get a couple of speeches and an interview that Hingson did, delivering even more effectively his wit, humor, and charm.

Highly recommended. ( )
  LisCarey | Sep 19, 2018 |
This is a good book with insight into the life of a blind man and the life of guide dogs. The successful escape from Tower 1 on 9/11 was also interesting. ( )
  hemlokgang | Aug 14, 2017 |
Thunder Dog – The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog and the Triumph of Trust at Ground ZeroBy Michael Hingson with Susy Flory
3.5 stars (round up to four)


That’s quite a sub-title, and it’s quite a story. Michael Hingson was on the 78th floor of the north tower with his guide dog, Roselle on the morning of Sept.11, 2001. This is a memoir of his experience that day, but it is also the story of his life as a blind person in a sighted world. Beginning with his parents’ refusal to have him sent away to a special school, he describes his boyhood attending public school and riding his bike in Palmdale, California. He tells of receiving his first guide dog the subsequent fight with the local school board to allow the dog on the school bus. Each experience from his childhood, undergraduate education, and his later professional career is related with reference to the skills acquired that allowed him to survive the evacuation from the tower.

For the most part this was a very well constructed memoir that kept my interest from beginning to end. As an educator, I was fascinated with Michael’s story of his school years during a time when “mainstreaming” of the disabled was unknown. I was also personally interested because he grew-up in a school district very near to where I teach and we attended the same university at approximately the same time. His first person account of being at Ground Zero is as terrifying as the day itself. The only jarring note in the book was, I think, a bit of poor editing. A small section of the story shifts from Michael’s first person account to his wife’s account of the fateful day, her own disability and their relationship. Her story is just as interesting, but the transition between the two was not well done.

I had a kindle version of this book and I also picked up the audio version from the library. The audio version was very annoying. Each section of the story was punctuated by an unnecessary, militaristic fanfare that interrupted to the presentation. The reader, Christopher Prince, added more confusion to the poorly edited change in narrator when he did not alter his voice in any way to indicate that a new person, let alone a woman, was speaking. The audio did include an interview with Michael Hingson at the end and some pdf material that were worth having.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
A fantastic book about what it's like to be blind in the modern world and unique view of what it was like to be there at 9/11.
( )
  Schlyne | Nov 12, 2015 |
What ages would I recommend it too? – Thirteen and up.

Length? – Most of a day’s read.

Characters? – Memorable, several characters.

Setting? – Real world 1950 - 2009.

Written approximately? – 2011.

Does the story leave questions in the readers mind? – Ready to read more.

Any issues the author (or a more recent publisher) should cover? No.

Short storyline: This is a biography with scenes shifting from the tragedy of September 11, 2001 to earlier events in the main author's life that prepared him for that event.

Notes for the reader: Large print version. Many places within that contain valuable background, help, and hope for those living with blindness. As a low vision reader, I had hoped to find a few points that would help me as my vision decreases. There is a list of resources in the back that I will research. ( )
  AprilBrown | Feb 25, 2015 |
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Dedication
For Karen, my best friend, my world, and the rock ho kept my grounded after 9/11.

For Hazel tenBroek. Hazel, I never got to meet Chick, but through you and you stories, I got to know and admire him and his teachings. For a guy whom intellectuals said could never be a law student due to blindness, he certainly went on to become one of the most respected constitutional law scholars in the U.S. And to think he put his wisdom to work founding and building the Naional Federation of the Blind. Thank you for sharing him with me and so many others over the past quarter century.

-- Michael
For Gini Monroe, my favorite cowgirl, friend, and mentor.

--Susy
First words
The sighted can only imagine what it is like to be blind. (Foreword)
"I'm sorry," the doctor said. (Introduction)
September 11, 2001: I can feel her body quivering.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 140020304X, Hardcover)

Faith.  Trust.  Triumph.

"I trust Roselle with my life, every day. She trusts me to direct her. And today is no different, except the stakes are higher." Michael Hingson

First came the boom―the loud, deep, unapologetic bellow that seemed to erupt from the very core of the earth. Eerily, the majestic high-rise slowly leaned to the south. On the seventy-eighth floor of the World Trade Center's north tower, no alarms sounded, and no one had information about what had happened at 8:46 a.m. on September 11, 2001―what should have been a normal workday for thousands of people. All that was known to the people inside was what they could see out the windows: smoke and fire and millions of pieces of burning paper and other debris falling through the air.

Blind since birth, Michael couldn't see a thing, but he could hear the sounds of shattering glass, falling debris, and terrified people flooding around him and his guide dog, Roselle. However, Roselle sat calmly beside him. In that moment, Michael chose to trust Roselle's judgment and not to panic. They are a team.

Thunder Dog allows you entry into the isolated, fume-filled chamber of stairwell B to experience survival through the eyes of a blind man and his beloved guide dog. Live each moment from the second a Boeing 767 hits the north tower, to the harrowing stairwell escape, to dodging death a second time as both towers fold into the earth.

It's the 9/11 story that will forever change your spirit and your perspective. Thunder Dog illumiates 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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:34 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

A blind man and his guide dog show the power of trust and courage in the midst of devastating terror.

» see all 4 descriptions

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