Tuesday, August 23, 2011

THUNDER DOG: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero. By Michael Hingson with Susy Flory

I looked forward to reading this book and it didn’t disappoint. I highly recommend Thunder Dog.  

Together Michael Hingson and his guide dog, Roselle, escaped from the 78th floor of the World Trade Center’s North Tower on Sept. 11, 2001.  Their flight to safety is a harrowing tale in itself, yet this book also educated me on the blind in our society and how remarkably competent they can be … usually are, in fact. 

Roselle’s story, too, is one of love and loyalty. Although terrified of thunder storms, Roselle remains valiant and focused throughout their long descent down stairwell B amid heat, suffocating fumes, and lack of water.  

Those climbing down the stairwell are isolated from any knowledge of what happened or why. Their cell phones don’t work. All they can do is keep moving downward and hope to reach the lower level and out of the building. All they know is that there was a horrible loud noise, and that their building listed before righting itself. Heat and smoke tell them there is fire above, and Michael Hingson recognizes the smell of jet fuel, giving him a hint that a plane probably hit their Tower. 

Roselle not only carefully guides Michael down the 78 flights of stairs, once outside, the  collapse of Tower Two endangers their lives again. It is Roselle who finds shelter from the swarming, choking ash by leading Michael into one of New York’s underground subways.

Michael Hingson portrays the dramatic events as they unfolded in a sympathetic, matter-of-fact way that makes it difficult to put the book down. Yet, much of the book also discusses how he and his family have dealt with his blindness. The book is full of optimism regarding blindness and helped me to see it in a whole new way.  Michael calls blindness a “nuisance,” and “an annoyance,” rather than a “handicap.” He believes that the blind can compete equally with the sighted and should always be given that opportunity.

This is a wonderful book on two fronts. There is the captivating story of some who escaped the Twin Towers on that horrible day, and there is an excellent insight (no pun intended) into the world of the blind and all that they are able to accomplish in spite of being blind.

The book also contains “Resources for Blindness,” and a “Glossary of Terms Related to Blindness.” Buy a copy. You won’t be sorry you did!

Our gratitude to BookSneeze for providing a review copy. We thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated reading Thunder Dog.
— Gail Lewis

Hardcover: 234 pages
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Language:  English
ISBN-10: 140020304X
ISBN-13:  978-1400203048

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