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Henderson's Light Hardcover – October 15, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
Roddy Henderson was my friend and swim mate in the summertime growing up. Among others also written about, author Jack Torry beautifully describes this particulary special young high schooler. I can say most boys wanted to be him, and every girl secretly wanted to be with him. He was a champion and an All-American swimmer and still only a junior. Jack perfectly captures the events leading up to that night when Roddy and four of his best friends meet their shocking fate. We are taken on the journey of recovery for the only two survivors, and the toll it continues to take on the families and of so many who clearly remember this catastrophe in Birmingham, Michigan.
Still shaking my head after having just read this book, I can't help but also smile as the author wonderfully takes us back to a magical time, 1965. A time of blaring AM radios, Beach Boys and early Beatles music, convertible cars, drive-ins, and cruising famous Woodward Avenue. He describes that innocent era just before the Vietnam buildup and the drug scene. These sixteen year old kids are already living in the American Dream when their futures are suddenly smashed away.
If the readers don't already know the families, you will soon, and you'll feel the pain and probably pause to remember and reflect on some great loss your community has had to endure as well.
Well written and a very good read. It was recommended to me and I have passed along that recommendation and I do so again in this review.
Washington reporter Jack Torry took four years, did more than 100 interviews, and read teenager's diaries in his exhaustive research into an "alcohol crash" that killed four young people in January, 1965.
Torry's attention to detail is remarkable, and his meticulous descriptions of everything teens were doing that year -- from watching the Beatles to listening to Marianne Faithfull -- recaptures a time of innocence and the sweet promise of young adulthood.
The first chapters faithfully recreate the lives of the families involved, and their slice of the American dream. It's all so joyful, the success of the high school swim team, the first romances, the families happily involved in their children's lives.
But one thoughtless moment shatters the serenity of this perfect bit of Americana.
A drinking driver, not much older than the teens he hits, leaves a swath of devastation that sweeps across generations.
Torry painstakingly tells the story of the accident and its aftermath in such a straightforward way that we can feel the anguish of its victims for years afterward. "Henderson's Light" makes reader feel keenly for the young men grievously injured in the crash. Torry shows deep empathy for them, in depicting how a community was affected by their long years of recovery.
It's poignant to learn that the parents of the offending driver made amends with the families of those killed and injured, of their own accord. It's a reminder of an America before litigation and recrimination.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) reviewed "Henderson's Light" as an "exceptionally well-done account of the long-term impact of an alcohol crash ...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Jack Torry’s remarkable research, interviewing skills and determination are clearly evident, without which, this book would never have come to fruition. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Henry Grant
Loved it. Fascinating review of life in the 50s and 60s of upper class suburbia. The first half of the book described brilliantly what life was like during that time (long lost... Read morePublished 7 months ago by bozotc
An excellent book even if you didn't grow up in Birmingham during that time period. I know that I and many of my friends didn't drink and drive as we grew up, specifically because... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Rik Thistle
This is a timeless tale of raising families - parents, children, siblings, friends and classmates - living in an affluent Midwestern community and sharing the success of the... Read morePublished 12 months ago by William Green
Just finished this compelling and well-researched story of the suburban families who lives were forever changed by a tragic, fatal accident. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Lisa Holt
"The young driver with slicked back brown hair and the look of the Fonz," Jack Torry begins in "Henderson's Light," "pressed down on the accelerator until his 1955 Chevy reached 90... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Tina Nazerian
I'm not sure how much can be added to what's already been said about this book. I too grew up in Birmingham, Michigan. Read morePublished 15 months ago by martha park
I was in the class of '66 at Seaholm also. The crash was devastating to all of us. I knew the victims, but wasn't close friends with them. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Linda S
It's obvious that Jack Torry has put his heart and soul into gathering the details that bring the true facts of this terrible tragedy that befell these young teenagers from... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Debra Beard