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Henderson's Light Hardcover – October 15, 2009

4.9 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Jack Torry was living in Birmingham, Michigan, where the crash occurred, at the time it happened. He returned forty years later to investigate the crash and its aftermath. Torry covers Congresss, the Supreme Court, and politics for the Washington Bureau of the Columbus, Ohio Dispatch. Henderson's Light is his second book. His first was Endless Summers: the Fall and Rise of the Cleveland Indians. Torry and his wife Saundra life in Leesburg, Virginia.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 193 pages
  • Publisher: Countinghouse Press, Inc.; 1 edition (October 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0978619196
  • ISBN-13: 978-0978619190
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,288,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I am gripped, again, by the traumatic loss that occurred that cold night in 1965.

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.
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Format: Hardcover
I also lived in Birmingham in the 60's and went to Seaholm, it was a time of suburban villages with hard working caring and giving parents. They had seen the ravages of the Second World War and their parents had seen the depression. The era they were crafting held the promise of a safe, secure and happy life for their children. It was a comfortable community that seemed idealic to all of us, the children of the village. My stay was shorter than some, only my Jr. and Sr. year but the story of the crash was a reminder to all that danger lurked in every weekend escapade that we all took so casually at the time. The crash and the deaths, serve as only the prologue to this book and it's message. I graduated in 1969 so I knew the younger siblings of those involved and my girlfriend skied with and knew everyone in the book. This is where Jack took this tragedy in a different and much more difficult direction. For this is a story that weaves the terrible aftermath into the actual event itself. All too easy to write a police report view of that night. Jack Torry took the time to explore the hurt, the scars, the long lasting wounds of the families involved and had the patience and empathy to bring their stories to light. There are lessons here; tragedy, survival, melancholy, torment and ultimately the healing power of time and love.
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.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Only the best writers spend years at their craft, patiently interviewing the dozens of people it might take to truly tell a story.
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 ...
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By FEP on April 23, 2016
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I first heard about this book in a recent newspaper article. I was attracted to it because I grew up in the Detroit area and was in high school at the time it happened. I was moved in reading it. The sense of community the people of Birmingham had in coming together during and after this terrible tragedy, to help the families victimized by it, was impressive. The book really gets the reader to understand the pain of this awful experience.
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