140 of 144 people found the following review helpful
on July 27, 2011
With the events of 9/11 forever etched in my memory, I was eager to read "Thunder Dog" by Michael Hingson with Suzy Flory. As the subtitle tells, it's "The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog & the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero."
Reading a story about a man who survived the September 11th terrorist attack on the World Trade Center is compelling enough. But add to the story the fact that the man, Michael Hingson, is blind, has a guide dog Roselle and has to descend 78 stories on foot to get to safety and you have a gripping survival account by an unforgettable pair.
The story is well told, with a moment by moment account of Michael and Roselle's escape, along with colleague David Frank from their office located on the 78th floor in Tower I of the World Trade Center. Interspersed with the details of that fateful day are stories of Michael's life.
Michael was born two months premature and was blind due to pure oxygen he received as part of the standard medical treatment for premature babies. Michael parents didn't listen to the doctor's advice about putting him in a home for the blind. Instead they brought him home and raised their son no differently from his older brother Ellery. Before he ever had a guide dog or white cane, Michael was expected to grow, learn and explore his neighborhood on his own two feet. This boy had a spirit of adventure and he learned to ride a bike and even drive a car. Michael's feisty can-do spirit helped to prepared him to survive the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.
Through Michael's story we learn about the bond between a blind person and their guide dog. Roselle is a special dog and was able to keep her focus and concentrate on guiding her master down 78 flights of stairs and through the streets of New York filled with debris and a monstrous toxin filled dust cloud that pursued survivors running from the World Trade Center.
I highly recommend this book. It was a gripping, interesting and unique story of survival by Michael Hingson and his guide dog Roselle. "Thunder Dog" is a touching and memorable book.
I received this book free from the publisher through the [...] <[...]> 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."
61 of 64 people found the following review helpful
On September 11, 2001, Michael and his seeing eye dog, Roselle, walked down 78 flights of stairs in the North Tower of the World Trade Center and survived. The story of this day is told throughout the book, interspersed with the story of the author's life.
As the author states, "The real story, in my mind, isn't how I got out of the World Trade Center...it's how I got there in the first place." (p. xiv.)
As I began this book, I was impatient to hear the story of September 11th and was a bit irritated with the interruptions of the story of the author's life; however, the more I read, the more I appreciated this way of telling. The story of how Michael seized life shows the attitude, education and faith that provided a means to cope with this horrific challenge. One cannot be told without the other.
Michael never saw himself as disabled, just different. He rode his bicycle around the neighborhood, excelled at math and competed for a job with an office in the World Trade Center. Even as a youth, his audacity led to his receiving his first seeing eye two years below the minimum age to enter the program.
This book holds not only the story of one man and his dog on one day; it is the story of a blind community, the story of Guide Dogs for the Blind, a story of technology and a story of friendships and love. In these stories we learn of courage, teamwork, patience and faith.
This book is published by a faith based company. The first mention of Michael's faith comes on page 120; however, God's hand is evident in every page. Even though he made it out, Michael does not claim to know why he survived and others did not. He just makes the most of each day.
P.S. Check out the wonderful appendixes! Great stuff!
* Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
73 of 83 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2011
Thunder Dog shares the true story of Micheal Hingson's escape from the World Trade Center on September 11th. He takes the reader on the incredible journey from his office on the 78th floor to safety. As you read the book you can actually visualize what it must have been like to navigate the 1,463 stairs in fume-filled stairwell b which is truly amazing as this fight for survival is told by blind man who escaped and helped others to escape with his faithful guide dog Roselle. I found it difficult to put the book down as I read the descriptions of the escape. They were vivid and thought-provoking.
Throughout the book, the author goes back and forth between sharing details of his day on September 11th, and sharing his story as a blind person. Initially, this format worked fairly well and made for an interesting story, but ultimately, the book came across as more of a way of sharing his views and opinions about being blind in America today then sharing his experiences on September 11th. This was not what I was expecting...
While this complimentary book was provided for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers, no other compensation was given. All remarks are my personal and honest opinions.
80 of 95 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2011
This unique tale about a remarkable Guide Dog who led her handler down 78 floors of stairs to safety during the World Trade Centre attacks is both interesting and well written, and has made us sad that we don't offer half paws, as it really does deserve slightly more than a 3.
However, a couple of things stopped this book getting the full 5 paws up. For one, the dog featured in it too little to, in our opinion, really classify this as a `doggie story'. True, Michael made it out of the World Trade Centre with his Guide Dog at his side, but she seems to be mentioned as a mere afterthought at times and this book was, we thought, more about overcoming the difficulties posed by blindness than about Roselle as a character. Having said that, we did enjoy reading about her antics before and after the event, and are sure that is deserving of all the accolades she has earned in the past ten years. Sadly, Roselle died in June 2011, so will not be accompanying Mr Hingson on any of the publicity for the book about her bravery.
I doubt that will make much of a difference to the `campaign trail', as it seems this book is more about educating people about disabilities than about Roselle herself. I found Mr Hingson's constant lecturing about how the blind wish to be treated and how he lived a normal life despite being blind began to wear on me after a while. (Especially since he seems to demand equal treatment and then highlight this by detailing an occasion where he had to kick up a fuss to get things his way, therefore making people go out of their way to accommodate him.)
Equally, I doubt the value of the essays and glossary etc included as appendixes to the text. No doubt someone reading the book in another context would find them significant, but as our group are interested in the canine aspect of the story these didn't add to my enjoyment or study of the book at all. I would have liked to have read more information about Roselle's life and training, or, indeed, more details on any of Mr Hingson's past Guide Dogs.
I also felt that Mr Hingson talked down to the readers a lot. Passages which, for example, explain that on September 11th 2001 two planes piloted by members of a terrorist group called Al Qaeda crashed into the North andSouth Towers of the World Trade Centre in New York felt patronising and needless, given that everyone in the world knows about the events of that day. I will give him the benefit of the doubt and say that he included this information to make the story perfectly clear, and perhaps to make it last the annals of history or to be more accessible to people, but every once in a while he would go to the trouble of re-iterating what is largely common knowledge and it began to stand out and annoy me.
Finally, the other thing that Mr Hingson did which grated with this reader was to go on about how his religion influenced his life, how blessed he felt, how God was his guide and so on. Perhaps this is a personal thing (being an affirmed atheist), but he seemed to put more faith in the Lord to see him safely home than his Guide Dog, which seemed to make Roselle an interesting footnote in the whole thing rather than the star character. Personally, I would have enjoyed this book more if it was less about God and more about Dog.
But, all those negatives aside, I did enjoy this book and would recommend it to anyone with an interest in blindness, Guide Dogs or American history, as it is a truly unique tale and gives a very good account of what it was like to be involved in a moment in history. Like his dog, Mr Hingson doesn't get caught up in the ideology of the moment or the anti terrorism/disaster rhetoric that so many Americans are prone to when recounting that day's events.
He tells his stories - his life story and his September 11th survival story, interweaved throughout the book - with very little self pity and in a clear and concise manner. Co-author Susy Flory has obviously had a lot of input on the actual writing and the structure of the book and it works. I'm sure this will become a popular read once it is released in the more inexpensive paperback format.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on August 5, 2011
Ok, I'm going to be honest. This book was not as exciting as I thought it would be. 9/11 stories interest me and this one looked particular unique. However, this book is more about blindness than it is about surviving 9/11. Hingson advocates the position that blind people are absolutely no different than sighted people and that blindness is merely an inconvenience, like being left-handed. He does have an incredible life story that is interesting to read. He learned to ride his bike by himself, he's flown an airplane, driven a car, and at the time of 9/11, he was a regional sales manager making a six-figure salary. He hasn't let blindness hold him back. He also talks a lot about the relationship between a guide dog and its owner. As great as all that was, I feel that this book was improperly advertised as a book about 9/11. It has much more to do with blindness. It wasn't a page turner for me. I found myself wanting to get back to the parts about 9/11 (the actual 9/11 story is pretty short, it's just spread out throughout the book), not blindness.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the [...] <[...]> 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."
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on August 19, 2011
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
I gave this book 3 stars because I really did like most of the book, where the story was involved, but there were parts that lost my interest when the author was talking about blindness in general. I understand he is an advocate for blind people, but to me this story should have been about the hero, the dog. Maybe another book would have been the right forum for his fight for the rights of the blind, the causes of blindness etc...
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The front cover of this book states: "The true story of A BLIND MAN, HIS GUIDE DOG & THE TRIUMPH OF TRUST AT GROUND ZERO". These statements and even the title of the book: "THUNDER DOG", led me to believe that this book would be about a dog and a blind man encountering Ground Zero on 9/11. But it wasn't. It was a story about the author who is blind and what blind people have to face in this world. Granted, there were spots where the author Michael Hingson described his experience of walking down the stairs on 9/11 in the building where he worked, to escape the horrible results of the plane hitting his building. His guide dog Roselle helped him escape the terrible results of being in the building before it collapsed. But the main character should have been Roselle - his guide dog that was nothing short of incredible for him. This dog was at his side going down 1,463 stairs in truly unbearable conditions and never stopped or failed in guiding him down. This dog should have gotten many more accolades that she did. The dear dog needed water more than anything else, but endured jet fuel running down the steps, it's fumes, heat, people in the same predicament, etc., but she was on a lower level than them, so those elements affected her more. However, this book was more about Mr. Hingson himself and how he deals all the time with his blindness and people. The back part of the book (38 pages) were about blindness. It wasn't meaningful to me, because I thought of Roselle most of the time. It's a easy fast read. I really think the dog was put on the front cover to sell more of the books.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on July 19, 2012
Format: Audio CD
I could only make it through about half of this audio version of the book. I liked the parts about his relationship with his service dogs and how they function together. On 9/11 it was remarkable how he and Roselle his dog escaped the building and surrounding destruction. But that was as far as I could tolerate. The next maybe half chapter was more of his never ending rudeness to anyone who offered help or kindness. I don't know if he said everything to the people he spoke with or just relayed this snarky thoughts about "Blind People aren't stupid" Or "Just because we are blind doesn't mean we are ignorant" He goes on and on about how he learned on his own how to navigate the world because his parents wouldn't put him in a school for the blind, yet he was continually p@##!d off when the public school didn't have everything he thought he should have provided for him. This is just more militant entitlement mentality. "The whole world needs to adapt to me because I have special circumstances and I mean NOW!"
He said he didn't grow up around other blind people (maybe if he had gone to the school for the blind he would have learned something from them) but had no consideration that maybe the sighted people maybe had not met other blind people either so cut them some slack! He talks at length about the improved technology for the blind and how that has improved life on many levels for many different disabilities but isn't grateful to the people who developed these items only states how successful or recognized they became. In the many years of enjoying books this is 1 of maybe a handful that I just won't finish.
29 of 36 people found the following review helpful
on September 26, 2011
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
I was very dissapointed when I finished reading this book. I would actually like my money, and time back...and I rarely say this about any book I've read. What I thought would be a story about a dog's heroic efforts in safely bringing his handler to safety during one of the worst day's and events in our contries history, turned out to be a advocacy book. What's worse, is irrelevent of the challenges of the author, this book was filled with ego, bragging, and self-reightousness! The fact that an amazing dog led a blind man out of a dying skyscraper among confusion and terror, was simply an underlying theme. I am glad that this author has accomplished so much in life inspite of the challenges he's faced. However, when I chose the book titled THUNDER DOG, I was expecting a story about a dog....not the story of a man who spread his feathers and struts around like a peacock. Shame on you....to take advantage of a day in history to tell the nation how wonderful you are at being blind.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on July 6, 2012
I was very disappointed with this book, as it didn't live up to the advertisement. I'm a dog lover and am a sucker for any dog book. However, this wasn't one. While an interesting story about a blind man who overcame many obstacles in his life, it was supposed to center on his canine companion. It didn't. Not nearly enough as it claimed to.