Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero by Michael Hingson and Susy Flory Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

The true story of a man blind from birth and the extraordinary bond between him and his guide dog that allowed them to survive one of American History’s most horrendous tragedies comes to life in authors Michael Hingson and Susy Flory’s “Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero”.


The Synopsis

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 illuminates 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.

The Review

The authors delivered a truly moving, compelling, and inspiring memoir. The visceral details of the harrowing experience both Michael and his guide dog Roselle had trying to navigate that stairwell and escape the towers that horrific day is chilling and haunting to read about, and is something that many readers around the world will be able to identify with as many experienced the fear and confusion that the news brought from that traumatic day.

The heart of the narrative lies in the bond between Michael and Roselle, as well as the emphasis the authors put on faith and trust as a whole. Whether it is the faith that Michael put into Roselle that day and throughout their lives as a whole or the faith in his belief system that gave him the confidence to face life’s struggles head-on, the theme of faith runs deeply through this book. 

Now I will say I had the pleasure of reading another book on this man’s life story, and you can read my thoughts on that here, but what made this version of his story shine in a different light than the first one was the emphasis the authors put on showcasing blindness as a whole and trying to move readers to look beyond the “handicap” of those who are blind and see the people they are instead, which gave a nice balance to the rest of the events portrayed in this book.

The Verdict

Thoughtful, inspiring, and hopeful, authors Michael Hingson and Susy Flory’s “Thunder Dog” is a must-read memoir and nonfiction book on faith, trust, and loyalty like no other. The emotional connection between Michael and Roselle, as well as the importance of understanding blindness and the connection people make with either their pets or in this instance, their guide dogs, and the shocking details of an experience few could ever put into words made this one book you won’t be able to put down. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!

Rating: 10/10


About the Author

When the World Trade Center was attacked on 9-11, it was as though the world stood still. It was a day that captured our full attention. Michael Hingson and his Guide Dog Roselle were on the 78th floor of Tower One that day, and were able to make their way to safety and survive the attack. The duo was immediately thrust into the international spotlight, becoming well-known representatives of the strength of the human/animal bond and a living example of the powerful partnership that exists between a blind person and their Guide Dog. In 2002 Michael joined the Guide Dogs for the Blind team as the National Public Affairs director, to share his story throughout the world on behalf of the school. In June of 2008 Michael left Guide Dogs to form The Michael Hingson Group to continue his speaking career as well as to serve as a consultent for corporations and organizations that need assistance with Inclusive and Diversity training as well as adaptive technology training.

Michael Hingson is available for speaking engagements, public appearances, consulting and training contract positions and media interviews.

In his own words:

I lived through the 9-11 tragedy and have much to say about my experiences leading up to and escaping from the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. Since that day, I’ve traveled the world with Roselle and her successors; at first to help people heal and hope, and now, to help them find meaning and purpose. As a blind person living in today’s world I want people to see that while there are many different kinds of people, each with their own different gifts, we all can live and work together if we choose to open our minds and hearts and become a more inclusive world. There are positive lessons to be learned from every tragedy, and 9-11 is certainly no exception.

Because I am blind, I have a unique perspective. Because I believe in the power of partnering with my Guide Dog, I can speak from the heart about teamwork and trust. I’ve been a guest numerous times on Larry King Live, have been interviewed on Regis and Kelly, and have appeared on the CBS Morning Show – but I’m looking forward to my next big engagement: as the featured speaker at your event.

I promise to bring my faithful friend and guide dog, Africa – she has her own fan club! If it weren’t for our ability to work together as a team just as I Roselle and I did on 9-11, my story would be much different and I probably would not have learned the lessons I now can pass on to audiences throughout the world.

The events of September 11th changed the world, and they certainly changed my life. There’s something about almost losing your life that makes what really matters in life crystal clear. I left my successful 27-year career in high tech computer sales and management to travel the world speaking about the importance of teamwork and trust in our professional and personal lives.

I would like to bring my story to your audience at your next event or meeting and help you make it a memorable and rewarding experience. And you will have the satisfaction that any dollars you spend will not only cover my speaking fees, but will help others like myself enjoy the independence and companionship that comes from a partnership with a Guide Dog. 

Susy Flory is the New York Times bestselling author or co-author of fourteen books. A graduate of UCLA, she has a background in journalism, education, and communications. She loves reading and writing stories about unforgettable people who are living lives of adventure, courage, hope, redemption, and transformation.

She first started writing at the Newhall Signal with the legendary Scotty Newhall, an ex-editor of the San Francisco Chronicle and a one-legged cigar-smoking curmudgeon who ruled the newsroom from behind a dented metal desk where he pounded out stories on an Underwood Typewriter.

Susy’s first book, Fear Not Da Vinci, was co-written with Gini Monroe with contributions by Ward Gasque, and published in 2006. Other books include So Long Status Quo: What I Learned from Women Who Changed the World (Beacon Hill, 2009); Miracle on Voodoo Mountain (with Megan Boudreaux, Harper Collins, 2015); and The Good, The Bad, and the Grace of God, with Jep and Jessica Robertson (Harper Collins, 2015).

Susy’s runaway bestseller, Thunder Dog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog, and the Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero written with Michael Hingson, hit the New York Times bestsellers list in both hardcover nonfiction and e-book nonfiction the first week of release. Thunder Dog has also been adapted for the stage, optioned for film, and translated into over 15 languages, including German, Dutch, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, and Chinese.

Her most recent book. The Sky Below, is the story of astronaut Scott Parazynski, the only man every to fly in space and summit Mount Everest. She just finished up Desired By God, a book with Van Moody, pastor of the Worship Center in Birmingham, AL, about a God who yearns for a vital and passionate relationship with us.

Susy is a member of The Authors Guild, Inspire Christian Writers, and INK Creative Collective. She’s a 2017 recipient of the Pacesetter Award from Mount Hermon Christian Writers Conference, and now directs the West Coast Christian Writers Conference in the San Francisco Bay Area and her startup, Everything Memoir.

A breast cancer survivor of four gnarly surgeries, Susy celebrates life by chasing great stories in places like Cuba, Haiti, Turkey, Israel, and her own backyard. She’s written with celebrities, heroes of the faith, athletes, explorers, and the girl (and boy) next door She loves riding a crazy ex-racehorse named Stetson, hiking in the High Sierras, and skiing black diamond runs whenever she can.


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