HarperCollins Speakers Bureau

Bruce Henderson

#1 New York Times Bestselling Author of World War II/Vietnam Military History and North Pole Exploration


  • World War II
  • Vietnam
  • North Pole Exploration
  • Veterans
  • Journalism/Writing



Bruce Henderson, author of more than twenty nonfiction books, is an inspiring public speaker with a platform: He tells real stories about real people. His bestselling narrative nonfiction titles are often about courage and survival against impossible odds.

In his newest book, Sons and Soldiers: The Untold Story of the Jews Who Escaped the Nazis and Returned with the U.S. Army to Fight Hitler (William Morrow), Henderson tells the little-known saga of the young German-Jewish sons whose families sent them to safety in America and who later returned at enormous personal risk as highly-trained members of elite Army units to play a key role in the Allied victory. "Highly readable, often thrilling," raved Kirkus in a starred review. "A gripping addition to the literature of the period and an overdue tribute to these unique Americans."

Henderson is also the author of:

Rescue at Los Baños: The Most Daring Prison Camp Raid of World War II (William Morrow), the incredible survival story of more than 2,000 prisoners of war held in the Philippines by the Japanese during World War II—and the elite 11th Airborne Division’s heart-pounding mission to rescue these beleaguered men, women and children from deep inside enemy territory in a deadly race against the clock.

Hero Found: The Greatest POW Escape of the Vietnam War (Harper Perennial), a national bestseller which told the dramatic, true story of U.S. Navy pilot Dieter Dengler who led a mass escape from a POW camp deep inside Laos, becoming the longest-held American pilot to escape captivity during the Vietnam War. Henderson served with Dengler on the aircraft carrier USS Ranger. He appeared on "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" to discuss Dieter Dengler and Hero Found. (See clip in More Media.)

Down the Sea (Harper Perennial) tells the epic story that opens at the hour the Greatest Generation went to war on December 7, 1941, follows four U.S. Navy ships and their crews in the Pacific until their day of reckoning three years later with a far different enemy: a deadly typhoon. Drawing on extensive interviews with nearly every living survivor, Henderson offers the most thorough and riveting account to date of one of the greatest naval dramas of World War II.

Henderson has also authored two critically-acclaimed Arctic adventure titles. True North: Peary, Cook and the Race to the Pole, is about one of the most enduring and vitriolic fuels in the history of exploration, one that would cause a bitter divide in the international scientific community and, eventually, lead to the ruin of one of the claimants and the discrediting of the other. Fatal North: Murder and Survival on the First U.S. Expedition to the North Pole, has been hailed by Library Journal hailed as: "A factual historical mystery written by a gifted storyteller."

An award-winning journalist and author, Henderson has taught reporting and writing courses at Stanford University and USC School of Journalism. A former newspaper reporter, magazine editor, private investigator and field producer for television news, Henderson is a member of The Authors Guild. He resides in northern California, and can be found on the web at BruceHendersonBooks.com.

Photo Credit: Sean Marrs

Praise for Bruce Henderson:

"Bruce was an engaging speaker, lending his knowledge and storytelling to a captivated audience of more than 300 people of all ages who found themselves on the edge of their seats. His insights into the incredible journey of the Ritchie Boys, so well told in his bestselling book Sons and Soldiers, clearly made a lasting impact, and inspired thoughtful questions during a lively Q&A session."
-- Dee Simon, Baral Family Executive Director, Holocaust Center for Humanity, Seattle, WA

“Bruce’s presentation was one of the highlights of this year’s JAAMM Festival (Jewish Arts, Authors, Movies and Music). The audience was on the edge of their seats and we sold clean out of every copy of Sons and Soldiers we carried in our festival bookstore.  I still have community members thanking me for bringing him to speak in Denver!”
--Amy Weiner, Director of Festivals, Mizel Arts and Culture Center at the JCC Denver

"Bruce Henderson spoke thoughtfully and passionately about his experiences researching and often meeting the brave men featured in his bestselling book, Sons and Soldiers. The audience was mesmerized...Bruce is a witty, warm and personable speaker.”
--Sarah Saltzman, Events Director, Holocaust Memorial Center, Farmington Hills, Michigan

"Bruce Henderson’s warm, down-to-earth speaking style, coupled with his pragmatic advice, made him one of the stars for our high school’s Writers Week. Because he discussed his nonfiction books with such passion, students began to realize the potential of following their own curiosity and of persevering through challenges. His talk was so effective that the day after he gave it, a student had already finished fifty pages of his book. Afterwards, we heard many compliments from faculty and students alike. We are grateful that he agreed to speak to our school!"
--Maura Sincoff, Writing Center, Menlo School

"Bruce was the high point of our event, offering provocative personal insights from his journey as an award-winning author. His desire to convey real stories about real people was artfully described with sophistication, wit, and intelligence. Our guests were quite engaged in his presentation, as he laced anecdotes of his creative process with his passion as a nonfiction writer. I am delighted to recommend him as an inspiring presenter."
-- Karae Lisle, CEO, Peninsula Volunteers, Inc.

"Bruce did a great job with his presentation; the audience was very engaged and had a whole slew of questions for him at the end of his 30 minute presentation. It was a pleasure working with Bruce." 
-- Nicole Hughes, Events Manager, Peninsula Arts and Letters

"Bruce was terrific the other night.  What a nice man!  And a terrific speaker.  The audience was interested and engaged,  and good questions were asked. Bruce really impressed me. He was a consummate pro and just a lovely person."
--Susan Tunis, BookShop West Portal, San Francisco

"I found Bruce Henderson's presentation about World War II fascinating, and learned facts that I didn't previously know. He is a dynamic speaker and kept his audience enthralled throughout."
-- Angus Lorenzen, Commander, Bay Area Civilian Ex-Prisoners of War

Praise for Sons and Soldiers:

"Sons and Soldiers tells the remarkable story of how 2,000 German-born Jews were able to get the crucial intelligence that saved American lives and helped win World War II. ... The message of their courage and patriotism should not be lost in today’s war on terrorism.”
--Leon Panetta, Former Director of the CIA and Former Secretary of Defense

"A revelatory work about a group of Jewish men whose World War II journeys are so implausible and heroic it’s difficult to understand why so few of us knew about them before now. A book of fear, flight and almost divine retribution.”
--Steve Twomey, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Countdown to Pearl Harbor

"A first-rate account of one of the last, great untold stories of World War II.”
--Steven P. Remy, author of The Malmedy Massacre

"Bruce Henderson’s Sons and Soldiers artfully evokes the drama of the persecution and flight -- and later, their brave return as soldiers -- of German-born Jewish sons to America, where they found a new home and a divine purpose. More than an enlightening history, it is a stellar addition to the literature of human survival and triumph.”
--Colin Heaton, author of The German Aces Speak

"This coming-of-age saga is a story of patriotism and courage unlike any other from World War II. An unforgettable story and a great read, told in Bruce Henderson’s poignant and powerful style.”
--Bill Sloan, author of Their Backs Against the Sea

"Sons and Soldiers is the riveting -- and long neglected -- story of Jewish refugees from Nazi barbarism who fought an intensely personal war for America. Bruce Henderson has delivered a fast-paced and rich narrative.”
--Douglas Waller, author of Disciples: The World War II Missions of the CIA Directors Who Fought for Wild Bill Donovan

“A triumph! More than seventy years after World War II ended, historians scramble to unearth a fresh story. With Sons and Soldiers, Bruce Henderson has found one. This gripping account of German Jews who fled their nation only to return as members of an elite U.S. Army unit to help defeat the Nazis, tugs at every emotion.”
--John Wukovits, author of Tin Can Titans

“An invaluable, must-read addition to the canon of important WWII books, about the thousands of European-born American soldiers whose own odysseys were ingrained in the 20th Century’s two most significant narratives: the Holocaust and the Allied war against their families’ oppressors in Nazi Germany.”
--Steven Karras, author of The Enemy I Knew: German Jews in the Allied Military in World War II

Praise for Rescue at Los Baños:
“Riveting… Bruce Henderson achieves a high standard of popular history… Rescue at Los Baños artfully blends vibrant character sketches with equally clear military fact, all rendered in vivid color.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“Bruce Henderson has told a wonderfully exciting story of one of war’s greatest rescues with verve, style, and panache. I didn’t even stop for coffee during my reading: it was so classically unputdownable.”
—Simon Winchester, author of The Men Who United the States

Rescue at Los Baños will swell your chest. You’ll pull for the starving civilians inside the Japanese prison camp and cheer for the heroes who’ll risk their lives to save them. By deftly weaving together the stories of the resolute captives and their brave liberators, Bruce Henderson’s powerful account has earned a place on the top shelf of World War II nonfiction narratives.”
—Mitchell Zuckoff, author of 13 hours and Lost in Shangri-La

“An epic survival story of men and women held captive in a Japanese internment camp in the Philippines and their remarkable rescue by U.S. paratroopers and Filipino guerrillas three years later. Fast-paced and compelling, Rescue at Los Baños is as gripping as any suspense novel.”
—Vincent Bugliosi, author of Helter Skelter and Reclaiming History

Rescue at Los Baños hits the drop zone. Extensively researched and extremely well written, Bruce Henderson’s riveting account of this historic event of February 23, 1945, finally does justice to the greatest airborne operation in U.S. military history.”
—John D. Lukacs, author of Escape from Davao

“Riveting…Bruce Henderson does it again with his account of the prisoners at Los Baños. I felt their agonies, sacrifices, and exhilaration. Any reader would love this account of individuals triumphing over seemingly impossible obstacles.”
—John Wukovits, author of Hell from the Heavens: The Epic Story of the USS Laffey and World War II’s Greatest Kamikaze Attack

"The agony and anguish for the Japanese-held Los Baños internees — all civilians and including children and small babies — is almost beyond belief. The raid by U.S. paratroopers that set them free is breathtaking.”
—Bill Sloan, author of Undefeated: America’s Heroic Fight for Bataan and Corregidor

“Exciting…Bruce Henderson has managed to pull one of the most daring rescue missions in military history out of obscurity and turn it into a solid book of passion and fascinating details. He has done his readers — and military-history buffs in general — a great service. Rescue at Los Baños is a welcome and long-overdue addition to the literature concerning World War II in the Pacific.”
—Capt. Dale Dye, USMC (Ret.), author of Contra File and Hollywood military advisor

Praise for Hero Found:

“Dengler’s actual POW experiences are the centerpiece of the book, and, thanks to Henderson’s storytelling skill, these scenes often read like a first-rate suspense novel…poignant in its details. An engaging tale of a harrowing POW experience.”
— Kirkus Reviews

Praise for Down to the Sea:
“What stands out in Down to the Sea are those moments that transform the disaster into an epic of courage and sacrifice. This is a book for anyone who wonders what happens when a ferocious sea attacks a ship and her crew.”
Naval History

Praise for True North:
“This adventure yarn delivers as both a cautionary tale and a fitting memorial to polar exploration.”
Publishers Weekly