Henderson, Bruce B. 1946–

views updated

Henderson, Bruce B. 1946–

PERSONAL: Born December 18, 1946, in Oakland, CA; son of Brad (a real estate broker) and June (a secretary) Henderson; married Cynthia J. Newcomb (an administrator), January 1, 1986; children: Chelsea, Nathan, Grant, Evan. Education: Chabot College, A.A., 1972; attended San Francisco State University.

ADDRESSES: Home—Sebastopol, CA. Office—P.O. Box 231, Forestville, CA 95436. Agent—Michael Hamilburg, 292 South La Cienega Blvd., #312, Beverly Hills, CA 90211.

CAREER: Livermore Independent, Livermore, CA, reporter, 1970–76; freelance writer, Los Angeles, CA, 1977–78; New West (magazine), Beverly Hills, CA, associate editor, 1978–79; Los Angeles Magazine, Los Angeles, CA, contributing editor, 1979–80; KABC-TV, Los Angeles, producer and writer, 1980; Los Angeles Herald-Examiner, Los Angeles, reporter, 1980–81; California (magazine), contributing editor, 1981–85; University of Southern California, Los Angeles, senior lecturer in School of Journalism, 1983–85; freelance writer, 1985–.


Ghetto Cops, photographs by Phil Nelson, Canyon Books, 1974.

The Black Cats, Major Books (Chatsworth, CA), 1980.

Oakland Organic: A Vegan Primer, Caboose Press (Oakland, CA), 1982.

(With Dean B. Allison) Empire of Deceit, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1985.

How to Bulletproof Your Manuscript, Writer's Digest Books (Cincinnati, OH), 1986.

(Editor) Ray Biondi and Walt Hecox, All His Father's Sins: Inside the Gerald Gallego Sex-Slave Murders, Prima Publishing & Communications (Rocklin, Ca), 1988.

(With Vincent Bugliosi) And the Sea Will Tell, Norton (New York, NY), 1991.

(With Ernest and Julio Gallo) Ernest and Julio: Our Story (autobiography), Times Books, Random House (New York, NY), 1994.

(With Thomas Blood) State of the Union: A Report on President Clinton's First Four Years in Office, General Publishing Group (Los Angeles, CA), 1996.

(With Willie L. Williams) Taking Back Our Streets: Fighting Crime in America, Scribner (New York, NY), 1996.

Trace Evidence, Scribner (New York, NY), 1998.

(With Gordon Cooper) Leap of Faith: An Astronaut's Journey into the Unknown, HarperCollins (New York, NY), 2000.

Fatal North: Adventure and Survival Aboard USS Polaris, the First U.S. Expedition to the North Pole, New American Library (New York, NY), 2001.

(With Antonio and Jonna Mendez) Spy Dust: Two Masters of Disguise Reveal the Tools and Operations that Helped Win the Cold War, Atria Books (New York, NY), 2002.

True North: Peary, Cook, and the Race to the Pole, Norton (New York, NY), 2005.

Contributor to periodicals, including Reader's Digest, Esquire, TV Guide, and Playboy.

SIDELIGHTS: Bruce B. Henderson is an author and journalist whose books often focus on true crime subjects. In Empire of Deceit, for example, Henderson offers "an account of probably the biggest confidence game in sports history," commented Jeremiah Tax in Sports Illustrated. In a period of several years from the late 1970s to 1981, two highly placed executives of the Wells Fargo bank embezzled more than twenty million dollars. The recipient of the money, and the man who had gained the confidence of the bank executives, was Harold Smith, a boxing promoter. Smith spent much of the money on himself, he also gave a lot of it away to boxers and their agents, hoping to use the illusion of generosity and high-rolling abandon with cash to create an image for himself as the "godfather of boxing," Tax noted. Smith's elaborate scheme even involved legendary figures in boxing, including Muhammad Ali, who was not involved in any illegal activities but who was paid for some of his fights with Wells Fargo money. In the end, the FBI managed to account for all but a few cents of the embezzled money, and in doing so they uncovered a scheme, and a schemer, of legendary proportions. "Rarely has a crime been retold in such overwhelming detail, all of it fascinating," Tax concluded.

And the Sea Will Tell, written with famous attorney and criminal prosecutor Vincent Bugliosi, tells the story of an infamous murder that occurred on the seas south of Hawaii. In 1974, a wealthy California couple, Mac and Muff Graham, sailed their boat, the Sea Wind, to Palmyra Island, an atoll some one thousand miles south of Hawaii. There they encountered another couple, Buck Walker and Jennifer Jenkins. Suspicions arose when Walker and Jenkins arrived in Hawaii piloting the Sea Wind, telling authorities that the Grahams had apparently perished at sea while fishing. In 1980, however, other visitors to Palmyra Island found human bones that were eventually identified as the remains of Muff Graham. The evidence indicated that Graham had been shot. Jenkins and Walker were charged with murder, and their resulting trials caused a sensation. Publishers Weekly contributor Genevieve Stuttaford noted that the book has the makings of a "a true-crime classic" in its story of the Graham's murder.

Henderson's work has also included biographies of more benign individuals. In Ernest and Julio: Our Story Henderson profiles the famous vintners and the wine-selling empire they created. The Gallo brothers relate stories of their early struggles, the repealing of prohibition, strong competition from other wineries and distillers, and the advertising and publicity skills that made their wines well known and their names synonymous with winemaking. A Publishers Weekly reviewer called the book an "engrossing business success story" and an "account of strong fraternal bonding, strengthened by family tragedy."

Henderson once told CA: "I am proud of my background in journalism. There is simply no better way to learn how to interview, research, and write. Those basic skills are now sustaining me in my career as a nonfiction author. When I landed my first newspaper job at a small community newspaper, I remember thinking that this was the singularly most exciting, meaningful, and influential job possible. More than twenty years later, my enthusiasm for journalism remains undaunted."



New York Times, February 25, 2001, Sara Wheeler, "In Cold Blood?," review of Fatal North: Fatal North: Adventure and Survival Aboard USS Polaris, the First U.S. Expedition to the North Pole.

Publishers Weekly, November 9, 1990, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of And the Sea Will Tell, p. 50; October 3, 1994, review of Ernest and Julio: Our Story, p. 58; February 12, 1996, review of Taking Back Our Streets, p. 67.

Sports Illustrated, February 18, 1985, Jeremiah Tax, review of Empire of Deceit, p. 8.


Best Reviews, http://thebestreviews.com/ (October 7, 2006), Harriet Klausner, review of Spy Dust: Two Masters of Disguise Reveal the Tools and Operations that Helped Win the Cold War.

Book Reporter, http://www.bookreporter.com/ (October 7, 2006), Ann Bruns, review of Fatal North.

About this article

Henderson, Bruce B. 1946–

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article