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Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life Paperback – March 10, 2009
"Rebound" by Kwame Alexander
Don't miss best-selling author Kwame Alexander's "Rebound," a new companion novel to his Newbery Award-winner, "The Crossover,"" illustrated with striking graphic novel panels. Pre-order today
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With the same sharp eye, quick with, and narrative drive that marked his bestsellers The Game, The Dirt, and How to Make Love Like a Porn Star, Neil Strauss takes us on a white-knuckled journey through America's heart of darkness as he scrambles to escape the system. It's one man's story of a dangerous worldand how to stay alive in it.
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I have a lot of "dooms-dayer" and "prepper" friends and family members who are strong believers in the apocalypse and that right now is the time to stock up on food, water, guns, ammo, cigarettes, and tampons.
And before this book, those ideas just didn't speak to me. Not even remotely.
So I read it to become more educated about the mindset of the "dooms-dayers," and perhaps gain some insight on how to best prepare for an apocalyptic scenario, or at least the moment WSHTF.
Mission accomplished. This book delivered both outcomes for me. It also cracked me up, and made me quite grateful for my life, however temporary it may be.
After reading it, I walked away feeling all the more committed to living my life with the intention of making the world better, as opposed to preparing for my potential doom or limping survival.
Here's a beautiful, apt, and terrifying snippet that sums up the essence of what I gleaned from the book:
"On every highway, there's a drunk driver hurtling at 80 miles an hour in two tons of steel. In every neighborhood, there's a thief armed with a deadly weapon. In every city, there's a terrorist with a bloody agenda. In every nuclear country, there's a government employee sitting in front of a button. In every cell in our body, there's the potential to mutate into cancer. They are all trying to kill us. And they don't even know us. They don't care that if they succeed, we will never know what tomorrow holds for us.
The tragedy of life – robbing it of its fullness and brilliance – is the knowledge that we might die at any moment. And though we schedule our lives so precisely, with calendars and day planners and mobile phones and personal information management software, that moment is completely beyond our control.
Death is a guillotine blade hanging over our heads, reminding us every second of every day that this life we treasure so much is no more important to the universe than those of the 200,000 insects each of us kills with the front of our car every year.
Nature knows no tragedies or catastrophes. It knows no good or evil. It knows only creation and destruction. And one can never truly be happy and free, in the way we were as children before learning of our mortality, without At some point confronting our destruction. And all we can ask for, all we can hope for, all we can beseech God for, is to win a few battles in a war we will ultimately lose."
Neil is a great writer, and on top of these eloquent insights, he has hilarious stories peppered all throughout this. It's almost like reading a too-true fiction. I definitely recommend reading it if you're interested in the subject.
With that being said, I do not agree with the deliberately provocative title, even though I think it's a great curio. This book is not likely to save my life - but some of the ideas this book offered just might be worth pursuing well before the moment WSHTF.
Some of the other reviews criticize the book by saying you could only do what he did if you have a lot of cash laying around, but I do not think that is necessarily true. Granted, some of the things he did are expensive but (1) you don't have to do everything in a year or two like Strauss did and (2) I haven't looked but I'm sure there are cheaper options for many of the things he bought and/or did.
Other reviews say it's unhelpful if you were a boy scout or live in the country, and that may be true. I live in NYC, and as of now I have no idea what I would do with myself if society collapsed. But, I want to change that. For someone like me, the book is a great help because it gives you a place to start and it shows that even city dwellers can learn to take care of themselves.
I highly recommend this book to people who do not know where to begin learning about becoming a survivalist (I know the connotations that word has, but I cannot think of a better one). You will likely want to do some more reading when you finish it, but it's a great place to start.