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A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic's Wild Ride to the Edge and Back Paperback – September 20, 2016
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“Action-packed…With blunt language and a raw narrative tone rich with gruesome detail, Hazzard immerses readers in the bloody, hardened reality of an emergency response team racing to accident scenes....[Features] anecdotes both thrilling and startlingly gory…A vivid, pummeling ride-along.”
“Hazzard’s unblinking view of chaos is not for weak stomachs, but it’s variously raw, poetic, and profoundly hopeful.”
“A thrilling, captivating, and sometimes grisly glimpse into what it takes to be a first responder in the city of Atlanta. Hazzard’s prose is quick, witty, and fresh…This frank and morbidly funny memoir…takes readers on a wild and unforgettable ride.”
“A shocking, utterly compelling tour de force that shows the dark heart of an Atlanta that I never knew existed…I couldn’t let the book go—it’s powerful enough to have turned me into an ambulance chaser in my own small South Carolina town, but it’s also very, very funny.”
—Pat Conroy, author of The Prince of Tides and The Great Santini
“No one has a closer view into our fearful hearts than the paramedic, and no one writes it like Kevin Hazzard. He's given us a deep intimate portrait of the toll it takes to every day witness our most vulnerable moments.”
—Joe Connelly, author of Bringing Out the Dead
“Hazzard observes keenly, remembers faithfully, but also struggles to analyze his motives for loving those crazy nights on the bad side of town when the universe slips a gear and all hell breaks loose.”
—J.Michael Lennon, author of the authorized biography Norman Mailer
“More tragic andhorrifying, but also more comical, than can be imagined.”
—Katrina Firlik, author of Another Day in the Frontal Lobe
“As absorbing as it is revealing.”
—Bob Drury, coauthor of The Heart of Everything There Is
“Buckle up and prepare for an eye-opening plunge into barely controlled chaos.”
—Judy Melinek, M.D., coauthor of Working Stiff
“Get ready to feel the gun-slinging, God-like power of running calls in the back of an ambulance.”
—Julie Holland, M.D., author of Weekends at Bellevue
“Take a terrific writer and put him in tragic, frantic, emotional, heartbreaking and freaking situations for years—you get A Thousand Naked Strangers…This book is one long rush.”
—Phillip Jennings, author of Nam-a-Rama and Goodbye Mexico
“An unstoppable adrenaline rush with lyrical moments of truth and beauty.”
—Theresa Brown, author of Critical Care
About the Author
Kevin Hazzard worked as a paramedic from 2004 to 2013, primarily at Grady Hospital in Atlanta. His freelance journalism has appeared in Atlanta Magazine, Marietta Daily Journal, Creative Loafing, and Paste. He is the author of a novel, Sleeping Dogs, and A Thousand Naked Strangers. He and his family live in Hermosa Beach, California.
Top customer reviews
The author sheepishly admits that, for him, altruism had very little to do with it. What kept him going was the camaraderie he developed with his partners and the challenge of dealing with crises successfully. Some EMTs get a high out of bringing men, women, and children back from the brink of death following a horrific car accident; delivering babies whose mothers go into labor sooner than expected; and knowing exactly what to do in situations that require experience, know-how, and the ability to act quickly under pressure.
Hazzard’s energetic, colorful, and punchy writing style (he makes excellent use of sentence fragments) has an intensity and immediacy that is electrifying. This is an unsettling work of non-fiction that will appeal to readers who want to see what an EMT sees and feel what he feels when the worst occurs. Nor does the author shy away from disturbing facts: There are EMTs and paramedics who are disrespectful of the dead and dying. Others are so incompetent, burned out, or anxious that they are all but useless. “A Thousand Naked Strangers” is a candid look at a period in Hazzard’s life that must have felt like a prolonged episode of “The Twilight Zone.” How he survived emotionally is anyone’s guess. Suffice it to say that few EMTs or paramedics are mentally strong and dedicated enough to become “lifers.” Those who perform this vital service conscientiously, skillfully, and compassionately deserve our utmost admiration and gratitude.