A former paramedic’s visceral, poignant, and mordantly funny account of a decade spent on Atlanta’s mean streets saving lives and connecting with the drama and occasional beauty that lies inside catastrophe.
In the aftermath of 9/11 Kevin Hazzard felt that something was missing from his life—his days were too safe, too routine. A failed salesman turned local reporter, he wanted to test himself, see how he might respond to pressure and danger. He signed up for emergency medical training and became, at age twenty-six, a newly minted EMT running calls in the worst sections of Atlanta. His life entered a different realm—one of blood, violence, and amazing grace.
Thoroughly intimidated at first and frequently terrified, he experienced on a nightly basis the adrenaline rush of walking into chaos. But in his downtime, Kevin reflected on how people’s facades drop away when catastrophe strikes. As his hours on the job piled up, he realized he was beginning to see into the truth of things. There is no pretense five beats into a chest compression, or in an alley next to a crack den, or on a dimly lit highway where cars have collided. Eventually, what had at first seemed impossible happened: Kevin acquired mastery. And in the process he was able to discern the professional differences between his freewheeling peers, what marked each—as he termed them—as “a tourist,” “true believer,” or “killer.”
Combining indelible scenes that remind us of life’s fragile beauty with laugh-out-loud moments that keep us smiling through the worst, A Thousand Naked Strangers is an absorbing read about one man’s journey of self-discovery—a trip that also teaches us about ourselves.
Customer ReviewsSee All
worth a listen
Not sure how I stumbled onto this audiobook, but I’m glad I did! A very interesting look into the life of an EMS/EMT that few ever get a chance to see, or read about.
An enjoyable audiobook
Interesting story and read well by this narrator. I enjoyed my visit to the world of a medics. Like the other reviewer says, I'll never look at an EMT the same again. Word of caution, this can't be listened to with young kids in the vicinity. Plenty of adult language and situations.
A Thousand Naked Strangers
After reading an excerpt in the Atlanta Journal, I became curious about an EMT's inside look at Atlanta's Grady Hospital. I immediately pre-ordered the hard copy via Amazon. Though the book seemed a bit choppy in places, I thoroughly enjoyed the read. Let's just say...I'll never view EMTs and first responders in the usual way !