A Thousand Naked Strangers by Kevin Hazzard
A Paramedic's Wild Ride to the Edge and Back

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A former EMT details his action-packed tenure in the field...A vivid, pummeling ride-along with an emergency paramedic.
-Kirkus

Synopsis

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.
 

About Kevin Hazzard

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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.
 
Published January 5, 2016 by Scribner. 289 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for A Thousand Naked Strangers
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Above average
on Oct 06 2015

A former EMT details his action-packed tenure in the field...A vivid, pummeling ride-along with an emergency paramedic.

Read Full Review of A Thousand Naked Strangers: A... | See more reviews from Kirkus

Publishers Weekly

Good
on Feb 08 2016

Hazzard’s unblinking view of chaos is not for weak stomachs, but it’s variously raw, poetic, and profoundly hopeful.

Read Full Review of A Thousand Naked Strangers: A... | See more reviews from Publishers Weekly

Reader Rating for A Thousand Naked Strangers
87%

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