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Book Review: ‘Emergency: This Book May Save Your Life’ by Neil Strauss

I finished reading ‘Emergency: This Book May Save Your Life’ by Neil Strauss.  It came to my attention when Michael Bane recommended it on his blog a while back.  I bought it solely on the desire to find out how a professed New York City liberal journalist, fearing the collapse of the Western World (due to the election of G. W. Bush, rise of terrorism, etc.) prepared for all manner of disasters in his personal journey to gather the skillset to become a self-sufficient individual.

From living off the land, to learning to sail, ride motorcycles, fly a plane, render first aid, use a knife, fight hand to hand, cache supplies, shoot guns, butcher game, escape pursuers, open offshore accounts, gain dual citizenship, and much more, Strauss puts it all down on the page in a manner that is easy and entertaining.  He does it without braggadocio, in fact he includes a healthy dose of humility explaining how his misconceptions and ignorance at times led to additional ‘discomfort’.  It is a thoroughly enjoyable read with some very humorous moments and I did learn quite a bit.  Of particular satisfaction to read was that as Mr. Strauss’ skill level increased, so did his confidence.  That in turn allowed him to release much of the fear he had regarding his own survival and allow it to be replaced with a desire to help others in times of crisis.

I found many aspects of the book fascinating – not always from revelations on how to survive, but from viewing his experiences as written through the lens of a non-conservative (the ‘other side of the looking glass’ per se).  Some things that I take for granted (thanks to time on ranches and farms, hunting, growing up in the Boy Scouts, etc) were major epiphanies for him [Ex(1): It’s not the job of Govt to save everybody; Ref: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans, (2) Guns are not evil, they are tools. Etc.] yet other things I hold as fact, Mr. Strauss still disagrees with, such as [Minor Spoiler Alert] at the end of the book he celebrates the election returns, hoping that BHO hasn’t arrived too late to fix the country.  What?!?!  For all the time and effort that you expended to learn and experience all that you did: How do you feel now, six months into the Obama Admininstration, Mr. Strauss?   For that question alone I hope he writes an epilogue for a post-BHO reprinting of the book four years from now.

Either way I recommend this highly entertaining book and have already suggested it to several friends.

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