Thursday, March 26, 2009

A Fascinating Book!

I jus finished reading (in two sittings) NeIl Strauss's EMERGENCY: THIS BOOK WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE, one man's odyssey from a life as a rock critic to a dedicated the best sense of that often miss-used word. Here's the Amazon blurb: 
Terrorist attacks. Natural disasters. Domestic crackdowns. Economic collapse. Riots. Wars. Disease. Starvation.

What can you do when it all hits the fan?

You can learn to be self-sufficient and survive without the system.

**I've started to look at the world through apocalypse eyes.** So begins Neil Strauss's harrowing new book: his first full-length worksince the international bestseller The Game, and one of the most original-and provocative-narratives of the year.

After the last few years of violence and terror, of ethnic and religious hatred, of tsunamis and hurricanes–and now of world financial meltdown–Strauss, like most of his generation, came to the sobering realization that, even in America, anything can happen. But rather than watch helplessly, he decided to do something about it. And so he spent three years traveling through a country that's lost its sense of safety, equipping himself with the tools necessary to save himself and his loved ones from an uncertain future.

With the same quick wit and eye for cultural trends that marked The Game, The Dirt, and How to Make Love Like a Porn Star, Emergency traces Neil's white-knuckled journey through today's heart of darkness, as he sets out to move his life offshore, test his skills in the wild, and remake himself as a gun-toting, plane-flying, government-defying survivor. It's a tale of paranoid fantasies and crippling doubts, of shady lawyers and dangerous cult leaders, of billionaire gun nuts and survivalist superheroes, of weirdos, heroes, and ordinary citizens going off the grid.

It's one man's story of a dangerous world–and how to stay alive in it.

Before the next disaster strikes, you're going to want to read this book. And you'll want to do everything it suggests. Because tomorrow doesn't come with a guarantee...
What fascinated me was the strange parallels to my own life..I would have said I was the only cheesy book writing rock critic who ended up here. Plus, the whole idea of Strauss' quest to be secure parallels in many ways my own OVER THE EDGE: A REGULAR GUY'S ODYSSEY IN EXTREME SPORTS. I loved Strauss' description of his first trip to GUNSITE...he captured my friend Ed Head perfectly! You can read the excerpt here on Amazon.

The LA Times did an interview a couple of weeks ago: 
Neil Strauss hardly seems like a guy who'd kill a goat and gut it with his own hands. A slim intellectual in silver jewelry and designer jeans, he doesn't appear to be the kind of person who would stash food in a forest or plot an escape from his Laurel Canyon home using fire trails and a motorcycle he barely knows how to ride.

Yet that's precisely what Strauss has learned to do over the last three years in an effort to prepare himself should society collapse. It's a journey he not only chronicles in his new book, "Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life," but continues to pursue. 

Days before his book's release, Strauss' BlackBerry is brimming with projects. (Get motorcycle license. Take pain-resistance training. Grind grain.) He's looking to strike a few items off his list. 
"I'm here to pick up a shotgun," he says, stepping up to the counter at Gun World, a Burbank shop whose anteroom is loaded with ammo and shell cases. The shotgun is a Remington 870 Wingmaster -- the third part of an unholy trinity that also includes a 9-millimeter pistol and a rifle, all of which he keeps in a hidden safe at his house. 

"Three years ago, I never would have been in a gun store," says Strauss, who was a New York Times music and culture critic before writing the bestseller "The Game," a guide to picking up women. He also collaborated with Jenna Jameson on her 2004 memoir "How to Make Love Like a Porn Star."
Anyway, what really locked me into the book was the fact that Strauss' and my politics are 180-degrees opposed. At the end of EMERGENCY he and his friends thrill at the election of Obama (although I wonder if he's less thrilled now as the shape of the Brave New World reveals itself).

This book is definitely worth reading, and hey, maybe it will save your life! 


Sigboy said...

I do enjoy your book referrals, however, after reading 'When All Hell Breaks Loose' by Cody Lundin, I had a problem getting past all the hippy love stuff in it. I did finish the book and was a good read. I will have to skim this book before purchase.

Anonymous said...

Author says the military trains recruits to murder.

Interesting take.

I'll wait until the book is in the bargain bin so the author will not make a penny off of me.

Anonymous said...

If the government collpases, making it on your own, no matter how well prepared you are, is unlikely. Your best chance of survival would be in a "tribe" of like minded individuals.

Unknown said...

Anon, 11:51;

Col. Dave Grossman said about the same thing about the military in "On Killing."

Anon, 2:54;
Strauss makes the same point about networks as opposed to Lone Rangers.

I finished the book a few nights ago. It's less of a "how-to" than Lundin's, but more of a journey from sheep to TEOTWAWKI to overall sheepdog.

It's a good read. Another perspective and knowledge set to add to the toolbox.

Hobie said...

"Your best chance of survival would be in a "tribe" of like minded individuals." Form the resistance cells now...

We all change over time. That's the purpose of this life, to educate ourselves.

Eric said...

"I'll wait until the book is in the bargain bin so the author will not make a penny off of me."

Me too. No $ for Obama supporters!

Word verification: gunizsta

Anonymous said...


So Straus recognizes you can't go it alone-good.

Question: How does he deal with location? Your "tribe" would have to settle in an are suitable for agriculture and herding, would have to be defendable, and free from industrial pollution from unattended sites after the collapse (remember Bophal?), not downstream from a holding pond from a mining operation or downstream from a damn that could collapse without the oversight of the COE, and not close to a military base where the commanders might set themselves up as local warlords. Does he address any of these issues?

Anonymous said...

This is the first I have heard of this book, and it does sound very, very interesting to me.

I too, would like to get as well prepared for all contingencies as I can. Though I do not think I could abandon my neighbors and community in a general emergency any more than I could hold off my hungry neighbor at gunpoint from sharing in my supply, or leaving the aged, hobbling veteran in my neighborhood to fend for himself. (Do not get my wrong--I would have no objection to defending myself and others from predatory individuals and groups, or those who would otherwise take advantage of us.)

I want to be as prepared as possible so to be an asset to my community and maybe provide some leadership if necessary in facing what has to faced, but together.
In trying to understand the sentiments expressed by many of, "To hell with everyone else, I am saving myself", I have wondered if my differing sympathies are because I do not yet have any children? (Though I am no longer so much a young man). I do not find this explanation sufficient.

Kevin said...

I picked up a copy yesterday and am not quite halfway through it already. Interesting in a train-wreck sort of way. It's not really a "how-to," more of a travelogue of one man's journey into survivalism so far. It is interesting to read this from the perspective of someone my complete political opposite. Thanks for the recommendation.