A Thousand Naked Strangers by Kevin Hazzard is, as the cover says, a wild ride. Hazzard, now a journalist and television writer, writes about his decade-long gig as a paramedic in inner city Atlanta, one of the most crime-ridden areas of the country. The book is his non-fiction account of that time and some of the most interesting, gruesome, and touching experiences Hazzard (no, I’m not sure if that’s his real last name) had.
Hazzard’s stories are definitely macabre and he acknowledges the desensitization that takes place when individuals encounter blood and gore on a very regular basis. I found this to be an interesting and necessary survival tactic for people in this highly difficult job. I don’t have a weak stomach by any means, but I wouldn’t recommend reading this one on your lunch break. I tried a couple times and had to put it down.
Working in a hospital, I found it especially interesting to learn more about this very important aspect of first-on-the-scene healthcare. Hazzard also describes the complicated dynamics between paramedics, physicians, firefighters, and law enforcement. The book is a quick and exciting read. It is also a reminder of the special, highly dedicated person it takes to do this important work.