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A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic's Wild Ride to the Edge and Back

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  9,578 ratings  ·  1,099 reviews
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 wa
Hardcover, 261 pages
Published January 5th 2016 by Scribner
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Diane Having been an RN 34 years, working on pediatrics, medical floor, and then the operating room- this was an eye opener for me in some ways. I don't thi…moreHaving been an RN 34 years, working on pediatrics, medical floor, and then the operating room- this was an eye opener for me in some ways. I don't think paramedics or EMT's are paid NEAR enough for what they are responsible for. It was a great read, and he did not seem to become disillusioned with human beings. I have seen a lot, and it has affected my outlook on life in a good way- we are all human beings, broken by something, and going to die. This was accepted in life until fairly recently. It has given me more humility, and compassion; less judging of those struggling to live their lives in our increasingly un-caring country. Drug addicts are sick, hopeless. They too are human beings. At my age, I despise the current atmosphere of de-humanization, the waning acceptance that we all have problems, are not superior to anyone. What opened my eyes was how the companies treated these on the road heroes. Tho why should I be surprised? Health care is a product now. (less)

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Heidi The Reader
Kevin Hazzard's memoir about being a paramedic. It is shocking, but I learned a lot about the physical and emotional toll the job takes on these professionals.

Frankly, I'm surprised that anyone is able to do this job. I know that I couldn't.

A Thousand Naked Strangers invites the reader to examine their own mortality or, if not examine it, just remember it like a literary memento mori.

I, like most other people, want to pretend that I'm going to live forever when I know I'm not. A Thousand Naked S
(Talking about dealing with crazies) "Over time, their normal becomes your normal."

Review of this iconoclastic, interesting and well-written book to follow. Possibly.
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
"In the beginning, it was all sirens and heroes and saving lives. A few years later, I hated the sounds of sirens. I'd saved lives but never enough, and I'd done heroic things, though never once did I feel like a hero." -- the author on page 258

Hazzard - a great surname for a person in the emergency services profession, don't you think? - is a writer / journalist by trade, but in the year after the 9/11 attacks he began re-thinking his career options. (He was an alumni of The Citadel - a well-kn
What a change for Mr. Hazzard. He was a journalist who after 9/11 decided to go to EMT school. It seemed the intensive training he received was almost impossible to grasp. It was like you learn while on the job and that he did. He was in Atlanta, GA in some high crime areas, where they should have been police escorts.
We take these poor people for granted, like most first responders they see the worst of the worst. But we never consider what all they must contend with while trying to save a life
Robin Bonne
Aug 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoir-and-essay
4.5 Stars. My biggest takeaway is that EMTs and paramedics are not paid enough for what they do.
Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-ebook
If you work in EMS or are curious as to what goes on daily in the lives of these amazing people-you will love reading this book.
"Death cracks inside jokes that only we emergency workers—with our practical knowledge of the postmortem human—will ever laugh at."
In A Thousand Naked Strangers: A Paramedic’s Wild Ride to the Edge and Back, former Atlanta paramedic Kevin Hazzard shares his memories of entering the medical emergency field, a sample of his ten years of experiences in the field, and how he knew it was time for him to move on. The book's dark humor and matter-of-fact style will make a lot of sense to m
Nov 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
3.5/5, rounded up.

This book was very, very interesting for many, many reasons. The synopsis tells you what it’s about and the text does not stray from that. He’s seen some crazy shit guys.

Aside from the content, I enjoyed the writing style. I found his dry, sarcastic sense of humor and passive aggressive wit enjoyable for the most part.

My problem with this lies in the authors poor attitude. At time he seems very pompous, some of his descriptions lack empathy all together, and at one point he p
Apr 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
One man's memoir of his time in Emergency Medical Services (first as an EMT, then as a paramedic). I learned a lot about EMS, and the book is chock full of stories about weirdos, if you like that sort of thing (I do). Personally, however, I found Hazzard's irreverent tone very off-putting. I get that gallows humor is a thing amongst people who see a lot of human misery on a day-to-day basis. I don't have a problem with it. What bothered me was all the stuff about "the perfect call," his obsessio ...more
Mar 02, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
These men and women don't get paid enough for what they see and go through. Anyone can apply but not everyone will make it in the field.

As I said before, reading these has given more respect for the medical professionals in these various fields and helped me understand their mindsets a little more.

The calls the author went on with his different partners as EMT and paramedic were both interesting and some out there. A couple had me laughing a tiny bit (not at the people but just the crazy circum
Feb 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Having worked in EMS myself I absolutely loved this book! I can relate to everything that was said about questioning if you can do it and the madness of your first call. Knowing deep down that eventually THE CALL will come. Kevin is a great story teller, this was a quick and enjoyable book about his time in EMS from starting school until he decided it was time to move on. Being from the South I know the reputation of Grady EMS and wanted to work there myself yet I lived too far from ATL.

There w
Dorie  - Cats&Books :)
Dec 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
I received this book as an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I am always drawn to anything medical and this memoir proved to be an eye opening and emotional roller coaster of a ride with Kevin as he started his career as an EMT. I worked in a hospital environment for 10 years but typing surgical reports in a medical records environment, so I was pretty far from where the real action, in the ER, was happening, but I was told many stories.

After 9/11 Kevin leaves behind his brief
I really enjoyed this book. It is a well written account of life as a paramedic and, since I love leaning about other people's jobs (as those of you who know me can attest to), for me this was a great read.
chantel nouseforaname
A wild ride is not even the slightest hint of an overstatement with this book. Honestly, I have no idea how paramedics do their job... Every moment was so intense and Kevin Hazzard recounted each moment with such vivid detail and enthusiasm.

A Thousand Naked Strangers was filled with hilarity and sadness, darkness, despair, insanity, absurdity, hope, pain and pressure. Kevin Hazzard really just made you feel like you were catching up with a family member who you haven't seen in years, who's keen
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
i loved this, what a wild ride but so much fun
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

A Thousand Naked Strangers is an interesting and fast paced account of Kevin Hazzard's decade long tenure as a paramedic in Atlanta, Georgia.

At age twenty six, after just eight months of a part time course Emergency Medical Training, and a brief period spent at a rather disreputable private ambulance service ferrying around chronically ill and nursing home patients, Kevin finds himself riding shot gun in a 911 ambulance with a near burnt out partner, responding to calls in some of the worst area
Donna Davis
Take a former journalist; make him a paramedic in a high-poverty, high-danger area for a decade; then turn him loose again to write about it, and he will play his readers like violins and make us like it. A Thousand Naked Strangers is a high octane, gloriously visceral ride in an ambulance and out of one, through Southeast Atlanta, Georgia. Thank you to Net Galley and to Scribner for the DRC. Since I read multiple galleys at a time and I loved this one best, I tried to feed it to myself in small ...more
Shereen Rafea
Feb 15, 2016 rated it liked it
I'm drawn to books where people talk about a day in their life and you get to be a fly on the wall into their world. I'm curious about what it's like to be a teacher, a doctor, a paramedic, a nurse and many more professions . Books like this help me understand and step into someone else's shoes. This was a decent read. Hazard gives you an electric , fast paced look at what a Paramedic faces on the streets , from the asthma attacks, to the shootings, drugs, births and deaths. He reflects on why h ...more
Jan 14, 2016 rated it it was ok
I ended up returning it to the library, reading only about 1/3 of the book. Maybe it was that it was written from a paramedic perspective that conflicted with my nurse brain (doubt it, as I really do appreciate the role that paramedics play, they are indeed my own "phone a friend" in my work world). More than likely, the library got returned because I had other books show up that seemed to better match my reading mode.

Might try and re-visit it again...but for many book, so little time t
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
"Life is a series of cycles—each nothing but new people, new memories, and eventually, a new ending."

I've been working in the Emergency Department at the local hospital for 4 years now and there are very few professionals I admire and love more than our paramedics and EMTs. I've seen them rushing in from literal hell and never waver. I've seen them do more than their duty calls for.

It was fascinating to see the world through their eyes for once. I only ever see the after. I know every word wri
Nov 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-in-office
Interesting peek into the life of an EMT medic. Now that I have read this book, I think medic is one of the most unappreciated job categories in society. The book is written with a lot of humor. Some of it can get morbid. Its a page turner. The author keeps it short and funny.
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've been wanting to read this since I listened to Kevin Hazzard speak at the Tucson Festival of Books back in March. He was funny and engaging so I immediately put the book on my "want to read" list but a lot of stuff gets on there and never gets read. A couple of weeks ago I stumbled on the audio CD at my public library so I checked it out. A bit of serendipity which, for me, is always the best way to come to a book. George Newbern does the narration and he held my interest throughout.

Kevin Ha
Jan 15, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, memoir
I'm not sure why I still read these workplace memoirs. I never really get much out of them, and I often feel like the author is self aggrandizing and trying too hard to make his mundane job seem way more epic than it actually is. At least being a paramedic in urban Atlanta could arguably be considered epic; there's death and bloodshed and it's obvious that paramedics have better stories than hotel doormen or travel writers or other vocations that have been the fodder of so-so memoirists. Still, ...more
Mar 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Meet Author Kevin Hazzard, a Grady Memorial Hospital EMT turned paramedic, an inspired soul who wanted to make a change and a difference after 9/11. Here in the years following and in our May book choice, A Thousand Naked Strangers, he's working the raw streets of Hotlanta via ambulance. With wit, charm, and a spare-no-detail writing passion, the multi-talented Kevin Hazzard has taken us all on a narrative ride of his life in the fast lane, from a nervous wonder, chomping-at-the-bit beginning, t ...more
Apr 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Since I saw the movie Bringing Out the Dead, I have been sad that I didn't choose to be a paramedic. One of my best friends from college had a brother who dropped out of law school his junior year to become a paramedic and I remember being so intrigued. It's the magic of being a doctor without the ego. He described it as awful, wondrous chaos and sometimes they had waffles. I immediately regretted my choice in career.

This book was funny, gritty and realistic. Hazzard's writing is not the best, b
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ARC received from: Netgalley

Rating: 4*

Cover: Yay

One-Sentence Summary: An inside look at the professional life of an EMT/paramedic in Atlanta

Review: This book was really interesting and I felt like I got a full account of the good, the bad, and the ugly. It was a bit gory in places but that was to be expected given the subject matter. I would definitely recommend to people wanting to find out what the true experience of being a paramedic is like.
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
I was intrigued to read this since my boyfriend is a medic. I enjoyed sharing some of what I read with him. He agreed it was all accurate. Sometime between reading about the man with maggots eating his face and the patient they checked for a rectal tone I looked at him and realized he'd been sheltering me from the worst experiences. Even though Hazzard says it doesn't necessarily take a special person to be a medic, I believe it does. I have nothing but admiration for this profession and the wom ...more
Jul 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir, humor
If you think life as a paramedic is crazy, you're probably right. And this wonderfully written memoir proves it. The stories range from the macabre to the bizarre to the downright hilarious.

What I love about this memoir is that it's more than a collection of vignettes. There's actually a story arc as the author progresses from EMT class to his first call... and all the ups and downs of working as a paramedic out of one of the busiest hospitals in the U.S.

One of the most interesting questions tha
Lima Reads
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
But as always, lessons are drawn from mistake, not victories.

That quote from the book stuck with me. Because it's true. It's true in every aspect of our lives.

I want to thank the EMTs, the paramedics, the firemen, the police, the doctors, the nurses, the security guards and every other everyday hero. These are the people who run towards danger to help others. The ones who do it everyday. The ones who are heroes. Thank you. Thank you for saving other people even though you sometimes have to ris
Katie Janowicz
Sep 09, 2019 rated it liked it
I think I may still be too stunned at what I found on these pages to give a coherent review, although I will give it a try. I thought I knew what I was getting into by the title of this book but holy smokes, I am having trouble processing the graphic scenarios (smells included) shared, so I can't fathom witnessing them first hand. I have always held first responders in the highest regard but after reading this memoir, I am truly humbled by what these men and women face in this profession, especi ...more
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Shepherd Center B...: April 20 - A Thousand Naked Strangers 1 8 Oct 13, 2016 05:51AM  

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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.


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