A few years ago, I was catching up on The Walking Dead and got a bit nervous about a zombie apocalypse. I found Neil Strauss’s Emergency and immediately devoured it. Subtitled “This Book Will Save Your Life,” I had high hopes for it.
Much like The Game, I was expecting an instruction manual and found a narrative instead. The introduction sections were slow as it built up the background and paranoia. However, there was still plenty of interesting tidbits that I could glean from this book – the chapter breaks are one-page instructional comics on doing random bad-ass things. One very interesting fact I learned was that gas masks are useless. Or at least not nearly as protective as people think. They protect from chemical irritants to the lungs, but not against nuclear or biological attacks, or chemical agents that are absorbed through the skin.
The next section was on escape. Getting out of America when the next disaster came, and all the preparation needed for it, such as acquiring a second passport and protecting your liquid assets in foreign banks and wrapping up your chattel in LLC shells. That part did not really speak to me, since I have no local assets to protect, let alone assets enough to store in a remote location.
The last third of the book is what I considered the meat of it – his experiences with survivalism. Mr. Strauss highlights several skills he picked up, including:
- Gun training (Gunsite)
- Martial arts (Krav Maga)
- Disaster preparedness (CERT)
- Motorcycle license (MSF)
- First Aid/CPR (Red Cross)
- SERE (onPoint Tactical)
- Wilderness survival (Tom Brown’s Tracker School)
- Knife training (Mad Dog Knives)
- Edible plant walks (School of Self-Reliance)
- Sailing (American Sailing Association)
- Emergency medicine (EMT Class)
- Emergency network (CEMP)
- HAM radio license (FCC)
I am sure that Batman would be trained in all of these areas, so I added them all to my Goals list. It might take me a while, though. Many of these classes are full for the foreseeable future, are not offered anymore, are too expensive for me, and/or are not available in my area. If only I had the Wayne Foundation or the New York Times to sponsor me.
Besides the survival skills, the book discusses several books and websites on survivalism, and provides a lot of information about setting up a worst-case scenario ready-for-anything disaster pack.