I am, admittedly, very interested in disasters and their aftermath. I have been ever since I was a girl - I remember reading about The Titanic with fascination. I was obsessed with Pompeii for a while. Earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, all of it. Maybe it's because when I was young my town flooded for several days, our basement filling with water and my dad away all day filling sandbags as the streets flowed like a river. I don't know. But I've always had a healthy fear of and fascination with what happens when things go wrong.
When a friend recommended this book to me, I checked it out from the library right away and I'm glad I did. Ripley's writing style is both informative - citing studies and interviewing researchers in the field of human stress and behavior - as well as casual in tone. She interviews disaster survivors from 9-11, fires, active shooting situations and plane crashes, giving insight into the different types of reactions that one can have when confronted with an extremely stressful situation. We learn about the three phases of a human's disaster response and how to help ourselves do a little better to ensure that we are more likely to be safe.
I found it fascinating - I wanted to bring up some of the ideas with people I talk to as well as apply some of her thoughts into my own life. It's straightforward and frightening sometimes but isn't trying to be scary - it's trying to inform and change behavior. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to feel more confident about how to keep themselves safe in those once-in-a-lifetime situations.