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Download The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes—and Why Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes—and Why, by Amanda Ripley Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (1,393 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Amanda Ripley Narrator: Kirsten Potter Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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It lurks in the corner of our imagination, almost beyond our ability to see it: the possibility that a tear in the fabric of life could open up without warning, upending a house, a skyscraper, or a civilization. 

Today, nine out of ten Americans live in places at significant risk of earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, terrorism, or other disasters. Tomorrow, some of us will have to make split-second choices to save ourselves and our families. How will we react? What will it feel like? Will we be heroes or victims? Will our upbringing, our gender, our personality–anything we’ve ever learned, thought, or dreamed of–ultimately matter?
 
Amanda Ripley, an award-winning journalist for Time magazine who has covered some of the most devastating disasters of our age, set out to discover what lies beyond fear and speculation. In this magnificent work of investigative journalism, Ripley retraces the human response to some of history’s epic disasters, from the explosion of the Mont Blanc munitions ship in 1917–one of the biggest explosions before the invention of the atomic bomb–to a plane crash in England in 1985 that mystified investigators for years, to the journeys of the 15,000 people who found their way out of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. Then, to understand the science behind the stories, Ripley turns to leading brain scientists, trauma psychologists, and other disaster experts, formal and informal, from a Holocaust survivor who studies heroism to a master gunfighter who learned to overcome the effects of extreme fear. 

Finally, Ripley steps into the dark corners of her own imagination, having her brain examined by military researchers and experiencing through realistic simulations what it might be like to survive a plane crash into the ocean or to escape a raging fire. 
 
Ripley comes back with precious wisdom about the surprising humanity of crowds, the elegance of the brain’s fear circuits, and the stunning inadequacy of many of our evolutionary responses. Most unexpectedly, she discovers the brain’s ability to do much, much better, with just a little help.

The Unthinkable escorts us into the bleakest regions of our nightmares, flicks on a flashlight, and takes a steady look around. Then it leads us home, smarter and stronger than we were before.

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Idiosyncratic | 2/20/2014

    " Being a Disaster-Scenario Queen, this book was the most useful thing I have read in years. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Rick | 2/20/2014

    " This is a handbook that everyone should read. You will never stay in a hotel or board an airplane again without taking more notice of your surroundings - and it may save your life. Amanda explains why humans often do - or don't do - the things we do, and gives her readers a checklist to break the cycle. Read this book and complete your own critical self-analysis. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Angel | 2/10/2014

    " Probably one of the most fascinating books I have read in 2012. Couldn't put it down. Amanda Ripley covers tsunamis, fires, plane crashes, the Katrina flood, the 1993 incident at the Twin Towers, and 9/11. She delves deeply into how people think and behave during disasters. I've learned interesting things like how some people are better suited to survive disasters and even have different blood chemistry than the rest of the population. A great read for those who want to be better prepared to survive an emergency or catastrophe. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Alida | 2/9/2014

    " Should be mandatory reading for everybody. "

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