30.11.19

SELF DEFENSE FOR BUSY PEOPLE, by Steve Brass

I know I am fortunate that I have never been physically attacked. Burglarized and sexually harassed, yes. But never an imminent personal threat. The author, an expert on personal safety, suggests a multitude of techniques that he promises will increase your safety. Primary is Situational Awareness, just knowing what's going on around you. In this day of cellphone addiction, when a large proportion of people never look up from their cellphone screens, this one tip would make many people - women, in particular - safer. 
The author goes on to detail a number of physical techniques beyond merely knowing what's going on around you. Elbow strikes, groin slaps, and things of that sort. I'm five-one and of retirement age to put it delicately. Some of the techniques I found hysterically funny simply because the one thing most people don't have is warning of an attack. I think of the recent shooting rampage in Texas in which three police officers were left flat-footed, taken totally by surprise, as a gunman murdered innocent people. If highly-trained professionals can't get it together, what hope is there for me?
The book no doubt will offer some comfort to the more physically fit in our society, particularly males with their usually superior muscle mass. Younger women as well will find it useful. The notion that it can't happen to you is delusional. In 21st century America, anything can happen to anybody. Just reading the book will help to reinforce what ought to be better habits of self-protection (get your face out of that phone!), and might offer some psychological support for those of us who have never been assaulted. Being a sitting duck is never a good option.
But...the physical condition and mental state required to pull off the majority of suggestions is, to my mind, simply not attainable regardless of intent or practice. As a pep-talk, the book is useful. As a guide to survival, for me it is not. The intent gets it a 5, but the overall impact and effect gets it a 3.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher, BooksGoSocial, for the opportunity to review this book in advance of publication.

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