Discover how human beings react to dangerâ€“and what makes the difference between life and deathToday, 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? In her quest to answer these questions, award-winning journalist Amanda Ripley traces human responses to some of recent historyâ€™s epic disasters, from the explosion of the Mont Blanc munitions ship in 1917â€“one of the biggest explosions before the invention of the atomic bombâ€“to the journeys of the 15,000 people who found their way out of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. To understand the science behind the stories, Ripley turns to leading brain scientists, trauma psychologists, and other disaster experts. She even has her own brain examined by military researchers and experiences, 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 brainâ€™s fear circuits, and the stunning inadequacy of many of our evolutionary responses. Most unexpectedly, she discovers the brainâ€™s ability to do much, much betterâ€“with just a little help.