Top positive review
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Excellent overview of a huge range of survival topics
on February 19, 2011
This is a great book for reviewing the basic concepts around a huge range of survival situations and skills. The book starts off with a few chapters on the basics of survival- mental attitudes, equipment, planning, and general tips. It then briefly explores how to survive, in basic terms, in different wilderness environments, from deserts to rain forests to the arctic. Each environment gets four to six pages, so this isn't a detailed, in-depth look at survival. Rather, it's a quick look meant to point out some of the more important information.
Next up is my biggest disappointment in the book. Out of almost six hundred pages, around one hundred are spent talking about finding food. Even though the book repeatedly states how you can go for weeks without food and still survive. Tips on mushroom picking, plant harvesting, and especially hunting are likely to be futile at best, back-fire at worst. There are nice color pictures of various plants which is a helpful bonus, but many edible plants look dangerously like poisonous plants, even more so with mushrooms, so this is a dangerous bit of advice. As for hunting, the idea of someone crashing in a plane, building their own bow, then hunting, killing, skinning, and eating big game is somewhere between ludicrous and sheer fantasy. So while the chapter was sort of fun to read, some of the space could have been better utilized elsewhere.
Following this chapter are chapters including: finding and building shelters, rope use, first aid, navigation, signaling, and surviving in ocean environments. The book ends with a description of survival in urban disasters, ranging from terrorist attacks to tsunami's. The last page of the book reiterates the author's basic philosophy. The most important facet of survival is will. Then knowledge/skill. Then gear. This agrees with what I've read in every other book on the topic. So while this book is an important book to read for those interested in survival, it's just a (good & easy to read) starting point for cultivating the skills, and more importantly the will, to survive.