on January 19, 2003
Being that I have found these Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbooks in the humor section at the bookstore, would give an indication as to what they might entail. They're not quite like an instructive first-aid guidebook with very short, basic, right to the point instructions, but it still takes each subject rather seriously. At any rate one can still learn a thing or two that would be good to remember in the occasion of possibility. A likely example would be the simple idea of counting seats on the plane or doors in the hotel that are along your route to the emergency exit. If visibility is impaired by smoke applying this knowledge would give vital seconds to your quest for safety. Also included are some emergency phrases in four languages (Spanish, French, German and Japanese) and a brief notation of gestures to avoid in certain places, plus a summary of travel tips. All this might seem like basic travel wisdom, but it doesn't hurt to be reminded incase one forgets. As the book series so eloquently puts it, you never know, just expect the unexpected.
Topics range from how to foil a scam artist, survive a mugging or mass riot, how to escape from being tied up, how to ram a barricade, jump from roof top to roof top or lose someone following you, how stop a car without brakes or escape from a car hanging over a cliff edge, how to crash land a small plane, control a runaway horse, survive a sandstorm, tsunami or a trip over a waterfall, how to survive when lost in the jungle, how to find your way without a compass, how to survive in frigid water or escape a riptide, make a snow shelter, deal with leeches, piranhas, scorpions and tarantulas, catch food, find water, and many, many more. The only thing missing is how to use a bullwhip. But I was greatly disappointed to discover absolutely nothing on what to do in the event of a tornado or hurricane.
Imagining someone consulting their Worst-Case Scenario Handbook while in a hostage situation or trying to stop a runaway passenger train just makes me chuckle at the very thought. But at the same time it's spooky to think that it could happen. It's a handbook set apart from the rest and I would recommend this travel edition along with the original Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook to anyone who is an adventure enthusiast and would love to enrich his or her clever & crafty know-how on such survival tricks. A great gift idea for something slightly unusual and potentially useful.
It provides good, sound information but read it more for it's amusement and entertainment. Take it along with you wherever you go, it'll make a great conversation starter. If nothing else, "the pages can be used as emergency toilet paper if you're really in a jam." - page 18 [review author: tilley_traveler]
on March 18, 2002
The statistics are against you: More than 50 percent of all travellers run into problems.
This is the start of the introduction in this book, and to help you deal with these problems Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht have once again consulted experts on various areas, so that if you're going travelling somewhere you'll have expert knowledge at your hand, should you need to deal with a crisis.
If you've been to a third world country or somewhere politically unstable you know the discomfort of being a tourist in the midst of it all. Sometimes protesters go bezerk, and should you be in a foreign country where protesters outside the hotel are throwing molotovcocktails and firing guns, the odds of you making it to the airport safe are very grim. This book does, however, give an EXCELLENT guidance on WHAT to do WHEN and HOW, not only in a situation such as that mentioned, but also if you're hanging over the edge of a cliff in your car, sitting in an airplane that's about to crash, tied up or in a runaway passenger train. Crisises that common sense simply does not have a solution for. Through this book you also get the entertainment value of reading (whilst sitting in Denmark) how to steer a runaway camel, foil a UFO abduction etc. but also great travellers tips and usable emergency phrases in 4 languages.
Think you've got it all covered? You're in Tokyo and a thug tries to mug you. How do you call for help? Well?
See, how would you know that you say: "Tasukete! dorobô"??? There's no way a normal tourist would know that, which is why this book is indispensable to any frequent traveller.
The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Travel has four primary uses:
(1) To let you fantasize safely about what you would do in a life-threatening situation you probably won't face, but have seen in the movies (survive after being lost in a jungle, escape a mob, survive a kidnapping)
(2) Provide humorous scenarios that you will probably never face to give you a good laugh (being abducted by a UFO, handling a runaway camel, getting rid of a leech in your nose)
(3) Practical advice for challenges that many travelers will encounter (stopping a car with no brakes, handling a runaway horse, foiling thieves)
(4) Reducing risk of harm from unlikely events that you probably do think about (escaping a hotel fire, what to do after falling onto a subway track, surviving an elevator fall).
I was impressed that although I did not expect to learn anything I could ever use, the book actually had several sections which I wish I had known about when I faced travel challenges in the past (handling scorpion stings, what to do in a hotel fire, how to stop a runaway horse that someone else is on, making a shelter in the snow, avoiding having your carry-ons stolen at the x-ray machine). I suspect that I will be able to use this information in the future.
Another benefit I got was to realize that I could handle some emergencies that I would normally consider well beyond me. In these days when travel seems more dangerous than before, this book may also be worth carrying to play the role of Dumbo's magic feather -- to build a little confidence. For example, I don't like to fly in small planes. I think I could follow the instructions in the book for crash landing a small plane in water, as long as someone could help me. But I could never remember all of these details in a crisis. Having the book along will help me relax a lot more on my next small plane flight.
People with phobias about certain travel situations may find the knowledge that they gain here can help reduce their anxiety.
One of the best parts of the book came in the foreword by David Concannon of the Explorers Club who described the many hideous things that had happened to him in order to encourage you to realize that the unexpected does happen, you need to accept what is beyond your control, always have a contingency plan, and no matter how bad things are . . . they could get worse. As a result, you will probably spend more time thinking through the potential challenges that you will face on future trips, and be better prepared to handle these challenges.
My favorite funny parts in the book were the runaway camel, passing a bribe, foiling a UFO abduction, trailing a thief, losing someone following you, jumping from a moving train, escaping from being tied up, ramming a barricade, surviving a volcanic eruption, surviving a tsunami, getting rid of leeches, and crossing a piranha-infested river. Indiana Jones, move over!
Even if you never travel, the book "will provide good information and entertainment for the armchair survivalist."
on July 4, 2001
.....but the information contained in this book was not of tremendous value to the common traveler.
While I learned a lot, I was hoping to get more run-of-the-mill, everyday travel advice. There was some of that in the book (such as having a list of alternate flights with you when you go to the airport, as well as the phone numbers of the airlines; if you are traveling with someone on a plane, pack half of your stuff in each other's suitcase. That way, if one suitcase gets lost, you are not without anything at all).
I also learned that most fire ladders only go up seven stories (from the street), so if I am in a hotel, I will request a street-side room below the 7th floor. I also found out how to escape from a rip tide, emergency braking for a car, and how to avoid a common scam at an airport X-Ray machine.
I did not really need information about jumping from one rooftop to another, removing a leech, crossing a piranha-infested river, surviving a trip over a waterfall, escaping from a tsunami, or catching fish without a rod.
This information that I did not need was, nevertheless, interesting to read. Almost as good was reading about the various experts whom the author consulted in order to write these scenarios.
on April 4, 2001
If you are a nervous traveler (armchair or actual), this book will put you over the edge. You could memorize these scenarios and their protocols, but more likely you will not. The phrases-for-the-terrorized section is my favorite. It includes multilingual versions of requests such as "Please do not hurt me" and "Please take me to a clean hospital," as well as a variety of courteous pleas that one might imagine would be of use in a dire, horrific emergency. But what, really is the point? It's entertaining and bizarre and silly. Also great reading for the Indiana Joneses - or the Walter Mittys - of the world who would never (for example) need to stop a runaway camel or save themselves or another in a fall through ice - because we just would never be there in the first place. The sources are impressive: the scorpions information comes from an entomologist who is also an Army major, and the section on surviving a swim among the piranhas credits a leader of Amazon (the river) tours. Each terrible possibility and its antidote seems well-researched. Not a good travel gift for any but the toughest folks, but nerve-wracking fun nonetheless.
on April 30, 2002
The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Travel'
By Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht
This book would be for a frequent traveler, and if you were one, you would want to keep this book nearby at all times. There are lots of things that you're probably not going to need, but they're vary interesting to read about. Some examples of the situations are how to deal with run away camels and UFO abductions.
Lots of the things that this book will talk about are going to be useful like escaping a high rise or hotel fire, or stopping an airplane hijacking, or how to escape when tied up.
I would recommend this book to travelers, or people who are thinking about traveling to a secluded jungle type place. Even though I don't travel much, lots of the things are useful to know. Recommended ages, 8 and up.
on June 10, 2001
A lot of the topics probably will never apply to us in our whole lifetime, i.e. how to control a runaway camel, how to cross a piranha-infested river, etc., so I could simply read them & laugh out loud. It contains useful info, though, such as strategies for packing & flying. I'm not a frequent traveller & could've used those tips, especially since I just got back from a vacation. Of course, I had thumbed throught the table of contents prior to my vacation (and prior to purchasing it), & the topic "how to survive an airplane crash" did not appeal to me at that time--it made me antsy as I was about to go on a plane! I did not want to visualize or even think about airplane crashes at that time! :) But hey, I bought the book afterwards, & I love it.
on June 1, 2001
The publishers chose to produce this book in the same form-factor as the original "worst-case scenario handbook" which from a marketing standpoint makes sense, but this would have been more useful if it were the size of a standard passport and thus could fit inside a money belt, for example. Also, it could have been printed on lighter stock paper to make it more travel-friendly.
The advice on what to do if abducted by space aliens is certainly appropriate to a worst-case scenario but makes me question the authors' sincerity. The first handbook's strongest point was that it could be taken entirely seriously; describing how to deal with space aliens struck me as a little over the top.
on March 31, 2002
I got this handbook for my birthday and I have been laughing ever since. Though some people probably bought this because they actually wanted to know the answers to all those things. I got it because it was just hysterical. All the answers are literal and probably the best known way to survive things that are described. I have heard some of those things before so they are not made up or anything. But the assortment of things it describes are just really funny. And after you read it, if something might happen to you, you would know what to do.
on August 31, 2003
At last, a book that teaches me how to escape a mass riot in a foreign country. I got this book because it had good reviews and seemed to be interesting. It is, its a practical, humourous, book.
Its written in a serious manner, but there is obvious humour behind it, some of the topics you encounter are so obsurd its remarkable how these guys thought of the situation.
It's a funny book that one day might save your life, what other book can you say that about?
4 Stars. Not as good as some of the other books in the series.