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Primitive Technology: A Book of Earth Skills Paperback – March 26, 2001


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Primitive Technology: A Book of Earth Skills + Primitive Technology II: Ancestral Skill - From the Society of Primitive Technology
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Gibbs Smith; 10 edition (March 26, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879059117
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879059118
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.6 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #208,919 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Contents Foreword Section 1--Primitive Technology Section 2--Fire--Where We Begin Section 3--Bone, Stone & Wood--Basic Elements Section 4--Fibers--Holding The World Together Section 5--Projectiles--Power From The Human Hand Section 6--Art & Music--Discipline and Meaning

From the Back Cover

Living in modern society, we have become increasingly disassociated from the earth, from the essence of ourselves, and the need is awakened in us to return to the wilderness--physically and emotionally. We long to feel a sense of connection with our ancient roots. This urge is what has prompted man's fascination with primitive skills: producing objects from natural materials using methods similar to prehistoric cultures.
Primitive Technology: A Book of Earth Skills is a sharing of ideas--the philosophies, the history, and the personal stories by the authorities on primitive technology from teh pages of The Bulletin of Primitive Technology.
Included are instructions for creating fire and tools of wood, stone, and bone, as well as fiber adhesives, projectiles, art, and music. Practicing these primitive methods will lead the seeker towards a tangible, raw connection with the ancient past, with nature's resources and, ultimately, with the creative forces that constructed the foundation of man's survival on the planet.

Customer Reviews

All in all a good book, well written with good outlines, this could be a good one for your reading pleasure.
J. Hansel
The cover of the book is nice and colorfull but the content is too old with only poor and blurred black & white pictures, you cannot recognize what is being shown.
Manuel F. Peig
This book is an excellent resource for anyone looking to learn more about primitive skills and primitive technologies.
Daniel J. Truesdale

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

51 of 55 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on August 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is the best work ever done, under one single cover, on the subject. For all the people that goes to the wilderness (hunters, fishers, backpackers, outdoorsmen), this book is a muust-have. For the people that want to really know the evolution of technology from the early, say "stone-age", standpoint, it's a fascinating work. Specially good the chapter on primitive weapons, with some of the best instructions on the atlatl (spear-thrower or, more preciselly, dart-thrower), the weapon that men of yore used to hunt big game in the stone-age days. I loved it, and I know you'll love it, too.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By M. Arnold on August 28, 2005
Format: Paperback
Written in traditional textbook form, this book covers dwellings to musical instruments. It wasn't exactly what I was looking for in my pursuit of "So if I were in the wilderness with a knife...", but it was still written very well, packed full of fascinating facts. There are detailed descriptions of simple weaponry and bow drilling, but it didn't tell me how to feather the arrows for my hickory bow. I can probably make a really good boomerang and decorate it traditionally; yet somehow if the need were to arise, I would not trust my proficiency with this time-honored hunting tool. There were some neat ideas for stringed darts and such. This book was very educational, and I am glad to have it, even if it wasn't exactly what I expected.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Randy J. Mercurio on September 29, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are curious about what primitive technology is about this book will give you a good introduction. Lots of cool drawings and pics but don't expect step by step, hand held instructions for the multitude of topics covered in this compilation. If you don't know much about this stuff then some vocabulary may be new to you such as atlatls, celt, haft, biface, pecking and the list goes on. It was new for me but I found that my interests grew deeper and soon found myself buying books on flintknapping (did I have money for that...?) which I knew next to nothing about not too long ago. Inspirational in so many regards with some reasonable instruction from pics and words combined but I think these articles were intended for those with some background in the subject. Many short articles with great tidbits for the outdoorsman. A taste of this and a flavor of that by leading authorities whose expertise is compiled into one book. I recommend it highly not only for the curious but the outdoorsman, survivalist and tinkerer! I love that little knife in the middle foreground on the cover!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Hansel on January 26, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A good book for "reading" about primitive earth skills. If you're looking for a book that teaches, instructs, shows how to perform certain skills this may not be the book for you. Although there are some learnings here it may not be what you hope for. All in all a good book, well written with good outlines, this could be a good one for your reading pleasure.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a good book, and it covers many things. My favorite is the projectiles section. It shows how to make different kinds of spear throwers among other things. very interesting. I cant wait to get out and try some of this stuff. It is not a survival book by any means, but it's not supposed to be a survival book. It is just what the title says; a book of earth skills, and it lives up to this name.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daniel J. Truesdale on August 17, 2010
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This book is an excellent resource for anyone looking to learn more about primitive skills and primitive technologies. It has very detailed and high quality information. The only problem is that there are a good bit of spelling and grammar errors, however these do not detract from the quality of this book. More people need to read this book and practice these skills and technologies so that this knowledge is not lost. This book is very practical as knowing more about primitive technologies increases ones ability to find more uses of the things that are all around us.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By R.G. on March 9, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was really hoping that this book was a "how-to" book of primitive (first) skills, e.g. how to burn out a wooden bowl, how to make cordage, how to make long-term primitive shelters, etc. Instead, this is a re-print of previously published articles describing the experiences of people who have practiced these skills in an experimental/academic setting. This book will give you some hints and vague ideas of how a thing might be done, but don't expect good pictures and explanations of how to do something. Total brain tease!
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By Jamie D on February 14, 2013
Format: Paperback
This book is a very well done collection of different primitive technologies. It does a good job covering a lot of information in a friendly, encouraging style of writing. You can definintely tell these guys don't write books for a living, because there are loads of mistakes, spelling errors, misused words, etc. It isn't enough to take away from how great the book is, but it is very obvious throughout.

The book is broken into chapters with article-like subsections on common subjects (Ie: Tools - Bone, Antler, Stone working, etc) with different parts written by different people within the group of contributing authors. In each section there are pretty good instructions/guielines to actually teach how things are done in real life.

The writers just seem to be normal guys with a deep passion for living what they teach, and again, the book is impressively detailed considering the amount of topics. While the photos are dated and the text not recent, that has nothing to do with the quality, so that is a void point for me, sure I'd love to see the photos with todays capabilities, but oh well.

If you're interested in primitive skills and actually gettings started with your hands, this isn't a bad starting point, and I feel like I'd get along with the authors completely!
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