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The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook Paperback – October 1, 1999

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Editorial Reviews Review

How to Wrestle Free from an Alligator: 4. If its jaws are closed on something you want to remove (for example, a limb), tap or punch it on the snout.

Though it's being marketed as a humorous title--after all, it's unlikely you'll be called upon to land a plane, jump from a motorcycle to a moving car, or win a swordfight--the information contained in The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook is all quite sound. Authors Joshua Piven and David Borgenicht consulted numerous experts in their fields (they're cited at the end of the book) to discover how to survive various and sundry awful events. Parachute doesn't open? Your best bet for survival is to hook your arms through the straps of a fellow jumper's chute--and even then you're likely to dislocate both shoulders and break both legs. Car sinking in water? Open the window immediately to equalize pressure, then open the car door and swim to the surface. Buried in an avalanche? Spit on the snow--it will tell you which direction is really up. Then dig as fast as you can.

Each survival skill is explained in simple steps with helpful illustrations. Most stress the need to be prepared--both mentally and physically. For example, to escape from quicksand, you will need to lay a pole on the surface of the quicksand, flop on your back atop the pole, and pull your legs out one by one. No pole? No luck. "When walking in quicksand country, carry a stout pole--it will help you get out should you need to."

Hopefully you'll never need to know how to build a fire without matches, perform a tracheotomy, or treat a bullet wound. But in the words of survival evasion resistance escape instructor "Mountain" Mel Deweese, "You never know." --Sunny Delaney

From Publishers Weekly

You've just leapt off a building and, noticing a Dumpster below, you thank your stars that you've spent several hours listening to this cassette, and you can now land in said Dumpster without breaking your back. Although it is rather unlikely that you will ever use any of the material presented in the book how to perform a tracheotomy, or bring a plane in for an emergency landing these things do happen every once in a while. To someone, somewhere maybe. So it couldn't hurt to bone up on some skills, right? Though neither written nor read in a humorous manner, the book nevertheless amuses in a strange way; the decision to group numerous bizarre crises into two hours of tape, not to mention some of the particularly far-fetched scenarios ("How to Leap from a Motorcycle to a Car" or "How to Escape from Killer Bees") often exceed our expectations of absurdity. You can imagine needing to know CPR some day, but how many of us will have the opportunity to wrestle free from an alligator? As a man who has seemingly leapt into Dumpsters and jumped into moving vehicles (or had a stunt double perform these things), Reynolds seems a wise choice for a reader. Unfortunately, his presentation is flat and unenthusiastic, and it sounds like he's reading the material for the first time. Misplaced emphases render several passages difficult to understand. However, Reynolds's familiar voice, combined with the offbeat material, affords some camp appeal in the tradition of outdated high school safety films. Based on the Chronicle paperback.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Worst Case Scenario
  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; 1 edition (October 1, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811825558
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811825559
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.5 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (267 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #33,324 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

182 of 193 people found the following review helpful By Mitchell Leary on May 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
Wow, what a book. Contains all kinds of cool stuff I've always wanted to know. Heres a partial list of whats in the book:-How to jump from a bridge into a lake or river.-How to jump from a multi-story rooftop into a dumpster.-How to run on top of a speeding train.-How to leap from a motorcycle into moving car.-How to deliver a baby in a taxi cab.-How to land an airplane.-How to survive if your parachute fails to open.-How to survive machine gun fire from a passing car.-How to get to the surface if your scuba tank runs out of air.-How to escape quicksand (even if your up to your neck).-How to ram a car.-How to break down a door (exactly where to kick.)-How to break into and hotwire a car.-How to do a 180 degree turn with your car (also known as a bootleggers turn).-How to fight sharks, grizzly bears and mountian lions without any kind of weapons. -How to beat the living hell out of an attacking alligator (where to hit him that will stop him instantly).This is dead serious material. I have no idea why it would be in the humor section of the bookstore. Buy it, learn the material, weave some fantastic tales for the grand kids and become the family legend. I enjoyed this book so much I bought 3 copies for my 'very tough' beer drinking buddies.
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88 of 95 people found the following review helpful By Zon Mundhenk on November 10, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This calendar is the perfect gift for the office bound weekend warrior, trivia buff, outdoors-person, or survivalist nut on your holiday list.
How to fend off a shark attack? How to jump from a five story building into a dumpster? How to survive a hostage situation? I have to ask myself...who in the world (outside the Navy SEALS) needs to KNOW this stuff? Well, heck, not me. But I LOVED reading this book.
This book DOES have some critical information in it that everyone should have learned in grade school but too many of us forget; practical stuff like tornado safety, fire escape, or how to avoid being hit my lightning.
Most of us daydream occasionally about a life with more excitement and adventure. And who hasn't wondered about how one would survive a several hundred foot plunge into a river al la "The Fugitive"? And how much training (and insanity) did it take to become that guy on "The Crocodile Hunter"? The one thing that I wonder most about all this is who these "experts" are who came up with the information on, say, "jumping off a five story building into a dumpster". How do they know how to escape a mountain lion attack or the best way to ram a car out of one's way or how to dodge a bullet? Trial and error? The mind boggles.
Hopefully, no one reading this book will ever have to actually use it. In spite of the scare factor, however (or perhaps because of it), this is one VERY interesting, fascinating, funny book, and great for passing around at parties. It has a "you have GOT to be kidding me" factor that is just fantastic.
In any case, the Worst Case Scenario Calendar is so amazingly, marvellously surreal, you have to own it just for the cachet factor. And frankly, its as close as I EVER want to get to this kind of `adventure".
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53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By Timothy M. Smalley on December 23, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As a contributor to this book (unpaid) I was rewarded by the authors with an autographed copy. Upon opening it I was delighted with what could only be described as a "What would I do?" guide for potential Walter Mittys.
How to take a headpunch, how to wrestle an alligator/shark, how to avoid gunfire, how to escape quicksand, how to land a plane, how to jump out of a moving car, how to get onto a moving freight train and how to survive a sinking automobile (my contribution) are but a few of the entertainingly written and illustrated topics.
What guy, sitting in a darkened theater watching Arnold, Sly or John Wayne for that matter, hasn't wondered "How would I get out of (or survive) that situation?" This book answers them all!
I purchased several copies for male friends and family members who I know all secretly want to go on a search and destroy mission with Chuck Norris or dig for buried treasure with Indiana Jones.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By "lost_wanderer" on May 19, 2000
Format: Paperback
I have to confess, I've never found any manaul so amusing! For all you writers and D&D adventures, this guide helps you learn how to deal with all-too-often-occurences with your charcters. Unfortuantely, these things can happen in real life too, so one must be prepared. Now, I wouldn't expect to be able to walk into the cockpit and just take over from this book, but I might be able to radio for help, and (at worst) not-so-leathly land the plane.
Though all joking aside, there are important things written in this book that everyone should know how to do. Like escape from a sinking car, deal with down power lines, ecsape bears; mountain lions; and bees, and of course; identify a bomb. It is a lovely travel size, perfect to stuff in your backpack or purse. (It would be assumed you'd read it BEFORE heading out... It would be rather awkard trying to hit the alligator and read at the same time...)
Thankfully, one should never really need such information, but should such a tradgey arise, at least you would have been prepared! I do not recomend to live (or die) by this handbook, but if you ever just wanted to know how to survive if your chute doesn't open...
Other than that, the authers attack the subject with humor and jovaility in such a way that makes it a good read whether you ever need the advice or not!
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