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Wilderness Survival Handbook: Primitive Skills for Short-Term Survival and Long-Term Comfort Paperback – April 9, 2010

4.4 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Mike Pewtherer, founder of Woodland Ways, a company teaching wilderness survival and living skills to youth and adults, has been practicing and teaching wilderness living and survival skills for over 20 years. He is coauthor of Wilderness Survival: Living Off the Land with the Clothes on Your Back and the Knife on Your Belt and has taught in venues ranging from private high schools to conferences. Mike also teaches blacksmithing, tracking, woodwork, and ceramics. He has traveled widely and studied with native tribes in North America, Fiji, and Australia, and has acquired and practiced survival skills in military settings as a combat engineer, in Australia's Outback, and with various wilderness instructors across North America. He has also worked with the National Parks Service on the Wilderness Rescue Squad in numerous back-country settings, assisted on black bear studies, and worked as a hunter of feral hogs in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (April 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071484671
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071484671
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.8 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #172,914 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Brian Reaves VINE VOICE on September 8, 2010
Format: Paperback
I have several wilderness survival books and am constantly in search of ones that will further my knowledge. I went to this book hoping it would take things to the next level. Pewtherer has written a very good beginner's book, starting with a section on "Seven Day Survival" which gives you priorities and guidance for immediate needs for short-term survival. He soon moves on to shelter-building, fire-building, weapon-building, traps, skinning deer, and even takes it to the point of creating tools, pottery, and utensils for long-term survival situations.

While I did learn a few new things (the weapon building section was especially interesting), most of this was just a restatement of things you find in most other survival books. I have to give the author credit for really going into detail in this stuff though. If you are just getting started in camping or wilderness survival, then this book is an excellent reference and probably one of the better ones to teach you the foundational skills you'll need to build confidence.
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I am 17% into the book and really enjoy the content, except that I have already encountered at least three sections where pages are missing. If you want to "whole story", buy the paper version.
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The "helps" in the book are NOT long-winded, but are short and to the point.
There is enough information along with the drawings to be able to try out the advice given in the book.
ONE THING IS VERY IMPORTANT. DO NOT take this book out on a trip and expect to be able to do everything in it without trying it out first. [This is advice I would give with ANY book about survival.]
You need to try out these suggestions and techniques first in "your back yard." In the wilderness when an emergency is upon you is NOT the time to try out something new.
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You know, I've read so many news articles of people stranded in hostile environments here in the U.S. where some or all die because they were unprepared mentally and physically (equipment wise). You can't rely on 911 to get you out of every situation. This handbook is an excellent start for preparing yourself for survival. It's well written with a little light humor and personal anecdotes, well researched, and does not claim to be the one and only book you need. The author even encourages readers to read other sources and gather as much information as possible because chances are information may be the only tool available when the hammer drops and you're stuck in a survival situation. Ya just don't know. So read this book and as many others as you consider worthwhile and don't complain because it doesn't do your thinking for you. Read up, practice the skills before you need them and best of all, live to tell the tale.
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This book is very informative in survival skills that anyone can use in a tough spot. I look forward to sharing some ideas with our scout troop.
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Format: Paperback
Disclaimer: Mike Pewtherer worked for me for seven years while learning wilderness skills and teaching as an instructor at my camp, Hawk Circle. He is a good friend and I have known him since 1989 or earlier.

Okay that is out of the way.

It is hard to write a wilderness survival book that is useful and new. The subject is immensely broad and detailed, and many of the subjects have been done already very well, so much can seem like a repeat of previous books. However, Mike has done a good job here and provided a perspective that is needed in the field, as well as adding to the overall body of knowledge. His stories are strong and helpful, adding insight and a sense of humor and humanity that is sometimes lacking in other guides.

We use many field guides for our students, camps and classes and this is one I am glad to have in our reference library, and it is already dogeared from just a few weeks of use.

Just about any chapter topic could be a whole book, but Mike has provided some good info that will help both the novice and the more seasoned wilderness person...
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Everyone has their own opinion on books like this one. Me? It taught me plenty of survival tips and techniques that I didn't know. The explanations were straight forward and easy to understand and absorb. I would hope that I never have to use most of what is in here but I sure feel more comfortable venturing into the wilderness after having read through this book and going back to specific sections that interested me. Of course, the real way to learn these techniques is to actually plan to practice a few of them each time you go backpacking, camping or maybe just on a day hike. It breaks up the monotony and when two or three of you are into doing this it's a fun way to wind down after a long (or not so long) hike.

I'd recommend this book!
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Good buck with good basic illustrations but definitely too big to take backpacking with you. I was looking for a pocket size book with survival basics that I could take with me and read at night in my tent. But I'm still happy with it because it's a little more in depth and covers more that what could fit in a small book.
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