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Will to Live: Dispatches from the Edge of Survival Paperback – February 1, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The creator of TV�s Survivorman looks at some real-life survival situations and offers his perspective on them. Some will be familiar to many: the 1972 Andes crash of an airplane carrying a Uruguayan rugby team (chronicled in the book and movie, Alive); Chris McCandless� solo hike into the Alaskan wilderness (subject of the book and movie, Into the Wild). Others less familiar are no less fascinating, such as the plight of the Karluk, a ship that, during the 1913 Canadian Arctic Expedition, was trapped several months in an ice pack. Stroud approaches the stories practically: here�s what these people did, here�s what they should have done, here�s what you should think about doing if you�re ever in a similar situation. He offers intelligent tips�if you�re traveling somewhere remote, tell people where you�re going, take a well-stocked survival kit, and keep a cool head if you get lost�and he does an excellent job of putting readers into the situations he�s discussing, making us feel the cold or the panic or the sheer desperation. --David Pitt

From the Back Cover

In a survival situation, a wrong decision could spell the difference between life and death.

No one knows this better than Les Stroud, who has survived everywhere from the sun-scorched sands of the Kalahari to the snake-infested jungles of the Amazon. In Will to Live, Les examines many incredible true life survival stories—explaining what happened and why, and offering valuable perspectives on what went right, what went wrong, and what could have been done differently. The tales in Will to Live include:

Chris McCandless—the subject of the book and movie Into the Wild.Yossi Ghinsberg—who survived alone in the Amazon for twenty-one days.

Douglas Mawson—the Antarctic "superman" who survived three hellish months at the bottom of the planet.

Nando Parrado—who was trapped for two months high in the Andes after a plane crash killed his friends and family.

Plus . . . stories from Les's own experiences, along with practical sidebars with tips on how to escape quicksand, butcher a moose, cross a snow-covered crevasse, and more.

Provocative and entertaining, Will to Live is a compilation of history's most intriguing survival stories from one of the world's foremost experts.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Original edition (February 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062026577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062026576
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #242,314 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Les Stroud is a filmmaker, outdoor adventurer, singer-songwriter and creator of the hit show Survivorman. He is a member of the prestigious Explorers Club and has produced, hosted, and appeared in many television specials including Shark Week, Surviving Alaska, and Off The Grid with Les Stroud. He has been featured in numerous media outlets including The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Larry King Live, Men's Journal, and Entertainment Weekly.

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Tradecraft TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 24, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Will to Live: Dispatches from the Edge of Survival by Les Stroud is an excellent, well researched, superbly written book of survival stories that prove the will to live oftentimes is more important than the skill to live.

In Will to Live, Les discusses the following stories of survival:

- Yossi Ghinsberg who survived in the Amazon jungle for 21 days
- Nando Parrado who survived 72 days in the Andes after a plane crash
- The Robertson families tale of survival on the open sea
- Chris McCandless whose survival story ends in the Alaskan wilderness with his death
- The Stolpa family whose winter driving trip almost turns deadly
- The Karluk, a 1913 arctic expedition
- Douglas Mawson who survived 3 brutal months in the Antarctic coast

Dispersed between the above stories of survival Les provides a short story of some of his harrowing adventures along with the challenges he faced and overcame.

In each of the presented survival stories Les provides side bars that contain relevant information on survival. At the end of each story he provides an "Elements of Survival" section that breaks down, in percentages, the critical components of survival which related to the story.

The Elements of Survival include:

1) Knowledge
2) Luck
3) Survival kit
4) Will to live

What I really liked and appreciated with this book is that Les did not pull any punches. When a survival mistake was made he points it out but as a learning tool and not necessarily as criticism. On the other hand he also points out things that were done correctly which is also valuable.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By C. Saj on February 4, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was a a big fan of Les Stroud's Survivorman and Beyond Survival. His way of conveying survival instincts and tactics always appealed to me more than other survivalists in the field and TV.

This book is not just about Les Stroud's survival tactics (though they are sprinkled throughout the book), it mostly showcases and critiques other instances of amazing survival stories. Les offers his analysis and compares it to his own experiences. From the infamous Old Christian Rugby Team plane crash high in the Andes to Yossi Ghinsberg who miraculously survived alone in the Amazon for many days, and several other stories.

Some of the chapters are about his own experiences (some shown on Survivorman). My personal favorite was his trip to the Amazon with the Waorani. The chapter explained much of the background to that Survivorman episode, including his frantic chase with a Jaguar! Some nice full color photos are shown in the middle of Les in various locations when shooting Survivorman.

One of the coolest features in the book are Les's lists of survival necessities for certain situations and lessons to keep you out of harms way. From learning how to survive in quick sand to avoiding snow blindness, and supply lists, I can actually hear Les's voice explaining his thoughts for each of these.

If you are a die hard fan of Les Stroud or just an adventurist or survivalist I highly recommend this book. I read it practically in one night, and plan to re-read it in the next few weeks. There is so much to each story of survival not just about making it out alive, but the strength of the human spirt in hard times.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Scott B. Williams on March 16, 2011
Format: Paperback
The title of Les Stroud's new book covers an aspect of survival that I've written about several times in my own books: the importance of the right mental attitude and the unstoppable determination to make it out of difficult situations in spite of seemingly impossible obstacles. In examining the stories of how the most improbable survivors made it through extreme ordeals, we often find that it is attitude that plays a much bigger role in the outcome than learned skills, experience or equipment used.

As a life-long adventurer myself, books like Will to Live: Dispatches from the Edge of Survival are of great interest to me, and I've been reading survivor stories like these since I was a kid dreaming of big game hunting trips and jungle expeditions. Back in those days I found such stories in the pages of magazines like Sports Afield, Outdoor Life and The Reader's Digest. I read them all and learned what I could from them. Later, I began devouring book-length travel narratives written by outdoor adventurers doing their thing in some of the most exotic parts of the world, and such reading fueled the fire that made me have to get out and do the trips that led to my own books.

Les Stroud is best known for his television shows such as Survivorman, but is also the author of Survive!: Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere - Alive. I've enjoyed several episodes of Survivorman from time-to-time, but I'm not much of a television watcher and rarely spend time viewing survival shows or anything else on TV. But his extensive travels for his television work have taken him into a wide range of environments and circumstances in which to test and develop his skills, and it shows through in Will To Live.
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