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Getting Out Alive: 13 Deadly Scenarios and How Others Survived Paperback – March 1, 2011
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First, it wasn't what I expected, based on the title and description. I expected a collection (primarily) of real life survival stories - maybe some successful and some unsuccessful, with an analysis of what the protagonists did right or wrong, which led to their survival or ultimate demise. Instead, the foundation of each chapter is a fictional situation that "you" have encountered, but things really start to wander from there.
This fictional narration continues for a few paragraphs, and is then interrupted by a "real life" account of someone going through a similar situation. Then it's back to the fictional account for a paragraph or two, then off on another real life tangent. In a couple of places, there were two real life tangents back-to-back and, by the time the narration returned to the fictional story, I'd almost forgotten what had been happening in that plot line. Then two more paragraphs of the fictional plot, then off on another real life tangent. One more fictionaly paragraph, then off on another tangent. One more paragraph, then off on another tangent. It made for a very disorganized presentation of the subject matter - like someone was telling me a story, but constantly kept stopping themselves every few sentences to say "oh, but first let me tell you about this other thing for a minute". How irritating would it be to listen to someone telling you a story while stopping to mix in 5-6 other stories in the middle of their "main" story?
Time shifts were also herky-jerky and disorienting. One fictional account started with "you" being trapped on a boat while weathering a hurricane. In the next paragraph, "you" were sitting in gridlocked traffic trying to evacuate as the hurricane approached. In the third paragraph, "you" were just beginning to plan your vacation to the beach. But they were all part of the same story. Wait... what????
I would assume a significant proportion of people interested in this subject matter are "analytical" - they want to read the book to analyze the decisions, right and wrong, of people who have been in life-threatening situations and learn from their successes and their mistakes. The format of the book is so disruptive that it almost seems intended to abrade an analytical mind.
Why not group all of the real life examples at the beginning of each chapter - explain different ways those folks ended up in their predicament in the first place, then tell their stories while pointing out the good and bad decisions they made along the way. Summarize that with the "top 10 tips for survival in this situation", then end with your fictional account of how an average joe like me could end up in that situation - illustrating how applying the "top 10 tips" could help me get out alive? That's the name of the book, after all, right?
Over all, the advice seems relatively reliable. I didn't see any crackpot theories or horrible suggestions like I've seen from other survival sources (although, in some of the real life survival scenarios, there weren't a lot of details given about what, specifically, the people did that actually allowed them to survive). It was just the structure of the book that rubbed me the wrong way. Not as elegant and engaging as "Adrift", but still a darn sight better than "Deep Survival", so I gave it 4 stars.
The book was well worth reading and I plan to loan it to some people who I think should read it.