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Survival Wisdom & Know How: Everything You Need to Know to Subsist in the Wilderness Paperback – October 1, 2007
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My copy of this tome arrived today. I say tome because it's like the frickin yellow pages for a moderate to bigger city! The pages strangely aren't much thicker either lol.
Before I start attempting to review this book allow me to lay down a few things for you dear reader.
-I have read dozens of books on survival.
-I've ran the internet ragged searching for new info and ideas.
-I've been interested in survival long enough to remember some dearly departed experts who were truly experts and seen other self proclaimed experts build reputations by emulating them in key terms and speech.
-I am not an expert, published author, etc and no matter how much or little I may go to my maker someday knowing I will NEVER consider myself an expert. I will ALWAYS be a learner!!!
-I dislike black and white drawings of things so potentially deadly important as edible and medicinal plants especially in today's world.
-I dislike survival manuals that have to repeatedly copy and paste from the US Army etc survival manual.
-I dislike survival manuals that show techniques using store bought items in their how to and descriptions or illustrations. If you have access to those items you're likely not in a survival situation.
-I dislike survival manuals that mix imperial and metric systems. Celcius here in the USA rather than Farenheit and centimeters yet use miles. Pick a damn system and stick with it and provide the conversion factors or better yet two charts where applicable!!!
-I dislike manuals that list extremely regional things like fish poisons that only exist in tropical and jungle environments not in the majority of the world.
-I dislike a lot of things. Lol
-I like color drawings and better yet pictures of edible and medicinal as well as poisonous plants.
-I like clear systems of measurement and sticking with that system. Imperial/Standard if you will because I'm an American. If we were in Europe then I'd say metric.
-I like thoroughness and innovation in topics and information.
-I like to read something and say oh I didn't know that or haven't seen that before!
-I like to feel my money was well spent and the topics I read were thoroughly covered in depth and detail and a common person of common intelligence and education can understand it all.
I think you can somewhat get a feel for me without my continuation.
So I do like I normally do with a new book on survival. I go straight to the table of contents and read. This one seems promising.
I then go to an area of interest that I know something about and I start reading. Ok this one covers that reasonably well or really well.
I then go to an area where I may not know very much about and read. Hmm I learned something or well nothing groundbreaking here.
I then go to the edible and medicinal plants section because if I go here first and don't like what I see I'm likely to put the book away and not read it.
So I'm my initial evaluation of this book I'm going to initially call it a dang good primer on survival that a person can go to, read, learn something, and then further research it to gain knowledge and understanding. My feelings might change as I drag myself through reading this one and I'll update along the way.
Why do I feel this way? Well let's see...
Black and White drawings of plants.... This virtually kills a survival manual for me.
Use of wire mesh in a turtle trap. They should've revamped it showing natural resources rather than a hardware store project.
Repeatedly they copy and paste from the US Army survival manual. Not enough to say you should just read that but enough. While I understand citing your sources and not reinventing the wheel as well as quoting so as to not plagerize I prefer to see copy and paste kept to a minimum.
No manual no matter how complete compares to hands on learning and skills.
I do like that they have a section on water work with small craft etc. I like their explanation of bow making which I just browsed rather than read. I do like that they have a section in cold weather that contains input from cold weather campers etc.
I'll read this book cover to cover. I find it increasingly difficult to read survival manuals and books anymore because the majority just remind me of reading someone else's work again for the umpteenth time. However if I learn something then it's time and money well spent. I just dislike the amount of time it takes to find that nugget or two sometimes!!!
All in all it appears to cover a wide variety of topics and sub topics and I hope that it's as thorough as it's size would indicate.
For now I'm giving it five stars and even though they do a lot of things I dislike I'm hoping I'll continue to feel good about this initial rating.
I bought my own copy with my own money for full asking price off Amazon receiving no discounts compensation or sexual favors for my review. I review honestly and attempt to show the good bad ugly and indifferent to better help others make educated buying choices. My whole intent and goal is to help others being I already spent the money!!!!
If you find my review helpful please let Amazon and others know by clicking yes. If your think it's a big steaming pile then please by all means let them know that too!!! There are too many junk reviews on Amazon that help no one and the last thing I want is for one of mine to be one!!!
Thanks for reading and I hope this work in progress helps someone out!!!
The reason for the 4 stars is the title maybe leading people to think this is enough if you are considering it for prepping or Armageddon. As others have pointed out (but it's worth saying over and over) black and white pictures of edible plants are really not helpful. It is basically rolling the dice. My Dad grew up in a very rural/wilderness area and taught me things like foraging. Problem is if you are away from it for a long time a lot of these plants look alike with only minute differences. So even having some experience it would only be an absolute emergency before I tried winging it with black and white pictures and drawings. You can learn from them but true foraging needs at least detailed colored photos and instruction if you can from a LOCAL guide. Not everything grows everywhere and a guide can show you the environment you are most likely to find the right edible plants and weed out mimics. And unless you travel a lot your survival information should focus on your local area. What's available for food, shelter, fuel, ect. How and where and even when to find it.
Open the book and you'll see what looks like 10 or 11 pt font, three columns on each page. Lots of information and details. Lots of pictures and diagrams when they're helpful, not just for filler.
HERE IS SOMETHING YOU SHOULD KNOW. If you get almost any other book on wilderness/survival skills, it will be written by one person. Granted, that one person probably learned skills from several other people. What I like about this book is that it acknowledges that there is more than one way to do certain things. There are several methods for many of the skills described, offered by the list of people who helped compile it.
ALSO, some books are too basic. Others are to specialized to a certain climate or region of the world. This book offers practical basics in short descriptions, plus more details on the advanced techniques.
I like the paper. It isn't glossy and is great for marking the book with a highlighter or a pen if you desire. **You may want to in order to make certain things easier to find. There are a lot of words and this will teach you a lot if you use it as a reference. It's not a quick read (unless you read like a boss).
A few things in this book (to give you an idea of what this book is like):
You can identify some animals at night by the color of their eye shine.
In winter, when leaves are not growing on trees, you can identify the tree by the shape of the buds. This way you can find trees with the best bark for eating - some is sweet and chewy.
This book has a lot of first-aid information.
Crickets chirp slower when the temperature is lower.
This book has rhymes you can memorize in order to forecast the weather.
How to make nets and traps for fishing, and all the details of successful fishing since timing and location and species are important details.
How to make a bow.
How to hold a canoe paddle.
How to hide your scent.
How to outsmart evasive animals, such as rabbits and squirrels.
You should use small animals (sometimes not good for eating) as bait.
A moose can kill you in an instant.
Behavior of different kinds of bears.
There are lots of recipes for living off the land in here...
Top international reviews
Educational but you even struggle to find a spot to store it