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Survivor II: The Field Guide Paperback – January 23, 2001
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SURVIVOR: THE ULTIMATE GAME was an interesting book. It contained a lot of behind the scenes information and though you can't believe everything you read, it was intriguing. Even if you weren't a fan of the show you can pick up that book and have an enjoyable read. Not so with SURVIVOR II: THE FIELD GUIDE. If you have never seen an episode of either Survivor, you'll probably not enjoy this book. A lot of the stuff found in here can be found in the encyclopedia.
The chapter dealing with the end of the first show was a nice way to begin the book. The chapters dealing with the history of Australia, famous survivors, and the dangers of the outback were informative. Unfortunately, the character backgrounds and etcetra of the new contestants is lacking. There really isn't much here. There are a few tidbits scattered throughout, but for the most part, the contestant info (which should be the most interesting part of this book) is lacking. All in all, the book lives up to what the first few episodes of SURVIVOR II turned out to be: lots of movement, but not enough character.
The information on "The Contestants" in Chapter Four is arguably more interesting to read after the show rather than before hand. The comments of the Casting Director and the Psychologist about Jerri, Colby and the rest of the cast are wonderfully ironic given the way the game played out. This is even truer about the final chapter on "Strategies," where we learn how each of the sixteen INTENDED to play the game (Jerri wants to "find a way of not being so controlling"). The Sixteen Strategies for Winning "Survivor" laid out by Burnett are certainly fodder for discussion around your own tribal fire.
But let's face it, the great thing about this Field Guide is reading about Jerri's intentions and self-image and comparing it with the "edited" product. You might get similar enjoyment reading about Tina, Elisabeth, Roger, Keith or whoever you favorites were (to win or to hate), but I cannot believe that there is anything as choice as what we see about the Wicked Witch of the Outback who insisted everything anybody did in the game was a strategic move, except, of course, for some of her kinder, gentler moments. This book would certainly be a fun read for anyone suffering from Survivor withdrawal.
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