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United States Army Survival Manual Paperback – August 15, 2003
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I particularly liked the edible plant information, with color pictures.
I was afraid
I was petrified
Kept thinking I could never live
without you by my side
But I spent so many nights
thinking how you did me wrong
I grew strong
I learned how to carry on
and so you're back
from outer space
I just walked in to find you here
with that sad look upon your face
I should have changed my stupid lock
I should have made you leave your key
If I had known for just one second
you'd be back to bother me
Go on now go walk out the door
just turn around now
'cause you're not welcome anymore
weren't you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye
you think I'd crumble
you think I'd lay down and die
Oh no, not I
I will survive
as long as i know how to love
I know I will stay alive
I've got all my life to live
I've got all my love to give
and I'll survive
I will survive
...because of this manual.
The breadth of the content covered is remarkable. The writers have tried to literally talk about everything that you might need to know in a survival situation, from ways to not be so cold and wet, to elementary mongoose catching. The table of contents reveals seventeen chapters which include, but are not limited to the following topics: medicine, tool-making, water, fire, shelter, food, and guides to specific environments. Four appendices offer color photographs of plants, weather indicators, and poisonous snakes.
The information presented in each chapter is, no doubt, based on the decades of experience accumulated by soldiers in the field. I am admittedly not a wilderness expert, but can say that every suggestion seems entirely plausible to me, and that the authors have thought of things that might never have occurred to me. There are detailed instructions, for example, on the construction of a gill net for fishing, in addition to four other means of trapping fish, three types of hooks and four types of fishing spear. One person, even a clever person is not likely to come up with twelve possible solutions to one problem in a stressful situation, and that is a major strength of the manual.
There are deficiencies in this work, of course, most of which are unavoidable given its purpose. The authors have presented useful ideas, but occasionally sacrificed some important detail in order to keep the explanations simple. The section on "field expedient weapons," for example, presents an illustrated guide to stone tool manufacture without any discussion of suitable materials. I can unfortunately say from experience that trying to make a useful tool form the wrong rock, and most rocks are wrong, can be a frustrating and dangerous waste of energy. Still, it's probably better to have the idea than to have no idea at all.
The final selling point for me, and one likely underappreciated by both the producers of the manual and its intended audience, is its sheer entertainment value. The terse, and sometimes brutal, prose of military technical writing at times drifts into comedic genius. I submit as an example one entry form a bulleted list on catching small animals:
"Beaver - Wait for the beaver to come on land, then club it, drop-kick it, hit it with a rock, or catch it by the tail. It is a sturdy animal, so if you catch it by the tail, swing it in a pendulum motion until it begins to relax, then swing it against a tree or the ground or use a noose to kill it. Another way to get a beaver is to dig out the beaver dam so the water drains. The beaver will come to inspect the damage at which time you can straddle the channel and grab the beaver by its tail as it swims through. Immediately start to swing the beaver as above. CAUTION: Take care to keep it from biting you. Its bite will leave a large wound."
Picture a tentative Joe-Jack from Brooklyn, compelled by hunger to temporarily disregard the welfare of what he thinks might be a beaver (there's no clear picture of one), straddling a brook and pondering the execution of any one of the recommended maneuvers. If that doesn't cheer you up... well, it's still a pretty useful book.
The appendix features full color pictures of both edible and dangerous plants, poisonous snakes, and cloud types for forecasting impending weather conditions.
The book includes first aid information, hunting techniques, shelter plans, and survival information for all types of weather conditions.
Mr. Ron Foster offers a guide of firsthand knowledge (he is a first responder and trainer of such) that could save your life wherever you live when catastrophy hits without tons of survival gear. Just google Rural Ranger and read about it. Amazon carries it also. BE PREPARED PROPERLY!