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Conner's Books & Reviews

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Currently reading

The White Tiger
Aravind Adiga
And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks
Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs
1Q84
Haruki Murakami
The Bachman Books: Four Early Novels by Stephen King
Richard Bachman, Stephen King
The Complete Stories
Franz Kafka
1Q84
Jay Rubin, Philip Gabriel, Haruki Murakami
The Divine Comedy: Inferno, Purgatorio, Paradiso
Dante Alighieri, Robin Kirkpatrick, Eric Drooker
The Purgatorio (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
Dante Alighieri, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Peter Bondanella, Julia Conaway Bondanella
The Interpretation of Dreams (Barnes & Noble Classics Series)
Sigmund Freud, A.A. Brill, Daniel T. O'Hara, Gina Masucci MacKenzie

Survive!: Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere - Alive

Survive!: Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere - Alive - Les Stroud, Beverley Hawksley, Laura Bombier Surprisingly devoid of usable information for a book of its size. Nearly 400 pages of pop survival, in which the "author", creator of the television show "Survivorman", briefly lists a bunch of bullet points outlining things that are mostly common sense. He leaps around between subjects, takes a jab at his competitor "Man vs Wild", and constantly contradicts himself, often saying you should do something and in the next sentence saying you shouldn't. He does this several times when it comes to water, he keeps recommending that you drink untreated water at regular intervals if you don't have anything else to drink, then briefly touches on the fact you could ingest untreatable stomach parasites, without naming any, then says it's possible that won't notice them for a few weeks anyway. He keeps recommending you eat charcoal if your stomach is bothering you, but never from poisonous wood sources, though he doesn't say anything about how to identify the poisonous sources.
I was looking forward to the chapter on dangers and hazards, but there was really nothing of value to read there. Again he lists a few creatures you should watch out for but doesn't detail anything, also saying that if you run into a large predator you should make as much noise as possible, but also move stealthily, look at them in the face but they could take eye contact as a challenge, etc. He lists a few more dangerous animals and then notes in parenthesis that he doesn't have to elaborate as if the fact that the animal is big should be explanation enough on how to deal with an encounter with it.
Similarly, in a section on food in the wilderness, the author says that you probably shouldn't eat any plants because they could be poisonous, but if you are going to, outlines a step by step guide on eating, which includes rubbing the plant on your skin and leaving it in your mouth for a few hours, while not even beginning to say anything about which kinds of plants you should be eating or not eating in the first place. To me, this felt like he just didn't feel like getting into all that, a sign that you should be looking for a more substantive text if you're actually looking for something that will help you survive.
Throughout the book, Stroud delights in throwing in quick recollections of his personal exploits, but none of these seem to have any lessons and they rarely go with whatever he was just talking about. Several of these he presents with the conviction that it was his "most dangerous survival moment" as if he forgot he's said this about two different moments already.
The few useful lessons in this book, such as a section on first aid, probably aren't enough that I would recommend it to anyone that genuinely wants to learn about survival. The author (or more accurately, ghostwriter) never goes into detail and the length of the text is mostly just rambling, endless bullet points, and repeating things he's already said. I would suggest something more academic, or better yet, an actual survival course.