I have made some edits, additions, and corrections. If a mod could please copy the edited version and paste it in the opening post it would be much appreciated.
Also known as: Survive! - Essential skills and tactics to get you out of anywhere - Alive
Originally published: 11/2008
Original Publisher: HarperCollins
Photography: Laura Bombier
Illustrations: Beverley Hawksley
Editor: Mike Vlessides
File size: 6.06 MB
It is only natural that the inventor of survival TV would write a book on survival. Few people are as qualified for such a task than Les Stroud. During Survivorman
, he traveled all around the globe challenging himself in all sorts of situations, and did an excellent job filming his ordeals on his own. Of course, he was a survival instructor long before the TV show. He is also a musician. Is the book as interesting as the man?
Yes. Yes, it is, but allow me to elaborate.Contents/StructureSurvive!
was first published in November of 2008, after the end of Season 3 of Survivorman
. Later publications feature added content, referencing episodes from Season 4, filmed in 2012.
After a brief introduction, the book is divided into fifteen chapters. Each one addresses an aspect of survival quite thoroughly. The subjects cover signaling, navigation, shelters, fire, ect. The subject is introduced and its importance is outlined. Usually Les suggests an imaginary situation where the chapter's subject is the main priority. Once the subject's significance is established, the chapter is divided into titled paragraphs, as Les takes us through the process of preparing, examining, and dealing with the particular matter at hand.
Should a subject require adjustments due to location, weather, etc, these adjustments are listed and explained. Instructions are provided step-by-step for some techniques and gear. Bullet lists are also common, and thorough.
Given the e-book format, browsing could be a little easier. The Table of Contents has the chapters listed, but the page numbers are not present. Also, although the chapters are clickable, clicking on a chapter does not take the reader there. This means that if you want to go to a specific chapter, you have to manually scroll down until you find it, or find an app with a 'search' feature.
Each chapter has illustrations and photographs of gear, techniques, instructions, and screenshots from episodes of Survivorman
. These break up the text nicely, and offer a visual aid to various points in the book, like knots, or the bowdrill fire technique. Although they are accompanied by relevant text, the photos are in either grayscale or sepia, and rather small, which is odd considering the e-book format. Beginners in survival, prepping etc may not be able to identify exactly what a picture is showing, especially if they have never seen Survivorman
. This is never a major issue, since there are captions for most pictures, but it does take away from the presentation. Given the work Les put into filming Survivorman
, demonstrating survival techniques and capturing stunning locations, large, colored pictures would arguably have done a better job of illustrating instructions, presenting the beauty of the outdoors, and making readers properly appreciate the improvisational creativity of survival MacGyverisms.
This is the pair of mukluk boots Les made with parts of a car in Norway. Even people who have seen the particular episode may not recognize them due to the picture's small size and lack of colour. The book does mention what the picture is of, but even so, a larger resolution and colour would make readers distinguish details and appreciate the craftsmanship and ingenuity that went into them.
Interspersed throughout the book are Stroud's Tips. These are brief survival tips and tricks regarding gear, local knowledge, techniques, and other tidbits of information.
The book ends with checklists, acknowledgements, searchable terms, and credits. The searchable terms have the page numbers listed, but they are not hyperlinked. You will have to rely on manual scrolling, or a search function of the reading app to find something.Style
The book's writing style and tone are reminiscent of that of Survivorman
: no fluff, straight to the point, thorough, and realistic. The language is simple and digestible. The sentence structure and vocabulary get the point across while also keeping the reader's attention. Les addresses the reader directly, asks questions, gives orders, repeats important points and keywords, references other parts of book.
Les references the TV series often throughout the book, proving examples of situations, challenges, and actions. There are also references to real-life survival ordeals, and the challenges people have faced. These help Les iterate the importance of mental preparedness, gear, training, physical fitness, even luck. He also comments on common misconceptions regarding survival, and is quick to explain their fallacies and offer advice on proper action.
In keeping with the TV series, the book has some doses of humor here and there. Nothing major, considering how serious the topic of survival is, but there are moments that will make readers smile, chuckle, and laugh.
One fundamental aspect of the book is optimism. Les is definitely a glass-half-full kind of guy. Emphasis is given on the psychological aspect of survival. It is obvious that the book tries to be helpful, thorough, and encouraging. Lists, photos, drawings, tips, references to real-life emergencies, the book contains a great deal of information that has indeed saved lives. Thoughts
From the very first page, the book is enthralling. It is so easy to read, going through chapters one after the other. This is more common with fiction, going on to see what happens next. Survive!
is engaging in its own way. Once you start reading, and see how well presented a topic is, by the time the chapter is finished, it is almost a reflex to continue reading, craving to see another topic detailed, explained, broken down, analyzed.
Much of the book is common sense, really. Les presents a problem, asks questions, lays down the plan, and provides the solution with the energy and experience of someone who has lived that situation and dealt with it.
Les is a great teacher. He possesses the right attitude and approach in instructing others. Experience, optimism, creativity, dedication. For readers who have seen Survivorman
, Les will be reading this in their heads. Parts of the book will be familiar, reminding them of that particular episode where Les did this or that.
Indeed, for those who have seen the show, this will be a comfortable, familiar read, and a great chance to be reminded of all the survival skills they saw in the show. Still, even if a reader has no idea who Les Stroud is, Survive!
is a great survival guide. It is informative, well-written, entertaining, and very thorough. It addresses a plethora of survival aspects, contains lots of information in an organized manner, and is the product of years upon years of experience in survival training.
It should be obvious that I recommend this. It is a wonderful book, and an outstanding reference and resource.
Of course, as Les says in the book himself, you should not wait until disaster strikes to start reading this. Instead, prepare beforehand for an outdoor activity or trip. This e-book, and indeed, the physical version, will help a great deal.Pros
-Very well written and organized.
-Realistic, practical approach to survival.
-Informative while also entertaining.Cons
-Pictures are grayscale and quite small.
-The chapters are not hyperlinked in the Table of Contents.
-Table of Contents does not include the page numbers of each chapter.