Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Survive! by Les Stroud (review)

Title: Survive!
Author: Les Stroud
Illustrator: N/A
Pages: 373
Genre: Non-Fiction
Dewey Decimal:
ISBN: 978-0-06-137351-0
Cost: $19.95

Musician. Author. Filmmaker. Survivalist. Les Stroud is all of these and more. On his television series, Survivorman, he shows his audience how to survive in the wilds of the world. It could be the sub-zero temps of the Arctic or the deadly heat of the African desert. Where he goes doesn't matter, it's how he shows you to survive that always makes an impression on me.

Spending a week anywhere with little to no survival gear is scary enough. But Stroud shows his dedication to the craft of survival and film making by doing it all alone. You'd think it's hard enough to survive out there, but he's also filming. Which means for each shot he needs to lug cameras around. Then go back and pick them up when he's done.

His book shows the same dedication to his craft. He spends the time to cover the basics of what you need to know but he'll also give you some specifics. Many readers out there may think this book is geared for the beginner, but I say those experienced with survival need to read it too. Not only is there a chance to learn something, but the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) rule needs to be reinforced whenever possible.

Stroud includes photos and diagrams where needed as well as quick tips. There are checklists at the back that cover survival kits from personal to vehicle and in between. And while the MacGyverisms are entertaining, the Fire Starter pages at the end still give me a chuckle. After all, the book needs to help you survive, right?

And in breaking Les Stroud news, he appears to now have a Video Blog on his site. One of his entries even includes a teaser for a new series he's working on.


1979 semi-finalist said...

I like Survivorman. I find it far superior to Bear Grylls show - just the fact that Stroud has to film himself and is truly alone in the wilderness is such a difference.

I mean, even Stroud knows someone is coming for him or will be looking for him if something goes wrong, but I think Grylls show really doesn't remotely address the horror of being stranded...because he's got a freaking film crew following him around.

I did get pissed at Stroud on an episode he did a while back in the swamp where he caught a turtle to cook and eat, but didn't show how to get it out of the shell or cook it. Thanks Stroud, now I'll be able to catch a turtle when stranded, but he'll have to be my new pet because I don't know how to get him out of the damn shell.

TK42ONE said...

See, I'm glad he didn't show that. Sort of. Yes, it would have been nice to show how to get it out of the shell, but there is a line between "educational" and "entertaining" and that would not have been entertaining.

And don't even get me started on Grylls. When he faked a bear attack with a guy in a bear suit, I shook my head in shame. He's like the cook on Food Network that lied about his resume and got a TV show. Sure, you might be great at survival, but filming on the side of the road is not survival. Hoofing your own gear and being scared of jaguars is survival.

1979 semi-finalist said...

Well he could have just told me how he did it. I can agree with you that I'm not sure I really want to see that (though he does stuff at least equally as "eww" all the time) - but I would have liked the hint. I mean, HOW DO I GET THE TURTLE OUT OF THE SHELL LES?!

I never saw the Bear Grylls "bear suit" thing, but I wish I had because I would have ranted the hell out of that on my blog... :)

1979 semi-finalist said...

Hey...I made another comment on this post...did it never show up? So strange.

Anyway, it was brilliant or anything (they never are) but I just said that I can understand if Les doesn't want to show me on TV how to get the tutle out, but he could have at least explained it.

I also said that I didn't see the Grylls episode with a dude in a bear suit, but that would have had me writing some angry letters or something. That's BS.

1979 semi-finalist said...

I've left a second comment twice now on this post...and it never shows up.

WTF is going on man?

TK42ONE said...

i think I figured out the issue. Comment moderation!

Yes, I had some issues with spammers awhile back so I turned moderation on for older posts. And with my being on vacation and not sitting in front of my computer, I didn't approve it right away (I know you're not a spammer).

And, the second comment, I deleted before I noticed the moderation. So I approved this one. Happy now?

Anonymous said...

For all of those complaining about the lack of turtle cooking knowledge, Grylls showed the whole process on his show, he killed it and cooked it. I've always seen Grylls show as what you do when rescue is no longer an option, either you get moving or you sit there and die. Stroud's philosophy is more based on staying put till someone finds me. they both know what they're doing at different levels. It still makes me laugh when people actually expect someone esle to put themselves at risk just to entertain you at home, would you do that?

Anonymous said...

To get the turtle out of the shell just kill it with a knife or sharpened stick or something. Then throw it on the fire in the shell to cook it. When the turtle is done the shell will be brittle so just break the shell away with a rock or something else that is hard.