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WILD OUTSIDE by Les Stroud


Around the World with Survivorman

by Les Stroud ; illustrated by Andrew Barr

Pub Date: March 9th, 2021
ISBN: 978-1-77321-507-5
Publisher: Annick Press

First principles of surviving in the wild, from one who should know.

Stroud, author of several survival manuals and memoirs for older audiences and host of TV shows that document his own voluntary strandings in diverse rugged climes, offers 12 anecdotes from his experiences that exemplify what he sees as the four necessary actions: “Prepare,” “Observe,” “React,” and “Adapt.” Some stories—such as the time a companion in the Kalahari reaches into a weaverbird nest for an egg and pulls out a cobra or the discovery that Australian witchetty grubs are delectable (“The skin tasted like fried chicken, and the insides tasted like scrambled eggs! Mmmm”) while the superficially similar Indonesian sago grubs really, truly aren’t—make riveting reading. Most, however, are more casual in tone than melodramatic, and they are too sketchy on the finer points of building a fire, contriving a shelter from found materials, or like skills to draw in survivalists of either the practical-minded or armchair bent. A basic survival-kit checklist and occasional DIY projects like a homemade rain gauge are likewise perfunctory. The illustrations make this look even more like a marketing tool, as Barr’s painted reconstructions depict useful gear or crank up the drama a bit but, like many of the interspersed photos, seem mostly designed to show how good the ruggedly handsome White author looks posing in various outdoorsy settings.

A weak distillation of the author’s adult works, this is unlikely to instruct or even inspire young would-be explorers.

(bibliography) (Memoir. 10-13)