Saturday, February 9, 2013

The Best of Woodsmoke: A Manual of Primitive Outdoor Skills

The Best Of Woodsmoke: A Manual Of Primitive Outdoor SkillsThe Best Of Woodsmoke: A Manual Of Primitive Outdoor Skills by Richard L. Jamison
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was a Boy Scout. My sons have all been Boy Scouts (sorry, no Eagle Scouts, though my oldest did make it to Life). We love the outdoors. Now, take your most hardcore wilderness survival exercise in Boy Scouts and multiply it by about five degrees of hardcore-ness. That's what you'll find in The Best of Woodsmoke. This book is not for the faint of heart, it's for the survivalist in you. From how to build a seep hole to surviving a blizzard with only a blanket to creating a stone axe and all the way to using everything a deer carcass can give you (yes, EVERYTHING), this is the apocalyptic extreme survival manual. If it will keep you warm, alive, fed, and mentally composed in an emergency, and you didn't learn it in Boy Scouts (sorry, I suppose Girl Scouts do much the same thing), you can find it in here. I was glad to see a re-issue of this book, not because the skills are outdated (they go back thousands of years, a couple of the skills tens of thousands of years), but because these are good things to have in your quiver of knowledge. No, you probably won't use them all (unless something truly catastrophic happens to the world), but my kids and I have used some of these skills while out camping. My oldest is a bit of a pyromaniac (not the Def Leppard kind, thank goodness), so he loves the section on the use of pitch. Son #2 is fond of the wilderness cordage section. I am fond of the stone axe section. And, yes, I have made a stone axe head or two in my day. Still have to use it to completely clear out a deer carcass, though. Mmmm . . . on second thought, maybe I won't be implementing the deer section. Yeah, probably not. But maybe you're into that sort of thing. Just be ready. Using all of a deer is not for the squeamish. OK, I definitely won't be implementing that section. At least not the part about the eyes. Yuck. Just yuck.

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