National Geographic Complete Survival Manual
by Michael S. Sweeney
Complete Survival Manual definitely covers a wide variety of survival situations and topics. I will start with the positive things about this book. First, it covers a large array of different survival terrain. It begins with two chapters on basic survival information. These first two chapters includes basic things such as building fire, edible plants, shelters, safe drinking water, etc.The first two chapter are split into:
Mind and body survival basics
Environment survival basics
Then the chapters progress into survival techniques for different terrains. The other chapters include survival techniques for:
Swamps and rain forest
Th poles and subpolar regions
Survival on the water
Home survival information
Storms and Disasters
This book also contains a very useful appendix which includes a packing check list, CPR instructions, a first aid list for injuries/illnesses, a guide to tying knots, a signal guide, a list of edible plants (with photographs, although, very small photographs), and various maps. There is also a useful index included which makes finding what you are looking for much easier. This book is also a nice size for carrying in your backpack which is s plus. On top of that, the cover is made of water-resistant material so that the book can withstand being hauled around and used in the outdoors. This is a very nice addition also. Complete Survival Manual also included an essential packing guide for each different kinds of terrain.
Now for the negatives. The information in the book is a little too general in many instances. While it covers a lot of information, it doesn’t go into a lot of detail in any one of the subjects. Also, the illustrations are very small and not high quality. Many are to the point that it is difficult to see exactly what the authors are trying to demonstrate. Being a National Geographic book, I expected the illustrations to maybe be photographs or at least of a higher quality. In all fairness, it probably has more to do with the size than the quality of the drawings though. And I do understand that this book is meant to be carried with you are the trail, so it has to be kept to a smaller size, thus the illustrations have to be smaller…but this was a bit of a drawback for me. Also, it seems very pricey at $29.95, but I am sure that has to do with the water-resistant properties of the book.
So in summary, this is a good survival book for carrying with you on the trail. This may not be the only book that you want to use to learn survival techniques, as there are other books with better illustrations, but those other books are not meant to be carried along with you. I would recommend checking out multiple books on survival, learning good survival techniques, and then have this be the book that you carry along with you for a reference guide. After all, very few of us can remember all of the information that we need to know on the trail. This is a good book and will only add to your knowledge of survival, which is never a bad thing.