Survival is one of the most underrated genres in nonfiction literature. The number of published books per year pales in comparison to any other genre in this domain. Yet the practical significance of this genre can’t be emphasized enough.
A few years ago I read Cade Courtley’s highly entertaining and informative SEAL Survival Guide. That book set the benchmark for me against which I gauge other survival books.
Clint Emerson’s 100 Deadly Skills – Survival Edition falls in the same league. However, I didn’t find the information in it as exhaustive as in his fellow ex-SEAL Courtley’s book.
Emerson provides tips about how to survive in various types of wilderness, natural disasters, or man-made disasters. He warns early on in the book:
“The only elements of crisis under our control are our own preparation and response. The world is not getting any safer. Be ready to stand your ground.”
The problem with the book is its limited devotion to each topic. Explanations for most skills do not go beyond one page. Some may call it simple, straightforward advice but I think more depth would have helped.
This book serves as an extension to Emerson’s previous bestseller 100 Deadly Skills. I have not read that one, but this Survival edition serves as sort of cliff notes for how not to die in the jungle, swamps, deserts, badlands, and the far north.
Almost one-third of the book is about survival in the wild. I particularly relished Emerson’s workable inputs on building field-expedient shelters, assembling ad hoc water filtration devices, building a fire with damp wood, etc.
Towards the end, Emerson throws in urban survival tactics covering vast ground – from fortifying your home security to escaping a carjacking to detecting an active shooter and more. He does share some solid advice on this count.
Urban self-defense is a messy scenario with a high likelihood of physical violence. Most survival gurus instruct to get off the X on the first chance possible. But what happens when you can’t get away? Emerson, like others, advocates valiant action as the last resort move.
In a later chapter, he instructs the reader on taking out the dangerous perpetrators in case no escape hatch is available. This might sound incredibly stupid on the face of it, but Emerson supplies a clear rationale:
“The cost of inaction will almost certainly be death. You certainly may risk personal injury or death by attempting to tackle a suicide bomber, but those outcomes are practically guaranteed if you fail to act.”
One thing that I am going to implement quickly is to assemble an EDC (everyday carry) kit. Emerson mentions that having an EDC kit is a sign of commitment to being prepared for any situation.
Often, the main criticism of survival books is the lack of feasibility in what they teach. What a lot of people don’t get is that you are not going to learn everything you need to know from a book. You need to practice and engage with the material in order to truly gain mastery of a subject.
If you are new to this genre and 100 Deadly Skills is your first survival book, you would definitely glean some important skills. This book would tell you how to stay alive in the wild and it will also galvanize you into preparing for any emergency anywhere and for most natural disasters. The illustrations on every page make it easy for the reader to connect with the author’s intent.
As a general overview regarding some survival material, this book is great. But if you are looking for a deep dive into urban self-defense, building situational awareness, or threat assessment, you need to look elsewhere.
In all honesty, I cannot recommend this book due to it being neither fish nor fowl variety. It’s a mixed bag – not as detailed as other books on survivaI. I recommend you get SAS Survival Handbook: The Definitive Survival Guide instead, that’s the survival bible.
©BookJelly. All rights reserved