Well, this review comes one day after his new book was released.  I actu­al­ly had an advance copy of it from the pub­lish­er, and strug­gled to get through it; but not why you might think.  I have been super busy with work and at the end of the day it has just been hard to find the time.  I’ve been car­ry­ing the book around with me for weeks read­ing bits and pieces of it when I can.

When I final­ly set­tled into a Star­bucks on the east side of Mid­town Man­hat­tan with a cup of hot cocoa on a cold Sat­ur­day morn­ing, I cracked open the book to the intro­duc­tion and read,

“As long as there is an adven­tur­ous spir­it liv­ing in the hearts of every­day peo­ple…

As long as the weath­er proves big­ger than man’s laid plans…

As long as there are peo­ple more inter­est­ed in get­ting some­where quick­ly than con­sid­er­ing the jour­ney…

And as long as our species defines itself by explor­ing the remote regions of the world…

There will be sur­vival sto­ries to tell.”

Call me sim­ple, but I was imme­di­ate­ly hooked and drawn into the book.

In his new book, “WILL TO LIVE, dis­patch­es from the edge of sur­vival,” Les Stroud takes the time to illus­trate in detail the adven­tures around sev­er­al spe­cif­ic sur­vival sit­u­a­tions of those who fell in harm’s way with lit­tle or no knowl­edge of what they were get­ting into.  He out­lines the ordeals (Les’s word for “sur­vival sit­u­a­tions”) of the fol­low­ing and more:

  • Yos­si Ghins­burg, who sur­vived 21 days in the Ama­zon jun­gle at just 22 years old.
  • Chris McCan­d­less, a nomadic man who was the inspi­ra­tion for “Into The Wild,” and seemed to be the poster boy for a man who did not have to die in the bush by him­self.
  • Nan­do Para­do, who was one of the sur­vivors of the plane crash in the Andes Moun­tains.  I saw the “Alive” film about this years ear­li­er long before I was into sur­vival­ism.

The sto­ries in this book are com­pelling, mes­mer­iz­ing, and again, drew me in.  Some you will know, as I was famil­iar with Nan­do Para­do from the 1993 film, and Chris McCan­d­less and “Into The Wild.” Oth­ers I was not famil­iar with, like the Robert­son fam­i­ly who were boat­ing around the world and their boat was destroyed in the Pacif­ic Ocean.  Very inspir­ing, by the way.  A true sto­ry or sur­vival.

In my opin­ion, Les wrote this book so that the sto­ries teach invalu­able lessons about how to be sure you should pre­pare for any per­son­al adven­ture in your life.  i.e. to make sure you have the prac­ticed skills, moti­va­tion, and the resolve to sur­vive in an ordeal you may find your­self.

Pep­pered through­out the book, Les offers some addi­tion­al com­men­tary around how to avoid sit­u­a­tions like the ones the sub­jects of the sto­ries are in, what gear you may want to have, what skills you should need, and what some of his expe­ri­ences were like when film­ing Sur­vivor­man in sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions.  I liked the addi­tion­al com­men­tary as it offered addi­tion­al insight into how one might approach the sit­u­a­tion at hand.

This was a good book, and the first one by Les Stroud I have had in my hands.  It is clear that Les is a pro­fes­sion­al and if you are into wilder­ness sur­vival in any way, these sto­ries and com­men­tary can only add to what you may already know.  Not to men­tion the book is enter­tain­ing, and moves quick­ly.

As an addi­tion­al FYI, for those inter­est­ed; Les will be at the Barnes & Noble in Clifton, NJ for a book sign­ing on Feb­ru­ary 8th from 7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.  if you are inter­est­ed in briefly meet­ing him.  I would be there, but unfor­tu­nate­ly I will be land­ing in the mid west for a meet­ing the fol­low­ing day.

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