Today I spent several hours sorting out my library ............... yes folks I've decided that with my move to Hampshire looming ever closer the time to start sorting out the wheat from the chaff has come. Over the last few months I've sorted out rucksacks full of surplus gear that I have passed on to my bestest buddy Steve, whose supposed to be selling it all on ebay (when he can pull his finger out and stops working his arse off) ...............so with all my bushcraft and outdoors gear finally sorted out - ok ok pared down to a managable size at least - I now turned my attention to the library.
Now I am a keen and constant reader and over the last 30 or so years collected many many books including many about bushcraft and its related subjects - to be honest I've only ever bothered to keep the good ones and so have also given away (or shipped off to the charity shops) a lot of others.
Now before I gripe about the arid desert of modern or new good reads heres the books I have decided to keep - these to my mind are the best of the best and the ones I have often used for reference.
1. SAS Survival handbook - by Lofty Wiseman
2. ap3456j vol,1 RAF Survival manual
3. The Survival handbook by Raymond Mear (The green one - watch this space for a little treat regarding this)
4. Overlevand (the original in Swedish and a copy I translated into English)
5. The Complete Outdoor handbook by Raymond Mears (the white version of the later reprint Ray Mears Outdoor Survival Handbook)
6. Snow Walkers Companion by the Conovers
7. Survival Advantage by Andy Lane
8. Bushcraft by Mors Kochanski
9. Woodcraft and Camping by Nessmuk
10. Bushcraft by Richard Graves
11. Animal Tracks and Signs by Preben Bang
12. Edible and Medicinal Plants of Britain and Northern Europe
13. Plants with a Purpose by Richard Mabey
14. 101 Wilderness Hints by Lars Monsen
15. Survival by Martyn Forrester
16. Complete book of Survival by Eddie Mcgee
17. NO NEED TO DIE by Eddie Mcgee (my first ever survival manual and one I've kept and used ever since even whilst in the army)
18. Explore Wild Australia with the bush tucker man (just in case I ever get there)
19. Trees of Britain by Roger Phillips
20. Wild Flowers of Britain by Roger Phillips
21. The Woodlore instructors training manual (not a officail book but a folder collection of printed handouts given to me when I was a assistant instructor with woodlore covering all the lesson subjects of the courses they ran at the time)
And thats it - that is all I am keeping.
(One charity will inherit three bin bags of books and I have also sorted out a few of the better ones to give to friends next month when we have a little get together/course for the RAF cadets over in Kent/East Sussex.)
I am sure many of you have other books you would recommend but to be honest in my opinion ALL other bushcraft, survival and wilderness living manuals or books are either copies of these - rehash the info in these or are just pale shadows of these.
BUT I WANT YOU TO PROVE ME WRONG ................and thats the reason for this post, I've just spent a couple of hours scouring Amazon and Google looking for a book I havent read, something that might be interesting, something new and I found NOTHING SO PLEASE SUGGEST AWAY.
Now my little treat for you, from the list above you might note the third title - The Survival Handbook by Raymond Mears, the green one as many people call it. This is a out of print manual which, as Ray doesnt appear to own the rights to it, is likely and sadly never going to be reprinted. It is to my mind one of the best books on the subject ever written, it was written in a pre-commercial period for Mr Mears and as such is about the subject and not geared up to plug "woodlore" products. The section on "kit" is about the kit he used at the time and the kit from which he later developed the now common "among bushcraft folk" gear we all know so well. My favourite quote from this section is,
"of the students I have taught it is often those who cant afford the fancy gear who learn bushcraft the quickest and most thoroughly - and in doing so gain in experience and confidence" Raymond Mears the survival handbook
Wise words all you gear hounds might do well to heed!!
The rest of the book is equally as in depth and well written. Its just oozing with his enthusiasm and experience if you've never read this book I recommend it to you.
And again, let me ask you, dear reader - what would you recommend, what book on survival, bushcraft or Wilderness living has inspired you??