Sparse pickings in the library ........................

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.


 ....... ENJOY!

And again, let me ask you, dear reader - what would you recommend, what book on survival, bushcraft or Wilderness living has inspired you??


Perkunas said...

Sir, if i can, ill be sending you one hiking guide book, written in Finnish. Its a book that we, especially chaps into more traditional hiking and tricks, refer to, as " Bible" as it was abou the first so big and well made boo at its time and they still sell enormous amounts of it today. It has good amount of pictures, so it might be worth looking, and hey...it might even encourage you to learn a few words in finnish as well.

Mike said...

If we recommended anymore you would have a big collection again. The list is spot on, the RAF one a new one to me. Like you say others will just be copies. Could add the US army one but probably the information is on one or more of your list.

Good Luck where ever you are moving to in Hampshire. Spend a lot of time myself working in Southampton and Southsea. Nice area to live hope you have nearby woods already planned before the house chose eh!

Survivall said...

Perkunas thats very kind of you my friend - I'll definately need to learn a little Finnish to read it or translate it so thank you.

Mike, the US army ones much the same as Lofties, I've read it, even have it on PDF. As for the RAF one its one of the Flying pam's, I was given it by a friend of mine in the RAF. I think these days the RAF and Army have most of the Pam's as PDF's - I've certainly collected a few over the years. Oh and yep one rest for the move is access to the New Forest, South Downs and Queen Elizabath II Forest ........

Survivall said...

Mike should also point out the correct title is ap3456 volume j Survival for the RAF issue Pam

Mike said...

Used to own the MOD survival pamplets Arctic, Sea, Desert and Jungle the RAF might be worth a read if I can find it. Trying to keep a smaller book collection myself. Good List own one Ray Mear book and its Green

Lee said...

I own 98.6 Degrees the art of keeping your ass alive and I think that it was worth every dollar especially as an intro to wilderness adventuring. Recently I have been working through The Science and Art of Tracking by Tom Brown Jr. and if there were another book out there that is even close dealing with Pressure Releases I would love to see it. Thanks.

Survivall said...

Cheers Lee, I've read both of Cody's books and agree with the "new" prespective he gives but to me they werent keepers.

I have read most, if not all of Tom Browns books - but alas I still havent kept them.

But thanks for the input Lee, the only tracking book I have kept in the Preben Bang one.

moose said...

did not know that the essex boy was on the move. good luck with it buddy hope it all goes well for you

Survivall said...

Cheers mate - hope the states are being kind to you - dont be a stranger either - email me some time!! Hi to the family mate.

moose said...

i will my old friend.

weekendwoodsman said...

"Camping and Woodcraft" by Horace Kephart (covers so many topics from Kephart's decades as the "Dean of American campers").

Also, "The New Way of the Wilderness", by Calvin Rutstrum (lots of original project/gear ideas and wisdom from personal experience).

Survivall said...

Kephart I have read - indeed its one of the books in the charity bag.

Rutstrum I am not so sure about I have read Paradise below Zero but not sure about the title mentioned - will have to check that out


Finnman said...

Not really bushcraft but related: Laurence Gonzales, Deep Survival. I have enjoyed that book a lot. Interesting read definitely!

Some of my longtime favorites are:
- Mors Kochanski: Bushcraft
- Raymond Mears: The Outdoor survival handbook
- Turkka Aaltonen: Vanhat hyvät erätaidot
- Stefan Källman & Harry Sepp: Selviydy luonnon ehdoilla (original title: Överleva på naturens vilkor)

Trey Allensworth said...

Man I would love to read the Woodlore Instructors Training Manual!