FM 21-76 Survival Book

One of the more popular survival books is one published by the Department of Army. Although originally published quite some time ago in 1957 with the most recent reprint in 1970, it remains a great resource for survival skills. Of course, it contains a slant towards helping soldiers survive, but for the most part such information is useful to wilderness survival situations in friendly territory.

The Fm 21-76 field manual covers all of the topics you would expect including water and food provisioning as well as building shelters and signaling. However, it stands out from other survival books I've read with its thoroughness in covering edible plants and animals. At nearly 60 pages long, the discussion on edible plants provides a huge list that will likely include items from whatever environment you should find yourself in. Unfortunately, the sketches in the book are black and white rather than color photographs which would aid in the identification process.

The other topic area where this book stands out is in its coverage of hazards to survival. That is, it identifies insects and animals that can make wilderness survival harder than it already is. Things like chiggers, leeches, snakes, vampire bats, sharks, and poisonous plants. Most survival books focus on what you should do and gloss over things to watch out for.

The one area of weakness that means you'll need more than just the FM 21-76 survival book is in the area of wilderness first aid. With just two pages, the book offers just a high-level overview of how to deal with injuries. I'm guessing that there is an entirely different army manual that deals with first aid.

Overall, I recommend this book. Its age should mean that used copies are available if you don't want to shell out the price of the full book (which I might ad is under $20).

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