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Survival skills book reviews

Expert Reviews and Sources...

...for the best books on self-sufficiency,
natural living, primitive skills and survival

Welcome to Backcountry Books!

We want to help you find the books that will most successfully teach you what you want to learn. So we're going to tell you which books are the best on each subject (and which ones really suck), plus what their strengths and weaknesses are. Then we'll provide you with a link to mail-order the book direct from the author (when available) or you can follow a link, to that book's site on, and order on-line or by mail.

About our reviews

Our reviews are written by people who have spent many years doing, teaching and living these skills. Most magazine and newspaper reviews are written by professional writers who can't tell you a thing about whether the author really knows what they're talking about. We can. We answer questions like: Is it good for a beginner? Is the author an expert in the subject? Is this based on the author's own experience, or is it a repackaging of old information? Is there enough detail? Is it easy to use? Is it the most up to date information? Are there good photos and illustrations to show you what to do? We don't judge books based on spelling and grammar (I burned my copy of Strunk & White long ago).

Why is it important to get the right book?

There are two kinds of informative books. Those written by writers who happen to be writing on a topic, and those written by folks who live the topic and have chosen to share what they know in writing. Guess which type of book you are better off using?! Lets take hide tanning for example. There are very popular books on tanning (Tan Your Hide by Phyllis Hobbes for example) that if you follow the instructions perfectly, your hide will come out about as soft as a bent up tin can! Why? Because the authors aren't hide tanners. They're writers who chose tanning as their next subject. They probably tanned a few hides in order to write the book, but they really don't have enough experience to tell you the crucial details that make the difference between success and failure. Their book has a nice cover, a great title, a big publisher, sells great and it doesn't work...this happens with every subject!

There are excellent books written by people who are experts at doing the skill. Some of these books are best-sellers, most are self-published or little known. When a skilled person writes a book about their subject, sometimes they are able to write about it in a way that makes it real easy for you to understand and do . . . but sometimes key details are accidentally left out, too much technical language is used or the writer just rambles. We'll let you know.

Lets get on with the show!

Braintanning Outdoor Skills
Wilderness Survival
Edible and
Medicinal Plants
Fiber Arts
Native American Arts Crafts Good Reads

books on survival skills, primitive skills, archery, basketry and Native American crafts, in association with

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Last revised: October 10, 1998