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Come Back Alive (Anglais) Broché – 1 juin 1999


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The Art of Survival

When people head for parts unknown, there seems to be no shortage of survival guides. Today, many well-prepared adventurers get succor and life-sustaining courage from carrying around a small paperback book that carefully explains how to get out of any deleterious or baneful situation. In my opinion, this is the literary equivalent of wearing a helmet when skydiving. You'll look good going down, but if things get ugly, your beanie won't help you when you get to where you're going.

I am not a big fan of survival guides. I don't care how good beaver tail tastes and I don't know why I need to see daylight through the anus of my freshly cleaned and gutted deer. Do I really need to master semaphore? Will I ever need to start a fire by rubbing two sticks together or should I just use my BIC? Do I need a three weeks' or a four weeks' supply of food in case of a nuclear attack? Should I jump up and break my assailant's neck with a flying kick, or should I just assume the Angry Crane with Hemorrhoids position to scare him off? The truth is, I really don't know. And after a lifetime of scrotum-shrinking adventures and close calls, I still don't know.

If you need to be taught very simple things or if you think that you can master a lifetime of military, navigational, and bush skills in one good toilet read, then you are probably better off left in the woods with a survival guide to die, blissfully but erroneously confident in your ultimate survival. Such is the esoteric and delusional world of survival guides.

The majority of survival books--brought to you by barrel-cheated, strong-limbed, granite-jawed experts who live in a world of remote forests, foaming waves, blistering deserts, and frozen wastelands--are great sources of vicarious entertainment and stern warnings but frighteningly disconnected from real-world scenarios. They instill pure terror by harping on esoteric conditions that perhaps affect 40 percent of the population, only 5 percent of the time. In other words, they all blithely ignore real life.

True survival means knowing the risks, weighing the benefits, and then taking responsibility for your actions. It's the stuff they forget to put in tourist brochures and nature shows. Survival also demands being versed and comfortable with the basic principles of navigation, emergency procedures, and wilderness skills.

Most people enter into adventure with the same confidence as a drunk who steps into an open elevator shaft. There isn't a whole lot there to warn you before you get into trouble. Too many of today's travelers have been raised in a Naderesque, consumer-cocooned society where the dangers are all printed on the label, slippery spots are roped off, and an attendant is always on duty in case the amusement park ride breaks. When we screw up, there's 911 to call, and when someone else screws up, we can sue them or get a free year's supply of whatever they make. In other words, it's always someone's fault and problem if things go wrong.

How to, Not What to, Survive

What the world needs now is a manual that disseminates the psychology of survival rather than another tome that misleads folks into thinking that there is a simple survival tip for every nasty situation. I actually have a survival guide (thankfully long out of print) that offers survival tips in the event you're paid a visit by extraterrestrials. Their advice? "Remain calm, make no threatening moves." ("Remaining calm," of course, is the single most repeated tip in every survival situation.) Even the well-credentialed "Lofry" Wiseman has penned an urban survival guide that explains (on page 250) how to read and understand warning signs, including how to read a sign that prohibits your dog from defecating. Hey, what about a book that tells you how to survive survival guides?

Why This Book Is Different

You're not going to see a lot of drawings of some fifties-era guy in a baseball cap trying to trap rabbits or right a flipped navy life raft. There won't be any paranoid pontifications about New World Order and I won't explain how to make a bazooka out of your neighbor's drainpipe. There will be no instructions for tying knots or wilderness recipes for cooking grubs. This book won't tell you how to build a seaworthy vessel Out of Popsicle sticks or give you lyrics to campfire songs. We are going to dig into odd and esoteric things most survival guides tiptoe around, and we're going to learn how to survive with style.

Inside, you'll encounter survival philosophies and models for the third world, adventure travel, urban jungles, remote regions, war zones, terrorism, crime spots--even your own house (the place you're most likely to get into trouble). You'll learn how to make the relative and appropriate transition required from the gray drudgery of day-to-day living to white-knuckle terror-- imagined, real, sought-after, or completely unexpected.

We'll look at the obstacles you can overcome and those you may as well straighten your clothes and leave a good-looking corpse. You'll understand why the choices on a restaurant menu are statistically more dangerous than climbing a mountain.

We'll talk about adventure, fear, bravery, and just how fast you can die (or survive) when you least expect it.

We'll spend some time learning how to keep from getting lost. You'll find out why maps, compasses, altimeters, and even satellites can get you into serious trouble.

You'll find out where to sit (and sleep) on an airplane and when you should eat with your fingers. We'll talk about the world's deadliest animal, what to do when a grenade rolls under your bed, and even how to piss off a crocodile. You'll learn how to survive five-hundred-pound bombs, gangsters, punks, and the cops.

You'll learn a few tricks to impress your friends: navigation and distance using birds, telling the time with your fingers, using bees to find water, why there are sixty seconds in a minute, finding remote islands with your testicles--all the neat tools your long-lost ancestors used before they became civilized.

Then we'll visit some dangerous places, like your home and office, before calling on some safer spots like war zones and xenophobic dictatorships.

When you finish this book, you will begin to understand why some people survive and some don't.

You'll get it.

Biographie de l'auteur

Robert Young Pelton is the author of The World's Most Dangerous Places, an unusual vocation that takes him to places like Afghanistan, Sudan, Algeria, Borneo, and Colombia. He has survived car wrecks, shellings, illnesses, attacks by guerrilla groups, African killer bees, and a plane crash in Kalimantan. His exploits have been covered by ABC News, the New York Times, Outside, and countless other media. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and twin daughters.


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Amazon.com: 19 commentaires
14 internautes sur 14 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Very real and informative 18 octobre 2002
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I really disagree with most of the reviews here. I found this book fascinating and potentially useful. I live in the U.S., but if I were to travel anywhere outside the "First World", I would read this book 4-5 times. I can't really say about the rest of the chapters (not enough personal experience), but the chapter on self-defense is dead on. Most books will tell you that you can defened yourself well, but the reality is, as Pelton says, you are up against guys who: a. make a living 'jacking people', and b. are pre-prepared for the assault, whereas you are on your cell phone or counting your travelers checks. Very true. The cards are so stacked against you most of the time. This book is just trying to tell the truth about that, from Pelton's experience, and trying to give you some 'cards' so that you are not so outgunned. For example, his advice about "using a sense of humor" in the Third World to get out of jams is very useful, and could save lives. Just smiling at someone or making a hand gesture could save you. I have seen it in action myself, and have used it. Like I say, against someone bent on jacking you, your chances are slim, but in most other situations, humor could work. Like I said, if I had one book to take on a "Third World Tour", this would be it.
16 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Okay, but not Pelton's best 1 décembre 2000
Par B. Warrick - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
As a huge fan of Robert Young Pelton's World's Most Dangerous Places, I was really looking forward to reading this book. But while it was entertaining enough, I didn't feel that it was up to DP's usual standards...so I found myself being mildly disappointed.
I guess that when it comes down to it, I felt that the book was not meaty enough for a Pelton offering. The chapters were fairly short and I don't really feel that enough specifics were given about any given survival situation for the book to be truly useful in the field. Often, I felt like I was being given the "executive summary" rather than the specific details I would need to stay alive under trying circumstances.
Because I'm a DP fan, I know that Pelton can do better than this. This book won't stop me from reading other Pelton offerings, but I'm hoping that, like DP itself, it will evolve year by year and edition by edition into a truly excellent book.
31 internautes sur 37 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Worse than worthless 28 septembre 1999
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I would hope that a book with this title would at least have its facts straight, but with even my limited knowledge, I found errors in almost every chapter. Where were the editors and fact-checkers?? Some of the errors are just silly: "water weighs about sixty pounds a square foot" (!). Some of them are confusing: one tablet of Potable-Aqua "should disinfect about 16 liters of murky water" (the label calls for 2 tablets per quart!). It's not correct that 7.5-minute topos always have 20-foot contour lines (in fact, it varies, depending on local terrain). The advice on overheating is potentially life-threatening, since it doesn't give the simple and clear diagnostics that you'll find in any first-aid manual between heat prostration (pale and clammy... rest and drink fluids) and heatstroke (red and hot... call an ambulance, rather than fanning yourself, as the author recommends!). Get a copy of the Boy Scout Handbook instead of this book.
7 internautes sur 7 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Never take personal security for granted. 14 juin 2003
Par Roderick Eime - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
I've been relying on advice from this book and "Most Dangerous Places" for several years now. Although I wouldn't call it my "gospel" there are a lot of useful pieces of information that could save your life. Although I am not constantly exposed to life-threatening danger, my experience shows me that most accidents and mishaps occur to tourists because they drop their guard or get complacent. My advice is simple. Don't be paranoid, but never take personal security for granted - even if you are just going to the local shops...
20 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Use common sense 28 décembre 1999
Par robert mckim - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Broché
This book is long on humorous one liners and short on specifics. The amount of useful, hard, practical info could be put into a small pamphlet. It was a fairly enjoyable light read (I used it as a bathroom reader, sorry Robert) but I have in the past and plan in the future to travel to some of these places he mentions and I feel no better prepared for them. Perhaps it is good he does not instill a false sence of security in people by giving them clever 1,2,3 recipies for difficult situations. The one theme found throughout the book is "use your common sense." This is good advice, but then, I already knew that.
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