Book review — Ultimate Guide to Wilderness Living

Ultimate Guide to Wilderness Living by John and Geri McPherson

The McPhersons are well known as experts in bushcraft and wilderness survival. Their approach is very natural, often using absolutely no man-made tools. They’ve learned by doing, spending years perfecting their skills. In this book, they share this knowledge with the reader in an entertaining and engaging style.

From getting a fire going with a drill to making tools from bones and stones, they lead the reader through the process step-by-step. The writing style is relatively informal, which really works here. As you read the book, you feel as though John and Geri are at your side, guiding you along the way. They readily admit mistakes they’ve made over the years and share them with you in hopes of keeping history from repeating itself.

One of the many areas where this book shines is the instructions on making food gathering tools, like the venerable bow and arrow. This section alone is worth the price of admission, in my estimation. John and Geri go into exquisite detail on this somewhat complicated process. Various traps and snares are given equal attention, which is very helpful. Many similar books give just a passing glance at traps, usually accompanied by a single line drawing of each trap, if the reader is lucky.

This book is heavily illustrated throughout, with both photos and drawings. This leads me to the only drawback of the book, in my opinion. Some of the photos, being black and white, aren’t as clear as I’d have liked. The details get lost in the grayness with some of the photos. However, this is not insurmountable as many of those same photos are accompanied by detailed line drawings to help the reader understand what is being illustrated.

All in all, if you have even a passing interest in learning woodcraft, this would be THE book I’d recommend.

Published by

Jim Cobb

Jim Cobb has been a student of survivalism and emergency preparedness for almost thirty years. As a young child, he drove his parents nuts with stockpiling supplies in the basement every time he heard there was a tornado watch in his area. Of course, being a child, those supplies consisted of his teddy bear, a few blankets and pillows, and random canned goods he grabbed from the kitchen cabinets. Later, he was the first (and likely only) child in his fifth grade class to have bought his very own copy of Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton. Today, he is a freelance writer whose work has been published in national magazines such as Boy’s Life and Complete Survivalist Magazine. He is a voracious reader with a keen interest in all stories with post-apocalyptic settings. He maintains the Library at the End of the World blog and is also the Content Director for He currently resides in a fortified bunker in the upper Midwest, accompanied by his lovely wife and their three adolescent Weapons of Mass Destruction. Jim's first book, Prepper's Home Defense, was published late 2012 and his second book, tentatively titled The Prepper's Complete Guide to Disaster Readiness, will be out in mid-2013, both coming from Ulysses Press.

2 thoughts on “Book review — Ultimate Guide to Wilderness Living”

  1. Good to know. I’ve read a number of books on survival and am always looking for recommendations. My favorite so far, although I haven’t had a chance to post a review of it over on my site as yet, is John Lofty Wiseman’s SAS Survival Guide. Great book!


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