Re: QUESTION: You're stuck on a desert island...

From: Corwyn J. Alambar (
Date: Wed Jan 03 2001 - 18:53:16 MST

> It appears as if Brian D Williams <> wrote:
> |
> |Your going to be stuck on a desert island, what three books
> |(borrowed from H.G Wells "Time Machine") are you going to take with
> |you?
> 0. A good survival manual, esp. on how to survive on a desert island.

I would actually recommend "Back to Basics" (Either ROdale or Reader's Digest
Press, can't remember which right now) - an incredibly good book on modern
and traditional methods of construction, food prepartion and storage, crafts,
etc. Everythign from how to lay a stone wall without mortar to Ahmish
barnraising to lumbering with a chainsaw, from underground houses with heat
pumps to adobe dwellings, from salting to canning, from dye-making to
cloth-making and papermaking. A good foundation for book #2, as well.

> 1. A good book on the local flora and fauna.

The best book I've seen for "survival" situations was one I encountered back
in the late 80s, titled "The SAS Manual - Survive Anywhere Safely" that was
supposedly culled from the British RAF survival manuals. It included sections
on how to survive a life-threatening situation (avalanche, plane or auto
crash, etc.), first aid with an eye towards self-administration (I remember
some useful tips about how to splint your own broken arm - not something you'd
see in many first aid manuals), construction of emergency shelter, techniques
for starting a fire, and plants and animals common and edible around the
world. Far more useful than a simple field guide to edible plants, this book
would get you through the roughest two weeks at th ebeginning, getting you
set up to the point where you can use the information in the other two to start
getting you ahead.

> 2. A good book on how to create machines using low tech.

One I HAVE to look up is by a Danish author who wrote a book on how to make
your own tools, basically a bootstrap manual to such complex devices as
highly accurate spanners and calipers, metal and wood lathes, kilns and

Interestingly enough, were there some sort of nuclear war or other form of
global holocaust, these three books would be the core needed to get
civilization back up and running.

For the more technophillic, there is a company that manufactures a folding
photovoltaic set that can power a laptop and recharge its batteries - so
the Powerbook idea isn't as bad a one as it sounds at first. Of course, making
sure you have all the information you'd need is another story...


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