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Survival & Self-Reliance DVD
Eighteen Ways to Start a Fire without a Match
Plus All New Self-Reliance Skills!
Mel DeWeese, Jim Meuninck, Dr. Bill Forgey, Chris Clark
Reviewed by Thomas J. Elpel
Survival & Self-Reliance might be best described as a well-filmed survival sampler. It is nicely filmed, enjoyable to watch, and gives you an overview of all aspects of survival from building shelters, to fire-starting, treating water, edible plants, hunting and trapping, first-aid, and signaling. Included in the video are demonstrations of eighteen ways to start a fire without a match. It doesn't necessarily provide enough information to learn many, if any, of the skills from the video, but is useful as a quick overview to demonstrate the priorities and some of the options.
As a military Survival Evasion Resistance Escape (SERE) instructor, Mel Deweese has created, developed, written, attended and taught survival courses from the Arctic Circle to the Philippine Jungles. He has trained more than 100,000 students - civilians, Naval aviators, the elite SEAL teams, DEA personnel and students from other U.S. government agencies.
The biggest drawback to the video is the emphasis on "defeating the seven enemies" of fear and anxiety, cold and heat, thirst, boredom and loneliness, fatigue, hunger, pain and injury. While those are all valid points to keep in mind, the idea of defeating enemies is a western worldview, where nature and everything else is out to get you, and you have to fight back. Also, it is clearly stated in the video that if you have your survival kit, or you know all of these skills, then you can defeat fear and anxiety and all your other enemies. But what does that imply if you lose your survival kit, or you haven't perfected your survival skills--that you should give in to fear and anxiety?
Despite these drawbacks, it is a good survival sampler, just right for classroom length, or for a boy scout meeting. Besides, you can always learn something new from anybody, and even after twenty years of practicing and teaching these skills myself, I gleaned some interesting new ideas from this video. 60 minutes. 1996. DVD with chapter menu included. ISBN: 0-7792-5080-X. $30.
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