Here are a couple of early reviews of Getting Out Alive that have been posted by other survival bloggers:
Lori Ellison co-authors the site, Legitimate Citizen.
Book Review: Getting Out Alive
March 2, 2011 by legitimatecitizen
This weekend, I was thrilled to find Scott B. Williams’ Getting Out Alive: 13 Deadly Scenarios and How Others Survived in my mailbox. I have been waiting for it since I read his previous book this summer. I teach Disaster Psychology for our local Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training weekends. In these trainings, we cover the importance not only of nuts-and-bolts preparedness, but of the mental aspect of emergencies as well. Scott B. Williams’ books are on my recommended reading list for trainees.
Scott B. Williams’ latest work Getting Out Alive, is an excellent contribution to the field of emergency preparedness literature. Coming as it does, on the heels of his successful book Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It’s Too Late, you might expect Getting Out Alive to be targeted at the survivalist crowd – but it’s not. It’s a literal survival and preparedness book for people who don’t like thinking about emergencies and who certainly don’t like books about preparedness. And, in this, it excels.
I’ve often joked that civilization is a veneer. A veneer is a thin layer of wood bonded to a an inferior or less attractive substrate to improve its appearance. Very little furniture nowadays is, at its core, what it appears to be on its surface. Civilization is like that. It is a thin layer of civility held in place by the glue of modern conveniences and the ephemeral presence of authority. Take away our lights, our water, our sensory stimulation (television, radio, cell phones) and we don’t know what to do with ourselves. Take away the deterrent of law enforcement or government and people revert to their more primal natures with alarming speed. The reverse is also true. Most people have become so far removed from their more primal selves that when they find themselves in situations like those in Williams’ latest book, they don’t know what to do with themselves either.
Getting Out Alive is a collection of potentially deadly scenarios that deftly demonstrate exactly how easy it is to find yourself between a rock and a hard spot with no hope of escape or rescue. Each one of Williams’ 13 deadly tales could begin with the words, “It all started innocently enough.” Each scenario presents plausible circumstances that any of us could find ourselves in without warning and presents potential options for escape and survival. Each scenario is accompanied by real life tales of other victims who endured similar survival situations – some of them made it out, many didn’t. Each scenario is also accompanied by snippets of wisdom related to the particular scenario circumstances (like forest fires, or being snowbound). Most valuable, however, are the Ten Tips for Survival that appear at the end of each scenario. If you read nothing else, be sure to read the Ten Tips at the end of each chapter. If you read nothing else out of this book, you’ll regret it, but at least you’ll be slightly better armed for an encounter with unforeseen circumstances.
The greatest strength of Getting Out Alive is that it demonstrates that any one of us can find ourselves in a bad place without any warning – yet it also explains exactly how simple it is to be prepared. This is a great book for your friends who think that emergency preparedness is for paranoid survivalists. It drives the point home that anyone can be a victim in a disaster or an emergency and that it’s everyone’s responsibility to take steps to be prepared. Getting Out Alive is not a step by step guide to being prepared, it’s something more important – a book designed to change the way people think about emergencies.
I know that I get concerned that people I know and love just don’t think anything can happen to them. And I know that not one of these people will tuck away an extra can of soup or roll of toilet paper or bother to pack a bug-out bag until they really buy into the idea that they are not immune to emergencies. I can only hope that the light bulb goes on above their heads and they take measures to keep themselves safe.
If you’ve been worried that people you care about just aren’t ready for an emergency, Getting Out Alive would be a great gift that might just change the way they think.
As always, thanks for reading.
Leon Pantenburg is a survival expert who runs the site, Survival Common Sense.
Worth Reading: Getting Out Alive
But how are you supposed to learn? Is there a safe, practical way to learn how to deal with emergency or survival situations without risking injury or death?
One way might be to read and study, from people who have “been there, done that.” Scott B. Williams’ latest book: Getting Out Alive: 13 Deadly Scenarios and How Others Survived” may be a valuable addition to your survival library.
One of the perks of being a journalist is the chance to interview interesting people. That was the situation last week when I interviewed Scott B. Williams on SurvivalCommonSense.com Radio.
Williams is the author of the popular Bug Out Survival blog, and wrote the bestselling “Bug Out.” I did one of the first reviews of that book last year, and when I heard he was working on another survival book, I put my name in for one of the preview copies. Getting Out Alive: 13 Deadly Scenarios and How Others Survived is not so much a survival manual as it is a look at some specific survival situations, and how people in those situations in real life managed to get out of them.
A few cases mentioned in the book also describe the plights of those who did not survive, either through bad luck, lack of knowledge or skill or some combination of factors beyond their control.
“Anyone who deliberately seeks adventure is bound to put themselves in situations that can test their survival skills,” Williams said. “I’ve been in a few of those tight spots, and learned from personal experience in many instances.” But even homebodies can also find themselves in danger, he said, when it comes to threats from natural occurrences such as hurricanes and winter storms. And the recent tragedy in Arizona, when a gunman opened fire as Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was meeting constituents in Tucson, shows nobody is safe from a deranged individual with a gun who goes on a rampage.
The purpose of a book like Getting Out Alive, Williams said, is to show how easy it can be to end up in a life-or-death struggle and provide food for thought about how the reader might learn from the mistakes of others and avoid the same situation. In some cases, the real-life examples show the best course of action that could have been taken. In other instances, he said, we can all learn from their errors in judgment.
“I limited the number of cases to 13, because of the book length,” Williams said. “I could easily have chosen 20 or 30, but I decided to pick some situations that could happen to almost anyone, and a few that would more likely happen to an adventurous traveler.”
“Some of these are scenarios that I could have found myself in,” he added, “since I have a love for deserts, the sea, jungles, mountains and wild places inhabited by dangerous animals.”
Here are some of experiences mentioned in Getting Out Alive:
Cutting Your Losses: Looks at situations in which lone travelers in remote locations have been trapped by fallen trees or shifting boulders, and had to choose between cutting off a limb or death.
Category 4: The plight of people caught in the path of a major hurricane.
In the Line of Fire: The frightening scenario of being caught in a shopping mall when a deranged shooter opens fire on a crowd.
Modern Day Castaway: Survival techniques for an uninhabited island.
Fire on the Mountain: What do you do if you’re caught in the path of a forest fire, and can’t outrun the flames?
Snowbound: Look at how easy it is for winter travelers in vehicles to get into a life and death situation during a blizzard.
Williams’ wilderness experience has been extensive. In 1992, Williams said, he took off for several months to explore some of the “blank spaces” on the American map. He did extensive backpacking trips through some of my favorite wilderness areas, such as the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness and Selway/Bitteroot wilderness area on the Idaho/Montana border. He has also ventured out into the desert and canyon country of the Southwest, and has an affinity for the swamps of the southeastern United States.
Williams has been writing about sea kayaking and sailing for twenty years. He is the author of four previous books.