Wilderness Survival for DummiesBy Cameron Smith, PhD and John F. Haslett
Wiley, $19.99, 462 pages

The “For Dummies” series of books has been a wildly successful franchise since its debut in the early 90s.  The books are topical, step-by-step instructional guides geared towards the layperson that claim to “make everything easier” – and largely succeed.  Wilderness Survival For Dummies is the latest in the series, proving that if there is enough of a niche market, then a “For Dummies” guide is certain to follow.||Like the other books in the franchise, Wilderness Survival For Dummies is written by people with impressive credentials; John Haslett is an expedition leader and adventure writer, and Cameron Smith is an archaeologist who has journeyed to the Arctic.  They have encountered tough situations in which survival depended upon keeping their wits, and impart that knowledge to the reader in a friendly, easy-to-read tome that generously incorporates illustrations, diagrams, and charts with practical advice on everything from making fire and building shelter to carving bones into tools and identifying which berries and insects are safe to eat.

Wilderness Survival For Dummies is one of those books that you hope you’ll never need, and yet if you’re unfortunate enough to find yourself in a life or death situation, will be thankful you read.

Reviewed by Mark Petruska