Category Archives: Book Reviews

Walking the Gobi

By Helen Thayer
A story about Helen and her husband’s journey across the Gobi Desert in southern Mongolia, this book is an amazing testimony of human ability. Helen at age 63 and her husband Bill at age 74 not only prove that we can conquer huge spaces, but they prove that we don’t need to be a twenty something to do it.

The stories in this book paint a picture of life as a nomad in the arid desert, and just how hard it is. Living in a “ger”, moving from location to location based on water and foliage for the herd. The customs they have and the experiences that Helen has learning the customs are all a fascinating subject.

I’d have to say, the best part of the book for me were their two camels. “Tom” and” Jerry” were the source of so much of their pleasure and pain. At one time, costing them the last of their precious water and giving them a scare for their lives. The camels were difficult in the beginning, but became good friends and willing companions in the end.

As my love for desert travel grows, this book has inspired me to enjoy it even more. The solitude, the harshness, and the beauty that Helen conveys in this book are all things I have seen in my own travels. She does a great job of writing.

I highly recommend this book.

The Log from the Sea of Cortez

By John Steinbeck

After living and working in the Sea of Cortez for going on three years now I’ve become totally fascinated with it. Reading Steinbeck’s account of traveling over the same waters and visiting some of the very same places I go regularly is quite interesting. All that I can say is “My, oh my. How things have changed in the last 70 years.”

It’s really cool to read of his travels, and what he thinks about these places. If Steinbeck could see Cabo San Lucas now, he would surely be surprised. Apparently, when he steamed through in the early 40’s there was not much too it, and now it’s a huge place with many resorts and hotels.

Throughout this book, he does quite a bit of talking about life in general as well. I really appreciate the way the man thought. Often times through the book I was reading his thoughts and thinking to myself, “he is explaining this better than I ever could”.

One of my favorite parts of the book is when they are talking to some Indians outside of the town of Gauymas, and both sides are trying to figure the other out. He tries to explain to the Indians what it’s like to live in the US, and all that they know is that it must be great where “There is no poverty in your country and no misery. Everyone has a Ford.” In essence, this is the very lie that we are being told to believe about our people today. It hasn’t changed from his time to ours. I find it very interesting to see this from their point of view.

The Log from Sea of Cortez is a great book, worth the price of admission. I highly recommend this book.

National Geographic Photography Field Guide: Travel

By Robert Caputo

After spending so much time in beautiful places taking horrible pictures I decided that I better do something about it. After all, I spend half of my life working with world class photographers, you would think that something would rub off. After talking to master photo journalist Flip Nicklen for a while, he recommended some reading that was available on the ship here. Of those he recommended one has really stood out above the rest. National Geographic Photography Field Guide: Travel by Robert Caputo was easy to read and full of great information.

Photography is such a complex subject, it takes lots of time and effort, as well as good camera gear to produce quality photo’s. This Nat Geo guide has opened my eyes to some key points, and my photo’s have gotten quite a bit better because of it. The section on the “Rule of Three’s” helped me understand placement of subjects in the frame of the photo, making pictures much more appealing. He also has some great ideas for lighting and use of lines to draw the attention of the viewers eye towards objects that the photographer wants to show off.

On top of these lessons, there are also some great pictures used to show the differences between good and bad photo’s. It makes a big difference to me to be able to see what he’s talking about, with pictures of examples. I appreciate the hard work and thought put into the book.

If you are a novice photographer, just getting into taking pictures seriously, this is a great place to start. There are other books in the series, I have yet to read, but I have a feeling that they will be just as well written. For now, get this book. You will enjoy the read.

Just in Case, by Kathy Harrison

Just in Case, by Kathy Harrison

Just in Case, how to be self-sufficient when the unexpected happens. Kathy Harrison has written a book that is geared towards the person who is just getting into preparedness, and has done an excellent job of laying it all out for them. This book takes the reader step by step through the process of becoming aware of our natural ability to take care of ourselves, not just in time of need, but all the time.

I really like the O.A.R. system that she has devised Organize, Acquire, Rotate. This chapter of the book gives some great ideas for getting a pantry started and how to keep it organized as well as up to date. Mrs Harrison has some great ideas when it comes to how to store foods and an informative section on effects of not rotating that could teach some lessons to even experienced preppers.

The recipes and illustrations are top notch, it’s easy to tell that Mrs Harrison has practiced what she preaches many times over. I agree that eating what you store is the only way to go, and that means being able to cook food that everyone in the house will eat right from the pantry. Storing huge quantities of “survival food” is a waste.

I recommend this book Highly.

Patriots, by James Wesley, Rawles

After reading both the initial and second version of this book a couple of times I still want to read it again. Mr Rawles has written a book that is both intriguing and informative. The plot keeps the reader entertained throughout the whole story, even while you are being given a list of things the fictional characters have stored. My advice, read the book and learn from it. Rawles has been around the block with his blog enough to know better, and the research done for the book is spot on.

The storyline follows a survival group with a retreat in central Idaho during a severe depression and then Civil War 2. The group led by the Grays are compromised of interesting characters who each bring something to the table. There are great scenes through out, that will keep you going strong. My personal favorite is the road trip to pick up the Laytons in Utah. The three survivalists are comfronted with formidable challenges and the way they handle them is great!

The way this group set up their retreat is a lesson to be learned by anyone who is into survivalism, preparedness, homesteading and/or self sufficiency.

I recommend this book highly.

New e-book by M.D. Creekmore

As a part of my book reviews section I want to tell you about a new e-book written by M.D. Creekmore. He has an excellent daily survival blog that I would recommend as well.

M.D.’s e-book is a great bit of information in format that is easy to follow and good for both the beginner and more advanced. I like that fact that he has taken each of the essential subjects and presented them in a manner that is easy to read and not over-bearing. He backs up his thoughts and way of thinking with informative links to manuals and websites that confirm what he has to say. This just proves that the man has put his time in, and is practicing what he preaches.

Another great part of the book is the lists he provides. Many items are out of the norm and thought provoking, including his lists of firearms recommendations depending on your income level. M.D.’s fire arms knowledge are top notch, and he has some great advice.

He also has some great advice on storing comfort foods. “It is a proven fact that if we are forced to eat foods we don’t want or the same things for extended
periods – just to stay alive – dissociation begins to set in.
We begin to float away as an escape – we still eat to stay alive, but suffer a lack of focus and become
disorientated in relation to our surroundings.
This is dangerous in a survival setting. Don’t think it can happen? Try eating nothing but beans and rice
for three months and you’ll see what I mean. Store a variety and eat what you store.” Those are some words to live by.

M.D.’s e-book is available for download, and I would highly recommend printing a copy for your library.