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Special Forces Survival Guide: Desert, Arctic, Mountain, Jungle, Urban
Special Forces Survival Guide: Desert, Arctic, Mountain, Jungle, Urban Special Forces Survival Guide: Desert, Arctic, Mountain, Jungle, Urban Special Forces Survival Guide: Desert, Arctic, Mountain, Jungle, Urban Special Forces Survival Guide: Desert, Arctic, Mountain, Jungle, Urban

* Book Type:

Publisher: Firefly Books

Author Statement: Alexander Stilwell
Audience: Trade
Specs: over 180 full-color photographs, index
Pages: 192
Trim Size: 5 3/4" X 7 3/4" X 5/8"
Language code 1: eng
Publication Date: 20140516
Copyright Year: 2014
Price: Select Below


Please Note: Only online orders placed from within Canada or the USA are accepted using the Add to Cart button

Special Forces Survival Guide: Desert, Arctic, Mountain, Jungle, Urban

Review of the author's Encyclopedia of Survival Techniques (2000):
This could prove to be a mighty handy volume. Recommended.
--Library Journal

Written by a former member of the British Territorial Army, Special Forces Survival Guide arms readers with the survival techniques used by special forces units around the world. Trained to take on the toughest missions in the most challenging environments, these warriors must be able to master any situation, including escaping danger, evading capture and surviving with little or no gear.

Stilwell's detailed instructions and the photos of Special Forces soldiers applying survival skills in a variety of situations guide readers to building shelters, finding water and surviving in disaster scenarios, making arrows, encountering dangerous animals and navigating by the stars. Using these tips, tricks and skills, readers develop the confidence to venture farther on outdoor adventures and trek into unknown terrain.

The book is divided into chapters according to environment -- desert, arctic, mountain, jungle, urban -- with each providing guidance tailored to their inherent challenges. Some examples:

Arctic Survival

  • How to dry boots (take hot stones from the fire and put them inside the boot)
  • Building an arctic fishing net under the ice, using a pole, net and three ice holes Determining when to travel (watch seabird flight, study clouds to see when they are over water)

Mountain Survival

  • How to brake when falling
  • Building a stone shelter How to survive an avalanche

Jungle Survival

  • Insects you can eat and how to avoid poisonous insects
  • How to extract water from vines, roots, palm trees and banana trees Navigating in the jungle without a compass and map

Urban Survival

  • How to detect you are being followed and how to evade
  • Using urban transport safely in a hostile environment How to defend yourself from attack in an urban area.

Authoritative, easy-to-use and fully illustrated, this is an essential up-to-date how-to guide for anyone entering a hazardous environment or with an interest in survival tactics.


Alexander Stilwell specializes in military history and current affairs and spent six years in the British Territorial Army, where he was trained in survival skills, first aid procedures, and escape and evasion techniques. He lives in London.



Special Forces are highly trained army, naval, or air force personnel that take on the toughest missions. They stand apart from regular military forces because of the extent and variety of their training and their ability to master any situation and every environment. Apart from dealing with often complex and demanding missions that require extreme skill and determination, Special Forces must also be able to survive in all weathers. This includes polar, mountain, desert, and jungle environments, with extremes of heat, cold, humidity, high winds, sandstorms, decreased oxygen, flash flooding, and exposure to rapidly changing weather conditions.

In order to carry out their missions effectively--operating in the remotest areas to avoid being seen--soldiers need to endure even the most extreme conditions. For this reason, Special Forces are given very high levels of training in survival skills.

Tested for Success
Special Forces are trained to learn from and respect people who are native to particular environments, whether it is the Inuit people of the Arctic, the Bedouin of the Arabian desert, or the Dyaks of the Borneo jungle. Over the years, Special Forces units serving in areas such as the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and the Arctic have adopted some of these native skills in order to hone their own techniques.

The methods and approaches in this book are based on tried and tested techniques used by Special Forces soldiers to survive in operational environments in different climatic areas and terrains. The priority for Special Forces is not simply basic survival but successful completion of their mission, which can mean that there are several different types of survival skills required at different stages of a single mission. For example in the preparation and attack phase while carrying out reconnaissance or while approaching a target. In this phase, a Special Forces soldier may have limited access to supplies due to distance from resupply and will need to supplement their supplies. Another typical scenario is the exfiltration or escape and evasion phase. This may be the result of Special Forces operators separating from their team after contact with the enemy or escaping from capture. Whatever the mission may be, survival and living off the land is an essential part of the Special Forces operator's range of skills.

Action Priorities in Survival Scenarios
Within the scope of this book it is not possible to cover in detail every aspect of survival in each of the environments included. However, each chapter covers key techniques to explain the main survival priorities--namely water, food, and shelter--in each situation, organized to reflect the key survival priorities in that area.

The most urgent priorities differ between environments but are also often remarkably similar across the world's varied and challenging landscapes. The need for water, for example, is surprisingly as urgent in the polar regions as it is in the desert. However, the methods of finding it will be very different. Likewise, although the snowy environment of the Arctic suggests an obvious need for protection against the elements, the cold desert night can also cause hypothermia.

Such extreme environments demand different actions and responses to avoid the same problems. In the desert the priority for avoiding dehydration will be to minimize the effects of the sun by covering up, while in the Arctic, over-exertion in warm clothing may lead to the same end.

In all environments, in any survival situation, first aid will always be the most urgent priority. However this book is not an exhaustive guide to first aid, so these topics are placed in the same logical order as other survival priorities.

The Importance of Self Rescue and Training
In all of the environments covered in this book, finding your own way to safety is often an option and occasionally a priority--such as in the mountains where it may be impossible for a rescue helicopter to land--but the methods differ. Stars always make a reliable navigational guide, but they cannot be seen as clearly from under the jungle canopy as they can in the clear skies of the desert or Arctic.

The purpose of this book is to provide a range of skills that can be adapted to different areas and circumstances, based on the hands-on experience and training of Special Forces. For Special Forces, survival field craft is an essential component of their training. In the case of U.S. Special Forces this is part of a 13-week training phase, including a five-day exercise in which the candidates test their survival skills. Once they join their units, Special Forces continue to develop their skills and experience as they are deployed in a variety of environments.

Anyone planning a trip in one of the wilderness regions of the world should get professional training in appropriate survival skills and first aid, but the tips and techniques explained in this book will give you added confidence when planning your own adventures in the exciting and challenging world of nature.

Alexander Stilwell


1 Desert Survival
2 Extreme Cold
3 Mountain Survival
4 Jungle Survival
5 Urban Survival
6 Essential Knots

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