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Deep Survival : Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why
"Unique among survival books...stunning...enthralling. Deep Survival makes compelling, and chilling, reading."--Penelope Purdy, Denver Post
After her plane crashes, a seventeen-year-old girl spends eleven days walking through the Peruvian jungle. Against all odds, with no food, shelter, or equipment, she gets out. A better-equipped group of adult survivors of the same crash sits down and dies. What makes the difference?
Examining such stories of miraculous endurance and tragic death--how people get into trouble and how they get out again (or not)--Deep Survival takes us from the tops of snowy mountains and the depths of oceans to the workings of the brain that control our behavior. Through close analysis of case studies, Laurence Gonzales describes the "stages of survival" and reveals the essence of a survivor--truths that apply not only to surviving in the wild but also to surviving life-threatening illness, relationships, the death of a loved one, running a business during uncertain times, even war.
Fascinating for any reader, and absolutely essential for anyone who takes a hike in the woods, this book will change the way we understand ourselves and the great outdoors.
"Gonzales's writing is effortless and compelling, and his research is first-rate. I can't imagine a better book on the topic."--Sebastian Junger, autbor of The Perfect Storm
"A fascinating look into why we are who we are."--Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature and Enough
"A feast of excitement and wonder. Makes complexity and chaos come alive...fantastic accounts of danger and death."--Charles Perrow, author of Normal Accidents
"A superb, entertaining addition to a nature buff's library--or for anyone not tucked safely away in a bunker."--Kirkus Reviews
"Great stories of disaster and survival where one irresistibly wonders, 'How would I do in this circumstance?' combined with revealing science about the physiology and psychology of how we deal with crisis. [Gonzales's] science is accurate, accessible, up-to-date and insightful. An extremely good book."--Robert Sapolsky, author of Why Zebras Don't Get Ulcers
"Laurence Gonzales has masterfully woven together personal survival stories with the study of human perception to reach rock-bottom truths about how to live with risk."--Peter Stark, author of Last Breath: The Limits of Adventure
"Deep Survival provides a new lens for looking at survival, risk taking, and life itself. Gonzales takes the reader on a rollercoaster ride that ends with rules of survival we can all stand to learn. Equally important, he answers the question: what is the value of taking risks. I love this book."--Jed Williamson, editor, Accidents in North American Mountaineering
"Remarkable, unique, and compulsively readable, Deep Survival is three books in one: a compendium of vivid tales of disasters and near misses in the wilderness; a probing analysis of what the latest neuroscience and psychology can tell us about 'who lives and who dies'; and, finally, a moving memoir about Gonzales's father, whose own miraculous survival after a plane crash behind German lines in World War II launched the author on his lifelong quest into the mystery of risk and adventure."--David Roberts, author of True Summit: What Really Happened on the Legendary Ascent on Annapurna
"Professional rescuers will love this book. It goes to the heart of the instincts that drive us to risk our own lives to save others. Gonzales tells us what we subconsciously know--anything is possible."--Jacki Golike, Executive Director, National Association for Search and Rescue
"Deep Survival is by far the best book on the many insights into epic survival stories I have ever read."--Daryl Miller, Chief of Mountaineering, Denali National Park & Preserve
"A gripping and thoughtful investigation of the greatest adventure of all--survival. Through riveting tales of disaster and endurance, Gonzales explores the icy mental clarity that characterizes survivors."--Jerry Kobalenko, author of The Horizontal Everest: Extreme Journeys on Ellesmere Island
"Should be required reading for anyone venturing off the beaten path."--Jeff Randall, Peruvian Air Force School of Jungle Survival
When confronted with a life-threatening situation, 90% of people freeze or panic, says Gonzales in this exploration of what makes the remaining 10% stay cool, focused and alive. Gonzales (The Hero's Apprentice; The Still Point), who has covered survival stories for National Geographic Explorer, Outside and Men's Journal, uncovers the biological and psychological reasons people risk their lives and why some are better at it than others. In the first part of the book, the author talks to dozens of thrill-seekers-mountain climbers, sailors, jet pilots-and they all say the same thing: danger is a great rush. "Fear can be fun," Gonzales writes. "It can make you feel more alive, because it is an integral part of saving your own life." Pinpointing why and how those 10% survive is another story. "They are the ones who can perceive their situation clearly; they can plan and take correct action," Gonzales explains. Survivors, whether they're jet pilots landing on the deck of an aircraft carrier or boatbuilders adrift on a raft in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, share certain traits: training, experience, stoicism and a capacity for their logical neocortex (the brain's thinking part) to override the primitive amygdala portion of their brains. Although there's no surefire way to become a survivor, Gonzales does share some rules for adventure gleaned from the survivors themselves: stay calm, be decisive and don't give up. Remembering these rules when crisis strikes may be tough, but Gonzales's vivid descriptions of life in the balance will stay with readers. (Oct.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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W. W. Norton & Company
October 16, 2004
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