Wilderness Secrets Revealed: Adventures of a Survivor

Andre-Francois Bourbeau, Author, Bourbeau Andre-Francois, Author, Les Stroud, Foreword by
Andre-Francois Bourbeau, foreword by Les Stroud. Dundurn, $26.99 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-4597-0696-5
Reviewed on: 05/27/2013
Release date: 06/01/2013
In this celebration of life and career, Bourbeau (Surviethon) narrates his evolution from frog-hunting boy to wilderness-surviving young man to canoeing-with-a-baby father. He lays bare his mistakes, from misidentifying plants to choosing lousy campsites, with plenty of humor, mild chagrin, and a touch of cheekiness. This is not a wilderness survival manual, though it imparts some riotous lessons on what not to do, but rather a biography of the man known to his University of Quebec students as "Doc Survival." Bourbeau gives a play-by-play description of some of his wilderness adventures, par-ticularly a one-month stint in the backwoods of Quebec. In his conclusion, he explains how to assess risks and draws a line between good and bad risk taking. Bourbeau also outlines the four factors of wilderness survival–physical capacity, psychological outlook, specific technical skills, and decision-making–and how to improve them for maximum survival chances. Readers get a sense of Bourbeau's awe for and connection with the wilderness, and he exhorts them to protect it in its natural, wild form, sans chalets, lookouts, and even hiking paths. Unfortunately, the tone is surprisingly juvenile for a pro-fessor emeritus and at times the language borders on foul, but, despite these drawbacks, Bourbeau has crafted an engrossing read. Canadian distribution: UTP. U.S. Distribution: Ingram (May)