My thoughts: This is a fantastical tall tale, it's hard to believe how much it engrossed me. Was is because it was my first taste of survival fiction? Maybe it was just a good story. I was reading it not for entertainment value but not specifically to learn from it and yet I was entertained and picked up a couple of things (to be verified). Here are somethings that rocked my boat:
- Every character, even Joe, had great love for the land but little regard for governments.
- There is great contempt for the bureaucracy. It's incompetence and apathy is reflected when Alekhin, the Yakut hunting the American, is hampered over and over by the governmental machine, "everything comes second to paperwork these days" he meditates.
- Alekhin's character can be summed with this quote "He liked none of them, but he preferred to work with Zamatev. The man was cruel, ice hard, and ruthless. Alekhin did not like him, either, and it would be only what he deserved if the American turned around and went back to find and kill him.".
- Of the four qualities a Sioux warrior must posses Mack knows himself brave and with fortitude but what about generosity and wisdom? Does he posses these? Can he survive without them? I like introspection, I think it's a powerful thing to know one's own strengths and weaknesses. And having a clear outlook of the challenges we may face is intrinsically tied to our ability to survive and prepare to face them.
- The knowledge and skills Mack honed as a half Sioux in the Idaho wilderness and the training he received as an Air Force officer greatly aided him and somewhat prepared him for what he had to face in Siberia.
- I think having a strong mind and heart guided by a well trained moral compass can make a ordinary person into an extraordinary survivor. I enjoyed Major Mack's indomitable wild spirit. His determination to live or die free, his mental readiness to evaluate and adapt to his circumstances, and his well founded faith on his chosen course are uplifting.
On Prepping and Surviving:
Staring into a fire messes up your night vision.
Learn to make a bow and arrows, also a sling.
There is no replacement for a good knife.
Always scout an alternate way out.
Game trails and wildlife can sometimes show you the way out of a tough spot.
Words of Wisdom:
"There are good men everywhere."
"Trust is often based on very little more than one's measure of a man."
"When I die, remember that what you knew of me is with you always."
"Possessions can rob one of freedom just as much as the bars of a cage."
What have you been reading lately?