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Book Review: Simple Survival

Honestly, do you really think the world needs another survival book?  Well, I’m in the education business professionally, so naturally I think the more the information out there the better.  Besides, this new revised book by author, Gary Benton of Pearl, Mississippi is a good effort work.

By Dr. John J. Woods, a contributing author to


(From Amazon)  This survival book, “Simple Survival, a Family Outdoors Guide,” is a Silver Award Winner from the Military Writers Society of America.  Gary spent over 23 years on active duty in the United States Air Force and retired as a Senior Master Sergeant.  Years of wilderness outdoor skills are in this book, along with survival tips. Learn survival so during the next natural disaster or terrorist attack you and your family can survive! Learn to survive with just a survival knife and a little survival gear, or with a survival kit.   Survival is simple, using Gary’s skills, and anyone can become a survivor!  Take this book along during your next camping trip or use it when facing a real emergency and learn survival of the fittest!  Survive the simple way, the Simple Survival way.  Become a survivor!

About the Author:

Senior Master Sergeant Gary L. Benton, USAF (ret.), has an Book Review Simple SurvivalAssociates Degree in Search and Rescue, Survival Operations, a Bachelor’s Degree in Occupational Safety and Health.  He is a “graduate of a number of U.S. Air Force Survival Schools, including Arctic, Water (Sea and Ocean), Basic Mountain (General Survival), and Jungle survival schools, he taught parachuting techniques and survival skills to Air Force aircrew members as a Life Support Instructor for twelve years.”


Benton’s book first and foremost is easy to read with chapters often based on anecdotal stories that draw you into the problem solving issues with interest.  The survival skills, tips, background information, recommendations, action steps, and solutions are all based on technically accurate information.  In the whole read I did not find one piece of information that I did not think was 100% accurate and I have studied survival manuals and information for 30 years.

In my notes as I read the 308 page manual was this quote, “Essentially practical in easy to read real English.  Perhaps this is not a comprehensive, post-apocalyptic survival guide, but it sure is a “simple survival” manual as the title aptly suggests.”  While this volume may indeed be too basic for the more advanced camper and survival specialists, it would be essential reading for a first-person or family interested in gaining important skills information for outdoors recreational camping, long range trekking, natural or unnatural disasters such as storms, earthquakes, and the like.

The Table of Contents of the book is quite comprehensive for a basic book on the subject.  Major Gary L. Bentontopics include General Subjects, WaterSheltersFoodFireFirst AidSignaling,  Clothing,  Snakes,  Weapons,  Tools of Survival,  Rescue,  Children and the Outdoors,  Maps and Navigation, and Tips.  There is lots to learn detailed here and many fun things to try out on your next adventure outing.


From a reader standpoint, there are few downsides.  Each tip chapter is short, concise, to the point, and easy to follow.   Little points of aggravation are the copious typos, and grammar errors on nearly every page.  The proofreader should be fired.  I also wish the “chapters” were numbered for reference to other readers.

Some information and supply lists are highly redundant.  But then my dad always used to preach “redundancy” as a back up system, which is why as a solo pilot owner of a crop dusting business he owned three of the same planes.  Just in case….


In my estimation, whether you are a seasoned survival enthusiast in a serious BOB or SHTF scenario or perhaps a youngster, scout troop, or couple/family interested in learning basic cutting edge camping skills, this is a book that ought to be on your shelf, in your backpack, and numerous pages ought to be dog eared.

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Photos By:
Gary L. Benton