Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 11 Oct 2019

Member Reviews

Primitive skills. Those words can bring up many images for us. For a lot of us, they mean a way to get back to nature and to our natural roots. But, why do so many of us want to do this? 

That question is what this book explores. Nate Summers is an expert survivalist and wilderness skills leader. His book explores the reasons people are seeking out these kinds of experiences more and more. 

Humans have an interesting relationship to nature. Often, we are destructive. Sometimes, we are respectful and treat nature well. But, what draws us to seek a deeper connection to nature? Why are survival skills, and the people who teach them, becoming so popular lately? Is it because we recognize that our planet is changing and that we humans will need to adapt to this? Or, is it just the latest fad and will fade away? 

To explore this question, the author takes us on a tour. He interviews practitioners of wilderness skills. He shows us all the survival schools that have cropped up. He takes us inside how people learn these skills. He shows us how the students who go through these programs come out of them with an increased appreciation for nature and intense interest in learning more skills. Primitive skills and wilderness survival are about more than a battle between man and nature. It’s about modern people connecting with our ancient roots. All of our ancestors, at some point in time, used those skills just to live. So, it seems to be inherently fascinating to us, as modern humans. 

As a reviewer, I thought the book accomplished its purpose. In the interest of full disclosure, I do know several of the people who were interviewed for the book, and I have practiced the art of tracking for many years, so I know that part of the community very well. I do not know Nate, but his book seems to be a good insider overview of the whole phenomenon of ancestral skills. 

One thing that I liked about the book was that he didn’t stay away from important issues. Such as a lack of racial diversity within the wilderness skills community. And the issue of cultural misappropriation. Some schools emphasize Native American skills, yet they are not taught by Native people. These issues need to be addressed by the wilderness skills community, and it was good to see that this author at least brought up the subject. Hopefully, this can lead to some dialog and maybe some changes. We can’t pretend that all practitioners are being respectful of the cultures whose skills they claim to be teaching, but we can hope that bringing attention to it will lead to some change. 

Overall, this was an interesting read. It gives insight into how the whole movement developed over time and who the participants were. The reader gets to see the progression of this growing community. The author gives some reasons why modern people are attracted to these schools. And, it’s an entertaining read to boot. Recommended.
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Primal by Nate Summers is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in late September.

Being primal in the sense of evoking and sustaining your own sense of being wild and non-homebody while using Stone Age-level skills to sustain yourself in nature. Its poorly organized chapters repeat the affirmation of the prologue (which promotes survival/wilderness schools, gives reverence toward its teachers, and to set aside trappings of modern technology), put into print the personal stories of people coming back from a primal excursion, and describes the Who, rather the How or Why, of what Summers had set out to study.
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I enjoyed the concept of this book but the execution left a bit to be desired. i appreciated the input of experts but felt like some of the writing strayed intro promotion for their schools or books. i really liked the ending and how it made accessing the primal part of you attainable through simple steps.
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I got this book by mistake from Netgalley.
I started reading it and became intrigued by the authors story and decided to finish the book. 
I have mixed feelings about this book.
On one hand I thoroughly enjoyed the learning aspect of it all. How fire is life, getting back to nature can calm people, we feel more connected to the Earth and other people when we bond over nature.
I agree with all of that mentioned above. 
Yet the author did a deep dive into cultural appropriation and even began to go into the Movie the Black Panther.
I think that everyone can learn from others without it being cultural appropriation...unless you are dressing, speaking, and telling people you ARE that culture.
But that is where the author lost me.
I felt that he went off the rails on the Black Panther movie and how that is affecting more black people to get involved in naturalism. 
Overall the first half of the book is super good.
Second half fell very short and I felt very repetitive.
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