Book Review: Life Under Open Skies by Tony Nester

Tony Nester is one of my favorite writers on bushcraft and survival skills. I enjoy his easy writing style, and an fascinated and entertained by his descriptions of the southwest. This morning, May 5th here in northern Maine, I woke up early and sat with Life Under Open Skies with my morning coffee. I was quickly drawn into stories about scorpions, flash floods, desert treks, hermits and bushcraft courses. It’s a thin volume, but I’ve been taking my time working through it so as to not reach the end too soon. Looking out at a landscape still dotted with snow and contemplating a day on a frigid river, the heat of Arizona as described in the book seems worlds away.

The field of bushcraft and survival instructors is crowded and becoming more so. But the list of full-time professionals around the USA is still a very short one. If the criteria of having done it for any length of time is added, it’s much shorter still; just a handful of people. What those seasoned woodsman have that the new breed do not (not yet, anyway) is years of experience. Tony has those years of experience.

This experience is immediately evident in Life Under Open Skies.  It’s a collection of true stories from Tony’s 20+ years in the field. While his other books are more how-to and instructional, in this book you get to know the author by tagging along on various adventures he’s had over the years.

A collection of good stories, well told by a seasoned professional, about life on the land. If you’re a fan of stories of the outdoor life and authenticity matters to you, put this one on your list.

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