The subtitle "from Alaska to Africa" is not a range as the usage may suggest, but actually binary values as Nolan alternates between stories of bear hunting and salmon fishing in Alaska with leopard and lion tracking in Africa. Some of the stories involve stupid human tricks but most involve well prepared professionals caught in situations where the weather or the wildlife acted in unpredictable and life threatening ways. Wade points out several times that most bears in wilderness areas who are unfamiliar with human contact will avoid it at all cost and run the other way--but most isn't all, and it is the exceptions that put the training and experience of even the best to the test.
We read of human endurance and decision making at its best. Nolan is a good story teller, pacing his accounts with the right level of detail, description, realism, and humor. While some of the survival accounts seem impossible, survival in the wild isn't a matter of luck, but a combination of knowledge with preparation, and Nolan is never cavalier in his accounts of real human risk and danger. At the same time, while not minimizing the risks, Nolan is adamant in decrying the softness and risk avoidance that dominates our cultures and pastimes in the 21st century.
In fact, Nolan's stories are intense and often as serious as life and death and he brings the book to a close by linking these narrow escapes from the "death dance" with the ultimate reality that we must all die and face eternity. He uses this opportunity to tell his own personal spiritual journey to a personal faith in Jesus Christ. After his first skeptical encounter with Christian wildlife guides and professional hunters, Nolan not only made his life changing decision to accept Christ but to devote his career to Christian ministry through his professional and personal interest in wildlife biology, films, and guiding.
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