Forget Leftist politics or uber-synthetic intelligence. The real vanguard is rewilding. After a decade of foraging, hunting, gardening and gathering for his survival in a forested area near Courtenay, Miles Olson has written a radical manual for self-reliance in harmony with nature, Unlearn, Rewild: Earth Skills, Ideas and Inspiration for the Future Primitive (New Society 2012, $15.95), possibly the most radical B.C. book of the year.

According to his publisher in 2012: "Miles Olson has spent the past decade deeply immersed in learning and practicing earth skills; living intimately with the land on the forested edge of a sprawling city. While foraging, hunting, gardening, and gathering for his livelihood, his life has been shaped profoundly by a desire to nurture healthy relationships with humans and the non-human world. Miles' experiences have put him at the forefront of the rewilding movement, radical self-reliance, and the impact of civilization on the natural world."

His first book Unlearn, Rewild: Earth Skills, Ideas and Inspiration for the Future Primitive (New Society $15.95) is the result. According to the publisher: "Part philosophical treatise, part hard-core survival guide, this unique and thoroughly unconventional manual blends philosophy with a detailed introduction to a rich assortment of endangered traditional living skills, including: Harvesting and preparing unconventional proteins, Feral food preservation, Dealing responsibly with waste, Natural methods of birth control & Tanning and processing animal skins.

According to promotional materials, "Lyrical, humorous, surprising, enlightening and thought-provoking by turns, Unlearn, Rewild is essential reading for those who wish to heal themselves and the earth, live gracefully into the future primitive and experience their wildest dreams."

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As a sequel to his radical guide to living off the land, Unlearn, Rewild: Earth Skills, Ideas and Inspiration for the Future Primitive, the Courtenay-based forager and hunter Miles Olson offers The Compassionate Hunter's Guidebook: Hunting from the Heart (New Society $19.95) which goes beyond "how-to"; advice about hunting for food. It asks why one would choose to hunt, and "delves into the profound, humbling and serious reality of death, killing and the transformation that hunting brings one in to contact with."

The Thoughtful Killer. Killing for Precious Meat. It's easy to think of lots of provocative titles they could have chosen. How bizarre, if one stops to think about it, that a book about hunting should seem extraordinary. Surely there have been many books on hunting within the last century or two, just like there were many books on goldpanning, but we are collectively so divorced from the reality of the slaughterhouse that a book about acquiring one's own meat seems like it's something new--when it's old, old, old.

BOOKS:

Unlearn, Rewild: Earth Skills, Ideas and Inspiration for the Future Primitive (New Society 2012) $15.95 9780865717213

The Compassionate Hunter's Guidebook: Hunting from the Heart (New Society 2014) $19.95 9780865717701

[BCBW 2013]