Big Phil Campion’s Real World SAS Survival Guide: a review

Big Phil Campion’s Real World SAS Survival Guide
Big Phil Campion’s Real World SAS Survival Guide

Last month, veteran SAS operative and private security contractor Phil Campion released his fourth book: “Big Phil Campion’s Real World SAS Survival Guide” after an autobiography and two fiction works. Published by Quercus, I liked it a lot.

The fact that it sounds as if it is pitched towards the more military orientated shouldn’t put you off buying it, if that isn’t really your scene. Campion includes a lot of very useful everyday information that’s more often than not overlooked or simply not widely known. The best examples would be how to spot online fraudsters from the web address they are using as well as avoiding their scams, safeguarding oneself from identity theft, how to avoid road-rage and basic first aid. My personal favourite though (which is surprisingly useful) is how to use your fist as a measurement of (approximately) how many hours of daylight are left.

There is, however, a lot more than that. The book begins with advice on how to safeguard one’s home from burglars and thieves and includes other chapters on surviving natural disasters, travelling safely in the third world and what to do if you’re ever caught up in a terrorist attack. There is also a section on “Self-defence, SAS style”. Skills that are likely to be useful when out hiking or camping are also covered including fire lighting and how to navigate by the sun in the day and stars at night.

Well written with plenty of interesting and amusing personal anecdotes, the book also includes a number of pictures and diagrams demonstrating how to do what is being described. It’s all very well to write about how watches can double up as a compass and show which direction north and south are, but that’s almost useless unless the reader can actually see how they can do it themselves, which is something this book does very well.

To conclude, I highly recommend this book. While it definitely caters to a specific audience of military buffs and the outdoorsy types, it also has a lot for the general reader – and not just in terms of general interest. A lot of the information here is very useful on just a day-to-day basis and even though it may not save your life, it might just keep your house or bank account safe from burglars and online scammers…

About the Author
Daniel J. Levy is a graduate of the University of Leeds and Oxford, where his academic research primarily focused on Iranian proxies in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Palestine. He is the Founding Director and Lead Consultant of the Ortakoy Security Group, and has contributed editorial pieces to The Times of Israel, Jerusalem Post, Haaretz, and Israel Policy Exchange. In his free time, he enjoys reading, running, and cooking. He can be followed on Twitter @danielhalevy.