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Public Works; Self-Reliant Living

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PUBLIC WORKS: A HANDBOOK FOR SELF-RELIANT LIVING, Walter Szykitka, editor, Links Books, paperback, $10.00.

Building your own home? Want the latest on energy conservation? Want to check out the nutritive value of tonight's dinner?

All this information and more is available in a single book, Public Works. This 1,02 page paperback with its amazing range of information has moved onto the best seller list, despite its relatively high cost of $10. It's contents are both useful and fascinating, with chapters on First Aid and survival, health, child care, food, farm and home, tools and construction, transportation and communication, government, money and finally, odds and ends. With the help of this book, you can do most anything.

Public Works primarily uses pamphlets from the government, medical foundations, trade associations and a variety of other sources and reprints them in one convenient lump. The information is meant to demystify those specialized jobs people usually rely on doctors, mechanics, electricians, or carpenters to do for them. With the help of various pamphlets, you can perform a childbirth, repajr a car, figure out your income tax, freeze fresh fruits and vegetables for winter, or build a log cabin.

As the author says in the introduction, "the idea was that, if you found yourself lost in the wilderness and had no other possession than the book, you would nevertheless be adequately prepared to survive...It would take you by the hand and guide you along in clear, easy-to-understand language, with appropriate sketches and diagrams, so that you could, if you so chose, finally come crashing out of the wilderness with flags flying, in your self-made Land Rover with four-wheel drive, in a triumphant return to civilization."

If you still have someone on your holiday shopping list whom you haven't come up with an idea for, Public Works makes an ideal gift-even for someone who has everything.