After so much adventuring on the big and small screen, why not try it in real life with the help of Joseph D’Agnese and Denise Kiernan’s The Indiana Jones Handbook: The Complete Adventurer’s Guide?
The Indiana Jones Handbook: The Complete Adventurer’s Guide
(USA 2008, authors: Joseph D’Agnese/Denise Kiernan, publisher: Quirk Books)
Quirk Books have already published quite a few guide books with a humorous touch, like The Geek’s Guide to Dating or Geek Wisdom: The Sacred Teachings of Nerd Culture, so it’s not a big surprise that the archaeology hero with whip and wit makes it into one of their books.
Being part survival book and part reminiscence about the four movies, the book works on different levels. It recaptures the feeling of adventure that made Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade so great and puts it into a semi-realistic context. On the one hand, there’s some obviously sound advice in how to prepare for an expedition, e.g. packing essential things and knowing about the destination, or how to react in emergencies, e.g. getting bitten by a snake. On the other hand, it makes fun of all the action set-pieces in which Indy fought enemies, was chased, or found himself in a situation he shouldn’t have been in the first place, e.g. on a plane crashing down. With the help of instruction pictures like in a first-aid book, it all seems real, but oh so over-the-top in its step-by-step explanations and lists of what-to-do and how-to-do-it.
So despite trying to keep a scientific voice, the authors often include humorous asides that show how dangerous everything Indy did was and that one should be prepared for everything, even when facing the Wrath of God. The writing is witty at times, although it isn’t the most subtle of humor and is probably funnier if one has seen the movies. Indiana Jones fans will still have a lot of fun reading through the roughly 180 pages that are illustrated with scenes from the movies and lots of the aforementioned instruction pictures. It might not make readers want to start an archaeology career, but as a mocking look at what adventurers have to endure and how to get out of the trickiest situations, it’s still an entertaining book.
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