Book Review: Hostile Ground

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Book Review: Hostile Ground

Postby Rick Wilson » Thu Jan 18, 2001 8:27 am


I also posted this on the TheConsumer's corner forum, but thought it should go here as well because of what the book is advertised to cover.

By the way, I know the VSD topic may not get discussed much in dojos and therefore there is less traffic on this forum than some others, but people need to know this stuff, so hang in there!

Book Review:

Hostile Ground: Defusing and Restraining Violent Behavior and Physical Assaults by Edward Lewis -- Paladin Press

The book is advertised to address:

1) Handling fear during a confrontation.
2) Recognizing different types of aggressors.
3) Identifying common reasons for assaultive behavior.
4) Reading body language for signs of impending violence.
5) Defusing a hostile situation.
6) Managing physical assaults if all else fails.

Six areas to be covered most of which deal with before the physical encounter, and only one would focus on self defence techniques - I ordered the book.

The book is 138 pages long and the usual Paladin presentation - paper back 5.5" x 8.5" and cost me about $28 Canadian to the door (I order through Chapters so that I pay less S&H to Canada and no $5 handling fee at the border.)

Please note that do to the organization of the printing the end of sections and chapters are counted as a page but they are blank - 10 of the 138 pages are blank.

Pages 1 to 38 covered items 1 to 5 above.
Pages 39 to 84 were mainly pictures of restraints.
Pages 85 to 112 basically quoted Washington state laws (no interpretation or instruction).
Pages 113 to 117 dealt with debriefing the incident (The book is directed at professionals).
Pages 117 to 132 Real Life stories
Pages 133 to 138 filler references etc.

So the advertised 80% of the subjects were handled in 27% of the book.

This is one of my greatest disappointments in these types of books. In fact I have not ordered much of these types lately because I know they will be little of the VSD advertised and a lot of basic techniques. I took a chance on this one.

The author appears knowledgeable about the subject, but suffers from the same problem many of the Paladin books do - poor editing.

I have no doubt Mr. Lewis has the knowledge and experience to have fleshed out the first 38 pages to be far more informative. It is disappointing that he was not advised to do so.

Also, Mr. Lewis has been a self defence trainer since 1967 and I wish he had included in the book the methods he uses to teach using the defusing techniques.

The information presented is good and from the VSD forum the information is certainly correct, but it is basic and just too brief. For example the "Handling fear during a confrontation" section is 1.5 pages long!

As always there were things that I learned from the book and maybe someone else might appreciate the rest of the information more, but I wish I had spent my money elsewhere.

Rick Wilson

Book Review: Hostile Ground

Postby LenTesta » Thu Jan 18, 2001 1:19 pm


Thanks for sharing your review of this book with us. I am very glad to hear that you are making VSD a part of your curriculum for your students.

I have noticed that some books that deal with VSD often do not go into detail about handling fear. There are only so many ways to say that one should be courageous, determined, and confident when in the interview stage of a confrontation. However, there are many types of fear. Fear of the confrontation itself is enough to make some break into a sweat. There is fear of pain, litigation, or retaliation just to name a few. I am sure that one and half pages is not sufficient to even identify all the possible fears.

I envision this forum as a place where we martial arts instructors and students can share our experiences, ideas, and teaching about the handling of the interview stage of confrontations, and how to diffuse them.

I am interested in some of the real life stories that are in the book. How many are there? Do they all end without physical confrontation? Does the author give examples of what went wrong as well as what worked?

Len Testa
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Book Review: Hostile Ground

Postby Rick Wilson » Mon Feb 05, 2001 6:41 am


Sorry for taking so long to reply -- sick with the flu and busy etc.

There are eleven real life stories. Only one is of a civilian situation. The other deal with correctional officer, social workers, private investigators etc.

Of the eleven only one required physical action as VSD was not going to solve the situation.

While they were interesting it would have been better to have some more failed situations. I also would have liked more details of what and how, although some were better than others in this regard.

Rick Wilson

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