Book Review

Title: 4-Wheel Freedom
Author: Brad DeLong
Year of Publication: 1996

Bruceís Review:

This book is an excellent overview of 4-wheeling for the beginner through well-experienced drivers, although it seems to be more oriented towards intermediate-level 4-wheelers than many other books. It starts with developing a fundamental understanding of what four-wheel-drive is and how it works, goes into how to determine what kind of 4-wheel-drive vehicle to get to suit your specific needs, then gets into equipment - survival, mechanical repair, and beefing up your vehicle. The second half of the book is devoted to explaining how to drive in different conditions - rocks, hills, mud, sand, and streams. This book has one of the better chapters Iíve seen on driving in snow, which makes sense because the author is from north-central Idaho - a long way from the desert-centric authors of other books. The book has numerous black-and-white photos that help illustrate significant portions of the text. Scattered through the book are interesting little short stories about real-life experiences where the subject matter of the chapter was used to avert potential disaster and to get everyone home safely.

What others say (selected passages):

Whether you're thinking about buying a 4-wheel drive vehicle or are already an experienced 4WDer, there is something in this complete guide for you. Learn how to drive on snow, ice, rocks, mud and hills, plus how to choose and use off-road tires, winches and other specialty gear. Every 4WD owner should own this handy book.

After swearing off off-roading in general and Land Rovers in particular, I find myself drawn once again to the places you just can't usually get to from here. 4-Wheel Freedom has done more than refresh my memory; it has saved me from my own ignorance and folly. The book is extremely readable, is sensitive to environmental issues, and thorougly enjoyable. I also find it interesting that a neurosurgical spinal surgeon would find such joy in bone-crunching off-roading...

This book is a basic introduction to driving off-road. If you don't know what a locker is, how it works or why you might want one for off-road use, you'll find the answers in this book. On the other hand, if you've decided to save money on a locker by welding the spider gears together in your garage, this is not the book for you. I found the organization a bit strange. If you read through the book cover-to-cover though, you'll know where to find what you need in the book. I'd give it four and a half stars if I could.

This book has some very useful information and is very easy to understand. I thought that the extra equipment/gear lists were a bit long and for myself some is not realistic to carry. If the information in this book is combined with other publications a good list of gear to carry on a 4 wheel adventure could be developed. The additional resources listed in this book were also very helpful. For new and experienced off-roaders this book is a useful tool.

I expected something different, so I don't blame the author, who has written a nice little treatise on 4 wheel driving for beginners. Absolute beginners. This book is a response to the recent popularity of SUV's, and to the fact that many folks have not a clue about what 4 wheel drive is or how to use it. It starts off at ground zero with the heartwarming little tale of a corporate lawyer and his management/executive wife buying their first SUV (awww...) and then taking it out for progressively friskier adventures until they get to really test themselves. Made me want to throw up, but then it's just not my style. If this is your style, if you honestly don't know which wheels get the power when one is stuck, if you have never used a high-lift jack, if you think a Land Rover is the functional equivalent of a Honda CR-V, then this is the book for you. The nutty title should have tipped me off, but I had my guard down and it slipped past me. It's foolish to think you can learn this stuff from a book, anyway...that right there is the BIG fallacy. Get out, get muddy and bust your knuckles and write your own book.

This is the one book to read before leaving the asphalt! With the knowledge gleaned from 4-wheel freedom one can venture off road with confidence,knowing the limitations of his or her vehicle,and understanding the basics of keeping safe.This is not a book for radical off-roading only,this book should be required standard equipment for all 4-wheel drive vehicles sold.The enviormental issues covered are good practices that can help to keep off-roading an acceptable form of recreation.This is one that deserves more than 5 star

With the onslaught of new SUV's in the marketplace, more and more people are making the journey off pavement. For the neophyte 4 wheeler, there is no better source of information. In fact, the book should probably be included with every new SUV sale. If it were, there might be less people driving TJ's like Porsches.
For the intermediate through advanced wheeler, there is still new knowledge to be found. Winching techniques, tire placement and more are just the tip of the iceberg here. Fact. No matter how much you may know, theres still room to learn more.
Regardless of your skill level, 4 Wheel freedom is an important addition to every off-roader's library.