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The Unofficial MacGyver How-to Handbook

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Indiana Jones had the lost ark of the covenant. King Arthur had the sword in the stone. Juan Ponce de Leone had the fountain of youth. This past Christmas, we discovered our own Holy Grail. The Unofficial MacGyver How-to Handbook blasts the phrase "kids, don't try this at home" to smithereens. Now, you, too, can disarm a laser beam alarm system with a cigar, make homemade tear gas and use a paperclip to undress a woman and disarm a missile.

The nearly 200-page manual is not a joke book. Authors Bret Terrill and Greg Dierkers detail every episode (141 in all) of the iconic ABC series, give a brief synopsis of each adventure ("MacGyver is tasked to rescue scientists trapped in an underground lab protected by a deadly security system"), descriptions of needed materials (a nuclear warhead missile and a paperclip) and step-by-step instructions complete with illustrations (open the missile's access panel, jam paperclip deep into the electronic innards, wriggle paperclip, breathe sigh of relief). The life-saving primer contains six chapters, among them: Great Escapes, Breaking and Entering (Use Only for Good, Not for Evil), and Bombs and Booby Traps.

While most of us won't be able to re-create the thrill of breaking into a high-security laboratory, we can still learn how to develop our photos with orange juice and seal an acid leak with a chocolate bar.

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