Customer Reviews


689 Reviews
5 star:
 (435)
4 star:
 (127)
3 star:
 (66)
2 star:
 (35)
1 star:
 (26)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


896 of 949 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall it's pretty OK
I have followed Rawles blog and his writings. This book is pretty OK, and here is why. The book does provoke a lot of thought, but.. Here is where it misses. The situation that Rawles describes, he has not lived through. I still have a rather normal life I have to live and for most of us, ditching it all and moving to the mountains is not a feasible option. He often...
Published on October 9, 2009 by adp113

versus
1,898 of 2,037 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but misses the boat
Rawles is a great non-fiction writer, and this is a well written book. However, it has some major faults:

- The book is for hard core survivalists only. It assumes complete and absolute break down of civilization. It does not deal with "simpler" short-term emergencies (tornado, fire, flood) that you can ride out living in your normal urban or suburban...
Published on October 6, 2009 by Alberto Vargas


‹ Previous | 1 269 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

896 of 949 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Overall it's pretty OK, October 9, 2009
This review is from: How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times (Paperback)
I have followed Rawles blog and his writings. This book is pretty OK, and here is why. The book does provoke a lot of thought, but.. Here is where it misses. The situation that Rawles describes, he has not lived through. I still have a rather normal life I have to live and for most of us, ditching it all and moving to the mountains is not a feasible option. He often cites needing a years worth of anything on hand, but what happens after that year? Do you really want to live in a place of constant death and destruction. He lists a lot of doomsday scenarios by where the ones who survive will not be the lucky ones.

I think the much more likely future is similar to what happened in Argentina or what has been slowly happening in South Africa.

So while next spring I will be tilling up a good part of yard for a garden, harvesting rain water, and buying and stocking in bulk. I will not be buying a GOOD location or a buying an old diesel junker truck to get there.

There is a lot you can learn from this book, but don't make it your sole reference. Where you live determines your survival strategy, there is no one size fits all approach.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1,898 of 2,037 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not bad, but misses the boat, October 6, 2009
By 
Alberto Vargas (San Francisco, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times (Paperback)
Rawles is a great non-fiction writer, and this is a well written book. However, it has some major faults:

- The book is for hard core survivalists only. It assumes complete and absolute break down of civilization. It does not deal with "simpler" short-term emergencies (tornado, fire, flood) that you can ride out living in your normal urban or suburban environment. The book is practically all about establishing a well-stocked remote rural retreat, which you defend tooth-and-nail against looters and invaders, while keeping the curtains down not to let them see your window lights.

- Rawles preaches to the choir, not to the uninitiated. If you are not familiar with the survivalist vernacular and have not read similar books / blogs, you will find this book a little jarring and over your head. In fact, Rawles often cross-references his fiction novel Patriots as supplementary guide. Speaking of preaching to the choir: all these five stars reviews which are highly rated as helpful - feel free to ignore the ones written before October 2. Given that this book started shipping on the last day of September and is not available for Kindle, there is simply no way people could have received and read the book before Friday October 2. Rawles is known for encouraging his blog readers to all buy the book on the same day to create a "bestseller" effect on Amazon, and this carries over to the reviews. So beware.

- Book is way too tiny and short for much useful learning. In fact, each chapter is basically a thoughtful intro followed by a list of items to get, with some quick facts (e.g. how long honey or wheat can be stored, where to buy the containers, etc). There is barely any attempt to teach survival attitude and skills - those are farmed out to other books or training courses. To the author's credit, he has plenty of great pointers to other books and courses. However, you are much better off going there in the first place.

- Rawles has a misanthropic, dog-eat-dog sense to his writing, both in this book and in Patriots. It is too much about hunkering down in your darkened bunker, eating MREs, and using plenty of ammo to keep the less fortunate souls away. While it is possible that a major event could end civilization as we know it, I do wish Rawles had a more positive tone and attitude, at least when trying to covert newcomers to his cause :)

There is one really big issue with hard core survivalism in general. If a truly massive global or nationwide disaster comes to pass, the likelihood of surviving it is low, no matter how well you prepare. Surviving a nuclear war or a mass epidemic is unlikely, and more about random chance than preparation. The survivors are bound to come together in sizable groups for strength and protection. If a well armed gang or ex-military unit converges on one of the Rawles-style rural retreats, game is over. So at the end of the day, at least to me, hard-core survivalism comes across as a militaristic make-believe game, mostly indulged by paranoid guys. Last but not least, unlike "soft-core" temporary disaster survival, what Rawles recommends is expensive and requires major lifestyle changes, which limits its appeal tremendously.

So, what's good about this book? The chapters on food storage and vehicles stand out. Also, if you are looking for a primer on surviving a major end-of-civilization disaster, this is a great starting point. To the author's credit, his survival blog has more readers than most daily newspapers, so he knows his stuff, whether you agree with him or not.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


212 of 232 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting, but niche appeal, October 14, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times (Paperback)
I purchased this book with an open mind. I can say that my purchase was motivated mostly out of respect to the author for his previous work and his blog. I tried to read this book with the only expectation that I would walk away from it with one or two pieces of useful knowledge more than what I started with. At the end of the day, I felt slightly cheated. Let me list some of the biggest flaws with this work so people can be aware of what they need to address if they are looking at this as a resource material.

1. I am really not sure who is the real audience for this book. After finishing it last night, I concluded that most of the 5 star WOW feedback did NOT read the book before they posted their reviews. I guess if you live on 20 acres in the country 5 miles away from your closest neighbor then a lot of the over view sections in this book are for you.
2. The book is written with a very pessimistic tone that leaves the reader with a sense of helplessness if he lives with in a city or greater metropolitan area. I live in a city and because of my job I am unable to leave for the country. I think this was the greatest mental hurdle when confronted with this work. If you are unable to commit to a change of location and life style, then reading this book almost feels like a waste of time. Tell me something I can use for city survival as my home, family, job and life have all taken place inside of a society.
3. Lots of the specific reference areas into subjects that are of great interest (canning, strengthening the defenses of your home, essential home gardening on less than an acre, and the firearms questions) differ to other works by name only. I was rather upset with the feeling that I had just read a survival appendix when many of the real questions I had were just glossed over and left me confused. I know that the author has a lot of knowledge in this realm, but seems to only reference it to his consulting business or divert questions to other authors.
4. The feeling of "missing the boat" or helplessness which the author brings into his pessimistic conclusions. If you have not already built a stronghold out in the country at the top of your mountain with an independent water supply 5 years ago, then you are probably boned. Good luck!

These are my own thoughts and conclusions based on this work purely for its standalone value. I still have a lot of confidence and respect in and for the author based on his previous work. I just wish he would have given us more. I am still giving him a slightly positive review '
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


65 of 73 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Agree with the Rawles Philosophy, Disagree on Many Details, and Hope We're Wrong About People, October 19, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times (Paperback)
First off, I have read most of the reviews of this book and have found some misinformation. This is not a book of extremist thinking or encouraging extremist actions. One reviewer stated the book goes into details such as "man traps," and that is simply not true, not once does the book go into such a contrivance. The reviewer probably has a "knee jerk" reaction to anything with the term "survivalist" applied to it and might have run across a discussion of the subject elsewhere, perhaps on the authors survival blog, but not necessarily written by Mr. Rawles. One thing about this author, he certainly doesn't censor other opinions of the contributors to his blog, at least in my experience. That being said, I think the potential reader "on the fence" about it give this work a try, I think you will be pleasantly surprised. I am of the opinion that Mr. Rawles does himself a disservice and denies his work a potentially broader audience by using marketing tactics (such as the title of this work) that will win with his core audience, but scare off others that could benefit.

A core principle that Rawles puts forth early in the book is the fragile nature of our current society. Just in time inventory practices, out of control government spending, and a fleeting work ethic in our nation are indeed a formula for disaster. Interestingly, the idea that there is a "bureaucratic branch" putting in place our downfall is put forth in Mark Levin's "Liberty and Tyranny" and echoed here. Inflation may very well be in our near future and may very well be a cause for what Rawles calls here (and in his novel Patriots) "The Big Crunch." I agree with this view wholeheartedly.

A second core principle put forth, is that the typical citizen of this country, when denied his TV, drugs, microwave entrée's, and other instant gratification will revert to a savage state. When confronted with deprivation and potentially starvation, he will resort to outright unbridled barbarism. I WANT to disagree on this point and believe in "the better angels of our nature." It is my hope that in a cataclysmic situation, people will respond as they did on 9/11, and "pitch in." We cannot trust this will be the case however, so we must prepare.

The last principle that I wanted to touch on in this review is the inclusion that is part of this philosophy. Mr. Rawles wants a prepared America. He does not only want white Christians to be prepared. I sincerely believe it is his hope that there will not be a societal collapse, but that he has abandoned the hope that there will not be. I think he believes the mechanisms put in place by the "bureaucratic branch" and the "moneychangers" have reached terminal velocity. The point that should be taken from this is that this is a NEW class of "survivalist" that can (and should) include everyone, although the principles of the philosophy tend to be more embraced by white Christians. Sometimes it does have that "traditional survivalist" flavor in its delivery, but to be dismissive and brand this man as a "survivalist nut" is the hallmark of a fool.

I disagree with some details in the book. I disagree completely on the idea that we can all somehow live at a retreat full time, requiring I adapt the information for my situation. I disagree with his advice on firearms completely. Many of the recommendations could be simplified, and one does need to consider an "oddball caliber" because of the current supply problems with ammunition. I dislike the at times "preachy tone" his Christian beliefs inject into the work, but that is his prerogative, and I like that his beliefs lead him to include charity in his philosophy. However, because I disagree with many points of this philosophy, and have some experience in Emergency Management, I develop and evangelize a philosophy called StrongPoint Preparedness and it's out on the web to those that may be interested in an alternative, and I invite all to participate.

This book is geared towards a cataclysmic circumstance, but much of the work is useful in planning for "routine emergencies" like hurricanes, fires, tornadoes, particularly the sections on G.O.O.D. All in all, this is an excellent preparedness resource that I hope none of us will ever need, written by a sincere man who practices what he preaches. Good luck!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


35 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rawles Brings it Together, October 17, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times (Paperback)
Rawles brings to this overview of possible scenarios resultant from an TEOTWAWKI event a level of perception and concise explanation largely missing in other books on the subject. The wide scope of the book is designed to give a clear overview of incidents and alternative solutions to meet them; he brings a military-crispness and precision to his explanations that cuts through to the heart of the matter(s). Being ex-mil, having taught search and rescue, wilderness, desert, mountain, and snow survival, and having served on the receiving end of less-than-successful rescues, i'm frankly dumbfounded by the criticism i read to the effect that Rawles 'goes to far' in his scenarios. i would beg to differ: Like any emergency/first aid/first responder texts, Rawles covers scenarios one is likely to encounter under the outlined circumstances; imho, *not* to include the full range of these possibilities would be a grave disservice to the serious 'prepper' who wants a 'full field view' of issues they may have to face.

Another criticism, that of being to 'general', misses the mark as well: Rawles covers broad topics [Medical/First Aid; Gardening, etc.] and as such, it's unrealistic to expect either advanced MEDIVAC protocols or detailed instructions on planting early corn in Alabama. Such a book would be untenable, large [and expensive] beyond belief, and i don't believe that was the author's objective.

What Rawles *does* offer is a surprisingly comprehensive, detailed view that allows the reader to 'custom tailor' the information to their specific situations. No base is left uncovered, and, perhaps as importantly, he warns against many of the common mistakes that folks unfamiliar with the subjects make, many of which avert certain disaster. He also answers many of the questions that do/will arise: can you use diesel in a kerosene latern?

Further, specific suppliers are mentioned, making selection/purchase/securement as simple as it can get, and generally at the best prices [at least WITHOUT SACRIFICING QUALITY: REMEMBER: IN A TEOTWAWKI EVENT, IF YOUR CHEPO FUEL STOVE DOESN'T WORK UNLESS YOU'VE MADE PREPARATIONS, YOU EAT COLD DINNER-at best...].

Overall, the book, like his website, gives as much valuable information in one place as is realistically possible. My impression is that Rawles set out to provide the reader with an extremely detailed 'check list', complete with referrals for materials, should any of the multitude of possible situations currently showing on our 'event horizon' occur: Earthquakes, food shortages, gas/food rationing, etc., and most disturbing, social unrest. In the view of someone with first-hand experience in disasters [as well as the abomination known as 'war'], Rawles succeeds spectacularly.

-Rhone
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


125 of 147 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Covers all the bases, October 2, 2009
This review is from: How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times (Paperback)
As one of the original pioneers in the survival and preparedness field, I have been critical of arm-chair survivalists who lead people astray with bad advice, product recommendations that don't work, and fail to take into consideration the fact that most people just can't head for the hills without destroying their financial lifeline. Self-sufficiency is fairly expensive, takes a lot of skill, and can't be done on a whim.

Jim Rawles' book is not in that category. He has lived everything he recommends, and thus gives the kind of savvy advice that carefully guides a person through the tough choices necessary for contingency planning. Moreover, he is very open about the pitfalls and cautions that readers must avoid in order to develop a successful retreat plan. I found myself agreeing with almost every recommendation he makes.

Highly recommended!

Joel Skousen, Author of The Secure Home, and Strategic Relocation--North American Guide to Safe Places
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


235 of 280 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A reference for further learning., September 30, 2009
By 
Michael Z. Williamson (Greenwood, IN United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times (Paperback)
This book doesn't cover every detail of every disaster, of course. No one book could. What it has is easily referenced, concise summaries of particular events--hurricanes, earthquakes, brush fires, economic collapses, grid failures--and summaries of preparations one can make. Then, those preparations are roughly described.

All this gives a person or family a handy guidebook to create a disaster plan from.

Obviously, not all disasters have equal probability, nor are relevant to all locations--brush fires and hurricanes don't affect me in the Midwest. Tornadoes, flash floods and blizzards do, as might a New Madrid earthquake. Long term societal problems aren't currently a problem in the US, but are in quite a few other western nations, such as Argentina and sometimes Chile. There's even advice on a checklist to prioritize exactly those issues.

As usual, a lot of the negative reviews revolve around a provincial "it can't happen here" mindset. A given disaster might not be likely in your current location at your current time, but places, people and societies change. Preparing ahead costs little, and can save your life. If you never need it, think of it as insurance.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


142 of 168 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Relevant, September 30, 2009
By 
Rangegal (Crazy California) - See all my reviews
This review is from: How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times (Paperback)
Rawles has been providing an important service to the readers of his books and of his survivalblog for years. Disasters happen regularly all over the world, and Rawles has the best and most relevant info on how to prepare and cope with these life-threatening problems and this book shows you how to do it. I recommend everyone read his books and blog and take steps to prepare for what will inevitably come, be it storms, earthquakes, tornadoes, terrorism, economic breakdown, or civil unrest. Do a little bit of preparing every week and you'll sleep better knowing you can keep your family fed and sheltered in case something bad happens. If it never comes, all the better! We all have home and car insurance, right? This is just another kind of insurance.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Over the top? Maybe, March 24, 2010
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times (Paperback)
This book has a number of flaws, all of which have been pointed out in the more negative reviews. First, it is written primarily for the hard-core survivalists. It's written in their language (although all the strange terms and acronyms are spelled out and explained). This may tend to put you off.

If you can forgive it this one quirk, it's a very well researched book. In a way, it's really the product (and general consensus) of literally thousands of blog entries and articles written by very serious and knowledgeable people writing in to Jim's Blog. If you have not visited it yet, you really should. [...] is a fascinating site with a lot of activity and archives that cover the contents of this book and more.

Another thing that might put you off is this: This book seems to advise lifestyle changes that are unpalatable to mainstream America. Taken to extremes, this book advocates moving WAY out in the boonies to get away from other people (who will presumably be very dangerous when and if they get hungry). This country home (called a retreat) will be your personal fortress and lifeboat if society collapses. It's written to maximize your chances if The earth is hit by a giant meteor...or the US experiences an EMP attack...or the economy totally collapses...or a flu pandemic kills half of the population. Crazy stuff, huh? But if you don't believe this stuff is likely to happen, you agree with James Rawles. He's not a nut. He's just dealing with worst case scenarios. If you can survive these, you can probably make it though a hurricane evacuation or a brown-out. When it comes to preparation, you choose your own level of pain.

The book also advocates crazy stuff like:
-Pay off your credit cards so you don't lose your home if you lose your job.
-Keep some cash on hand in case the ATMs are off.
-Keep your car in good condition so it won't strand you in a snowstorm.
-Keep several day's food on hand in case you get snowed in or stranded in your home.
-Keep a flashlight handy in case the power goes out.

Some of it is common sense advice on how to mitigate or avoid very likely and common problems. Some of the advice is NOT common sense that you could figure out on your own. It's well thought out and tested advice on things that could potentially kill you if you don't know about them.

This short volume doesn't try to cover every topic in detail. James Rawles does a good job of covering a lot of material, but you can't expect to cover farming, hydrology, power generation, military tactics and food storage in one little book. It's basically a list of lists and some concise advice on a whole range of topics. This is more of a reference book than a quick, easy read. It provides lots of topics and sources for further study (should you be interested).

This book is a thoughtful work designed to help anyone survive a disaster on any scale. You don't have to believe that the world is coming to an end to greatly benefit from it. This is the extreme scenario, of course, but all of the same preparations used to make you prepared for that will also help you weather a local or regional problem. (Many of Mr. Rawles' survival blog readers are more concerned about little disasters, like a power outage or a winter storm.)

This book will get you to think. It might even cause you to prepare at least a little, so you won't be part of the problem if a disaster strikes. I recommend it highly, and not just for survivalists.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


69 of 81 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars This is a book for a Millionaire!!!!!, September 3, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times (Paperback)
Completely unrealistic...unless you're a millionaire! For example... The author recommends you get "A Fleet Surplus Propane-Powered Pickup" from a Utility company. Really??? Everything in this book is geared toward one being able to live in a retreat location year-round, as stated by the author in the 1st chapter. If you need to know how to make you and your family comfortable, warm, and fed during hard times and moving to a remote location full time is not an option, then don't waste your money! I would recommend "When All Hell Breaks Loose" by Cody Lundin. I bought this book at the same time and was not disappointed! Full of practical ideas and information!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 269 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times
$18.00 $11.90
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.