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Making the Best of Basics: Family Preparedness Handbook Paperback – July, 1997

4.2 out of 5 stars 64 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Never mind all the year 2000-type scare scenarios. Just close your eyes for a moment and imagine what would happen if you became ill and couldn't work, or if an earthquake or hurricane or bomb left your community devastated. It happens all the time. When unexpected disasters happen, people who are even a little prepared are much better off than those who have taken their dependence on outside resources for granted. When you imagine the security of not having to worry about going to the store for even a few weeks, a comprehensive storage system begins to make sense.

James Talmage Stevens's Making the Best of Basics, now in its 10th edition, is one of the best-known preparedness bibles around. Stevens lays out a yearlong storage program of 15 food and nonfood categories, six of which (water, wheat and grains, dairy products, sweeteners, "cooking catalysts" like salt and oil, and sprouting seeds) are capable of sustaining life indefinitely in a no-frills diet. The other 9 categories are designated "Building Blocks," and improve upon the basic diet and support a more routine, less Spartan existence while relying on stored supplies. (Some of them, such as medical supplies and fuel, will seem as essential to some readers as the first six.) The book's main messages--store what you eat, eat what you store, use it or lose it--are at the core of its calm advice and simple, nutritious recipes. The 10th edition has been updated with a yellow pages section that lists current preparedness resources throughout the U.S. and Canada, including Web resources.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Gold Leaf Press (WA); 10 edition (July 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1882723252
  • ISBN-13: 978-1882723256
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (64 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #147,078 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is helpful in many ways, but DO NOT use his numbers for the amount of food to store per person, unless you are feeding a professional football player in training. He mixed up the USDA recommmended amounts for the average family of 2.3 people, and used that figure for one person.. WE actually figured it out, and you would have to eat something like 10,000 calories per day to eat those amounts. Look at it carefully. How many people use 10 gallons of oil per person per year?
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By A Customer on April 1, 1999
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is easy to read, practical and extremely interesting. It is comprehensive and well-designed. I picked it up and immediately skipped to the chapter about food dehydration at home. I learned things that I was able to put in practice right then.
The Supply Check lists seem almost overwhelming but at least there is plan which makes sense. Most certainly, it will take a lot of effort to put our family Preparedness Plan in place and that is a daunting task. The author offers useful advice and helpful suggestions to help guide us through our decisions.
This book is packed with useful information for anyone concerned with personal and family preparedness. If you are concerned about the possibility of some social disruption next year due to the millennium bug or would just like to be better informed and prepared for any type of natural disaster, this book will be a reference tool you won't want to be without.
I'm glad I purchased the book at AMAZON -- the ordering was easy and the shipment arrived in perfect condition within 3 days. I had seen the book selling for $30 at a local long term food storage distributorship.
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Format: Paperback
Few know more about food preparation and storage than the Mormons. Their reputation for being ready for any emergency or natural disaster is well known - up to 2 years food supply for each family. I bought the 10th edition and was amazed at the resources including an exhaustive preparedness resource index. These are methods are grandparents and the pioneers knew well but today's generation is unfamiliar with. It is nice to see this heritage passed along. Thanks for an excellent resource. I would also like to recommend The Survivor's Guide to The Year 2000. It is to financial and investments what this book is to food preparation: all the essentials for the LDS family and everyone else who feels that "peace of mind follows preparedness." There is security in knowing you are ready for anything. I heartily recommned both resouces to all. Thanks again.
Comment 27 of 28 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
This book has some useful information but it doesn't fit the bill as an emergency book because much of it includes things like recipes which you cook in an 350 degree oven - which you may not have in a true emergency. Also, there are a lot of charts that look good but really don't help that much. 9 pages on the use of honey seems a bit much too. Resource section lists lots of resources but closer examination shows that many aren't geared to individuals or only carry one item for emergency use.
3 Comments 70 of 83 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By A Customer on July 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
Okay, Y2K came and went and civilization is still here. (Why? *Preparedness.* If we hadn't spent those billions of dollars getting ready, it would have been bad. Real bad.) But earthquakes, floods, economic dislocation, and other bad things are still real, still very much with us, and could happen at any time. As this book says, "It's better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it!"
This book is a real help in getting your own personal preparedness program going. Maybe you'd like a year's worth of food in storage. Or maybe you'd just like to be a little more comfortable this winter when a snowstorm knocks out the power and keeps you away from the grocery store for three days. Those extremes, and anywhere in between, are addressed in this book.
Some people say this books uses "scare tactics." Well, the world is a scary place. We've managed, at least in the industrialized nations, to take a lot of the scary out of it - but remember those petrol strikes in the UK last year? Another few days and the stores would have been empty. It can happen anywhere, any time. What's the harm in being ready for it? Then when it doesn't happen, you've just got some extra resources. But when it does - and eventually it will - you'll be very glad you read this book.
Comment 33 of 39 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
This is the only book you will need to become enlightened on "country living"! You will discover how much fun sprouting your own seeds can be, how to rotate and label storage, how to make sourdough, and many other things that have been lost with super-market living. What a great book! If you want to have a year of stored food, and don't know where to start, you will really have a handle on it once you read this book!
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Format: Paperback
In a time where we have become too dependent on others to take care of us, it is refreshing to know there are books like this that can restore or preserve a heritage of skills / knowledge for our posterity. Thinking of and sowing into the lives of others following behind us is a blessing and responsibility, many no longer cherish. This book is for those who do.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Look at the dates of the other reviews before just adding this to your cart. The book I received in 2011 was from 1998 and came bundled with a Y2K magazine full of articles about how we were all gonna die on Jan 1 2000 (a slight exaggeration and I did get a few laughs out of it, but it is indicative of the date of this book). Again, check the copyright date of the book you are ordering.

Having said that, I will add that although there is an extensive resource section, most of the information is outdated. There are listings for companies that went out of business years ago, and website addresses that no longer exist (remember AOL's member pages?).

Bottom line: this is a basic food preparation and storage guide, but nothing you cant readily find on the internet these days. A better disaster preparedness book is Dr. Arthur Bradley's "Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family".
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