319 of 389 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't Put it Down!
Excellent work by Mr. Rawles. In it he explores the possibilities and what ifs of a total collapse of the civilized world that we have come to know and upon which we depend. Imagine, if you will, that the economy spins out of control and takes civilized society with it. Imagine this event making the Great Depression look like a walk in the park. How would one survive...
Published on March 27, 2000
503 of 571 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Militia-Style Survivalist Manual in a Fiction Format
Patriots is a TEOWAWKI , militia-style survivalist novel packed with information. While Patriots does mention stockpiling food and the use of non-hybrid seeds this is not a book about self-sufficiency. The premise of the novel is that an economic depression spirals out of control. The economy completely collapses, money becomes worthless, the mail stops, the power grid...
Published on June 7, 2007 by Kyle Pratt
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503 of 571 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Militia-Style Survivalist Manual in a Fiction Format,
This review is from: Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse: A Novel of the Turbulent Near Future (Expanded and Updated 33 Chapter Edition) (Paperback)
Patriots is a TEOWAWKI , militia-style survivalist novel packed with information. While Patriots does mention stockpiling food and the use of non-hybrid seeds this is not a book about self-sufficiency. The premise of the novel is that an economic depression spirals out of control. The economy completely collapses, money becomes worthless, the mail stops, the power grid and phone system shuts down and the government at all levels disappears. In the story this period is understatedly called the Crunch, but no depression in the history of the United States has been nearly so severe. Even church services appear to stop for several years.
With the United States in turmoil and collapse, the United Nations and at least some international banks have survived. Together they become the catalyst behind a provisional federal government that seeks to exert near dictatorial control over America. Frankly, I believe there is much more strength in the institutions of the United States than there ever was in the United Nations and so this plot scenario strained believability for me. However, when asked, James Rawles stated, "I made the scenario in the novel a near `worst case' in order to make it more interesting reading, and as an opportunity to show the need for planning and preparedness in a variety of areas..."
Using the Crunch as a literary device Rawles packs the novel with data about guns, medicine, fuels, equipment and tactics. The book has been described in several online reviews as a "survival manual fairly neatly dressed as fiction." Indeed it is much more entertaining than reading the facts in a reference book or manual. But this is also the greatest weakness. It is hard to pack facts into a novel without the author intruding into the story. Much of this story is told in the form of narration, as opposed to showing within the flow of the events. Characterization is weak. Both author intrusion and narration weaken the literary quality of the story but add to the amount of information Rawles packs into the book
Recommendation: The information is five-star, the literary quality is two star. Buy Patriots for the "survival manual," not the fiction story.
319 of 389 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't Put it Down!,
By A Customer
Excellent work by Mr. Rawles. In it he explores the possibilities and what ifs of a total collapse of the civilized world that we have come to know and upon which we depend. Imagine, if you will, that the economy spins out of control and takes civilized society with it. Imagine this event making the Great Depression look like a walk in the park. How would one survive or thrive during such a chaotic experience? Can it be done alone? What are the real problems and issues that might need to be overcome? Mr. Rawles novel explores those possibilites. His information is well presented. Obviously a lot of thought and research went into this novel. It reads more like a contingency plan and less like some escapist fantasy. It beats any sci-fi novel hands down. I strongly recommend "Patriots" to anyone who's ever wondered what would happen should the day come when they dialed 911 and nobody answered.(Remember Hurricane Andrew and the LA Riots?) Read "Patriots" and find out. It is definitely time well spent. However, let me offer a word of warning. Pick up "Patriots" and you won't want to put it down until its finished!
341 of 427 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars **UPDATED** Fire the editor!,
This has to be one of the worst edited books I have ever seen. You can tell it was written in the 1990s and updated recently; they mention the election of Barack Obama. But they did a lousy job of updating the text. The time lines, ages and historic events are screwed up. For example on page 22, it says that Todd and Mary found the ranch on vacation trips to Idaho in 2001 (happily married at the time). On the same page it states the idea for a group retreat was formed in 2006, while Todd and T.K. were in college. Later, it says that Todd started working from home in 2008, using a PC with a 20 gig hard drive and a dial-up modem. Dial-up in 2008? Especially for a corporate sanctioned telecommuter? That may have been the standard in 1988! On page 35, Kevin graduates college in 2007 and starts as a junior programmer. Next paragraph Kevin is starting SECOND career as freelance programmer in 2002. I guess he started his freelance in high school? Also, Doug states his age as 22, but he was born a year after his parent got married, soon after his fathers return from Vietnam. Let's see...The Crunch hits in 2009, so that means Doug was born in 1987, that means his father got home from Vietnam around 1986 or so. Delayed demobilization? POW release? These are just a few of the examples of bad editing and updating.
Come on, the use of a simple whiteboard with a timeline drawn on it and used to update the text would have made this a much more enjoyable read. Any decent editor should have caught these errors and had them corrected before sending it to the printers.
Plus, as another reviewer stated, recent college grads paying cash in the hundred thousand dollar range for ranches in Idaho is a bit ridiculous.
The story was pretty interesting and informative but the bad editing ruined it for me. I could not get past the glaring inconsistencies. F--
----- Jan 28th 2013 -----
The above review was written in 2009 based on the Fourth Edition (Expanded) available at the time. I have since re-read the book in the Revised edition published late 2012. it was like reading two different books. The time line inconsistencies are gone. Everything falls into place nicely and fits with the updated (IE: current events) content.
Now the book works as a great fictional story (but scarily close to reality it seems) and as a preppers guide. I will probably read it again, this time with a highlighter to mark important products and ideas.
Thank You Mr. Rawles for the new edition. Much more enjoyable read this time around.
240 of 300 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If "TSHTF," You Had Better Have Read This Book!,
In Patriots, Rawles fully develops the critical themes of the importance of self-reliance, teamwork, preparedness, and dedication to our Constitution and our God. That's what "Patriots" means, to me. But what really uniquely struck me (as someone who benefited from excellent training by VN era SEALs many years ago on Uncle Sam's dime) was Rawles unique emphasis on tactical awareness and readiness. His characters always "stay tactical" appropriate to the situation, and the importance of that cannot be overestimated! This is something glossed over in 99% of books, where the heroes go merrily "smoking and joking" along, and somehow always develop ESP, or get a lucky break, just in time to avoid disaster. It doesn't work that way! In reality, in a SHTF scenario, survivors must always "stay tactical" using 360% security and all of the other drills and SOPs Rawles lays out so well. If there is one thing I hope readers take from Patriots, it's that lesson! If they do nothing else, I hope that after reading Patriots, survivalists will be encouraged to include some very good military field manuals in their libraries, and learn the small unit tactics and SOPs laid out so convincingly in Patriots. The best "stuff" in the world is of no use if you can't keep it, because you left holes in your security, or you were careless. The tactical SOPs written about in Patriots are designed to make the survivor cover all of these bases at all times. Rawles entire book is a great reminder of the critical importance of incorporating brass-tacks tactical SOPs in any realistic survivalist preparations. I very highly recommend that it occupy a center space on every serious survivalist's bookshelf.
Matt Bracken, author of "Enemies Foreign and Domestic" and "Domestic Enemies: The Reconquista."
204 of 258 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Very dissapointed, round-file this puppy...,
I purchased this book thinking that it might be an entertaining story in the "fall of civilization" vein, or a realistic look at what happens to "normal" people when order breaks down. Boy was I incorrect...
First off the characters in the book are wooden almost one dimensional people, after the first chapter most would realize that these are not people that a normal person could identify with, they are a group of wanna-be soldiers that masquerade as regular people, with their own military structure and code of ethics that really don't seem to be based on the ideals of freedom and justice that the USA was founded on.
I could accept that the author had his agenda to push, fine. Myself being a Conservative and a proud gun owner I figured it might be a little ways to the right of what I believe but, whoa. Examples: Linking the Oklahoma City bombing to a government plan to simply scare the American people. The people in the retreat receive via circumventing the law before the "chaos", parts to modify their weapons to fully automatic and it's presented as a good and reasonable thing for someone to do.... right now. Two characters that are introduced via a shootout with state troopers that want to kill (yes kill) them because they didn't have a drivers license when they pull them over. Worst of all the two brothers are held up like champions of the good and just, and of course they are church going Christians.
I lost all semblance of connection for any of the characters in the book before I even started to build it. I have to care about what happens to the people in a novel, and when I stopped a ways through the book and asked myself "What would I do if I met these so called "patriots" in a situation like this?", the answer was; Run away, terribly fast.
Eventually the only thing you end up caring about is when the real "heroes" show up and kick these people in the teeth, but don't hold your breath because apparently they are what the author considers the ideal template for a good, caring, freedom-loving, citizens. As a safety section worker I'm all for people being able to take care of themselves in a natural disaster or any type of crisis situation, and I would agree that if you turned off the power most people wouldn't know the first thing to do, granted that's pretty sad, but the model that this author presents in this book for people that are prepared and self sufficient is more like small groups of tyrants that would live on little kingdoms accosting anyone who was unfortunate enough to encounter them. The only redeeming thing for these "patriots" is that the people that they are set against in the book are rapists, cannibals, and murders. Honestly I found it insulting as a Christian, a Gun owner and worse as a law abiding citizen.
Save your [...] an buy something you could actually use like When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes I wish I had.
25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A shopping list and nothing more,
This book should be titled "What to buy for the End of the World if you are Filthy Rich". That is the only thing this would be good for.
I had heard so much about this book that I finally broke down and bought a copy.
Most of the pages are nothing but filler in between very poor story telling. Spelling mistakes I can get over, getting a little off base with the story I can handle that but this has to be , hands down the worst piece of SHTF fiction I have ever read.
Hypocrites abound in this book. They have no problem stopping people on a public road at gun point yet further in the book when they are travelling its a different story when it happens to them. They expect everyone to follow the law except them. They never make mistakes etc.
The part where one of them manages somehow to go through every Spec Ops school this country has... Sounds like a 13 year old wrote that part right after he spent a day playing Call of Duty.
An army invades most of the U.S. with ease yet a handful of people turns the tide then the rest of the people are so grateful they pledge themselves to them and to fight under their "Flag"?
Yes folks, it is that bad...
160 of 202 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring and Flawed Novel,
Obviously the author of this book knows what he is talking about when it comes to preparedness. This however does not translate into being able to write an effective novel.
There are a lot of other reviews that I am sure go over the plot in detail so I will just touch on those things that made me give this a 1 star.
First off almost 10-20% of this book is not actual dialogue, plot, or any other form of narrative. It is instead a compilation of lists. For instance there is a scene in the book where two brothers are fleeing from the police in a van with gun show merchandise. The contents of the van are described in excruciating detail. The type and number of specific weapons, the type and number of different load bearing equipment, the specific number of each type of bullet for each type of gun in the van and how they are packed in different types of containers etcetera etcetera. Only for the van to then be left behind and neither it nor its contents ever are mentioned again, so what was the point of all of that itemization? The book is filled with examples of this unnecessary clutter of lists.
Which leads to the second point. The author goes into detail about mundane of pointless activities throughout the book. For instance in the above mentioned chase scene he goes into how many magazines the people load and with what types of ammunition and the capacity of the magazines just in case they get into a fire fight with the police. But they dont, so again there is no point. Or another example; there is a chapter where the book goes into agonizing detail about how people build a fence. It was less than riveting. Most of the detail and "filler" in the book is useless and never plays a part in the book in any way, which leave you wondering why you bothered to read it at all.
The third issue I had with this book is that it is billed as a survivalist novel, but it really isnt. Once you get past all of the various detailed inventories there is very little talk about life after the collapse and the rebuilding that follows. It is just magically accomplished because people pray everyday. And there is hardly anything approaching "survival in the face of the collapse" because the characters in the book are so well stocked with every sort of supply possible that routinely giving away supply's to strangers posses no hardship on them. It should instead be called a novel of "having more than you could want while the world goes down the drain". And that hardly makes for entertaining reading, so the last third of the book is a flawed and oversimplified recounting of how the evil UN tries to take over the US on the behest of some nameless global consortium of bankers who secretly run everything. Of course the militia are able to win in the end because they have the moral high-ground. Though even the manner in which this victory is achieved smacks more of deus ex machina than anything approaching reality. As the "invading" forces simply give up and switch sides to the militia seemingly overnight and without any tangible reasoning behind this dramatic shift.
Fourth down on the list is how badly written this novel is. The characters are wooden, one dimensional and there is absolutely no character development present in the book, apparently because the author believes them to be the paragons on virtue and what it means to be an American. This concept is enough to scare you because these "patriots" have such skewed and warped sensibilities that it is impossible to believe it is real. They wont eat canned food they find abandoned because they consider it stealing. But at the same time the have no problem at all ambushing and accosting strangers who are simply walking down the road, only to examine all of their possessions and grill them on each and every thing they possess.
There is no moral gray area in this book at all. It is written in such a way that you are supposed to side with the obviously righteous and religiously fanatical heroes. The book is filled with moral polarization. The "bad guys" are so over the top on the 'make them contemptuous' scale that its sad. The author wasnt willing to let the bad guys just be looters because you might empathize with them; so they were also cannibals. But it doesnt stop there because that wasnt bad enough and they are eventually found to be cannibal looter Communists who are eating children, the only surprising thing about this is that the author didnt also try to paint them as pedophiles.
After reading this book you are left with the unmistakable feeling that the author isnt so much writing about a tragic but foreseeable occurrence, but is instead writing about something that he secretly HOPES will come about. This is clearly shown in the laundry list of constitutional changes (some of which may be reasonable but others which are just laughable) that are unanimously voted in and miraculously reshape the country (that was only months before engaged in civil war) into a gleaming edifice of prosperity.
This book is not worth your time or your money. If you are interested in collapse of civilization novel you are much better off going somewhere else. Try reading "Dies the Fire" by SM Stirling, or "The Road". Both are much better examples of the genre on every level.
246 of 314 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Quite possibly the worst piece of writing I have ever read,
I bought this book after looking at the high overall score it got, and after reading a few of the good reviews. How I wish I would have read some of the 1 star reviews before buying it!
This book is without a doubt the worst novel I have ever read in my life. Where to begin? First off, there is no real story involved here. There are probably 20 pages of blather in between every plot progression in the book. The plot will progress a little bit, then Rawles will spend the next 4 or 5 pages describing in painful detail weapon specifications, inventories, etc.
There is also no character development whatsoever, besides the fact that they are all a bunch of religious zealots. When they aren't ambushing and killing communist cannibals (seriously), they are either praying, discussing religion, or engaging in other drivel that makes each page more boring than the next.
Their moral compass is completely out of whack as well. These are people who won't eat canned food they find on the side of the road because they consider it "stealing", but think nothing of accosting private citizens walking down a public street at gunpoint while they meticulously go through all of their private belongings, questioning them on each item.
And what is up with the author's name? I guess it should have been a warning sign when the author puts his name on the book like "James Wesley, Rawles" What the hell is the comma for? Later on in the book they have a child at the retreat and they name the kid "Jacob Edward Samuel, Gray". WTF???
In order for a end of the world survival novel to be successful, you have to be able to relate to the characters. after nearly 200 pages, I still could not remember which one is which. I found myself thinking that if I was in that situation, I would rather be out on my own fending off looters than living with these nutcases at their retreat.
To conclude, any body who gave this book more than 2 stars hasn't read nearly enough books. It is total garbage. The only good thing about it is that there is some decent survivalist information in the book. However, there are much much better books you can read to get the same information without have to read 20 pages of some nutjobs blathering just to get a few useful tips.
I wish I had my money back on this book, it is truly pathetic and a waste of money. Buyer beware!
186 of 238 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best researched books ever,
This book is a real gem. It is both a gripping piece of fiction, as well as a useful resource on survivalism. I would not have thought it possible for a survival book to be so interesting, but this one really is. The storyline itself is very interesting and holds your attention, but in addition to that the book is full of little pearls of wisdom about how and where to acquire things that make one better prepared. When I was in the early stages of the book I was impressed by all of the references. Later when I was most of the way through the book and still kept finding more and more nuggets of wisdom I was truly amazed. The breadth of knowledge displayed by the author on a wide variety of subjects is truly amazing. This book is very well researched, and best of all, it is also very interesting to read. Several years ago this book might have been simply an interesting work of fiction, but now in the post-9/11 world it is something to think seriously about. Also, the opening chapter which focused on the start of the economic crunch reminded me of the summer of 1997 when Asia and Russia's economic crises coupled with the near bankruptcy of a large US firm called Long Term Capital Management and almost sent the world into economic collapse. Add to that some other recent events such as the bursting of the dot com bubble in 2000, the stagnation of the economy shortly after 9/11, and the high gas prices of 2004. It just goes to show, the circumstances in this book are quite possible, more so than any of us would like to admit.
84 of 106 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Ridiculous Fifth-Grader's Dream Tree Fort...,
Awful, simply terrible.
This book is a self-indulgent fifth-grader's wet-dream about his fantasy tree fort. It would almost be readable, except that Rawles cannot write any better than a fifth-grader either.
Every single line in the book begins and ends with, not the name of the character, but the weapon that they are holding, a discussion of its scope mounts, how it is slung, what grain powder is in the ammo, the FPS and drop rate of that bullet on a windy day, etc etc etc.
There is no story, it is just a tactical catalog list of all the things that Rawles wishes he could buy. Oh, and not to blow what passes for the ridiculous story, but through Rawles' relentless blathering about rifles, the Survivalist "characters" eventually build their own Airforce out of ultralights, single handedly defeat the entire combined United Nations Armies, Navies, and Air Forces, and everyone in the now freed world kisses their feet for being the true visionaries and protectors of Freedom.
Yeah, its THAT bad.
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Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse by James Wesley Rawles