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The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch Paperback – January 1, 2014
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For example, could I make soap? If you think about it, soap would be really important in the dirty world we would find ourselves living in after the disaster. Fairly unsophisticated people made it for themselves for hundreds of years. Do you know the recipe? The ingredients might be fairly easy to find (assuming you know the list) with the possible exception of lye. Making that is a bit of a challenge - do you know how? Maybe going to a library that had paper books on science and engineering would help - if there was one around. Remember, the internet (and electricity) would be non-existent. If I had a copy of the book being reviewed here or had studied it very well before the disaster, I'd know how to make the lye needed. By the way, excess lye can result in some very harsh soap - that is another issue that has to be worked out by the soap maker. One more challenge in the brave new world perhaps.
There are numerous other basic things we take for granted that we'd have to figure out how to make after the disaster. Would you know what to do? I'm not so sure I would without having read this or a similar book(s), and I am an engineer. The book here provides us with the know how to make the basic items we would need in an initial reboot. It's nice to find a reference that tells us so much in so few pages.Read more ›
In a way, the book is sort of a wake-up call for the very "problem" of specialization -- a ton of people who each know how to do only a few very particular tasks, most of which (at least in industrialized societies) will not help them one whit in the face of even a temporary disaster, environmental or otherwise. Given how much I actually learned while reading this book, I was retrospectively shocked (or even ashamed) to realize just how much I did not know -- just how many things I use each day were/are the results of the labor and knowledge of others.Read more ›
The actual book is something different, but I'm not quite sure what it is. For one thing, this is no thought experiment, the author clearly expects some kind of catastrophic depopulation and social collapse (he mentions nuclear war and global pandemic as possibilities--the author is rooting for pandemic, I think because it damages only humans) or to be part of an inadequately supplied and badly trained exploration party (another planet or time travel on earth).
The first part of the book consists of the author's vivid descriptions of the apocalypse (his peaceful alternatives do not get the same attention). These are drawn from science fiction movies, sometimes explicitly, and as best I can tell, resemble no actual events. Plenty of cities have been abandoned (Pripyat is a particularly apt example) without conforming to the lurid sequences in the book. New Orleans after Katrina is cited as "a complete disintegration of law and order" and "the rapid degeneration of the normal social order and the outbreak of anarchy;" which leads the author to predict Mad Max scenarios. But none of this actually happened. There was tremendous official incompetence, but thousands of stories of small-scale heroism and altruism for every crime.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A surprisingly good book to read. It "teaches you how to fish" instead to where to purchase things. Very good read.Published 1 month ago by Scooter
Interesting. the more copies of this laying around, the more likely to survive when someone needs itPublished 1 month ago by Jay P. Hailey
This book has some interesting aspects and is okay overall, but has bits misinformation to cause me to question those areas which I don't know about. Read morePublished 1 month ago by John
While it is pleasant to read, it's no survival guide. It's more of an outline with vague information about "what-if scenarios" lightly touching on survival. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Dulay M.
This is a pretty good book. Entertaining, a good light treatment of the topic...
And the lightness is my main problem. Read more