Customer Review

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A "cure" for the too-specialized society?, April 3, 2014
This review is from: The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch (Hardcover)
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I am not a "Prepper," but I am really enjoying this book. Initially, Dartnell's goal to explain nearly every major technological aspect of human existence -- agriculture, textile-making, and even producing electricity -- seemed *too* ambitious, I think he does a very nice job ... particularly given the book's length. (One would expect a book like this to be made up of several massive tomes, not a 200+ page paperback.) Granted, a few of the rebuilding processes are outlined in very limited terms: I was perhaps able to grasp his section on purifying water, for example, if only because of the numerous "survivor-style" television shows I have seen (such as "Survivorman" with Les Stroud). But for other things, such as growing crops, I think that Dartnell's truncated explanations are the way to go. Since growing conditions will vary so much from place to place, there is probably not much he could do otherwise; thus he provides the reader with the very basics. For agriculture, again, how to separate the wheat from the chaff, how to grind it into flour, etc. These are things that most members of our very specialized societies have forgotten how to do, either from leaving the tasks to machines, or to other people.

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. So if anything, the book really does underscore the continuing necessity to form "well-rounded" individuals: those who can find/make/grow at least the bare necessities of living. Like any good book, it underscores the importance of things I often take for granted, and it makes me want to learn even more.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 20, 2014 3:24:26 PM PDT
David Govett says:
Those who specialize in using guns would get most of what they need with minimal effort.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 28, 2014 10:40:54 AM PDT
So, criminals you mean. Pretty simplistic and short-term for sure. Guns don't purify water or make plants grow in less time, at lower temperatures or without light. I'll choose my bow, quill of handmade arrows and ability to hide. Also, have fun making gunpowder once the gvt. takes possession of that capacity.
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