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How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times Paperback – September 30, 2009
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“The preppers' bible.”—Jim Forsyth, The Chicago Tribune
“Civilization is still standing now, but that does not mean it always will… We'd better know what to do in the event of a deadly viral pandemic, major asteroid strike, unprecedented hyperinflationary (or deflationary) economic depression, third World War, or any other global disaster, Rawles argues. He spells out all the hazards that we might face in a post-disaster society: looting, armed violence, food shortages, etc. Then he lays out steps we can take now, such as taking survival- training courses, designing shelters, and stocking them with necessary supplies. He even offers a chapter on disaster-proof financial security: savvy investments to make now, earning income in the midst of a major recession, and bartering in the wake of a true disaster.”—The Futurist
About the Author
James Wesley, Rawles is the founder of SurvivalBlog.com. A former U.S. Army Intelligence officer and technical writer, he is the author of the novel Patriots.
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To sum it up, James Wesley, Rawles wrote a 300 page book aimed at relatively financially well-off urban and suburban people. He basically admits this toward the end of the book, stating that most people will not be able to live at their retreat because they cannot (or will not?) leave their nice paying suburban jobs.
If one is already living in the country and gardening and cutting firewood, and maybe even has lived in the country their entire lives (as I have), then this book will be of very little value. The gun information in this book is decent, but if one is already a gun enthusiast they will already know much more than is briefly taught in this book.
There is some good info in Rawles’ book, such as how to purify water. Gardening is barely addressed, except for advice on growing wheat and other grains. But the overall mindset of this book is buy, buy, buy. Do not produce your own goods for life and stockpiling, just buy industrial goods with your fiat money! Buy foods, buy several years worth of medicine, buy three pairs of eyeglasses, buy nightvision equipment, buy multiple vehicles powered by different fuels, buy a caterpillar dozer if you can. Seriously. Buy, and then buy some more.
This book is of no real value to working class people in rural areas and small towns. This book is for wealthy suburbanites who are willing to risk everything by staying at their corporate jobs as long as they can, before hopefully exiting post-collapse to live a country life that they are unaccustomed to, beside neighbors that they do not even know. Bad idea.
This book tells you to do everything, ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING, except to right now began a transition back to a sustainable agrarian lifestyle like our ancestors lived. Yes, there is a crash coming someday. No, urban prepping is not the answer.
However.... The overall strategy outlined in this book is far out of the reach of the typical American citizen. Even if you live in rural America, to plan and prepare as thoroughly as Mr. Rawles suggests, would cost around $500k, (not including the actual cost of the land itself), and essentially requires that preparing for said disaster become your full time occupation. Therefore, as good as the information is, it's not really practical for the majority of us which, in then, will only leave you feeling overwhelmed and depressed.
If you are a regular working person who wants to be prepared but also has to survive in the meantime, this book will not be useful to you - go find a more practical guide.
I gave the book 2 stars instead of 1 because I thought the book was well written and interesting. The author is definitely an expert and very knowledgeable; but he is an expert in the most extreme type of "preparedness". I have no doubt that his plans would work for someone with unlimited time and resources, but it isn't practical for the average person by any stretch.
I wish that it had been titled something more along the lines of "The Rich Man's Guide To Building Your Bunker And Defending Your Perimeter" so that it was more clear that this was for extreme survivalists with lots of money.
I feel like I wasted my money on this.