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How to Survive the End of the World as We…

How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques,… (edition 2009)

by James Wesley Rawles (Author)

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381544,502 (3.73)11
The ultimate guide to total preparedness and self-reliance, this work, written by one of the best-known survival experts, contains everything people need to know in order to prepare and protect themselves.
Title:How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times
Authors:James Wesley Rawles (Author)
Info:Plume (2009), Edition: Later Printing, 336 pages
Collections:Your library

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How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times by Rawles James Wesley



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I started this book reading parts of it out loud to my husband because quite a bit of what the author was saying made perfect sense. Then the more I got in to the book the more I realized that most of us would be toast if the End of the world as we know it happened.
I don't know a single person who has the income for this much prepping. The author suggests that if you live in a city or even 300 miles from a bigger city that you probably need another place to go for your survival.
Food storage..I just thought I was a hoarder. The amounts of food for this is unreal to me. I would be in a panic just worrying about what to do with it all.
So overall-decently entertaining. But I am not bugging out anytime soon. If the Zombies come I will probably be food anyways. The little fat girls always get it. ( )
1 vote bookqueenshelby | Sep 9, 2014 |
Rawles does a good job of laying out the basics for emergency preparedness in this introductory book. If you take his premise seriously, you will probably want to read a dozen other books for each one of the chapters he includes in this primer. Water, Food, Fuel, Electricity, Shelter, Guns, ect...I don't necessarily have the same level of conviction in many of his emergency forecasting scenarios, for example, this book was written in 2009 and he mentions a few times that within a matter of months the economy is going to likely be run into the ground by inflation and national debt. Hmmm, that hasn't happened yet. He also seems to believe that secular humanists don't believe in moral absolutes which is strange to me. But for the most part, this is a practical place to start looking for ideas and advice when considering emergency preparedness and it certainly got me thinking about a lot of different "what ifs", especially since we live in prime earthquake country. ( )
  BenjaminHahn | Nov 21, 2013 |
A couple of grand belly laughs here, though they were unintended by the author. Rawles is an avid, you might say professional, survivalist. And he does write much good advice and gives one lots to think about. He talks about small communities briefly (but in less detail than urban apartment survival.) But he's got some serious tunnel-vision. Published in 2009, he seems fairly unaware of the most recent sustainability trends. He advises lime for masking the odor of human wastes, though that's been so passé for some time. He advises poisoning rodents, rather than considering them viable food sources. He seems unaware of the Earthship & permaculture technologies. And he recommends buying a powered UV water sterilizer rather than discussing ways to use direct sun power to do the same thing. He also dismisses water distillation as too expensive, without considering a solar distillation set-up. Oh, and buying 30 years worth of batteries, which will keep better in the refrigerator.

Although he is aiming his advice to the common man, the list of expensive equipment is endless. Although he says how important it is to blend into the background, his property defenses start with a vault safe room, motion detectors, web-cams, thorny bushes under windows, steel doors and shutters, infra-red floodlights, seismic intrusion detection sensors, a spiked gate across the driveway, IR beam at the gate, tall chain link fence topped with concertina wire, yard crisscrossed with tangle-foot wire, guard dogs and sand bags. That's all before talking about weapons. Oh, and then he goes into advice about buying insurance policies.
1 vote 2wonderY | Feb 23, 2013 |
The author is an ex U.S. Army Intelligence officer who has written this survival guide to "The End Of The World As We Know It" (TEOTWAWKI) envisaging a "grid down" situation in which mains water, electricity and food distribution no longer function, coupled with bank and law enforcement failure.
He imagines that individuals/ families will be on their own and he provides an extremely useful guide to preparation and survival in this situation.

However, I see the problems with the book as twofold:

1) The author is a very disciplined, creative and energetic person (i.e. he is not typical). If only 5% of people are initiators and 95% imitators then it seems unrealistic to expect average families to become their own electricians, mechanics, metalworkers, midwives, doctors, subsistence farmers, defence experts etc. so the book may have been better directed towards explaining the formation of simple village communities with their consequent rights and obligations. Here at least there is some division of labour and hopefully benevolent local leadership that can be safely followed. This would probably provide a more realistic and efficient framework for community survival.

2) The author takes the "grid down" situation as given, without really investigating the causes. The causes of "grid down" could be highly relevant to the viability of his project so it would have been useful to evaluate grid down history, e.g.;

a) Weimar inflation. Germany 1920's. The situation here was a chronic budget deficit, war reparations, a Communist insurgency with right and left-wing militias and a worthless currency. The middle class was wiped out and starved while farmers refused to sell their large stocks of produce in exchange for the so-called "Jew confetti" ( 1 pound of bread = 3 Billion D.Marks 1/11/1923). Rawles is correct in that gangs of towns people did start to raid the countryside for food (ref. Adam Ferguson, "When Money Dies").

b) Military defeat and invasion. Germany 1944-45. The country's infrastructure was destroyed by bombing and war with the population dependent on the aid of Allied victors. In the run up to 1944 it would have been improbable that the National Socialists would have allowed Rawles to stay on his farm. Most men were enlisted, hoarding was illegal and the Nazis had good local information. After the defeat he could have expected U.S. food assistance and a functional grid.

c) Dictatorship and government repression. Holodomor Russia/Ukraine 1932-33. The Bolshevik communist dictatorship identified Ukrainian farmers as "enemies of the people" and sent state police and party brigades to remove all the grain and potatoes that they could find. This went on to include all the livestock with organizer Lazar Kaganovich saying that he would "fight ferociously" to carry out the plan. About 6 million Ukrainians died in the Holodomor (literally "death by hunger").
In a situation like this, Rawles would likely be identified, despite his precautions, and have little chance of survival. A better tactic would have been to escape to a different country. ( )
  Miro | Feb 19, 2012 |
After recently reading S M Stirlings Emberverse series and liking it (at least the 2 first books in each series), I decided to look into the survival literature, just in case 'what if' happened. Wesley's book describes how you prepare for a doomsday scenario where government and facilities such as electricity, fuel and food deliveries, and communication breaks down.

His advice is to live in a place that can be self-sufficient for years, and that is defendable against rioters and other criminals when law and order is no more. He describes in details which food items that store well, what medicines to keep on hand, where to get training in First Aid, canning, shooting, and how to learn how to barter (and what to barter with).

The beginning of the book was OK, but I was lacking details for many things when it comes to food production, preservation, and medical issues. Most of the book is focused on details in radio communication, weaponry, and defense tactics. I realize that such knowledge and tools might become a way of surviving, but in the end, what will matter is if you can feed yourself for a longer time.

Of course this book includes a lot of right-wing frenzy, but the truth is that many of us could be much better prepared for a week or more without power, water, and ways of communicating - sitations that have and will continue to happen based on hurricanes, storms, and other such events.

For example, more of us should know first aid. But going to army surplus and buying razor wire for cash (so it can't be traced) and hiding old silver coins in the walls when the dollar is gone, that is not really my thing. But apart from the fear-mongering, there are some really good advice in it. I wish he had included more summaries such as tables and been somewhat less repetitive with his favorite abbreviations. The third, forth... fiftieth time he uses WTSHF (when the shit hits the fan), it is kind of tiresome.

One interesting fact I learned was that dried wheat kernels can be stored for 30 years if they are in moisture and vermin-proof containers.

His best advice overall are:
1. Don't become overly dependent on gadgets.
2. Learn First aid.
3. Buy tools that last, which are usually older tools.
4. Don't assume that you have access to anything in the rest of society. Be as self-sufficient as you can. ( )
1 vote klockrike | Dec 17, 2011 |
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