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First off, I'm not a "Rawlesian". The author has an active blog with lots of followers who are "Rawlesians". That is, people who believe that in the not-too distant future, society will collapse, mostly or entirely, leading to people fending for themselves. If you are a Rawlesian, or think like one, then this book definitely is worth a 4- or 5-star rating. But I don't think that way. It would have to take something a lot worse than a terrorist EMP, or a serious pandemic, or a major economic crisis to knock modern civilization back into the stone age around the planet. Another depression? Sure. Times of hardship or serious disease? OK, I can see that. But a near-complete collapse of civilization? No, I don't see that happening in the West any time soon.

Which is largely why this book gets three stars. It's not very practical advice for short-term situations like power-outages, economic crashes, or realistic terrorist attacks. The book basically aims at describing how to live a modern life without modern civilization. That's it's second big flaw. If civilization really goes down the tank, then things like night-vision goggles, solar-electric panels, cars, modern gun ammunition, etc. are going to disappear in a few years and you're back into the 19th Century or earlier technology. This book gives next-to-nothing about living under those conditions. Skills like septic tank cleaning won't matter much when you can't replace the parts of your PVC plumbing under the house concrete. So the book isn't helpful in a really serious social collapse, and it's not really helpful in a short-term set-back.

What it is generally good at is describing what to do if society collapses enough for money to be worthless, for gangs to start roaming, and for the government to come after you (why is it that survival types worry about the government tracing VISA records to find and confiscate their hidden supplies of rice when the government in question has collapsed to the point where it can't even maintain civic order?), but for law-and-order, the economy, and the rest of modern civilization to return before things really go medieval. The author's solution is to move you (and your family) to a safe haven now before the stuff hits the fan. That's right, sell your house, find a new job (preferably self-employed), and build a shelter far enough away from other people to serve as your new fort. And I literally mean fort. The author clearly states how poor modern homes are for defense, advocating layers of defenses like moats, fences, barb wire, hedges, motion sensors, seismic sensors, night-vision goggles, and above all, some good guns. Rawles calls most North Americans "idi@ts" for doing stupid things like not always locking their doors and not having a gun at the ready. While I don't doubt that some people will turn ugly when a situation turns ugly, up here in Canada I can't imagine large roaming gangs of gun-toting maniacs (unless they come up from the US!). To be fair, Rawles is also a devout Christian who emphasizes the value of charity by helping (covertly so no one can find your hideout/fort and raid/attack it) those less well-equipped.

If you leave that paranoid view behind, the author does give good advice about getting, growing, making, and/or storing food, water, power, vehicles, and medicine. That part of the book (which in fairness, is a good chunk of the book), is quite a good read. Even the section on bartering is quite interesting (although in some cases, it's US-specific- I doubt that M-16 and handgun magazine clips would be hot bargaining items up in Canada). The bottom line for the book is that if you want to prepare for future disasters, it's best to start thinking ahead now. While I don't necessarily think that's bad advice, I guess I don't agree with Rawles about the scope of the disaster, and thus the scope of the necessary preparations. I'm all for more independent living, but I just couldn't buy into the right mindset for this book. Again, if you think that way, then this is a 4-5 star book for you. If you think more along my lines, it's about a 3- a fun read, but not all that useful.
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on December 3, 2015
This is truly a no nonsense get off your complacency and do something book. Picking up the How to Survive the End of The World as We Know by James Wesley, Rawles will move you in one of 2 ways; you will either stop wasting your time believing that sitting at home in the cities of North America with a few cans of beans during these uncertain times blinded with an attitude that all will work itself out or you will start your lists by following an absolutely thorough how to get ready for a serious event to keep yourself and your family safe. Author Rawles doesn’t beat around the bush because that exactly where you should be right now and being ready to make it permanent with his tips on tactics, techniques and technologies. This book carries solid information. Information you’d expect from an action plan. Now all you need is the will to start and it’s with this book. [...]
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on June 23, 2016
this book isn't for everyone, this would be a good book of you are willing to dedicate your whole life and a lot of money into prepping it's basically a guide to be come one of those " dooms day preppers" ( like in the discovery show ) and honestly most people can't or don't want to do that because they wanna live a normal life on top of being prepared.
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on January 5, 2014
Many good ideas on how to prepare, what to look for , why you need it. Has really good detail on many issues and you can search online for more info if required. A little outdated with respect to electronic equipment, but again, you can search Amazon for items mentioned to get more ideas.
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on April 15, 2013
If you are a bit too serious about preparing for the end of the world, then this book probably has you beat. He really does cover as many different difficult scenarios as I could have imagined, and more.
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on March 17, 2012
While there could be more specifically dedicated material for your lifestyle, this is one book that can help anyone in the near future.
It covers the general public urban or rural and provides useful ideas to keep you safe while pointing out the hazards to each choice.
As a resident of a medium size city, I now know I must find a better location to survive any major social disaster leading to a lawless society.
Shelter;food;clothing and pracical mobility are covered in detail.
The sooner you impliment survival ideas from this manual, the better future you may have hope of attaining.
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on November 10, 2012
One of the best `prepper` books I have read. Very good advice and the lists of equipment to acquire are very complete. It is a bit doom and gloom, if you don`t prepare, but what do you expect from a TEOTWAWKI book. It is good for those of us who can`t buy a retreat and move off the grid and for those who can. It is the only book I have reviewed on here that I would highly recommend...!
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on December 28, 2014
The title of this book should conclude with "...if you are a multi-millionaire." Rawles has created a guidebook for multi-millionaires to prepare for the coming global challenges. It is not simply a "how to survive" when the ____ hits the fan, but more of a preparation manual. I claim that this is only for the rich as he clearly advises custom building or significantly modifying a residence, raising livestock, stocking up on extensive items/foodstuffs, purchasing very expensive technologies (grain mill, wind turbine, solar panels, nightvision googles, weapons). I couldn't help but feel that this book was not written for the average person and along the way roughly calculated that to follow what Rawles is proposing you would have to be sitting on assets of up to $15 million and not have a job that requires your presence (since step 1 is essentially moving to the middle of nowhere). I'll now be searching for a survival guide that is made for the other 99% of the population.
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on January 30, 2013
Has some good info, well worth the price. US based so if you don't live there you will have some extra research to do.
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on August 21, 2014
great guide on tactics and things you may need to survive TEOTWAKI. A good read for even the advanced Prepper.
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