I have recently started a new project taking select military FMs and TMs in the public domain that are available as PDFs but hard to find and/or expensive as hardcopies and releasing them as affordable hardcopies for people to add to their prepping libraries. Let’s face it, if the SHTF one of the first things to disappear will be the internet and shortly after that electronics will run out of juice without reliable electricity. The advantage of hardcopies is paper doesn’t have to be recharged.
I have the first ff these already available. It is the Operator’s and Direct Maintenance manuals for the M1911A1 .45 pistol. The -12 and -35 in army parlance it is available through Createspace at: https://www.createspace.com/6456315
The next will be FM 23-35 Combat Training with Pistols and Revolvers from Oct 88. I will probably be releasing these at the rate of one every other month or so for a while as I have a list of about 30 manuals I would like to make available. There is a dizzying array of manuals that the military has put together over the years and not all of them deal directly with closing with and destroying the enemy. Many are directly relatable to non-combat prepping tasks. I will primarily be using the Army versions of these manuals because they are what I personally am most familiar with.
If anyone has ideas for good manuals that should be available as hardcopies but are not lets discuss which ones should be out there. Thoughts?

Book Review: Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath by Ted Koppel

Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath is not what I would call a typical prepper book, if there is such a thing, instead it is a serious look at a very plausible scenario and the ways in which it is and is not being addressed by both government and the private sector. The scenario is a cyberattack on the computers that control the US electric grid. Given the nature of cybercrime this is an extremely plausible scenario.

The book itself is not huge at 249 pages of text and includes notes and an index but no bibliography. Ted Koppel is a respected journalist who has not been tarred by accusations of journalistic bias in the past few years as have so many others. Koppel was the host of ABC’s Nightline for over 25 years and the worst that can be said about him is that he faced accusations of conservative bias in the 1980’s.

Lights Out explains how and why the US electric grid is vulnerable to cyberattack due to aging infrastructure and anemic network security features. He explores the ramifications of an attack on the grid that would bring it down and the astonishing lack of preparedness of both the government and utilities to such an attack. He discusses at length the inability of the US to manufacture replacement equipment in any timely fashion that would leave potentially millions of people without power for months at a minimum and do untold damage to life, property, and the wider American economy.

This book is a sober examination of an extremely vulnerable sector of America and a shocking examination of the dearth of preparedness on the part of the government and utilities who carry on as though while an attack is possible it is unlikely. Koppel correctly highlights the fact that a cyberattack can be mounted not only by a nation such as Iran, China, or Russia, but it is also possible for terrorist groups or even a lone hacker to execute an attack given the lack of security of Americas electricity generation infrastructure. Any sufficiently knowledgeable and motivated individual could pull of such an attack.

This is an excellent book and one that I highly recommend. Koppel explains very complex issues in a manner that the laymen can understand. An excellent book.

Book Review: The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System by James Rickards -Copy

The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System is one of those topical books that come along every once in a while just at the time you are starting to think about the subject at hand.  I must admit that I probably have a little bit of confirmation bias in my review of this book because I was already thinking much of what he says, I just did not have the hard data to back it up as he does.

The book is 302 pages of text separated into three topical parts consisting of eleven chapters and a conclusion.  There are also 18 pages of notes and an 18 page bibliography.  The three parts are Money & Geopolitics, Money & Markets, and Money & Wealth.

The basic premise of the book is that central banks and the IMF have been playing extremely shady games with the dollar since the crash of 2008 and that it is inevitable that the dollar will lose its status as the reserve currency of the world because of this unless action is taken on several fronts.  The Fed has been largely responsible for much of this by its loose money policies in pursuit of inflation and the lingering effects of the successive rounds of quantitative easing that have occurred.

He also claims that the housing bubble that burst in 2008 has been replaced by a student loan bubble and that stock market gains since 2008 don’t represent wealth creation except for investment bankers and other finance professionals.  I thought that one of the more astute observation in the book is that Fed policies are making any eventual recovery worse by using a band aid on a chest wound.

The discussion of the Euro, the Yen, and SDRs from the IMF was especially illuminating.  He no doubt absolutely correct that only finance and news geeks have probably ever heard of SDRs.  I have heard of them but the explanation of what they are and how they are used in the book is the best explanation I have seen so far.  I also found that his discussion of gold and silver to be right on point.  His examination of sovereign metal purchases over the past view years and the way to view was excellent.  I think he is right that those of us buying metals will be very happy in a few years as fiat money goes away and we see our metal holdings revalued to where they should actually be.  Goldbugs will have the last laugh on that one, unless there is a governmental gold confiscation scheme as there was in the 1930’s, which is not outside the bounds of the possible in a dollar collapse situation

The central take-away from the book is that a correction is coming and it will make 2008 look mild in comparison.  He deploys a broad range of arguments and data to support his contention.  His prescriptions for how to put the dollar back on a sound footing are realistic and because of that highly unlikely to happen.  Absent radical action to put the dollar on a sound footing hard times are coming.  They might take 10-20 years to get here but when they do the wise will be prepared.  This book gives some ideas on how to be prepared and what is likely to occur.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who takes in interest in the sorry state of the economy and the ineffectual efforts thus far undertaken by the US Government to address the structural failures that led to the collapse of 2008 and are leading us to an even harder crash in the near future.

Book Review: The Survival Medicine Handbook, 2nd ed. by Joseph & Amy Alton

Since most people are neither EMTs nor doctors a medical reference guide for use in survival situations is a must have. You cannot go much wrong with The Survival Medicine Handbook: A guide for when help is NOT on the way 2nd ed. by Joseph and Amy Alton. I had the first edition and have had the second edition since shortly after it was released in 2013. It is a significant update from the first edition and an outstanding book in its own right.

The authors are a husband and wife team. Dr. Joseph Alton is a surgeon and OB/GYN while his wife Amy is a Registered Nurse Practitioner. The book itself is 512 pages of text divided into 10 topical sections. It also includes a reference list, glossary of terms, and index.

This wide ranging book is not just a step by step guide to treating injuries and common ailments. The authors take a whole person approach and talk about not just how treat but also how to manage health in a survival situation. All the recommendations are based on decades of medical practice and it is evident that some serious thought has gone into the requirements a group medic would need in a situation where modern medical care is no longer available. I particularly appreciated the realistic appraisal of some of the less mainstream medical methods and treatment options they assess. The authors also bluntly state that many diseases and injuries that are almost considered routine in the modern world were frequently deadly prior to the advent of modern medicine and why said diseases should be seriously planned for in the event of a collapse.

One of the most informative and I thought well written, sections was the one on essential oils. It has become all the rage in prepping circles to talk about essential oils as if they represent some sort of panacea. A realistic assessment of the benefits of essential oils and the results, or actually lack thereof, of scientific studies on their efficacy are addressed. They do not discourage the use of essential oils, but they caution that the supposed benefits of many oils have not been reliably studied and are therefore almost wholly anecdotal in nature. Maybe I like this section the best because I am personally skeptical of essential oils since most of the people that sell these come off as snake oil salesman or even worse, fanatics about the benefits these oils provide. I will admit that I have some essential oils in my own toolkit, but they are a supplement and not a main or even close to an essential element in my kit.

One of the best sections from an information standpoint was the section on wound closure. The detailed description of how to anesthetize and suture skin wounds was most informative and one of the most well written sections of its kind I have seen. The discussion of environmental factors and how to properly manage them to help maintain health was also very good. But the best section of the book from my perspective was that on hygiene and sanitation. This is a subject that is most often either ignored or glossed over in most survival books and I have yet to figure out why as poor hygiene is much more likely to kill you in a survival situation than are some roving band of Mad Max style bandits. I think it is mostly ignored because it is not sexy. I admit that talking about how to keep clean and how to dispose of waste is borderline boring, but it is a vital subject that every prepper/survivalist should be knowledgeable about.

The Survival Medicine Handbook: A guide for when help is NOT on the way 2nd ed. is a fairly hefty book, weighing in at slightly over two pounds. I am not sure that I would tote this around in my BOB bag as it represents a significant weight investment. The print version is also somewhat pricey at almost $31 as of this writing. That being said, it is well worth the price and this outstanding book should not only be on every preppers shelf you should read it too. I highly recommend this book.

 

The Simple Survival Smart Book -Christmas Sale

From now until Christmas Eve I have reduced the price of The Simple Survival Smart Book by 25%.  Instead of the regular price of $14.99 it is now $11.20.  As always, if you buy the Print version the Kindle e-book is free.  Follow the below link to purchase or you can find it on Amazon by searching for Simple Survival Smart Book.

The Simple Survival Smart Book is an invaluable tool in the survivalist/prepper’s toolbox.  It is a compact book packed with the essential knowledge you need after the collapse or even if you are just camping for the weekend.  It is available as a Paperback, Kindle ebook, and audiobook through Audible.com.

When the SHTF you are going to want to have this book in your rucksack. What is inside is the basic knowledge you will need to ensure that you are not a victim when the State of Nature returns. Combining the knowledge of a lifetime of woodsmanship and 23 years of Combat Arms experience in the US Army I have broken all the most critical tasks and requirements down into a simple reference Guide to help the average person get a grasp on what they need to be able to do and have to survive if society were to collapse tomorrow.

Available as Paperback, Kindle ebook, and audiobook through Audible.com.

What Reviewers are saying:

“…this book belongs in everyone’s preparedness library.” – Ben at advancedsurvivalguide.com

“…fills a need for detailed info on bug-out, camping, and wilderness survival, beyond what most preppers and prepping books/articles know.” – Thoreau at Prep-Blog

“His section on map reading and navigation is one of the best I’ve seen in any survival book that is currently available.” – Riverwalker at Stealth Survival

Reviews:

Doom & Bloom, Prep-BlogAdvanced Survival Guide, reThinkSurvival.com, Survival Weekly, & Stealth Survival

Bonus:  If you buy the hardcopy through the Amazon link below you will receive the Kindle ebook for free.

Paperback  Kindle  Audiobook

Buy a copy signed by the author!

While supplies last.




Signed copies ship USPS Priority Mail within 3 business days.

Book Review: Build the Perfect Survival Kit by John D. McCann 2nd Edition

Build the Perfect Survival Kit by John D. McCann is notable not for its kit instructions and lists in the later chapters but rather for its descriptions and assessments of the items that go into said kits in the early chapters of the book.

The book itself is 254 pages and the text is divided into 20 chapters and an appendix.  There is no index.  Mr. McCann is the owner of Survival Resources, a company that not only sells survival related items but also posts plenty of survival related articles on it’s website.  Mr. McCann is also a survival instructor.

The first chapter is a good summary of the author’s philosophy behind building survival kits.  Chapters 2-13 cover components and component modification.  Chapters 14-19 discuss various kits and how to construct them.  Chapter 20 is the conclusion.

The first thing about kits, and the author explicitly recognizes this, is that no two kits will ever be the same for two different people.  Kit make-up depends on the skill and knowledge of the user and it is silly in the extreme to include an item in your kit that you do not know how to use.  I agree 100% with that sentiment although I would probably use stronger language.

I really like the chapters covering components.  Many different items are discussed along with their strengths and weakness in different situations.  The discussion of knives was very good.  I get the impression that most people think they will be knife fighting there way out of a survival situation, and that is probably not true. He does a very good job of showing why knife selection should be based on what practical things you can do with a blade and why selection of a quality blade or blades can be the difference between life and death.

One thing I have an issue with is the contention that aluminum foil makes a suitable water container.  I have yet to actually try this but logic says that is garbage.  Foil may be good for boiling water once or twice and is probably a good item to include in a kit envisioned for short term use I just don;t see foil being a viable solution for anything long-term and I am doubtful of its short-term utility as well.  He addresses this thought by pointing out that for most water containers you can purchase for survival use there is also a cup otion.  He specifically cites Army canteen cups and the cups sized to fit around the increasingly popular Nalgene bottles.

The kit descriptions in the book are informative and gave me plenty of food for thought as I look forward to modifying the contents of my kits.

All-in-all this is an excellent book and well worth purchasing for the component descriptions and assessments alone.  I recommend this book as a useful addition to your survival library.

Book Review: Don’t Hurt People & Don’t Take Their Stuff by Matt Kibbe

Don’t Hurt People and Don’t Take Their Stuff: A Libertarian Manifesto by Matt Kibbe is a thinking man’s book, which is probably why the people that would benefit most from reading it probably won’t.  If you are sucking the government teat and leeching your existence off others then you are not reading it.  Those of us that are paying for those leeches however, will read this and will be confirmed in our anger at the sloth of some of our fellow citizens and the government and government programs that enable that sloth.

I guess I am not a pure enough libertarian because I don’t think we should do away with government, I just think we should drastically shrink it and take away much of its power.  That is essentially the point made in this book with an extra dose of traditional libertarian isolationism and veiled “sovereign citizen talk.”  I don’t think this is a bad book and it is well written, I just don’t agree with it 100%, more like 50%.

At 227 pages plus notes the book is not exceedingly long.  It is separated into 9 thematic chapters.  The book opens strong and goes downhill from there.  The first chapter lays out 6 rules and the actually make quite a bit of sense.  Good luck getting people to follow those rules in their private lives much less in public discourse or when seduced by the exercise of government power.  The rules are:

  1. Don’t hurt people
  2. Don’t take people’s stuff
  3. Take responsibility
  4. Work for it
  5. Mind your own business
  6. Fight the power

Those rules are common sense and if everybody followed them we would live in a much more polite and less crime ridden society.  There are actually quite a few people who adhere to these rules in their daily lives.  Unfortunately, they are outweighed by the army of people on government entitlement and the elected officials and government bureaucrats.

I don’t dismiss the ideas within the book out of hand I just think that aiming for all of these at once is unrealistic.  I also think that if the average America is to change it will be a generational project.  America could use more libertarianism and the first 5 points make sense as guides for life.  Point 6 is so vague as to be useless, it also harks back to 60’s hippie talk to me.  Good luck getting the folks on welfare and other entitlements to latch onto points 2, 3, and 4 as their whole existence depends on violating the spirits of those rules.

If you are a pure libertarian then you will like this book because it confirms that pure libertarianism is the way to go.  If you are a libertarian leaning conservative like myself then the book has something to offer and may even convince you that you are not libertarian enough.  GOP conservatives will probably think the book is a prescription for anarchy and dismiss it as unrealistic.  If you are a liberal/progressive you will probably only get offended and think the book offers you some insight and ammunition in your attempt to discredit libertarians in general.

While I do not agree with everything in the book, I still think it is worth reading.  Mr. Kibbe brings up some very salient points and provides some serious food for thought.

Book Review: Not Cool: The Hipster Elite and Their War on You by Greg Gutfeld

Not Cool: The Hipster Elite and Their War on You  is a refreshing and sometimes humorous take on modern liberalism, why it is a failed ideology, and how it is destroying the very fabric of American society.  Greg Gutfeld is familiar to many conservatives from being the host of Red Eye and being a guest on many other news and commentary shows.  He has an ironic and sarcastic take on modern liberalism.  One of the unique things about this book is that he does not have to sanitize his opinions in print as he does on TV.  Instead of calling a duck a duck here, he calls and asshole and asshole.  We may not all agree on the use of vulgarity but even I will admit that at times vulgarity is a concise and perfectly descriptive term for some people and policies.

The book itself is separated into an introduction, 28 topical chapters, and a conclusion plus postscript.  It is not terribly long at 254 pages of text.  It written in a very readable style and is at time very humorous.  Gutfeld goes from serious to humor at random.  It is one of the few political commentary books I have ever read where I laughed out loud at points, thus eliciting strange looks from the legions of non-readers around me.

The essence of the book is that modern liberals have arrogated to themselves the decision on what I cool and what is not and with the support of the media such as network TV and Hollywood have been successful in doing so.  The sad part is that the ideas, attitudes, and behaviors liberals think are cool are all ultimately self-destructive.  He detail these and breaks down why they are destructive.  He does not flinch as he describes how coolness contributes to things as diverse as the destruction of marriage as an institution, the positive rush to embrace homosexuality, to the elevation and adoration of the Boston Bombers by the left.

As he covers each topic he analyzes it and then skewers the prevailing liberal coolness by showing how what is cool is actually not cool but just highlights the moral and intellectual failure of modern liberalism.

Not Cool: The Hipster Elite and Their War on You is probably not going to convince a liberal that they are on the wrong path.  As Gutfeld so rightly points out, those morons have their heads so far up their fourth point of contact that they can no longer recognize right from wrong.  What is does do is point out how conservatives can help stop the rot by identifying and pointing out the essential bankruptcy of modern liberalism moral code, or should I say lack thereof.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who seeks to understand why modern liberals think the way they do and how the modern media complex aids and abets the moral degradation of America by encouraging destructive behavior and attitudes among the youth of the nation.  An excellent book.

Book Review: The Great Degeneration by Niall Ferguson

This review first appeared on my history blog Battles & Book Reviews on August 6th, 2013.  I am putting it up here because I think this book is important enough that every informed person should read it.

If there is one book in the realm of history or political science any informed person needs to read this year then Niall Ferguson’s The Great Degeneration: How Institutions Decay and Economies Die is it. In this short book Ferguson goes right to the heart of why the West seems to be in decline and analyzes in short, incisive prose why that is so and perhaps what can be done to reverse it. The book itself is only 147 pages of text divided into an introduction, four topical chapters and a conclusion. There are twenty pages of notes but no bibliography or index, which is unusual for one of Dr. Ferguson’s books.

The whole thrust of this book is that it is the degeneration of civil, that is to say private, institutions, the failure of the Rule of Law, the distortion of economies by social engineering, and the breakdown of trust in civil society that are at the heart of why the West is in decline. The bright spot is that the decline is not terminal, or at least not yet, it can still be reversed.

I got the impression while reading this book that I was reading a modern day Juvenal or Vegetius lamenting the degradation of the Roman world. I only hope that this time the West gets it right and our children and grandchildren are not subject to another Dark Age as the West throws away the fruits of its culture.

I highly recommend this book both to people who agree and disagree with the central points. If nothing else this book provides a starting point for a conversation about where society is and where it is going or should be going. Once again, Dr. Ferguson has a produced a highly relevant and readable book that should make everyone think.

The Simple Survival Smart Book

The Simple Survival Smart Book is an invaluable tool in the survivalist/prepper’s toolbox.  It is a compact book packed with the essential knowledge you need after the collapse or even if you are just camping for the weekend.  It is available as a Paperback, Kindle ebook, and audiobook through Audible.com.

When the SHTF you are going to want to have this book in your rucksack. What is inside is the basic knowledge you will need to ensure that you are not a victim when the State of Nature returns. Combining the knowledge of a lifetime of woodsmanship and 23 years of Combat Arms experience in the US Army I have broken all the most critical tasks and requirements down into a simple reference Guide to help the average person get a grasp on what they need to be able to do and have to survive if society were to collapse tomorrow.

Available as Paperback, Kindle ebook, and audiobook through Audible.com.

What Reviewers are saying:

“…this book belongs in everyone’s preparedness library.” – Ben at advancedsurvivalguide.com

“…fills a need for detailed info on bug-out, camping, and wilderness survival, beyond what most preppers and prepping books/articles know.” – Thoreau at Prep-Blog

“His section on map reading and navigation is one of the best I’ve seen in any survival book that is currently available.” – Riverwalker at Stealth Survival

Reviews:

Doom & Bloom, Prep-BlogAdvanced Survival Guide, reThinkSurvival.com, Survival Weekly, & Stealth Survival

Bonus:  If you buy the hardcopy through the Amazon link below you will receive the Kindle ebook for free.

Paperback  Kindle  Audiobook

Buy a copy signed by the author!

While supplies last.




Signed copies ship USPS Priority Mail within 3 business days.

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