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43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on 4 June 2012
As a prepper I normally stay away from books of this type, the title alone is enough to put off most people with common sense, but I was on a book splurge so thought I would treat myself.

As most reviewers have said it is way too over the top, but in what sense ? Much of what the author writes about is very close to the knuckle, be it peak oil, economic collapse or flu pandemic and some people will choose to call it OTT, however these are the things that most preppers worry about, not everyone thinks nuclear war/intergalatic asteroid, who in their right mind would/could want to survive that. Not only does the author describe these events, albeit a little too briefly, but also the consequences in a broken down scenario, transportation, communication, medication, power supplies demonstrating just how fragile we are as a soceity that we rely mainly on our cars, credit cards and other people to get us out of the proverbial.

So now we know what the author is preparing us for how do we go about protecting our loved ones ?

This is where it gets stupid.

Ok, I need you to go out and buy a second property, not too far from your main house its got to be at least a fuel tanks drive away but a least 300 miles from a major city - ok thats all of us in the UK out the window - try to buy a farm with a few acres, a natural well on the property, on a high hill so you can see marauders but set back from the road. Buy four different vehicles all running on different fuel types, plus maybe a scrambler and dont forget the horses for when fuel runs out, build your property yourself so you can make the defences as you require, stock pile just about everything you can imagine food, guns/ammo, medication, clothes, tools, seeds etc.etc.etc.

Oh yeah and hire a janitor and gardener to maintain your retreat whilst you continue your normally working life until WTSHTF, just don't forget to pay them or when it does all go wrong they may not be to keen to let you back onto the retreat you have built for yourself, mind you, you could just use the bulldozer that you have bought to block the drive to let yourself in.

Do you get the picture fellow paranoid androids.

Not all of us are lucky enough to be living on a secret services pension whilst charging a fortune consulting for other rich idiots who wont have a clue what to do WTSHTF. As my Sifu says you can watch all the films you want buy all the books and all the toys, but unless you spend the time practising it don't mean anything in a real life scenario and thats where this book lets you down. You would spend an absolute fortune doing what this book says and a lifetime putting it all together, but where would you get the time to put into practise what it preaches, you would be another credit card warrior.

It does have its good points though, we cant know everything and I have now put all my batteries, radios and other electronic equipment into a metal box to protect from EMP - remember doesn't have to be nuclear EMP can come from solar flares, have come to the conclusion that I would need more people than my wife and I to proctect/run a small holding, these are things that I had not taken into account before reading the book and there are other tit bits that I can't recall off the top of my head.
People who buy this book expecting it to sort all of their woes are sadly mistaken, one Sifu cannot teach you everything, you need to find other teachers, take what works and disregard the rest. So while this book will definately teach you something it will also leave you amazed at the American mentality of religion and weapons plus the fact that if you just throw enough money at the problem you will be ok.

I would recommend Cody Lundins book "When disater srikes" It has a lot more on mental conditioning which is a must, the survival methods are more geared to the average joe with limited funds and the section on self defence is the best I have read within the public domain during 17yrs of martial arts in several systems, no where in his book does he mention stockpiling weapons.
Again though, his book will not teach you all you need to know it was however my second book on prepping in a libary now totalling 40 books and is without doubt one of my favourite reads.

Buy this book by all means, but just be prepared for what you are buying, a better idea for any book you want to purchase is go to your local libary - yeah its a hassle I know, and see if you can order it in from the main libary network, you can find almost any book in britain this way, it will cost a couple of pounds, but at least you can browse what you buy.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on 27 October 2009
This is a long awaited book from the same author as "patriots" and editor of the survival blog. It is well written, very well organised and extremely thorough. Some of the sections have been lifted from the survival blog (I recognised some of the chapter on firearms) but this doesn't detract in the slightest, "good advice is good advice" no matter how often it is repeated. The book takes you on a steady journey from initial "why prep", the psychology (don't worry not too heavy) of the blind masses (who see no reason to worry), to step by step improvements in your level of mental, skills and physical readiness for potential coming difficulties. It doesn't have to be a nuclear war or asteroid strike, a deep recession, social upheaval or soaring fuel prices, all can put a strain on the big complex machine we call civilisation.

For both the new arrival to the world of preparedness to the seasoned veteran, there is something for everyone. Highly recommended.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2010
I bought the US edition of this book last year and found it very detailed, informative and practical. It goes to a level of depth that is probably in excess of what most readers would actually use but the knowledge could come in useful at sometime in the future. I have personally used some of the techniques/advice/skills, Mr Rawles describes. Coming from a farming background and having travelled extensively including long periods camping in primitive/remote areas including: Africa - 8 months, South America - 7 months and Australia/New Zealand - 2 months, I can say that nothing beats having the knowledge described and being prepared.

Given the current severe weather and financial situation here in the UK it makes sense to follow some of his recommendations on buying in bulk/stocking-up and planning for periods when utilities get cut-off. His financial/investment advice is also very sensible, having adopted similar techniques over the last few years I've avoided losses from the recession (which is likely to get worse).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 January 2014

Initially I didn't know what to expect from "How to survive the end of the world as we know it" written by James Wesley Rawles. I ordered it online based on positive ratings and as you can imagine a very striking title. The book is relatively small so you can read it on the go. It is three hundred and nine pages total. This includes fourteen chapters and appendixes. The back of the book highlights the main topics covered by the book. The text is a good size and the book is well broken down into various categories.


1-The Survival Mindset For Living In Uncertain Times
2-Priorites: Your List Of Lists
3-The Survival Retreat
4-Water: The Key Resource
5-The Deep Larder: Your Family's Food Storage
6-Fuel and Home Power
7-Gardens and Livestock
8-Medical Supplies and Training
9-Communications and Monitoring
10-Home Security and Self Defence
11-Firearms For Self Sufficiency And Self Defence
12-G.O.O.D Vehicles and The Dreaded Trip Outta Dodge
13-Investing, Barter and Home Based Business
14-It Comes Down To You


When I began reading it quickly became clear that this wasn't a book about how to survive in the wild or how to stock pile a little here and there should there be a power outage. The book begins with a little about the author. Then details how fragile the entire system of commerce is and what could potentially disrupt it. This is interesting for anyone who might not realise how interdependent a lot of services are.

Without breaking it down by each individual chapter I will say that there is an extensive amount of information in this book. What H.T.S.T.E.O.T.W.A.W.K.I (the acronym used often in the book) is about at its core is a life plan. The book details dozens of aspects of how to best change your life for preparedness and survival. These range from the mundane such as stockpile more than what you need for barter and charity to the more severe such as completely relocating you and your family to your retreat 24/7.

The book talks about developing a strategy to buy what gear you need by making a list of lists and prioritizing what you and your family might need specifically. The manner in which he presents this is fairly well thought out and makes it seem less daunting. But make no mistake this is aimed at devoting the vast majority of your life and time into prepping, which isn't for everyone or even most people. Once you have established your priorities and what you need, Rawles then details where to source various gear, the pitfalls of procuring different pieces of kit, the best land (in the U.S.A of course) on which to set up a survival retreat. . It talks in meticulous detail about a huge range of preparedness gear and setting it all up. Some of the things covered in the book are the types of guns and ammo to stockpile, food safe containers, the best type of rechargeable batteries, how to home deliver a baby, best type of cars to buy and how to become a ham radio operator. Those are a small sample of the topics covered; there really is a lot of detail about the subject matter.


Overall I can say that the book has an impressive amount of information. It has a few bullet pointed lists but mostly it is just broken up by subheadings and is relatively easy to follow.

The book isn't without its flaws however. The majority of the criticism levelled against it in other reviews is that it is geared toward people with virtually unlimited budgets who can just up and move wherever they want. While this isn't wholly accurate, it isn't wholly untrue either. The book talks about acquiring vast resources and stockpiles of ammunition, food, several vehicles, huge reserves of petrol, getting a job where you can work from home etc. I can understand where the "unlimited budget" argument comes from but I think Rawles's intent is to stockpile over years, using your prioritised lists.

The only mention of wilderness survival is a brief paragraph in which he basically slams it as impossible and a stupid idea. His outright dismissal of the subject is somewhat casual and annoyed me.

There are some tiny compromises where he will explain how to "bug in" in an apartment but does so very begrudgingly, all the while saying that you really ought to do things his way if you want any chance of surviving.

Though a minor thing, I would have liked some diagrams or photographs to explain some of the setups as, at times, they can be hard to visualise.

^^Bottom Line^^

I have mixed feelings about the book. The author seems extremely knowledgeable on the subject but his style of writing came across as somewhat arrogant. I guess it is entirely dependent on what
You are looking for when you pick up "How to survive the end of the world as we know it."

This book has a lot of useful information but taken as a whole it will be far too extreme for most people. If you are looking for advice on wilderness survival or information on stockpiling a little extra for an emergency then this isn't for you. If you are looking to build a lifestyle around prepping and survivalisim however then you are unlikely to find a better step by step guide than this.

While I do have some issues with the book, I can't fault the information. Even if you only pick and choose what sections might be useful to you then you will still have a goldmine of information to choose from.
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44 of 49 people found the following review helpful
on 16 December 2010
There are some useful bits and pieces in this book. However, the amount of stuff we are supposed to stockpile would fill a typical UK home to overflowing and the vehicles, defences, etc. would require a plot of land far larger than found in any suburban property here.

A lot of it is impractical for other reasons. It's no good stockpiling solid fuel or oil/kerosene if your home is heated by gas central heating and has no chimneys. As for the hunting strategies, where, in the local park? The security precautions are so unacheivable as to be laughable. Then there is the armoury and varieties of ammunition to be assembled: bullets as a bartering unit in middle England? I don't think so.

The sections about water, food, cropping and suchlike have some useful points. There is at least one inaccuracy: he says that because fruit trees are not self-pollinating you need at least two of each variety whereas what you need is at least one of each of at least two different varieties which are known to cross-pollinate each other.

In general, this book is for fantasists. It is way over the top for a pandemic but might help survival at the periphery of a nuclear war. Above all it is an insight into the mindset in the gun culture of the USA.

We do need to think about surviving some event such as a pandemic. I do maintain a store of non-perishable food for such an event but on nothing like the scale Rawles recommends.
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40 of 47 people found the following review helpful
on 1 January 2010
Cheap at half the price as the saying goes. Unfortunately that is what you get. Again we have another book jumping on the `survival' market bandwagon. So what is wrong with this book.
It contain no diagrams or pictures to help those many who have never done a survival course or even been camping.
Aric McBay's `Peak Oil Survival' is better for around the same cost if you want a book and it does have some diagrams.
As is usual with James Wesley Rawles he has a strong focus on gear and on retaining wealth after a collapse. He does not even consider the longer term in his book. His Blog occasionally carries the odd posting relating to surviving in the longer term when there would be no more electricity and all your stocks would be gone. Even with solar or hydro power a collapse of society, that is sort that is being talk of in this book, TEOTWAWKI, once they wear out or break down then that is it.
This book does not consider this aspect of the survival equation.
You can get all the information in this small book and much more from the internet for free and so in my view this book is just a waste of money.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 19 February 2012
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.
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on 17 February 2015
The world is going to hell in a hand basket so whats the answer?
Head for the hills with god, guns and MREs together with all the 'preppers' know -how to survive. Or would it ? How could you prep for everything from disease to childbirth problems if one of your party was a young woman of child-baring age. What if you came under attack from hostile preppers? Mr Rawles certainly likes his weapons but if the other side have bigger firepower then you are in trouble. And remember there are no police or hospitals to call on.
To rebuild civilisation will take more than ''giving it some prayer'' as Rawles says and what resources the prepper (no matter how well organised ) can scrape together will never be enough.
Only well funded and equipped civil defense programs like in some northen European and alpine nations would put the people in good stead to survive and rebuild. Wandering around clutching your bug-out bag just won't do I'm afraid.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on 4 May 2011
If you are likely to be purchasing a retreat in the mountains, fortifying it, stocking it with ten years worth of food and learning how to farm from scratch; this is for you. Personally, I live in a small English market town and the weekly shopping bill makes me flinch, so this book wasn't frankly much good. The author advises you to give up your job in the city, if you can, and move to your isolated retreat straight away. It's also a good idea to own several vehicles, one using petrol, one on diesel etc so you have a choice when things get scarce. That isn't really practical advice for me either, I'm afraid. I'm hoping there are other books out there which are a bit more UK relevant and a bit more down to Earth. I genuinely believe that we can't be complacent about our techno-dependent lifestyle. Sooner or later something will happen and the power is going to go down, phones won't work and water is going to stop flowing out of our taps. If we look at disasters elsewhere in the world: Japan, Haiti, New Orleans etc we see that keeping your family safe and fed for a couple of weeks until outside help arrives is a more likely scenario than the total societal meltdown covered by this book. A book that gives good, realistic advice on a two-week disaster plan, and maybe suggestions on what to do beyond that timescale would be far more useful to most of us. Of course, if I wake up one morning soon to find the street overrun by shambling zombies I accept that I'm going to look pretty silly and I'll be prepared take it all back.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 28 June 2013
I found this book very good, I've skinned my dog to make a warm hat and am now wearing the cats on my feet i'm having trouble getting asda to accept my bartering system of elastic bands and coat hangers for food but i'll have the last laugh in the end.
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