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146 of 153 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 'How-to' for Dreamers
The most wonderful book, which tells you just enough about everything you might need to know.
John Seymour looks at how to be self-sufficient with whatever you have - from a window-box, to 1 acre, to 5 or 10 acres, to 100+ acres. When you are making do with a window-box, this book also provides excellent and realistic day-dreaming opportunities about upgrading to a...
Published on 5 Jan 2004 by Gabrielle O

versus
119 of 141 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sloppy, wrong and dangerous.
The subtitle of this book - "The classic guide for realists and dreamers" - is barely half right. It is a coffee table book for idle dreamers, not a practical guide for realists. Essentially it is lifestyle porn for city dwellers.
The book covers a lot of topics, but few in any depth. There are many glaring ommissions. Most worryingly is the complete absence of...
Published on 11 Dec 2008 by Glaikit Stirk


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146 of 153 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The 'How-to' for Dreamers, 5 Jan 2004
By 
This review is from: The New Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency: The classic guide for realists and dreamers (Hardcover)
The most wonderful book, which tells you just enough about everything you might need to know.
John Seymour looks at how to be self-sufficient with whatever you have - from a window-box, to 1 acre, to 5 or 10 acres, to 100+ acres. When you are making do with a window-box, this book also provides excellent and realistic day-dreaming opportunities about upgrading to a real smallholding!
He obviously knows what he is talking about - there is no wasted space, or idle talk. Every sentence not only useful but interesting. Even the most experienced farmer could learn something new here, as the book covers a vast range of skills for life, from preparing land and growing food to butchering animals and storing food. The book is well laid-out, with line-drawn colour illustrations which are very helpful.
This book is very matter of fact and doesn't preach the virtues of the good life, but you will find yourself wanting it. It's like a detailed instruction book for something that you very much want to buy.
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60 of 64 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For doers and dreamers, 2 Oct 2003
This review is from: The New Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency: The classic guide for realists and dreamers (Hardcover)
Here is a bible for the self-sufficiency enthusiast.
If you already manage a smallholding, or if you are happy to cultivate a corner of your suburban garden, there is something here for you.
Be careful if you are still at the stage of deciding whether or not self-sufficiency is for you. Because to read this book is to be in doubt no longer and you'll be putting a For Sale sign up outside your urban abobe.
You too can live off the fat of the land!
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81 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, worth its weight in gold!, 22 July 2003
By 
Mr. C. Oliver (Newcastle UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: The New Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency: The classic guide for realists and dreamers (Hardcover)
What can i say about this book, if you have read or seen the first this is a brilliant book, its longer, and hasnt lost any of the detail of the first one. Its full of information about skills, crops, livestock and all the things you need to know to live the good life!
Brilliant hardback book, from the guru of the self sufficiency movement, John Seymour, himself. If you ever meet this man, You will know that you have met a man thats know whats hes talking about, he has done this himself and through his writing, it shows!
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53 of 57 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Start Here, 25 Sep 2005
This review is from: The New Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency: The classic guide for realists and dreamers (Hardcover)
As some one has already said, this book is only a brief introduction to most things but, for one, it is just that - most things! The natural style of writing, the drawings but, above all, the simple matter of fact explanations make the whole thing seem much more do-able than some of the more detailed books. If your really want to go into self sufficiency, you will need other books but this one is the one that will inspire you in those dark moments and make you feel that you really can do it after all.
My first and still my favourite!
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic guide to everything from blacksmithing to wine, 9 April 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: The New Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency: The classic guide for realists and dreamers (Hardcover)
The book is still a classic today. He covers everything from blacksmithing to forestry with wine making and composting toilets thrown in for good measure.
As a reluctant city dweller I am one of the dreamers mentioned in the book subtitle yet I find no end of inspiration and entertainment from this book.
The only negative I can think of is that it makes you want to go self-sufficient now!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My personal favourite, 16 Aug 2005
This review is from: The New Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency: The classic guide for realists and dreamers (Hardcover)
My mum bought me a plethora of books based on Amazon recommendations 3 years ago, including this one.

It is one of the most wonderful factual books that I have ever read, with a wealth of practical information for smallholders and a pithy, clear written style - a rarity in this type of book.

True, it isn't in depth about all aspects of smallholding, but that's not what it's there for - it provides a really good overview.

Check out the handy tips in the dairy and smallholding layout sections and the chapters detailing crop storage and preservation. There are even details on the working horse, fencing your land and milling grain to keep the aspiring smallholder on track.

But, even if you never get your bit of land, this book will still give you years of enjoyment and inspiration, as it has to me.
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26 of 29 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars buy this and then buy..., 6 Jun 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: The New Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency: The classic guide for realists and dreamers (Hardcover)
great book from John Seymour. All you need to know about what you should be doing. However, I prefer the old version, better illustrations. Buy "The Fat of the Land" by John Seymour too and you will find out how his family did it.
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31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Complete" is generous, but an excellent buy nonetheless, 30 April 2007
By 
Jon D "Jon in France" (South Vendée, France) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The New Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency: The classic guide for realists and dreamers (Hardcover)
For those considering adopting a self-sufficient lifestyle, this book is an excellent beginners text.

The sheer breadth of the subject means that this can never truly be a "complete" guide - that would run to thousands of pages - but it gives enough of a taster on vegetable gardening, field-crop cultivation, livestock rearing and practical skills for one to decide how far to go along a self-supporting route.

The book would benefit from a more extensive bibliography and the glossery is a little patchy, but the philosophy and general guidence are spot on.
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27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars 'Nothing should be wasted on the self-sufficient holding. The dustman should never need to call.', 4 Sep 2007
This review is from: The New Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency: The classic guide for realists and dreamers (Hardcover)
'John Seymour is known and respected as the `Father of Self Sufficiency'.....His most influential contribution has been to live, teach and promote self sufficiency, first on five acres in Suffolk, and then on 62 acres in Pembrokeshire, and now in Ireland, where the `School of Self-Sufficiency' that he established with Angela Ashe attracts new recruits in increasing numbers.....

We had never had any real conscious drive to self-sufficiency. We had thought, like a lot of people, that it would be nice to grow our own vegetables.
But living here has altered our sense of values. We find that we no longer place the same importance on artefacts and gadgets as other people do.
Also - every time we buy some factory-made article we wonder what sort of people made it - if they enjoyed making it or if it was just a bore - what sort of life the maker, or makers, lead. I wonder where all this activity is leading. Is it really leading to a better or richer or simpler life for people? Or not? I wonder about the nature of progress. One can progress in so many different directions. Up a gum tree for example. I know that the modern factory worker is supposed to lead an 'easier' life than, say, the peasant. But I wonder if this supposition is correct. And I wonder if, whether 'easier' or not, it is a better life? Simpler? Healthier? More spiritually satisfying? Or not?

So far as we can, we import our needs from small and honest craftsman and tradesmen. We subscribe as little as we can to the tycoons, and the Ad-men, and the boys with their expense accounts.
If we could subscribe to nothing at all we would be the better pleased.......

Since I first wrote the first version of this book back in 1975 I now think there is a far more urgent reason for it. Very few people today can fail to see that the present course that man - and woman - kind is embarked upon is unsustainable.............
The purpose of this book is not to shape other people's lives but simply to help people to do things if they decide to.
This way of life suits me - it has kept me fighting fit and at least partly sane into my 88th year, and it has prevented me from doing too much harm to our poor planet.....'

An excellent overview but not quite the only book you will ever need. A chunky tome, on the surface it appears quite detailed but tends to be brief in some areas....other books will be required if and when the dreaming stage ends and realism does kick in!

Published by DK, this book is packed with typically charming illustrations and some subtle step-by-step methods - the odd one may not be not for the weak-hearted and could possibly convert the children to vegetarianism - `skinning a rabbit`, for example!
But this is a real book with a real aim!

312 high quality shiny pages, split over chapters:

1. The Meaning of Self-Sufficiency
2. Food from the Garden
3. Food from the Animals
4. Food from the Fields
5. Food from the Wild
6. In the Dairy
7. In the Kitchen
8. Brewing and Wine-Making
9. Energy & Waste
10. Crafts & Skills
11. Things You Need to Know

with an introduction, glossary and a full index.

Useful reference sections include:

* Types of Soil
* The Seasons
* The Urban Garden (from the smaller - 'the allotment', to the rather larger - 'five-acre holding')
* Pests
* Vegetables
* Herbs
* Tree Fruit
* The Living Farmyard (with notes such as 'a cow's teeth reveal her age)
* The Dry Toilet
* Power from the Wind
* Basketry
* Hanging your Pig
* Beef Joints
* Sheep Shearing
* Bees and Honey
* Hedging and Fencing
* Harvesting
* Grass and Hay
* The Working Horse
* The Cereals
* Mushrooms
* Fish and Seafoods
* Plants and Creatures of the Seashore
* Brewing and Wine-Making
* Making Cheese
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Excellent Read!, 6 Mar 2010
This review is from: The New Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency: The classic guide for realists and dreamers (Hardcover)
This is an interesting and extremely in-depth title, beautifully illustrated, with a bit of something for everyone; a great read, as the title suggests, for the realist and dreamer alike - I have enjoyed reading it with a cup of tea before bed!

Seymour emphasises that much as total self-sufficiency would be the ideal, it is not for everyone, but that there are changes one can make to their everyday lives to get that little bit closer to a more naturalistic lifestyle. In this way this is a perfect title both for prospective self-sufficient folk as well as those who are just looking to make some eco(and purse)-friendly changes.

My partner and I have read through sections together and have easily found twenty times the amount of information you will find in most similar titles on the market: Seymour goes into great depth on everything from planning vegetable planting in cycles to improve soil fertility, to choosing the best livestock breeds, to making cheese and wine, to building one's own eco-loo! Extremely valuable is the section which details the best use of different sizes of land, from the humble city patio to a five acre holding.

If you want a book which is at once an engaging read, and filled with useful information, you really cannot do better than Seymour's guide - it is an absolute marvel. Happy reading!
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