Holding Their Own: A Story of Survival Paperback – 18 Nov 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
Traditionally chapter titles are in a sans-serif font which helps them stand out whereas body text is in a serif font while helps the readers eye flow along the lines. However "Holding your own" is all in a sans-serif font. The titles while bold are in grey making them stand out less than the body text, all rather un-professional. I also spotted over ten typographical errors in this book where typically I'd only find one or two.
That aside, on to the content:
The story centres on one man and his wife in Texas. America is struggling with an economic depression and a foreign power decides to take advantage of this time of weakness to unleash a succession of sleeper agents attacks on America.
The overstretched public services struggle and eventually fail under the strain. Society crumbles and the venire of civilisation slips.
This is one of the more realistic End Of The Wold As We Know It books I've read and I enjoyed it.
That said I have a few criticisms of this book.
I found the start of the book vulgar; the main character spends a lot of time coming up with crude ways to misinterpret his wife's comments. While I appreciate a witty double-entendre this was un-couth. Fortunately it tones down after a few chapters.
The main characters mother-in-law is killed early on in the book, yet his wife does not react realistically to this exceptionally traumatic event in her life.
The author would have benefited from a technical consultant. Oxygen doesn't burn, it allows other things to burn. An airborne spark encountering a leak from an oxygen cylinder won't cause an explosion. It will just burn out very brightly.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
So from that perspective, realizing that Joe Nobody is NOT Ernest Hemingway, I greatly enjoyed the book. The plot line is not excessively unrealistic. For example, when I read Rawles' "Patriots", I asked myself how many individuals would be able to buy a piece of land, complete with a house, IN CASH, in Idaho, and then stock it with hundreds of thousands of dollars of survival gear? By comparison, this story is far more realistic; a prepared and skilled man and his tough wife struggle to make it to a very humble retreat. The most elaborate piece of equipment they have is the rifle (fairly commonplace) and the night vision scope/monocle (not nearly as commonly owned, as they are expensive). But a man making a living from security just might actually own those.
I'd have to give this an overall thumb-up. Definitely caught my attention and held it. yes, sometimes the dialog is corny, but I have to admit, as a married man--the conversation between my wife and me also gets a bit corny and sometimes ribald. That's just life. There wasn't anything in the dialog that was 'unrealistic'. The only thing is that there is quite a bit of vulgarity, which is also more realistic considering the subject. When the world is falling apart, a few F- bombs here and there won't seem nearly as shocking as they do now.
So if you like the survivalist genre, buy it without fear.
I'll start with what worked for me:
-Pace: This was action packed. I couldn't put it down and finished it one day. The action was non-stop and compelling. There were just enough breaks in it to keep me from getting burned out on it.
-Setting: Everything happening around the characters was believable. The poor economy, the terrorist attacks, society's reaction to these, government reaction to these.
-Funny: A few of the things that Bishop (the main character) says made me laugh out loud. It's rare that a character can be funny enough that I'll actually laugh. (Although, a lot of his attempts at humor made me roll my eyes and were way overboard.)
Character Knowledge: Bishop had a lot of knowledge about weapons and survival. I have zero and it was all easily explained here, not much of it threw me off which is good. Having everything be easily understandable without talking down to a reader is difficult and this novel does it well. There is also a lot of reasons for Bishop to have this knowledge so it doesn't come across as forced to advance the plot.
-Point of View: The main POV was Bishop but there were several others sprinkled throughout. This allowed me to see what was going on that caused Bishop's conflicts. However, this also made some of the conflicts very predictable and there was a lot of flipping around to keep up with who was doing what.
Somethings that didn't work:
-Technical Errors: The book was riddled with punctuation and grammar errors. The lack of proper punctuation (missing comma's, periods, incorrect phrasing) really distracted me, I had to stop a lot to figure out how something was really supposed to be read and being taken out of a story is never good. With the grammar, there was a lot of word usage problems like 'was' instead of 'were' or 'his' instead of 'him'. Again, I had to stop several times to decipher what was actually being said. Honestly, I don't think I've ever seen more errors in a book. A couple aren't so bad but this had tons of them.
-Characters: The seemed one dimensional. Bishop's need to play the hero isn't believable. The novel tells us that that's how he is but doesn't show why he's that way. His motivation is needed because without it, it feels forced, like it had to be in there for the sake of advancing the plot. It would've really rounded out Bishop to know why he is this way. Also, the characters reactions to a lot of the events don't feel real. I think showing more motivation and fleshing out all the characters would've made the story much better.
-Dialogue: The dialogue was very stiff and formal. Most people use contractions when they speak but not in this novel. There are hardly any contractions and that makes the dialogue less believable.
Overall, it was a fun, quick read with lots of good information for survival. It achieved it's goal of teaching survival without forcing the information down my throat. However, all of the obvious problems left me feeling unsatisfied.