on 15 December 2007
I picked this book up purely out of interest, from a research perspective.
This book is partly a history lesson, partly a self-sufficiency manual and partly a libertarian discourse. In this book Benson primarily espouses his basic philosophy as a 'survivalist' and geo-political critic.
Paranoid? I would argue not and so would millions of victims of state aggression around the world. The concept explored relates directly to multiple recent world events. Consider relatively recent acts of genocide by governments (some actually elected democratically - e.g. Nazi Germany) and you will begin to see Benson's point of view. Consider also recent natural disasters and their aftermath and you may come to the same conclusions as Benson. That is the crux of the argument.
Whilst the book explores some areas, such as firearms, which are completely alien and of only academic interest for readers in the UK - other concepts are worth knowing about for their own sake. I found myself disagreeing with Benson's total anti-government line, although I could also appreciate where he was coming from - particularly in being concerned about over-zealous officialdom and the constant erosion of civil liberty and individual rights.
The final question is whether or not you feel that it is acceptable to sacrifice some measure of your current freedom for some measure of security? Ragnar would rather have the freedom and appears to be in good company: "Those who would give up Essential Liberty to purchase a little Temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety." - Benjamin Franklin.
The book was a surprise!
Effectively it is a 'survivalist' instruction manual on how to survive disaster in an urban environment after the collapse of government/terrorist attack/nuclear war.
I was expecting it to be a bit like the SAS survival handbook or a Ray Mears survive in the wilds kind of book.
It was neither of these, not at all! Written by an 'American Survivalist' it was pretty much against the establishment ( whether this is good or bad I will leave it to you ) and the advice was slanted to a different continent. Maybe if you live in New York and refuse to be rescued it might be helpful.
The lengthy chapter on what kind of rifle/gun/firearm you will need to survive was not really appropriate to the UK. Especially the bit about how to build one yourself or how to get a gunsmith to make one for your own personal specification was a bit american.
Putting all that to one side, it was not all bad, there was some good advice about how to stock pile, rules to follow and trading. Mostly common sense.
If you have the urge to build a bunker live in it, declare the bunker an independant nation, stop paying tax and withdrawing from society and becoming an anarchist then this book is for you.
on 6 January 2011
This isnt a bad book, its just that its expensive (compared to others readily available) and getting dated fast.For UK readers the section on firearms is more or less irrelevant and there's nothing in here that you cant find either for free on the internet, or in a host of other more recent publications that retail for less money. There's a real need for an up to date, UK based urban survival book...but this isnt it.