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Thread: Book Corner insights ~ Survivalist series by: A. American

  1. #1

    Default Book Corner insights ~ Survivalist series by: A. American

    Welcome to Mono's Book Corner.

    Quick explanation: An objective look at the lessons taught, not necessarily learned, in books worth checking out. This topic will focus on the seven book Survivalist series.

    Let's get this out of the way, no major spoilers. No discussion of in-depth details of events of what takes place with different characters in the books. Very minor spoilers, at worst. We're only going to be concentrating on the lessons the author tries to teach the readers, through the story.

    Now I can't take credit for this idea. It actually belongs to a YouTuber named StartUpSurvival who tried to do the same thing but with films. Now to be clear, this isn't an endorsement of him, nor the Survivalist book series. StartUpSurvival came up with an excellent idea... and failed miserably in the execution because he allowed his prejudices to completely ruin any objective look at the films he discussed. I will be covering lessons taught. Some that I don't personally agree with. I'll still present them for discussion.

    If anyone else is currently reading or has already read these books, please feel free to let me know if I may have omitted a lesson. If I did, it was by accident and not done intentionally.

    As for the book series itself. I'll say this... Book One suffers from too much product placement. I don't believe this was done intentionally as it is the first book, before the series became popular. While all of us love to talk about our favorite gear, the author takes it too far. Be aware also that it's written from a First Person perspective. For all of my fellow hard-core book worms, you already know the major issue with that in anything longer than a typical Short Story. (No worries. Later on the author cheats by becoming not just the main character but the Narrator as well.)

    These issues are minor compared to books later in the series. In which the author literally can't keep characters' names straight. Forgets how many there are. Gets confused about the condition of items. (For example: How a suspiciously highly detailed map becomes one that is horribly crude, literally a couple of pages later.) Gets confused about the gear certain characters have. (Loved how one character's multi-tool magically morphed from being a Gerber for quite a bit of the book, into a Leatherman all of a sudden.) And the publishing house clearly didn't bother having anyone proof-read the books for typos and other errors before printing them!

    All that aside, you do get a solid and exciting read in this series. I will be covering all seven books, just not all at once.

    Book One: "Going Home."

    1 - Don't use a military pack (or one that looks like one) for you GHB or BOB.

    2 - Have your carry-pistol concealed on your person and ready.

    3 - Get night vision goggles you can wear strapped to your head. Only travel at night. Keeping off of main roads and trails. (To not get ambushed by others.)

    4 - Don't over pack your bag.

    5 - Be very careful when cooking outdoors as the smell of food can easily attract hungry strangers who are less prepared than you are. (Especially in a long-term Grid Down scenario.)

    6 - Don't trust ANYONE! (Not even a married couple with small children.)

    7 - Never give a loaded gun to someone you've never seen shoot before. Even a new friend whom (for some bizarre reason) you trust.

    8 - As time passes and things get worse... Don't stop to help others. Just brings you serious grief.

    9 - Don't make campfires. Even if you're not cooking over one, the light could attract 2-legged predators right to where you are.

    10- If you even suspect someone is tracking you, maintain strict radio silence.

    11- Scavenging the bodies of the recently deceased will help you to survive.

    12- Invest in solar energy for your house.

    That's it for Book One. Some have less lessons. But these are all I could find in the first book of the series. Highlighting things that characters did right... as well as how they screwed up and got it wrong. Feel free to discuss all or some of the lessons taught. I think this could be a really thought-provoking topic.
    Last edited by Monocrom; 07-02-2017 at 07:07 AM. Reason: Clarification.
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity, here and there... Not the other way around!" - John Cleese.

  2. #2
    *Flashaholic* Offgridled's Avatar
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    Default Re: Book Corner insights ~ Survivalist series by: A. American

    I really enjoyed this . Reading before going to sleep tonight. I'll have more for the discussion tomorrow. Great thread mono. : thumbsup:
    "Collapse of the power grid by offgridled"
    Last edited by Offgridled; 06-02-2017 at 12:23 AM.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Book Corner insights ~ Survivalist series by: A. American

    Quote Originally Posted by Offgridled View Post
    I really enjoyed this . Reading before going to sleep tonight. I'll have more for the discussion tomorrow. Great thread mono. : thumbsup:
    "Collapse of the power grid by offgridled"

    Looking forward to your thoughts, and that of others. Will wait awhile before weighing in myself.
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity, here and there... Not the other way around!" - John Cleese.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Book Corner insights ~ Survivalist series by: A. American

    Looks like a bit of a jump-start is needed. Here's my take on the lessons taught, in corresponding numbers:

    1 - You end up discarding a good number of choices with this one. Nearly everything left will be a hiker's pack. Those have their issues. Main one being lack of compartmentalizing. Though if you adhere to lesson #3, #1 should be less of an issue.

    2 - Some guys keep handguns in their BOB or GHB. A good idea, overall. Once you need to grab that bag, the weapon should go on your hip, preferably covered with a loose garment. That way it stays hidden, but in quick reach for use against predators. Both the two, and four-legged varieties.

    *If you don't live in a Pro-Freedom state, a large canister of pepper-spray, or Bear spray is a good option. They do make belt-carry pouches for it. Sometimes you have to make due, if you can't make good.

    3 - Although such gear is very expensive, you can buy earlier generation examples off the internet. Usually the disadvantage will be weight and a bit lower than ideal resolution. A head-strap is a must for hands free travel. As the situation gets worse, people will get more desperate. That pack on your back is going to look like a portable Wal-Mart store to them. Travel at night, stay off main roads and trails, have the ability to see at night; and your odds of survival just went up by a significant percentage! Batteries will be the main issue. Pack plenty of spares and have a way to recharge them.

    4 - Biggest mistake most folks make. Even more frustrating when you realize you need redundant capability with some items, but don't with others. Figuring out which category an item falls under is headache inducing.

    5 - A common mistake, and even easier to make when you're hungry. Rather than canned goods, deconstructed MREs are far better. Get rid of all the cardboard, a couple of other items; and you can easily repack one MRE with the contents from three of them. Keep the heater packs. Fast way to make hot food. Eat in a place that is secure, or one you can make secure. If need be, reach for Power Bars or candy bars instead. Or, any food that doesn't need heating up. If necessary, eat an MRE entree cold.

    6 - Unless you're good friends with someone when a disaster hits, and they happen to be with you; don't trust them. If someone walks up to you begging for food, be cautious. Be even more cautious if it's a couple or just a single mom, with a child/children. A dude on his own might decide not to compromise his morals. But a single mom might decide her child has gone long enough without food, and there doesn't seem to be any good prospects to get food soon. And there you are, and you don't seem hungry. She'll start wondering how much food you got in your pack. And even if she doesn't want to compromise her morals... You don't want to be around when her child cries out "Mommy I'm hungry." No telling what she'll do to you to feed her child. Especially if she happens to be armed.

    7 - This one really falls under the Common Sense heading. Not only might they turn that gun against you. But they could be so clumsy as to accidentally kill you. Oops! Whether intentional or accidental, dead is still dead.

    8 - This goes back to #6 as well. Someone once said that Humanity is only nine missed meals away from devolving into total Anarchy. Sadly, that might be true!

    9 - Related to cooking and traveling at night. Fire equals people. And people equals potential resources. This leads directly to encounters with other people that can easily become confrontations.

    10- This applies to the use of 2-way radios. Out in the Sticks, nearly everyone has them. Sometimes you don't want to be found if the emergency or disaster you are fleeing from is still going on in the area you are traveling through. It might not be a First Responder who starts listening in on your conversation if you're traveling with others. (But that's just one example.)

    11- This one speaks for itself. Resources might start getting scarce or a recently deceased individual might have something you need because you either lost it, or forgot to put it in your BOB or GHB.

    12- More of a take care of it now rather than when the brown stuff hits the fan... or the solar flare hits the Grid, and takes a good chunk of it down; maybe in your neck of the woods.
    Last edited by Monocrom; 06-05-2017 at 04:09 PM. Reason: Typo.
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity, here and there... Not the other way around!" - John Cleese.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Book Corner insights ~ Survivalist series by: A. American

    Well, I made a promise and I'm keeping it. If you see any lesson taught you'd like to discuss, feel free to do so. Updates in this topic by me will come more frequently as I'm nearly done with Book 5 in the series. Therefore...

    Book Two: "Surviving Home."

    1 - Stock up on food now before a disaster hits. Especially canned goods.

    2 - Use bribery to keep useful people on your side as allies. Food works best in a grid-down scenario.

    3 - Take action immediately if anyone, even a neighbor, threatens to kill you or your family. With law enforcement likely to be at or near zero during a nationwide long-term crisis, you need to neutralize any threat immediately and permanently.

    4 - In a grid-down Without Rule of Law (WROL) situation, never threaten to kill anyone. In such a situation, folks are very likely to take your idle threat seriously, and deal with it on their own.

    5 - Only buy 4x4 SUVs. If things get bad later on, you'll be glad you did.

    6 - If you have food, don't advertise that fact. If you kill a deer, don't leave it up in full view of hungry neighbors. If a food program is set up to dole out meals to the community, get some. Even if you have plenty at home. Otherwise, neighbors are likely to talk about how you didn't participate because you have plenty at home. To them, you are hoarding food that should be distributed to everyone. Even though you bought that food long ago with your hard-earned money.

    7 - Stock up on not just food, but all sorts of different types of batteries.

    8 - If your neighbors distrust you, do what you can to lessen that. Even little gestures help.

    9 - Be ready at a moment's notice to Bug Out if necessary.

    10- Don't wait around for bad stuff to happen. Bug out immediately when you get a warning that things are getting ready to seriously go bad.

    11- Bury or hide food, weapons and ammo to retrieve later.

    12- If there's room at your home, buy 10 LB. bags of rice, and beans. Store in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Place in 5 gallon buckets with lids.

    13- Store a great deal of salt as well.

    14- You can re-use gauze by boiling it, then letting it hang to dry.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Unlike Book One, I feel that no commentary by me is needed this time. These are all excellent lessons in Book Two.
    Last edited by Monocrom; 06-29-2017 at 11:23 AM. Reason: Clarification.
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity, here and there... Not the other way around!" - John Cleese.

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    Default Re: Book Corner insights ~ Survivalist series by: A. American

    If I can add this to this, I would suggest everyone read (One Second After) by William R Forstchen and then his next book (One Year After). These books deal with a EMP attack on the U.S. and what people have to do to live. Yes there are Pro's and Con's to if it can happen. But better be prepared than not and this includes getting home from work or getting to some other place with friends you can trust. With it can happen from a massive Solar Flare or a certain kind of bomb set off off by some country.
    Just some things to think about what you carry.
    Stay safe

  7. #7

    Default Re: Book Corner insights ~ Survivalist series by: A. American

    CPF does have a book recommendation topic. I've read all three books in the series. While The first is going to become a later American classic, the 2nd was considerably weaker, and the last (while wrapping up the story in a realistic way), was even overall weaker still.

    However, I'd like to leave this specific topic to deal with ONLY the 7 Book Survivalist series as mentioned in the topic title. I believe StarHalo's topic mentioned above would be a more appropriate place for discussing recommendations of related works from other authors.

    Here's the link below. Check it out, I think you'll like it.

    http://www.candlepowerforums.com/vb/...commend-A-Book
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity, here and there... Not the other way around!" - John Cleese.

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    Default Re: Book Corner insights ~ Survivalist series by: A. American

    Thank You, yes I realized that but thought about the preparedness of it in one way of what we carry.

    Good topic.

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    Default Re: Book Corner insights ~ Survivalist series by: A. American

    Monocrom- Two thoughts on your earlier posts- One, the less tactical your pack (and other gear) look, the better off you'll be. I'll take my olive green hiking pack any day of the week. Compartmentalize on a budget- Ziplock bags. Second, even "bear spray" may not be readily available in certain areas due to the political climate, but cans of the 25 foot range wasp and hornet spray are pretty much universally available at Home Depot type stores, and are cheap enough to practice with to get an idea of what they can and can't do. YMMV, my $.02, standard "You're on your own hook" disclaimers, etc... Seems like a good topic, be interesting to read more. I have not read the series yet.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Book Corner insights ~ Survivalist series by: A. American

    Quote Originally Posted by scout24 View Post
    Monocrom- Two thoughts on your earlier posts- One, the less tactical your pack (and other gear) look, the better off you'll be. I'll take my olive green hiking pack any day of the week. Compartmentalize on a budget- Ziplock bags. Second, even "bear spray" may not be readily available in certain areas due to the political climate, but cans of the 25 foot range wasp and hornet spray are pretty much universally available at Home Depot type stores, and are cheap enough to practice with to get an idea of what they can and can't do. YMMV, my $.02, standard "You're on your own hook" disclaimers, etc... Seems like a good topic, be interesting to read more. I have not read the series yet.
    Ultimately, I have to agree about non-military looking packs and gear. This is one I've been pondering over the last few weeks. While it does exclude some very good packs, looking like just a hiker is better in a Grid Down scenario as depicted in the books. Even in a localized emergency, it's better to look like everyone else than as an Operator.

    The larger Ziplock freezer bags especially are a good idea for organizing gear into sections. I have an excellent compact First-Aid kit from REI. Trouble is, it's just a First-Aid kit. Going to add items to it to make it into a very good all-around trauma kit. Ironically, the easiest way is to put those individual trauma items in a large freezer bag, then put the First-Aid kit next to them in the same bag. Not very tacti-cool, but that'll work.

    My only issue with cans of wasp spray is that they can easily cause permanent blindness if sprayed directly into someone's eyes. Some who rely on them don't realize that. But I think a lot of others are fully aware of it. Personally, if someone is doing something in which a Defender would be fully legally justified in shooting them with a gun; then they're doing something in which spraying them would be just as equally justified. Any sort of practice session with inanimate targets would best be done with a good pair of goggles on.

    The ironic thing with Bear spray is that it's sometimes surprisingly available (legally) in otherwise restrictive jurisdictions. While the wasp sprays are an alternative, I think folks should attempt to get the Bear sprays first. If you end up in the woods while bugging out, which is very likely, you might just actually need it for bears.

    I do wish cost wasn't an issue. Sadly it is. I've only see Bear spray available locally at REI for $45.oo a canister. Large canister, but still...

    And thank you. Hopefully others will enjoy this topic as well.
    Last edited by Monocrom; 07-02-2017 at 07:55 AM. Reason: Typo.
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity, here and there... Not the other way around!" - John Cleese.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Book Corner insights ~ Survivalist series by: A. American

    I think it is a good idea to be physically capable. I have been in really bad shape and now in reasonable condition. There is a world of options open when you're in better shape. For example during an outing I drove from camp then the van died. There was another car but no one answered their phones back at camp so I did a night run though the roads, abandoned tracks and finally trails back to camp. Maybe 5 miles. Not far but I wasn't even stressed running it. I can do 10 miles jogging with a pack and unless it was very hot wouldn't be all that stressed. Could run 20 in a pinch but gotta have plenty of water in the sun. Same applies to strength training. I workout in the gym and at times pack 5 gallon water jugs to increase pack weight though tend to dump them on the downhill return to save my knees. Good cardio is like having a super power compared to bad. Once would get winded walking up stairs. Not anymore. I think being in better shape also deters violent encounters. That is also the reason why I have guns. Spent enough time in the woods to know if something looks like prey aka a victim that's what it is. Skills are important as well. We want to buy the latest and greatest gear but survival skills don't cost too much more than time learning. It is a good confidence builder as well.
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    Default Re: Book Corner insights ~ Survivalist series by: A. American

    On a side note note sure I agree with the "gray man"
    theory. I don't think it matters if someone has a Dora the Explorer pack or
    military one. I think the person matters more. That said when going to some
    large gatherings/events I am avoiding larger backpacks all together favoring lower profile hydration packs. Will
    even use a man purse. LOL. Laws being what they are because terrorist concerns. The gear you have on hand beats the stuff at home. If we knew the exact time and place of an ER we would be someplace else.
    The TK20. Yes it still rocks.

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    Default Re: Book Corner insights ~ Survivalist series by: A. American

    Very good resource here! Thanks for sharing guys!

    Quote Originally Posted by Monocrom View Post

    12- If there's room at your home, buy 10 LB. bags of rice, and beans. Store in mylar bags with oxygen absorbers. Place in 5 gallon buckets with lids.
    Curious about this ^^ How long could the rice stay fresh and edible if stored in this condition?

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    Default Re: Book Corner insights ~ Survivalist series by: A. American

    Xdayv- It is rather dependant on storage temp- the cooler the better. Typical home here in the Northeast USA? 5 years plus. 10, you'd be doing well. I've eaten rice stored 5 years that way with no issues.

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    Default Re: Book Corner insights ~ Survivalist series by: A. American

    Here is a comparison between standard spray sold for dogs and a larger canister of bear spray. I read someplace the dog spray could work on black bears. But don't really know however did and still do carry it. Photo from our bear spray thread. Yea we got one of those on CPF.

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    Default Re: Book Corner insights ~ Survivalist series by: A. American

    Quote Originally Posted by Woods Walker View Post
    Here is a comparison between standard spray sold for dogs and a larger canister of bear spray. I read someplace the dog spray could work on black bears. But don't really know however did and still do carry it. Photo from our bear spray thread. Yea we got one of those on CPF.

    And thats why I love CPF. Great stuff walker...

  17. #17

    Default Re: Book Corner insights ~ Survivalist series by: A. American

    Quote Originally Posted by Woods Walker View Post
    On a side note note sure I agree with the "gray man" theory. I don't think it matters if someone has a Dora the Explorer pack or
    military one. I think the person matters more...
    The Gray Man concept is all about blending in. Unless there's a military base nearby and military packs are common as dirt, a hiker's pack is going to be the gray man option in the vast majority of locations. That's the thing, look at everyone else and copy them.

    Perfect example is the FBI in the 1950s compared to the 1960s. During the former decade, most men wore suits, ties, and hats. With short neat haircuts. Undercover agents told to work a crowd at political events, blended right in. Then the next decade, you had a radical shift in clothing styles. Those same agents who showed up in suits, ties, hats, and short, neat haircuts completely stood out compared to hippies and the clothing style associated with them.

    That's what Gray Man is all about. In the unlikely event all men start sporting pink hair, wearing clown noses, and ballerina outfits; all I can say is get some pink food coloring, visit a Halloween shop, and get yourself a nice tutu.
    Last edited by Monocrom; 07-07-2017 at 06:08 PM. Reason: Clarification.
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity, here and there... Not the other way around!" - John Cleese.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Book Corner insights ~ Survivalist series by: A. American

    Book Three: "Escaping Home."

    1 - Don't trust Government officials.

    2 - Houses with water filters have potassium permanganate inside (purple stuff). Can be used for water purification.

    3 - Get at least a couple of spare lead acid batteries for after things go horrendously bad. Store them dry with the electrolyte kept separate.

    4 - No soap? clean hands before eating with a tiny bit of bleach and plenty of water.

    5 - Don't trust someone who is weak-willed.

    6 - NEVER tell anyone about your specific Bug Out location. Especially if you're getting ready to Bug out!

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    1 - That one is for everyone to decide for themselves.

    2 - Unfortunately the novel does not go into detail of how to properly use the purple stuff for that.

    3 - Again, know what you're doing before doing this; and be sure to have the room for storage.

    4 - An option to avoid getting sick. But yeah, stock up on soap, toiletries, hygiene supplies, etc. (Especially feminine hygiene supplies for your wife, daughters, mom, sister, etc.)

    5 - Good advice. In a messed up situation, such an individual if threatened or in danger will simply give you up. Your Bug Out Location (BOL) has supplies. They won't be there because that weak-willed friend talked to save his own skin.

    6 - See #5. But also, when desperate due to any number of scenarios, a friend might decide that his lack of preparedness means he should head to your BOL and take what is your's to keep HIS family fed and safe.
    "The World is insane. With tiny spots of sanity, here and there... Not the other way around!" - John Cleese.

  19. #19
    *Flashaholic* StarHalo's Avatar
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    Default Re: Book Corner insights ~ Survivalist series by: A. American

    Should also mention: Not to sidetrack the thread or directly violate the other books rule, but do be aware that Amazon's selection of SHTF survival books from Kindle authors (people who are just publishing through us) is truly massive and guaranteed to dwarf anything you'd find at your local library or shop. The usual big bushcraft books, first aid, food storage, etc, and plenty more detailed subject-specific books, like EMP planning, gray man technique, cache building, etc. The more you search the more you'll see..

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