Reviewing Survival Literature

I’ve been reading a bunch of survivalist literature lately and I thought I should write some reviews. But as I got ready to write my first ones I thought about some over arching things that need to be talked about first.

Fiction vs. How To

There are two kinds of books I’ve been reading. One are fictional stories about survival situations, the other are how to survive non-fiction books. Probably the best example of this are two books by the same author. Both by James Wesley Rawles Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse and How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It.

While Rawles, the man behind the very good Survival Blog, says Patriots is a poorly disguised survival manual, it really isn’t a manual. Hence his creation of How To Survive TEOTWAWKI. Other examples of how to books are Neil Strauss’ Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life(I’ve already reviewed Emergency) , and Fernando Ferfal Aguirre’s The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse. When reviewing how to books I have talk about how the information is presented, how applicable it is, what kind of disaster it is talking about and how accurate I think it is.

When it comes to fiction like, Patriots and books like Terri Blackstock’s Last Light and William R. Forstchen’s One Second After, you give some leaway for the how to aspects of it, and also have talk about how believable the scenario is. Plus the kind of characters that are in the books make a difference.

Prepared Vs Unprepared

When looking at fiction works, you have to take into account what kind of characters are in the book. Are they, like Patriots, hard core suvivalists? Or are they average middle class suburbanites taken completely by surprise, like in Last Light? Or is a small town in the middle of now where Kansas like Jericho?

Survivalists – while I’ll admit to considering myself – are often very hard to stuff that happens in non-survivalist literature. Hence why I wrote my article “In Defense of Jericho“. Non-survivalist will act differently than those prepared.

Also in general survivalist have an idea of how things will go that non-survivalist may not have. Which needs to be talked about.


Talking about how I think things would have gone. What I think is realistic is a bit of an exercise in futility. Not because I don’t have ideas, just like the authors of the books, but because no one really knows. Every situation is different, every place is different, and people are different. So saying something won’t happen like this is really just opinion. Its opinion when the authors say it and its opinion when I disagree with them. But we can all learn from each other’s perspective.

That’s where I’ll be coming from as I review first Rawles books and Blackstock’s Last Light over the coming weeks.

One Comment

  1. Orlandy says:

    It always pays to be prepared, no matter what the situation. Having said that, you never know how you’re going to react in a situation – especially if it is dangerous, until it happens. Even the most informed student can go to pieces under pressure. I think practical experience (preferably in a controlled training environment) is invaluable to back up any amount of reading.
    .-= Orlandy´s last blog ..Flights To France Amazing Road Signs =-.

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