October 15, 2015

The Provident Prepper and Tools for Survival - Book Reviews

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If you mention "prepping" to most people, my hunch is that they'll immediately conjure up an image of a family in a concrete bunker surrounded by shelves and shelves of canned goods (and, for a laugh, no can opener). Or maybe they'll think of Ted Nugent eating a deer head. Either way, people seem to see prepping as something that strange, reclusive "what's he building in there" kind of people do. Honestly, I think this is unfortunate. Maybe it's because I grew up at the end of a long dirt road in Vermont, and it wasn't uncommon for us to be snowed in with no power for three or four days at a stretch, but I think that having non-perishible food on hand, a load of batteries, flashlights, and first aid supplies (just to name a few things), and a plan (even if it's a pretty vague one) makes for a whole lot of common sense.

So recently I was sent two books along this line of thinking. The Provident Prepper: A Common-Sense Guide to Preparing for Emergencies, by Kylene and Jonathan Jones and Tools for Survival, by James Wesley Rawles.

The Provident Prepper is a very comprehensive look at disaster preparedness. It covers everything from how to build a root cellar to water purification to sheltering in hot and cold weather to emergency heating to home protection. The book has a nice conversational tone, which makes it very easy to read. It's also organized well, so it's simple to flip to whatever section you're interested in (and also to skip those that you're not).

One thing that I liked about it is that it provides information in such a way that you can take from it what you want. The authors are not dictating some master plan that you must follow or else, but rather, they're laying out all of the possibilities in such a way that you can "salad bar" the info. What I'm saying is that this book is going to be helpful whether you're someone who is interested in being prepared for a big winter storm or if you're someone who wants to be ready for an EMP (note: my advice is not to go down the EMP rabbit hole right before bed). The book is designed really for anyone who wants a leg up if and when the you-know-what hits the fan, even if that you-know-what is a simple power outage from a downed tree.

And why not? There are enough simple steps to take that hardly cost a thing. Even if you're not into the EMP, disease epidemic, cities-turned-to-dust scenarios, just look at what the weather does on a yearly basis. I was in the Boston area last winter and it was a total mess, the city was practically shut down, and that's nothing close to what a straight-on hit from a hurricane can do. It just makes sense to spend the time to think some of this stuff through, even if all you do is get yourself a nice headlamp and a few extra cans of chicken soup.

Tools for Survival, the second book, by James Wesley Rawles, is basically a list of items to have on hand if the goin' gets tough. Like the Provident Prepper, its format makes it more of something to page through rather than read cover to cover. There is a ton of info in the book, and if you're a hands on, active tool user, you find quite a few sections that you already know through and through. Other sections, like the ones on food preservation and sewing may be entirely new. Because tools and gear are released and updated at such a quick pace, the book remains vague on specific recommendations, but it does give a sense of what features or peculiarities to look for. So in the end, I see this one as a starting point, rather than an ending one. This provides the list of gear, but you'll have to do some research on your own in order to really zero in on the best model for you.

Provident Prepper at Amazon
Tools for Survival at Amazon

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Posted by Doug Mahoney at October 15, 2015 8:20 AM
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