Monday, 15 October 2012

Book Review - Patriots: Surviving the coming collapse.

By James W Rawles

I could not put this book down. I read all 400-something pages in about two days, wrapped around various other commitments. It’s a brilliantly written piece, being part novel and part legitimate survival manual.
It’s highly detailed about the prepping aspect of the focal group’s lives, mentioning specifics about their equipment, upgrades, methodology, and even differences in opinion between group members. It also raised a couple of issues which most people (myself included) wouldn’t think of when prepping, such as the need for contraception, as well as the advantages of pets.
Further to this, the main story is split by accounts of the actions of several groups, and progresses nicely through stages of reliance, first on the groups stored food, then later on their abilities to hunt and farm, and finally reliance on a more militaristic model of society, and a focus on interdependence between various groups and retreats.
It was also sufficiently well written to provoke an emotional response when negative consequences befell the group, and I applaude the author for not glossing over non-action aspects of the scenario, such as child-birth within the group (a likely scenario to face in a prolonged retreat situation).
I would have liked to see more accounts of less prepared characters. I feel a lot could have been done exploring the trials faced by those without the extensive preparations available to the Group/the Templars. Several small groups were encountered, but not interacted with for long.
One aspect of the book I found unrelatable was the heavy emphasis on the religion of the group. Whilst it is understandable that Mr. Rawles, a firm Christian, is incorporating this into his prepping, and I hope I would make similar decisions in the same situation, it made it difficult for me, as an atheist, to relate to the group, with the frequent mentions of their prayers and “Christian duty”.
Another detracting factor was that, whilst the detail of the book lends well to it, and provides useful (and usable) information, it is possible to get bogged-down in it in parts, and I ended up skipping almost the entire section on the minutiae of radio-operation SOPs.
Finally, it was interesting to see some of the subtle parallels to American history scattered throughout the book, specifically the War of Independence, and the American Civil War.
All-in-all though, this is an excellent book, and a highly recommended read, both for experienced preppers and those just starting out (as is Mr. Rawles blog at, although for non-Americans some additional research will be necessary if you’re unfamiliar with the Constitution and/or American history.

Rating: 4/5

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