Letter Re: Self Sufficiency Christmas Gifts on a Budget

Dear Mr. Rawles,
My mom gave me a copy of your novel “Patriots” a couple years ago for Christmas. I am married but because college debt and being unemployed for seven months before finding my next job my wife and I do not have much money, (BTW, after reading your book my wife and I saved every penny we could and are now debt free) I have been trying to stash away survival gear, beans, bullets and band-aids, and I have been looking for affordable survival books. In my search for inexpensive books I found out that I could download books using books.Google.com for free as long as the copyright is out of date. [JWR Adds: The general rule in the U.S. is that books printed before 1923 are considered out of copyright. This law won’t change until 2019, when the copyright threshold will then roll forward one year, each year.] This led me to search for practical books of everyday life that were written in the 1800s. One of the best so far has been by Henry Stephens on farming. He wrote a three-volume book called “The Book of The Farm.” I was able to download the first two volumes but I am unable to find the third volume. Even so there’s over 1,000 pages of useful farming information everything from building plans for barns and houses to drainage ditches to caring for livestock. [JWR Adds: Keep in mind that the safety standards of a century ago were far more lax than today’s, so all the usual safety provisos on poisons, fire, crushing, un-warded sharp blades, noxious fumes, carcinogens, et cetera all apply!]

I have decided to print and bind over 30 books written from 1779 to 1908 and give them as gifts to my family. This helps because even though a couple of my family members have a survival mindset not all of them do. The topics of books I have chosen are blacksmithing, tanning, textiles, farming, medical, building, toolmaking, fishing, children’s games, biographies and history books. The best part of these books is that they are written before everything was powered by electricity. If we expect a TEOTWAWKI situation that puts us back into the 1840s technology, which is what I am prepping for, these books will become invaluable. I hope this helps others who like me can’t afford much but still want to prepare and learn. Keep your powder dry, Richard C.