John Hawkwood’s Book Review: A Failure of Civility

Back at the dawn of time, when I was commissioned in the Army Infantry, I reported to Fort Benning, Georgia for my officer’s basic course. As part of our processing, each lieutenant received two large boxes of books. There were many books on weapons systems; from the M16 and M1911 to the .50 caliber Browning Machine Gun. Not forgotten were mines, demolitions, and rocket and missile systems. There were also manuals for vehicles and maintenance, first aid and hygiene, and books for subjects I no longer can recall. Most interesting to me were the Field Manuals (FMs) for tactical operations. These started with individual movement and went up to company and battalion operations. These FMs are all readily available, but have limited value to the civilian prepper.  FMs are written for a large organization called the United States Army. The Army has defined units, a chain of command, transportation, medical support, logistics, etc. that dictate tactical doctrine. In short, Army manuals are written for Armies. Preppers are better served to get training and information designed and formatted for the civilian.

Over the next few months I’m going to review a number of books that are, in my opinion, more accessible, current, and applicable for someone wanting to protect family and friends from today’s threats and tomorrow’s unknowns. The first of these is A Failure of Civility. This is a big book and comprehensive in its coverage. Let me say at the outset, this book is not just a tactical guide. Frankly most preppers need to start before any tactical training and consider what their situation is, what resources they might be able to rely on, and what their objectives should be. That is exactly where the authors of this start. In fact, the first chapter is, “In the Beginning…” But this book is so full of information that it includes a valuable chart before the title page. The two-page chart inside the front cover lists 22 possible catastrophes. For each possible event there are 13 possible consequences. So if tornados are a threat you’re concerned about, you can assess the impact it would have on your family and community. The chart includes much more than natural disasters; financial collapse, class riots, EMP events, and many others are listed. This information can be a roadmap for anyone planning for worst case scenarios.

This is a good place to mention the subtitle of the book. “How to Defend and Protect You, your family, friends, neighborhood and America during a disaster or crisis.” I don’t know of another book that takes this approach. Bugging out is not a practical solution for most people. Only a minority of people have the wherewithal and the foresight to establish an alternate home (base of operations) that is fully equipped and provisioned. Staying at home, in a true societal collapse, can work. Success will be dependent on preparations and cooperation. A Failure of Civility shows the importance of neighbors and suggests solutions to defensive problems that will need to be addressed.

There are chapters on weapons, medical concerns, survival psychology, and yes, even on travel should bugging out be required.  No single book can provide all the answers. This book is an excellent starting place for someone trying to know where to start and how to understand what might happen when the unthinkable becomes reality. It also has a place with the advanced prepper or experienced person. We all have holes in our knowledge and need checks on what we think we know. In my opinion, this is a must have book for anyone who is serious about protecting their family.

The authors suggest putting the book in a sealed plastic bag when it’s not being read. That is not bad advice for a book that will be highly valued in an emergency. Just don’t put it in a bag until after you’ve read and understood the lessons it contains.

A Failure of Civility is copyright 2012 by AFOC, LLC. The ISBN is 978-0-615-67010-2.