I’m sorry that I haven’t posted much in this column in recent weeks. My time has been occupied with helping Jim, homeschooling our children, keeping house, getting our garden in, and caring for our livestock. (It is lambing and calving season, which can be hectic.) This leaves me little time to read many books from cover to cover. My integrity dictates that if I don’t read through an entire book, then I don’t want to mention it in my column. So I will only post reviews when I have read and enjoyed a book and I find it relevant to SurvivalBlog.
Here are the current top-most items on my perpetual bedside pile:
- The Survival Template by John A. Heatherly. This is one of those books that is “short but sweet” (just 58 pages). It is mostly at the conceptual level, and it is wonderfully succinct and concise. In some ways, it reminds me of Jeff Cooper’s book, Principles of Personal Defense. At just 80 pages, Cooper’s book was similarly succinct and concise. This book is chock full of information to prepare our minds and bodies for a lifetime of personal accomplishments through goal setting and steps that help achieve the goals in our daily lives which parallels a survival mindset in the event of a TEOTWAWKI scenario. Heatherly says :”The Object of this book is to provide a template, or model, to promote the development of a formidable, objective oriented mentality: a mental state that is not affected by negative conditions in any environment.” The information in this book is very important for everyone to incorporate into their daily lives. Without giving too much information away, Heatherly’s style is to have a quote from someone who has had to survive an horrible ordeal–Vietnam, The Holocaust, Siberia, etc. Then he expands on the topic of the quote by setting goals: day one, first week, one month, et cetera. One theme is the basics of life in a survival situation and the order to acquire them: build a shelter, start a fire, water, and food. Then the author parallels it with everyday life, today shop for groceries, make arrangements for vacation. Then plan for next week, two weeks, three weeks, a month. This is described for both a survival situation/”not rescued” yet it also parallels regular day to day week to week planning of your normal life. Heatherly describes planning for ten to fifteen years up to a whole lifetime. Some other topics are physical health: getting into shape, eating right and life-long goals, and your mental state of being. He also asks: What is in your memory that would help you stay sane and persevere in a dire situation: Memorized scripture, songs, games, stories, music, etc. He stresses that it is very important to have an active world of memories and imagination in our minds. No one can take that from you, so develop it! I highly recommend this book. It truly is a template for survival. Everyone would benefit from reading this book and implementing Heatherly’s ideas into their lives.
- Unlawful Intrusion by J.L. Maxwell. This novel was a very quick read of a futuristic society where all of our freedoms are removed through intense government regulations (some examples: one needs to apply for a license to bear a child–only high class citizens are approved, everyone’s caloric intake are regulated) and every step you take is monitored by watching eyes, i.e., thousands of beautiful metallic robotic butterflies dispersed throughout the city with one hovering outside your two-hundred story apartment building window. The story is about hiding protagonist Noah Cason’s wife’s unexpected pregnancy and their subsequent child raising from the eyes of the authorities, finding an underground society, living free and independent from the prying eyes of the government and an high adventure search for Noah’s wife and child. The book didn’t have much “survival/prepping” information on how to live in such a society or in the underground society, except on how to block your RFID cards from being read by monitors. It was an interesting read in projecting what our future could look like if we continue to allow the government to tighten its regulations of our lives. (God forbid!)
- The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare. I recently read this novel with our young’uns. We very much enjoyed it. Woven into the storyline is information on teaching children how to live off the land without aid of a gun. The book gave good detail on how to trap rabbits and quail, how to fish using a spear, make your own hooks, and and how to make subtle signs in woods to mark your path. I won’t tell much about the story because I don’t want to spoil it, but basically, it is about a thirteen year old young man, Matt, being left behind at his parent’s cabin in Maine, while his father returns to Massachusetts to get his wife and younger children. The father is delayed and Matt loses his gun, and meets the local Indians, who help him. One of the themes of the story examines the Native Americans view of land versus white man’s view of land ownership. The author just presents the two views without pushing one over the other which I highly respected. I highly recommend this book to be read to your children. I believe it’s reading level is rated 5th grade and up.