Letter Re: Two Book Recommendations

Mr. Rawles, I have just finished “Hard Times” by Studs Terkel, an oral history of the Great Depression, and recommend it to SurvivalBlog readers. It is a fascinating chronicle, a series of narratives from people who lived through it from all walks of life, and it really communicates a sense of what desperate times can be like. Most Americans have forgotten this and little is taught in schools. For example, there are several narratives that dealt with a farmers uprising in Northwestern Iowa. Apparently a local judge was too quick to bang the foreclosure gavel and a mob had his head in a noose before being talked down. The book also gives some rather harrowing accounts of what a financial collapse is really like and how it affects folks. I am also in the process of reading “My Side of the Mountain” [by Jean Craighead George] to my seven year old son. I’d forgotten how wonderful this book is, chronicling the efforts of a 12 year old boy to live off the land in upstate New York. It provides a lot of information about edible plants and ways to get by in the wild, and has really captured my son’s … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Useful LifeHacker Articles

Mr. Rawles: There are so many great and not-so-great ideas on the LifeHacker site including this one I found showing you how to use C cell batteries in place of a D cell compartment in an emergency situation: There are some other interesting things on this site like creating make-shift air conditioning systems using cold well water (others have made emergency air conditioners using beverage coolers, fans and copper coils): DIY Heat Exchanger and Make Your Own Air Conditioner. There is this one showing you how someone made hand washing more efficient while filling the tank of his toilet. [JWR Adds: I would recommend skipping this one. The implementation shown uses plywood which cannot be kept sanitary. It also might result in a smelly toilet tank if you use an non-chlorinated water source such as well water or spring water.] And here’s one with a video demonstrating how one can cheaply acquire 8 – 1.5v button cell batteries from 1 – A23 12v battery: Well, there’s enough on this LifeHacker site to keep you busy for some time. Enjoy!, – Tanker

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Letter Re: The “Sneaky Uses” Books

Sir: Let me start with a thank you for such an awesome resource! I’ve finally sent my 10 Cent Challenge [voluntary subscription payment.] I didn’t feel right e-mailing you with this until I got it out. Since finding your site (from the link at] Captain Dave’s Survival Center), I’ve been devouring the info here, as well as “Patriots” (read twice, and I’m starting it for the third time) and the “Rawles Gets You Ready” preparedness course. I’ve also just finished reading “The Alpha Strategy”–that you recommended in both the blog and in the preparedness course. Tremendously eye opening stuff. You’ve radically changed my view on things like firearms ownership, preparedness, and charity. I can’t express with words how much my world view has changed since finding this. Again, thank you. Anyway, down to business: I’m a computer guy by trade, and while perusing ThinkGeek.com I found two books titled:“Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things” (ISBN: 0740738593) and “Sneakier Uses for Everyday Things” (ISBN: 0740754963). While most of the info contained within is of marginal use, I found “making plastic (and glue) from milk (using vinegar)”, and “making a metal detector from a calculator (using a radio)”. There are other things like … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Positive Feedback on the “Rawles Gets You Ready” Preparedness Course

Mr. Rawles: I just wanted tell let you know how much I have enjoyed your “Rawles Gets You Ready” preparedness course. It was very informative and is going to really help my family get prepared for whatever may be in our future. I recently purchased the “SurvivalBlog: The Best of the Blog – Volume 1” and the Rawles on Retreats and Relocation book also and those were equally wonderful. The amount of information in your course was outstanding and has really jump started our family’s preparedness program. The covering of “A years supply of everything” angle was a unique approach and personally something I’ve wanted to accomplish for several years now. With this course I see that it is very attainable and also not as difficult as one might expect. My wife has been supportive of my new found hobby and her interest only grew as a result of reading your excellent publications with me. Thanks and God Bless, – J.D. in PRK

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Letter Re: Keeping Firearms Functioning in Extreme Cold Temperatures

Hi Jim, I’m in the middle of reading Roy E. Appleman’s book “East of Chosin“. It is an account of the tragic fate of the 31st Regimental Combat team during the Korean conflict. Several references talk about the soldiers weapons (especially M1 Carbines) locking up due to the extreme (-20 Fahrenheit or greater) cold. It mentioned how the Chinese weapons worked because they had little or no oil in them. I imagined those weapons had a short operational life without lubrication, but they worked when needed. What would you recommend to keep firearms functional in extreme cold? A dry/powdered lubricant? Sincerely, – Ron S. in Upstate New York JWR Replies: Thanks for mentioning this topic! It is particularly important fro SurvivalBlog readers, since firearms will surely be carried and used outdoors more frequently, post-TEOTWAWKI. The only sure method to keep firearms actions from binding in sub-zero weather is to completely de-lubricate the moving parts, using a spray can of carburetor cleaner solvent such as Gummout or Berryman’s B12 Chem Tool. (Wear rubber gloves!) and then re-lubricate, using a dry film lubricant such as Dri-Slide or similar molybdenum disulfide powder. Even when using these dry lubes, there is the chance that … Continue reading

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Letter Re: A Source for Unusual Technical Books

Mr. Rawles, Charles R. mentioned the book “Caveman Chemistry” by Kevin M Dunn. It is available from the Lindsay Publications “Technical Book” catalog. The catalog is filled with how-to books of every kind – many reprints of long out of print books. I can recommend the fine folks at Lindsay Publications as I have several of their books and have several more on my “to order” list. I’ve been satisfied with every one. Check them out on line at www.lindsaybks.com and order a catalog. Other than being a happy customer I am not affiliated with Lindsay Publications. While on the subject of books, Joel Skousen has several outstanding books on relocation, survival, building a secure home, etc. They are expensive but well worth the price. I greatly enjoyed “Patriots” and have loaned out my copy to over a dozen others, many of whom have purchased their own copy. I am in the process of saving up for a copy of the “Rawles Gets You Ready” preparedness course as well as the “Best of the Blog”. Thanks for a great Blog. – T.

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Letter Re: The Psychology of Denial in the Information Age

Jim: Good morning. I don’t know that I have seen any discussion on your blog on the psychology of denial–why folks aren’t more prepared. I acknowledge that it may not be the most vital topic, and that you are doing your part to get the word out, but I correspond to you on this topic in sheer frustration. Let me be more specific. I have friends and family members who make serious money in their chosen professions, many of whom are in the finance sector. Yet, when I raise the barest reference to preparation and our fragile infrastructure, it’s like I just started speaking in five-thousand year old Greek. They have ample resources to buy peace of mind with supplies and equipment that’s a fraction of their annual income, but they don’t. The world will go on merrily. They’ll never be a TEOTWAWKI. Somehow, in their mind it’s good financial sense to spend thousands on all manner of insurance (life, car, health, business), but dare suggest that they put away even two weeks worth of food and water, and I’m labeled as “out there.” Amazingly, this culture of denial persists even after Hurricane Katrina. They watched on their televisions as … Continue reading

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Book Excerpt: “Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse”

In response to a request to Matthew from Indiana, who wanted to know what my novel was like before ordering it, the following is an excerpt from the first chapter of the expanded (33 chapter) edition of my novel “Patriots”: On the last day of October, the Grays found that their phone was still working, but only for local calls. When they tried making long-distance calls, they got an “All circuits are busy now” recording, at all hours of the day or night. The next day, there was message advising that “All circuits will be restored shortly.” Two days later, there was no dial tone. By early November, there was almost continuous rioting and looting in every major city in the U.S. Due to the financial panic and rioting, the November election was “postponed” to January, but it never took place. Rioting grew so commonplace that riot locations were read off in a list—much like traffic reports—by news broadcasters. The police could not even begin to handle the situation. The National Guard was called out in most States, but less than half of the Guardsmen reported for duty. With law and order breaking down, most of them were too busy … Continue reading

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Two Letters Re: The Novel “Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse”

Jim, I recently received the updated version of “Patriots” a couple days ago. At first I was just going to read the new chapters, but after seeing that you gave it an overall update, I decided to just read the whole thing. So far I have been very impressed. (The two new chapters alone were worth the price of the book.) Not to mention the way everything else was updated. Way to go! You have done a very good job with this new edition, and I have already ordered a few more copies to have on hand as gifts. I have also just received the “Rawles Gets You Ready” preparedness course, and Rawles on Retreats and Relocation. Both look very good at first glance, and I’m looking forward to delving into them soon. BTW, I’m also looking forward to the release of the “Best of the Blog” book. – Gung Ho   Mr. Rawles: I read your book in two breathtaking and exciting days, it was impossible to put down. It was as if you took my worst nightmares, and word for word put them into a novel. I had been talking politics with a friend, as is normal for … Continue reading

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Letter Re: Robert A. Heinlein Didn’t Just Talk and Write About Preparedness

Dear Jim, I’m not sure if you have covered Robert A. Heinlein’s shelter that featured in his novel, “Farnham’s Freehold.” This site describes the house that Heinlein built in Colorado Springs before NORAD moved into the area And here’s an archived link of the shelter underneath, which included both air bottles and ventilation, escape routes, and antenna mounts.- Michael Z. Williamson

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Book Reviews: Last Light and Night Light, by Terri Blackstock

James: I am writing to recommend two novels that may be interest to your readers. Written by Terri Blackstock, I would like to recommend a series of two novels: Last Light and Night Light. These are novels that are written in a series, and while they can be read one at a time, are better read in sequence. As survival junkies, we are always in search of decent fiction centered around survival motifs – a rare genre of writing. Terri does a pretty good job of producing some entertaining and page-turning yarns. I will admit for those of us that are truly hard core, you may find yourself reverting to thoughts of primordial survival logistics as you read these novels (e.g., ” well, why didn’t they do this, or why didn’t they do that….), but written for the lay person, they have a high entertainment quotient., Also, they are really written as religious novels, more so than as a study in the art of survival pre se. As many of us are faith-based, this style of writing should not detract, but instead actually add to the enjoyment of the experience. From an editorial perspective, Terri’s writing style is fairly basic … Continue reading

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