Inflation Alert and Book Review from TM in Arkansas

First, a price increase is coming to your favorite bookseller. One of the premier book printing and distributing companies in the world has announced a 10% price increase in their print-on-demand and handling fees effective February 8, 2016. Additionally, products shipping from the UK will see freight charges increase by 3-4%. The freight charges will be determined based on service level at the time of order.

This printing increase is on top of the 5% rate increase announced by UPS effective December 28, 2015 and a similar price increase by FedEx effective in January 2016. The USPS has a full menu of services on the website showing their varied price increase. The price of mailing a letter is unchanged. Package rates are going up.

I urge you to review your reading wish list and order what you need as quickly as possible from your favorite bookseller. The publishers I have spoken to are going to pass the extra costs on to the buyer/reader effective January 29, 2016, due to billing cycles.

Book Review:

The Historical Dictionary of the Russian Civil Wars, 1916-1926
© Jonathan D. Smele 2015
Published by the Rowman & Littlefield Publ. Group, Inc., Lanham, Maryland 20706
ISBN: 978-1-4422-5280-6 (Hardback) $250.00 US Kindle $237.50

Wait! Do not scroll on down the page of this blog wondering why this book is being reviewed for preppers. The war in question began a century ago. The participants are dead. The governments are dead. So who cares? Read on and I will tell you why the story has many lessons for preppers.

First, the book itself is a two-volume work with 1470 pages, including comprehensive introduction, almost two thousand alphabetical entries, extensive bibliography, chronology, three appendixes, glossary, and list of acronyms and abbreviations.

This publisher also has a sizable offering of Historical Dictionaries of War, Revolution, and Civil Unrest books on their website at covering most continents and historical periods. Check it out for your particular field of interest.

The only negative I can see is the price, which will keep it out of most personal libraries. I suggest you petition your local library to add a copy to its research section as soon as possible. Serious scholars needing a personal copy should put this on their gift list or wish list for their birthday or anniversary. It is that good.

The 4-page Reader’s Note is an excellent primer on the difficulties of writing and researching this subject due to the usage of a different calendar and the various translation styles.

The 38-page bibliography is a treasure trove for anyone wanting more in-depth information.

Each of the almost two thousand alphabetical listings is more than just a name and a short definition. The entries are so complete this work could easily be called an encyclopedia instead of a dictionary. Inside each entry are boldface cross references to terms with their own listing in the books. Think of them as hyperlinks on paper, and they are quite useful. When you begin connecting these dots, you will need a lot of notepaper.

I have checked numerous entries for accuracies and have found no discrepancies.

The 62-page introduction with 19-pages of footnotes is an excellent introduction to the subject for beginners. This is, I hope, a taste of what is in store for us in the author’s forthcoming book The ‘Russian’ Civil Wars 1916-1926: Ten Years That Shook the World to be published in February 2016. The author is quick to tell us the Russian Civil War did not end in 1920, as per most popular publications. It dragged on for an entire decade. Two and a half million military combatants died in the fighting. Another six million civilians died of hunger, disease, and another two million from terroristic actions. They’re terrible numbers, but civil wars are always bloody and civilians usually bear the brunt. It was a struggle to the death marked with horrific acts of violence on all sides. In total, it was the bloodiest civil war on record.

There were essentially four ‘Russian’ adversaries divided into Red communists/Bolsheviks, White reactionaries/monarchists, Green peasants, and Black anarchists. Several nations, including the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Great Britain, Turkey, Poland, and Romania invaded the former Russian Empire during this time for a variety of reasons and added to the confusion and mayhem. Interesting reading in and of itself.

So, why should we as preppers care about such things? The military history aspect is interesting to those so inclined, but what about ordinary folks trying to avoid a calamity in the near future? Simply put, the people involved experienced their personal man-made TEOTWAWKI. Reading their stories gives us firsthand information on how to survive such a catastrophe when it is our turn. There were no FEMA camps, Red Cross shelters, or National Guard trucks loaded with emergency supplies. The then young technology of telephones was essentially nonexistent in most of Russia. The soldiers were forced to live off the land, so they took whatever food and supplies they found from the civilians at the point of a gun. The civilians were left to starve. How did they survive? What did they do for potable water? How did they survive Russia’s well-known winters? The answers to these questions are pertinent today.

The civil war created thousands of refugees looking for sanctuary in any nation willing to take them in. Not all of those refugees were valid. Some were communist agents using the diaspora as a cover for sabotage, spy missions, and to establish sleeper cells by taking advantage of the charity of others. We now have the same situation with the civil war in Syria. What is being done today to face the threat of refugees with bad intentions?

My grandparents endured the Great Depression in the USA and the rationing of World War II. Talking to them and reading books on the subject taught me the value of a well-stocked pantry. Reading about the civil wars in Russia, Germany, Hungary, and other Eastern European nations during the past century has taught me the value of beans, bullets, Band-Aids, and the fourth B– books. We can learn from other people’s experiences to better prepare ourselves for the emergencies/catastrophes of our lives, and these books are a great place to start.