Friday, August 8, 2014

The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse

Here is my review of Fernando "Ferfal" Aguirre's first book, The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse. It is the same review (with a few typos corrected) I posted on after I read the book last year. 

Finally, someone has written a realistic survival guide for economic hard times. Unlike most survival guides (at least the ones I've seen) that give lots of wilderness survival tips & bushcraft ideas, and indulge in off-the-grid mountain retreat fantasies, this one gives practical, realistic advice for surviving an economic crisis while living in civilization, not hiding from it.

Based on his experiences having lived through the collapse of Argentina's economy and the socialist dictatorship that has since emerged, Fernando Aguirre doesn't rely on theories of what might happen, but gives lots of concrete examples of what actually happened during and after an economic collapse.

Because of the high crimes rates during and post-collapse, Aguirre gives over a good portion of his book to home security, situational awareness, and self-defense. There is even a section on defensive (and offensive) driving to avoid car jackings, roadblocks, and other dangers of the road.

He also talks about financial problems, such as Argentina's experiences with a shut-down of the banks and electronic financial transactions (think no ATMs or credit card/debit transactions), and the government imposed "corralito" in which the government froze and took over the people's bank accounts for about a year, only allowing very limited withdrawals. He also talks about the reality and dangers of bartering (smashing to pieces many survivalist theories of a new barter economy emerging and replacing fiat money), explains why cash is king even during an economic collapse, teaches the art of haggling, and raises interesting points on the importance of gold and silver (and how to use them).

He discusses many other issues, too - from EDC gear, bug-out bags, and food & water storage, to dogs, real estate, & jobs.

One key theme that runs throughout the book is the need to have the right mental attitude and toughness to survive.

What I like most about the book is that Aguirre backs up everything he says with examples from his own experiences and the experiences of others in Argentina that have lived through an economic collapse. This makes to book firmly entrenched in reality rather than theory, and makes it stand out as the best survival/prepping book I've ever read.

Book Review: Emergency Food Storage and Survival Handbook
Over the last couple of years, I've been reading every book I can get my hands on that may help me prepare for the very difficult times that lie ahead - survivalist handbooks, homesteading tomes, books offering everything from financial advice to old-time country skills. The book I am discussing in this review fits the category of a "prepping" guide, and is one of the best in that category that I have found to date.

Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook by Peggy Layton is not a book detailing hard-core survival skills in the midst of a disaster or homesteading advice for surviving over a long-term economic crisis. Rather, it is a book about preparing ("prepping" as some would say) for temporary disruptions in the comforts of civilization.

What would you do if you could not buy any food at a restaurant or grocery store for a week or two? What if the seemingly endless supply of clean water from your local waterworks suddenly ceased for a few days? What if the local Wal-mart, Target and other big-box stores closed their doors? What if the Post Office, FedEx and UPS no longer delivered to your neighborhood? What if you had no gas for your car, and no one else did either, and you couldn't go to work, or shopping, or even to your doctor?

There are a hundred and one reasons why such a scenario might come to pass - from natural disasters to political & economic turmoil. Could you survive more than a day or two without all the comforts of civilization that we all take for granted? Peggy Layton's book will help you prepare for those difficult times.

Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook covers preparing for short-term disasters, with detailed information and lists for everything from an emergency car kit, to a 72-hour emergency kit (aka "bug out" kit), to building stockpiles of food, water, medicine and other necessities. Included in the book is a section on ideas for apartment dwellers and others with little storage space.

But the book is more than just lists of things to buy. Also discussed are how to obtain, store, organize, rotate and use the items. There is a recipe section for what do do with all that long-term food storage, along with information on how to use powdered milk, how to cook whole wheat, tips for using rice and so forth.

The thing that impressed me the most with this book it that it is very detailed without being overly-complicated (many other prepping books I've seen are either too general, lacking needed details, or way too complicated, and boring, for the average person).

The only problem I have with the book is the Resource Guide near the end. Because the book was written back in 2002, many of the web addresses and even physical addresses for the various stores and companies are out of date.

Here is the Table of Contents:


Chapter 1: Preparing for short-term emergencies

Chapter 2:  Storing water for emergency use

Chapter 3: Economics of long-term emergency storage

Chapter 4: Logistics of long-term emergency storage

Chapter 5: Building your stockpile of food & other necessities

Chapter 6: Obtaining food storage

Chapter 7: Implementing your food storage program

Chapter 8: Recipes using stored foods

Resource Guide