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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A Review of Survivors: A Novel of the Coming Collapse by James Wesley Rawles

A Review of Survivors: A Novel of the Coming Collapse by James Wesley Rawles

James Wesley Rawles runs Survival Blog,the best preparedness/survival web site on planet Earth. The web address is

James Wesley Rawles is also a first class writer. He has written a second fiction book, Survivors: A Novel of the Coming Collapse. If you liked Mr. Rawles first book Patriots, you will like Survivors. While the books are alike in some ways, there are some significant differences. This article will compare and contrast the books.

Many of the characters who were in Rawles first novel Patriots are also in Survivors. (The books are written in such a way that you do not have to read Patriots first to get what’s going on.)

For those of you who read Rawles’s first book, Patriots, you know that while it is a work of fiction, it is essentially a training manual as well. You learned something new in every chapter. The knowledge base Rawles possesses is incredible.

Survivors focuses a little more on the human side of survival during a TEOTWAWKI type event. Still, this book has a lot of good information in it. There are three chapters in the book that contain such high quality data that those three chapters are worth the price of the entire book. (I’m not going to tell you what chapters they are, as the purpose of this article is to get you to go out and buy a copy of Survivors.)

Survivors, like Patriots begins during a worldwide financial meltdown. Patriots focused mostly on what happens in the United States as a result of a global financial meltdown. In Survivors however, Rawles paints a very good picture of what happens all over the planet when the global financial meltdown occurs. There are characters who live in Afghanistan, Western Europe, Central America, and the United States. This is what really sets the book apart. It shows the financial meltdown not just from the perspective of a United States citizen, but from people in other countries. This brings us to the main character.

The main character in the book is a combat hardened veteran of the war in Afghanistan. As the worldwide economy collapses, he finds it hard to get home. What makes his situation worse is he has a bride back in the U.S.A. waiting to marry him. He manages to hop a German military transport to Germany. From there he has to hike and bike his way to the western coast of Europe. He then has to get a boat to England, not an easy task in a worldwide economic crash.

His situation gets harder. When he gets to England he wants to get a boat going directly to the U.S.A. But with rioting in major U.S. cities and large scale social breakdown, no one with a boat wants to go to the United States.

Our hero does manage to get a boat ride from England to Central America. He then has to go on foot and horseback from Central America to his home in the Four Corners area of the United States.
As you might imagine, during his trek across Europe, during his boat ride across the Atlantic, and during his trek from central America to the Four Corners regions of the United States, our hero has a number of incidents with thugs (and pirates during the Atlantic Ocean crossing.) This isn’t a great problem while he is in Western Europe, because most of the civilian population there do not have guns. Our hero does-only a pistol, but a make generally considered to be the best in the world. During the Atlantic Ocean crossing this pistol is put to good use against pirates. When our hero arrives in Central America things get much more complicated, as most everyone has guns.

While the main character is making his trek from Afghanistan to the United States, the other characters are trying to survive. Some of them form retreat communities. Others find ways to open businesses that give the citizens what they want, as there is no excessive government to speak of, at least for a while.

The economy changes into one where there are essentially three currencies: Barter item, gold coins, and silver coins.

Remember the previous "at least for a while" ? In Survivors, a so called legitimate government arises that is allied with the United Nations. (One character in the book stated something very funny. He said essentially any government that actually has to call itself the “legitimate” government probably isn’t legitimate.) Using United Nations troops and United Sates troops who are traitors or are so ill informed they believe they are doing the right thing (they’re still traitors.) the new “legitimate government” tries to impose it’s will.

Pretty much all firearms and other equipment that would be useful for resisting a criminal “United Nations” government are banned. If not turned in by a certain time, any person caught with such weapons after that time is summarily executed. This goes right along with real life United Nations standard operating procedures. In real life, United Nations "peace keepers" have executed people for simply violating curfews.

The new and “legitimate” government does what all criminal governments do-it steals from the citizens. How does the “legitimate” government in Survivors do this? By re-introducing fiat money. Remember, in addition to being counterfeit, fiat money is also a hidden form of taxation via printing more worthless paper.

With that last sentence in mind, Mr. Rawles chose the perfect first name for the president of the new “legitimate” government: Maynard!

For those readers unfamiliar with economics, there is a school of thought in economics called the Keynesian school of economics, named after economist John Maynard Keynes. This school of economics favors big government, massive intervention in the free market, and prefers fiat money. Fiat money is backed by nothing. It’s money because the government says it is.

The new “legitimate” government uses the United Nation’s troops and the traitors in the U.S. military to “pacify” They begin with four states. I actually live in one of those first four states the “legitimate” government chose to be “pacified” in the novel.. That state is Alabama.

(Just a personal comment. If a situation like the one described in Survivors, ever really occurs, unless a “legitimate” government is willing to use nuclear, biological, chemical, scalar weapons, or totally defoliate all the crops, trying to “pacify” Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Northern Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, South Carolina, and Texas is going to be.......interesting.)

Perhaps the most important thing in Survivors that every person that is into preparation and survival should pay close attention to is Rawles description of the emergence of organized criminal gangs that loot entire towns. I think Rawles description is a very accurate one. Essentially what he describes is modern day brigandage. (Brigandage is a crime committed a lot in the past. You see it in movies sometimes. Gangs ride in on horseback, loot the village, rape the women, kill all the men, and then burn the village down.) In a TEOTWAWKI situation, the probability of the emergence of organized criminal gangs that loot entire towns is essentially one hundred percent. In fact, I would not be surprised if various criminal organizations are already planning for this type of activity so they can take maximum advantage of a TEOTWAWKI event.

In the book, the leader of this criminal organization is very smart. He starts out his criminal career by forming a gang and doing home invasions (which Mr. Rawles and I both believe is going to be a very common crime in the near future) but as the economy crashes, the leader manages to steal military vehicles, including A.P.C.’s (Armored Personnel Carrier). The gang grows and eventually reaches the point it can raid towns with populations of twenty thousand or more.

AGAIN-This type of organized criminal looting is essentially a sure thing if there is a TEOTWAWKI situation such as the power grid going down or full scale economic collapse.

I said the beginning of this blog entry that Survivors focuses more on the human side of survival. Let me explain what I mean.

Patriots is a novel that had huge appeal to people who were already into preparedness and survival. Patriots presented fictionalized data on how to fight a war of resistance (guerilla warfare) against a non-legitimate U.S. puppet government backed by the United Nations-a global criminal organization, and traitors from the U.S. military who join the U.N. forces. Data like this can be a bit heavy for people who are exploring getting into preparedness. I have no doubt that many people who read Survival Blog gave a copy of Patriots to someone they care for who isn’t preparing hoping it would induce that someone they care for to start preparing. If I were laying odds, that might have worked 1 time in 9.

Survivors is the book you should give to that person who will not prepare. Why you ask? The book shows what a TEOTWAWKI situation would look like through the eyes of the people living it in, but it does so in a way that is a bit more palatable for the average person, for the non-prepper.

In Patriots Mr. Rawles simply lays out the honest truth of what a TEOTWAWKI situation would look like.. In Patriots there is even one example of cannibalism. For a lot of people, this is too much. Truth can be an ugly thing. Most people really don’t like the truth. Most people prefer the soothing comfort of the lie.

In simple terms, Patriots may be too much of a psychological shock to the non-prepper, because non-peppers are mostly non-informed. Let me explain.

The average person, the non prepper, watches their 30 minute local newscast and a 30 minute national newscast, and they think they know what’s going on in the world.

Not so for the prepper. Just to get a basic idea of what’s going on in the world we use the net to study economics, geopolitics, worldwide food levels, disease outbreaks, and even praxeology.

How many non prepper’s or even professional investment advisors look at the Baltic Dry Goods Index?

Mass media portrays prepper’s as mostly nut jobs, gun nuts, or associates preparedness with race hate organizations. In a small number of cases, these portrayals are correct. But most of the presentations of prepper’s are smear jobs. I’ll give you a good example.

James Wesley Rawles did an interview with a newspaper, I think it was the Los Angeles Times. Rawles told the newspaper he opposed racism because judging someone solely by their race is fundamentally irrational. RAWLES EVEN STATES THIS ON HIS WEB SITE! So guess what the Los Angeles Times does? On their internet addition on the same page with Mr. Rawles picture and article link there is a link to a story about some guy convicted of a crime who was a member of some race hate organization!

Now, taking those facts into account, consider the fact that most people who live in the first world operate under the normalcy bias (see link)

and have no concept of what black swann event are or how and why they occur.

How many people who live in the first world have really experienced hunger? In the United States, how many people have actually ever had to go 48 or 72 hour without any food. Remember, when I said Patriots event had an incident of cannibalism in it? Like the looting of towns by organized criminal gangs, in a TEOTWAWKI situation, cannibalism is going to happen (and, like in the book Patriots, the people who do it should be shot.) But to even think about this is usually too much for your average person.

One thing I want to be clear on though: I AM NOT saying Survivors is some kind of watered down version of Patriots. If anyone tells you that, you can be certain they have not read Survivors. But Survivors is not quite the shock to a non-prepper that Patriots can be. Survivors is a better book to give to the non prepper than Patriots if you are trying to get the non prepper to start preparing.

If you have not read Survivors get out and buy a copy. If you do long haul driving there is an unabridged version available on CD.

I even think there is movie potential for Survivors, provided you could find a producer and a film company not overly concerned about political correctness.

I’m currently in the process of reading Rawles next book Founders, scheduled to be released later this year. So far it’s looking very good. From what I’ve read so far, it seems to be a cross between Patriots and Survivors. I will write a review here when I’ve completed reading it.

To all of you out there around the planet, keep the faith.

1 comment:

  1. Hear, hear! First time real visit. Bookmarked and anticipating more.