If you’re looking for that one book that will tell you everything you need to know in order to “survive”, then this book will be a disappointment to you. Then again, so will every other book ever written on the subject, because there is no such thing. There can’t be; the breadth of knowledge required is too broad. I have roughly enough books to fill a bookshelf 3 feet wide and 7 feet tall on various survival subjects, and that honestly is probably inadequate to cover everything one could possibly need in a worst case scenario.
However, this book does one thing quite well. It catalogs all of the major subject areas that you would need to know about in order to survive most survival scenarios, including long-term grid down scenarios. In its 338 short articles (nothing is longer than a page, making this a perfect bathroom book), author Tim MacWelch covers all the areas you would need to know about–food, shelter, medical needs, defense and so on. As a sort of bonus, a number of those 338 articles are indeed stand-alone nuggets of knowledge, with the ones on using a pressure canner to distill water and the recipe for hard tack standing out in my memory.
I would think of this book as a sort of “executive summary” on survival topics. The tone definitely doesn’t wear camouflage, eat MREs and live in a bunker while waiting for The End Of The World As We Know It. It would make an excellent gift for friends or family who are curious and receptive to information on what can be an off-putting subject. You could loan this book to coworkers who have questions, curious neighbors or skeptical family. Anyone in those audiences could take this book and begin their own journey to a prepared, resilient lifestyle.
(Prepare For Anything Survival Manual, Tim MacWelch and the editors of Outdoor Life Magazine, ISBN 13: 978-1-61628-839-6 Hardback, $31.95)