Sunday Reading

This one is something of a throwback, Mel Tappan’s Tappen on Survival. This book was put together, after his untimely death in 1980, from his columns in Soldier of Fortune and Guns and Ammo magazines, and was edited by his wife, Nancy. I have the Kindle version. Hard copies are difficult and usually expensive.

To be honest, the part I enjoyed most was the forward by one of my favorite authors, Dr. Jerry S. Pournelle. Not to say the book is bad, but it’s heavily dated.

But being dated doesn’t mean there isn’t some good stuff. In Chapter 1, there is this gem, which you could find written about our situation today:

For example, when inflation reaches levels just short of initiating public rioting, Wage and price controls will be instituted . Never mind that they will create essential shortages and a black-market economy — Big Brother will deal with that problem when it surfaces. Next may be a liquidity crunch and bank runs. The machinery is already in place to declare a “temporary” moratorium on loans and to supply unlimited printing-press currency to the banks without collateral and without regard to their financial condition. (Why not? The stuff they are printing isn’t really money.)

Ouch. That hits a little close to home. So does this one:

Remaining in a city is totally out of the question and even living in a relatively out of the way place in an area of high overall Population density is extremely hazardous.

“Stay away from crowds.” How many times did Ol’ Remus write that?

There are also some howlers:

Both the food value and the shelf life can be extended if you turn each can upside down once a month.

Look as I might, I can’t even find such advice mentioned in anyplace cataloged by Intertubz search engines. Then there is:

…but the recoil effect with comparable ammunition is less with the autopistol because the axis of the bore is lower, causing reduced leverage; therefore, controlled rapid fire is usually somewhat easier with it, for most people.

OMG-not the bore axis thing. The only gun argument even less entertaining than .45 ACP vs. 9mm.

As noted earlier, some of the advice is still topical 40+ years after it was written. Even though the texts suggested may have been superseded by newer and better works, the concept of the “survival library” is one of great value. Having all your stuff downloaded on a hard drive might not look so great when a coronal mass ejection or a Chinese nuke or three have discombobulated many/most/all electronic devices. It could also be something as simple as a rolling blackout that takes your laptop offline-printed books will work in far more circumstances than electronic gadgetry (said the guy writing on a computer and publishing on the Intertubz). Of course, a water- and shock-resistant device and a solar setup to charge it isn’t a bad idea. But I’d still want actual books.

Overall, if you buy a copy of the book, buy it because you want to see some of the early history of survivalism, that thing that we now call “prepping”. There are much better and more current single volumes for the beginning practicioner. Just in Case: How to be Self-Sufficient when the Unexpected Happens and Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family are two good ones, but there are others.

Enjoy your reading.

1 thought on “Sunday Reading

  1. “turn the can upside down etc.” sounds like present-day’s execrable click-bait. Or perhaps an attempt at prepper humor. Or wishful thinking.

    “takes your laptop offline” I’m not addicted to the interweb. Nope. ISP went down sunday. I got the DTs after two hours… Jeez.

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