Saturday, January 31, 2009

Book Review: Back to Basics

Bonus post – because I’m really happy with the book that I just got in the mail, and because I don’t think one book is worth my once-weekly post.

Not long ago, I ordered Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills (third edition, 2008) from Amazon. This was well worth the sixteen bucks and change that I paid for it, because this book is full of great information about pretty much every skill we’re going to need when the world goes berserk.

“Back to Basics” offers a decent overview of many, many topics. You’ll learn a bit about everything from building a cabin to sewing your own clothes. There are sections devoted to raising chickens, entertaining yourself the “low-tech” way, and preserving food. No section goes into great detail, but that’s all right because you can read the basic information in this book and use that to get some pretty-good ideas.

Example: there’s a section on building a chicken coop. The book includes sketches of a coop design, but they aren’t as detailed as complete blueprints would be. One of my brothers is a carpenter, though, and my Mom is great at turning an idea, or a sketch, into usable blueprints. The overview in “Back to Basics” gives us plenty of information to get started, because we know how to take the sketches from the book page to the finished coop.

I would not, however, trust this book’s basic food-preservation information, because I know squat about canning and would rather not take the risk. However, I can go get a book that gives me excruciatingly-detailed information, right? Right.

Overall, “Back to Basics” is a good addition to our survival-literature collection. My siblings and I have been skimming the pages, reading the information and sharing ideas. Sis looks at a section on sewing and suggest that we try X. I look at the section on rabbits and ask if we could do Y. The book jump starts our brains and starts conversations, making it well worth the money that I spent on it.

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“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
-George OrwellAnimal Farm