In Survivors, James Wesley Rawles explores the same economic disaster that occurs in Patriots from a different perspective, mostly through a new cast of characters. While the story covers the first years of “The Crunch” in the southwestern United States, the most interesting and unique part of Survivors is the story of the newly discharged American Army Captain Andrew Laine and his journey back home to New Mexico from Afghanistan. With fuel shortages, violence and chaos reigning, Captain Laine is forced to find his own way back to the United States. He travels through post-shit hits the fan (shtf) Germany, France, England, crosses the atlantic ocean to Belize, then finally goes through Mexico and into the US. Much like he does in Patriots, Rawles provides copious details in his descriptions and, with the steady stream of bible passages, the book seems tailored with a fairly specific reader in mind. While the in-depth, detailed information is useful in terms of gaining knowledge, it makes the reading tedious at times. For example, when a character encounters a new gun, Rawles goes into considerable details on the history, mechanics, durability, range and effectiveness of the weapon, making the internal dialogue and narration slightly monotonous and unrealistic. The conversations in morse code are downright painful to get through. To give credit where credit is due, Rawles has packed a lot of useful prepping information into this book. He provides detailed information on a variety of topics including the possible uses of gold and silver as currency, using morse code via ham radio, weapons, food, fuel and even gives basic instructions on how to make molotov cocktails. If you are able to handle the sometimes “preachy” chapter introductions, a lot can be learned from Survivors. Rawles writes informative, “how-to” books in a fictional format. Unfortunately, the fictional aspect often takes a back seat to his strong religious message and “prepping” information. That being said, I would read Survivors again for its crisis preparation advice and its interesting speculation about world travel after an economic disaster.
For those of you that are interested in learning more about James Wesley Rawles and disaster preparation, visit his blog at http://www.survivalblog.com/ . In case you aren’t familiar with his site, it is actually one of the most popular blogs in the survival/prepping arena and will provide you with a practically endless amount of useful information.