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From the Library

February 18, 2019

I haven’t read as much this week as I normally do. One, I’ve been particularly busy with spring cleaning type stuff, cleaning out animal pens and tool sheds, etc. Two, the first book on the list is a particularly long work, with small print, and lots of end notes for me to cross reference. In the future, even if I’ve only read one or two books in a week, instead of my normal 5-6, I will include extras, out of my personal library, that I recommend, even if I haven’t read them in the last week or so.

Baden-Powell by Tim Jeal; This is a lengthy, thorough biography of the founder of the Boy Scout Movement. It covers a number of controversial areas in the General’s life, and uses primary source material to rectify some of the errors that other modern historians and biographers have made, in the interest of pursuing their own agendas against B-P and/or the Boy Scout Movement. It’s a really well done biography, and I even got an idea for the next subscription drill out of it, based on B-Ps exploits in Southern Africa, and his leadership at the Siege of Mafeking.

Harris on the Pig by Joseph Harris; Originally written in the 1800s, by THE expert on hog-raising. One of the things I—and others—have found about the modern Permaculture and Sustainable Ag movement is that most of the books and articles written seem to be of two flavors: a) they are written by people who have taken one or two Permaculture Design Courses (PDC), and have little or no actual experience raising foods, or b) they are hackneyed rewrites of original material from the 1800s and earlier, often missing the critical details that—because of lack of depth of experience—define the difference between success and failure.

This is one of the original, go-to manual/handbooks for hog farmers on the small-scale and commercial scale. It is well worth studying, if you are looking at small livestock as part of your preparedness journey (and I would argue, if you’re not, you’re not serious about being prepared).

School of the Moon: The Highland Cattle-Raiding Tradition by Stuart McHardy; A look at the raiding cateran tradition among the Scottish Highlands, pre-Clearance. This offers a pretty good look at a European clan/tribal society functioning in a state of endemic conflict, despite attempts by outside social mores trying to reduce or halt that violence (in this case, both the Lowland Scots government and the British government tried to halt the traditions. Both were unsuccessful until the overwhelming defeat at Culloden, and even then, it took a number of years to really halt the raiding) and how the numbers of casualties, while apparently low in any given encounter, tend to add up quickly. It also looks at the manner in which, in such societies, skill-at-arms and practical intelligence quickly become markers of success in society.

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3 Comments
  1. Inventive permalink

    “One of the things I—and others—have found about the modern Permaculture and Sustainable Ag movement is that most of the books and articles written seem to be of two flavors: a) they are written by people who have taken one or two Permaculture Design Courses (PDC), and have little or no actual experience raising foods, or b) they are hackneyed rewrites of original material from the 1800s and earlier, often missing the critical details that—because of lack of depth of experience—define the difference between success and failure.”

    That’s been my experience as well. There’s a lot of folks that put a lot more value on the labels (permaculture, sustainability, organic etc.) than they do on the most important question, “did/does it work?”.
    There’s nothing new under the sun, they didn’t call it “sustainable ag” in the 1850s, but if it wasn’t sustainable, they’d die, so if they were alive to write a book on it, it worked for them… which means it will work for you. Try it out, give it a year or two, and then make some modifications after you’ve done it a bit and understand why they were doing what they were doing.

  2. Mike M. permalink

    Some of the books in your library seem to be only available in the used market, and at prices that make the TMM (Textbooks of Military Medicine) series look affordable. Where do you shop? Books in the triple digit range are usually out of my league. I do have “The National Formulary” (1942 edition), “A Manual of Pharmacology”, 5th Ed, by Sollmann, and “United States Dispensatory”, 23rd Ed. all of which predate the use of penicillin. They were used by compounding pharmacies, which are rare these days.

    • Some I happen to come across in thrift stores and used book stores (which I haunt). Others I’ve found on Amazon or Ebay, but I also don’t balk at dropping a hundred dollar bill on a book if it’s one I’ve wanted long enough, or came recommended by someone I personally trust.

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