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From the Library

April 22, 2019

From the Library

The Rhodesian War by Moorcroft

This is one of the old Stackpole Military History books. I read this a long time ago, and then pulled it out last week, looking for something, when I came across a section that caught my eye, because of its relevance for most prepper/survivalist types.

Moorcroft points out (much like the claims made about US involvement in SE Asia) that the Rhodies basically never lost a fight, because their tactical superiority over the Communists was so great. They lost the war because of their inability to put together a cohesive strategic goal. This, of course, is something I’ve talked about quite a bit, in blog articles, as well as in Forging the Hero. We used to say, “Think Strategic, Plan Operationally, Fight Tactically.”

So, all those preppers out there, running around with their FALs, in short shorts, talking about “cover shooting,” and etc….probably ought to spend an awful lot of time determining exactly what their strategy is. Because, without an overall strategy, there’s no point in even having tactics.

It’s a really good, even-handed look at the bush war, by a Sandhurst grad, that doesn’t pull many punches regarding the good decisions and bad decisions made by either side.


The Small-Scale Poultry Flock by Ussery

Our home library at the farm has somewhere between 7000 and 8000 individual titles on the shelves. Of those, we have a couple dozen specifically about raising chickens and other poultry. Of them all, this is the one I’ve gotten the most benefit from, at the practical level, as well as at the theoretical, “understanding the big picture” level.


Harris on the Pig: Practical Hints for the Pig Farmer by Harris

Same situation with books about pigs as with those about poultry. I also had the advantage that our first pigs were bought from a small-scale pig farming neighbor that I could turn to for advice (we raised a couple groups of feeders before we broke down and bought a breeding pair from him). That having been said, this is THE BOOK, as far as I’m concerned, about raising pigs in our context. It was written in the late 1800s, originally, and it still applies, especially if you are trying to raise food for your family and clan, with minimal external inputs.


Stonework and The Hewn-Log House by Charles McRaven

These are two of the very first “alternative building” books I ever read, way back in the 90s, as a young enlisted guy, thinking about the future. I fell in love with the books the first time I glanced through them, and have owned a copy of each ever since.

I’ve not built a hewn-log house, although I did hand-hew some of the beams for our house (yes, with a broadaxe. It’s awesome, and not particularly complicated, although it was extremely time-consuming at first. My first 18’ 8×8 beam, out of green oak, took me twelve hours to hew. My fourth took me four hours. There’s a learning curve, but it’s pretty quick. I also suspect, if I were Amish, or had been doing it for years, it would be even faster. As it was, I ended up getting most of our beams milled by a local guy, because of time constraints. One of these days soon though, I’m going to do a guest cabin completely out of hand-hewn beams. It’s very cathartic.

I HAVE used the Stonework book for guidance on some small projects. Definitely worthwhile.

Honestly though, if you’re looking at small-scale farming for food sustainability as part of your preps (and you should be, even if you’re stuck in the city), and you have some room for some small building projects, these are useful, low-tech building references. If not, well, they’re pretty awesome coffee table picture books as well. Seriously, if you can look through the color plates in The Hewn-Log House, and not get the overwhelming urge to go build a cabin in the woods, and sit on the porch in the evening, well, you’re just wrong.

Definitely recommended.

The Meadhall by Stephen Pollington

This is a study of the meadhall culture of the Anglo-Saxons in the late Iron Age/early Medieval period (think Beowulf). It’s a really well done study, using archaeological finds and literary references, to look at how the mead hall as architecture and as archetype, influenced the tribal nature of the early Anglo-Saxon culture. If you’re struggling with building community, and Forging the Hero appealed to you, but it didn’t answer enough questions, this is a good, solid look at some of the same concepts.

Recommended (mostly for the nerds like me)

98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive by Cody Lundin

If there is anyone who doesn’t know who Cody is by now, he’s the big, blond, viking looking dude that was on Dual Survival, with Indian (feathers and pemmican, not red dot and curry) braids, that goes everywhere barefoot.

I had a LOT of survival training and wilderness experience, by the time I heard about this book (and I heard about it a couple months after it came out). I mean, I’ve been in the woods since I was five or six, and doing solo stuff in the woods since I was seven or eight. I’ve done Army SERE, and I’ve done civilian survival courses. I’m extremely competent and confident in the woods.

I read this, after getting the recommendation about it, and laughed my ass off, and then handed it to my wife to read, and said, “You need to read this. This is the best wilderness survival book I’ve ever read.”

Cody doesn’t pull any punches. He talks straight, and he gives good, solid, PRACTICAL advice, and he does it in a humorous tone. It’s a great book. His second book, When All Hell Breaks Loose is good too, but not on the same level as this one.


On Killing by Grossman

I’ve talked about this book, a little bit, in articles before, and I lambasted the fuck out of it in The Reluctant Partisan, Volume One, but I just had a comment on it last week, so I thought I would mention it again.

Grossman is a tool. His research was almost entirely based on SLA Marshal’s studies in WW2, which it has since been revealed, ad nauseum, was largely made up on the spot. Both War Before Civilization and Savage Battles did great jobs of using archaeological evidence to discount the ridiculous notions about “humans have an innate resistance to intraspecies killing,” and a number of biologists have discredited his ideas that “wolves don’t kill other wolves,” and “apes don’t kill other apes,” and blah, blah, blah.

Soldiers and psychiatrists have done a lot of work and talking about the reality that PTSD is less about “Woe is me, I killed people,” and a lot about “I should’ve been the one who died, not my buddies” survivor’s guilt.

This book is a bunch of pandering, blathering, feel good, one world, we should all just get along, and video games are the root of evil (which I don’t disagree with philosophically, but I do disagree with practically, in this context) sociological bullshit.

Not recommended.

War Before Civilization however, as readers of The Reluctant Partisan Volume One and Volume Two will know, is HIGHLY recommended.


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  1. Mac permalink

    Just finished Iron Fist from the Sea by Arné Soderland and Douw Steyn, a good read if you can find it. Also the Rhodesia lost the political battle partially because they were stabbed in the back by John Vorster who thought he could appease the communist hordes a decision all white Soth Africans such as myself are paying for today.

  2. permalink

    One of my favorites is “the War of the Flea.”

  3. MoreSigmasThanYou permalink

    My reading of history has taught me that there is a layer which sits above the tactical operational and strategic. That layer is the political. It explains why WWI went hot, but the no less volatile cold war did not. It explains why Germany lost the world wars. It explains why Rhodesia lost its bush war.

    Essentially everyone outside Rhodesia was looking to screw them over, even South Africa, which was the next domino to fall. That wasn’t a strategic problem, it was a political problem IMO. South Africa itself fell without a shot being fired. Also political.

  4. Conall permalink

    Is “Savage Battles” by Steven LeBlanc, and possibly alternatively titled “Constant Battles: The Myth of the Peaceful, Noble Savage”?

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