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From the Library

June 16, 2019

The Warwolf by Hermann Lons

A student in a class in Idaho asked me about this book, several years ago, and I had to admit I’d never heard of it. He told me he’d read it, but it was hard to find on Amazon at a reasonable price, so he wanted to send me a copy. He did, and I set it aside for a couple weeks, thinking I’d get to it eventually. Then, I had some time one day, and sat down to check it out. I went to sleep that night at 4AM, because I couldn’t stop reading it until I was done.

This book is what I would’ve written, if I were going to write a novel, I like to think. It’s got everything that fascinates me: there’s guerrilla warfare, set in the Thirty Years War, with a local guy taking charge and gathering the people of his village into a Guerrilla Base in the woods, where the warring factions conventional forces can’t get at them easily. There’s an auxiliary of others who provide security and intelligence service to his band.

There’s even timber framing, as they build shelters in the new hide site!

If you liked Forging the Hero, and want to see it in a fictionalized narrative effect, read this fucking book!

Originally published in 1910, this book raises the ire of a lot of people, because it became extremely popular under the Nazis, who saw it as an expression of German Nationalism (which is doubly ironic, when you actually read it, since Herr Wulf was slaughtering “German” soldiers just as much as anyone else). It’s really a local nationalist story, if anything.

The reason I remembered to mention it this week, is I loaned it to one of our guys to read last week, and he brought it back yesterday, effusive with praise for how awesome it was, and how it should be required reading for anyone (and, you can find it on Amazon today for less than $15 in paperback!),

Highly recommended, x10.

The Way of the Iceman: How the Wim Hof Method Creates Radiant, Longterm Health by Wim Hof and Koen De Jong

I’ve read quite a bit about Mr. Hof over the last couple years, as guys like Paul Sharp shared articles on social media. Then, my buddy Greg Hamilton started doing ice baths this winter past, and I started looking more into it. I read Scott Carney’s book that included him doing a Kilimanjaro climb with Hof, woefully underequipped by normal standards (Hof has run up Kilimanjaro in shorts, in record breaking times, when most climbers take a week or more to ascend, and use supplemental oxygen, the lastest in snivel gear, etc)

Hof has been studied in the laboratory, and double-blind studies have been conducted on how effective his methods are for others, with glowing reports of his ability—and his students—to actually control their autonomic nervous system (which, by definition should be impossible), and deal with potential illness and injury.

So, I got this one, and his other book (that I’m currently reading). This one is pretty good. It’s a Dragon Door book, so it tends to be pretty approachable writing, with some actual actionable steps you can take to start incorporating his methods. I found that there wasn’t anything novel in his approach. It’s all variations of stuff I’ve been taught to do since I was a kid. At first, I was a little disappointed in this, since like everyone else, I’m always looking for training tips that will give me an edge I never knew about. Then, I thought about it a bit more though, and realized this was exactly what I was looking for. I’ve long had the ability, no matter how miserably cold or hot, and no matter how much I was pissed and whining about it, to simply stop worrying about it, and double my activity efficiency, under either extreme, by simply changing my breathing patterns, and forcing myself to ground-and-center, and ignore the externalities. Much like Hof describes, in cold conditions, I will actually feel myself start to warm up, as my body kicks into overdrive. The same thing has worked—albeit with somewhat less efficiency—in hot weather conditions.

So, I’m currently thinking—and plan to start trying it—that Hof’s breathing exercises, which are slightly different than the ones I’ve used for decades, may be a more effective method. I’ll try them and see how they work. If they’re better, I’ll start using them more than the ones I was taught by my grandfather, when I was a kid. Who knows, maybe I’ll become a ninja after all…..


Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling

I’ve mentioned this book a number of times over the years I’ve been writing the blog. It’s a dystopian, post-Apocalyptic alternative history novel (the first in a series) that is far from the typical “beans, bullets, and band-aids shopping list.” Without too many plot spoilers, there’s only a couple guns in this story, none of which actually kill anyone. There’s a lot of “Oh shit, we need to feed a lot of people, right now, and through the growing season into the harvest!” There’s an epic bug-out, from central Idaho, all the way to the Willamette Valley of Oregon. There’s cannibalism, and rampaging gang members. There’s a pile of interpersonal violence. There’s a former Marine Scout-Sniper (who, I’ve been told, reminds people who’ve read it, remarkably of me, even though I’m entirely too intelligent to have been a jarhead….) There’s a hippy, folk-singing Wiccan. There’s a medieval history professor.

Ultimately though, this is a novel about how important community is to survival. Fundamentally, it tells the stories of the adventures of four communities—formal and ad hoc—as they come together and deal with the scenario in their own, distinctly different, but ultimately similar ways. It’s actually a lot like the Warwolf, in that it could be said to be Forging the Hero, (among other similarities) in fictionalized narrative form, except the story begins in 1998, not in the Thirty Years War.

I love this novel. I love the whole series, but I really love the first novel. I first read it well over a decade ago, and to this day, I read it two or three times a year, at least. Literally, I cannot recommend this one enough.

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  1. Tuernan permalink

    RE: Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling

    Love this series, really shows the effect of a leader on a community’s formation, as well as showing how fast we’d fall and bounce back after losing access to technology.

    There is also a companion series involving the same “Change”, called “Island in the Sea of Time”, where the island of Nantucket and the USCGC Eagle are tossed back to 1250 BC.

  2. Mike M. permalink

    Read “Retrotopia” and enjoyed it, Thanks! I’ve also been reading “Survival Theory” by Jon Hollerman, and am working my way through “Absolute Anarchy” by Johnny Jacks after taking his class at HLS 2019 in Waynesville, NC. If your group could use a handy series on machine shop ‘stuff’, look into the “Workshop Practice Series” of 49 small paperback books. Some of the titles are “Spindles”, “Bearings”, “The Backyard Foundry”, and “The Art of Welding”. Good reference material if someone in your group wants to explore the subject.

  3. Rusty permalink

    Meh, it’s not so ironic that a book with Nazis would have them killing mostly other Germans. In an American boogaloo situation, Americans would be facing off against mostly other Americans.

  4. And I know someone who knows Steve Sterling QUITE WELL and who swears up and down she is NOT the filk singing-folk singing hippie, but knows who IS the basis for that character. I don’t find her disavowals credible!!
    She’s a former Californian, now in Ireland with a husband who is almost a doctor (medical) who with her writes accurate historical novels.
    She’s also an SCA maven.

    I should cyber introduce you to her.


    Ref machine shop stuff google Gingery and building your own machine shop from a plant pot and a vacuum motor.


    there are other links for Dave gingery’s works.

    You should SERIOUSLY consider his stuff if you are working with a Smith.

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