Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Beyond Collapse: Surviving and Rebuilding Civilization From Scratch

The following excerpt from Beyond Collapse has been graciously provided by author TJ Miller. You may know TJ by his online persona, Odd Questioner. He has been a long-time friend and contributor to this web site, as well as many other preparedness communities. As his handle suggests, TJ takes a different approach to the ‘problem’ of surviving when the system as we know it falls apart.

Sure, you can stock up food, and guns and thousands of dollars worth of other supplies – but if that’s your entire plan, then you’re going to be in serious trouble, especially if we’re talking about a paradigm shift spanning years or decades.

Supplies eventually run out and Murphy’s law often turns the best laid plans into catastrophe. If you haven’t taken the time to explore all of the possibilities and how you may deal with them as they happen, then in all likelihood you will be, as TJ notes in his book, “as good as dead and/or exploited.”

Beyond Collapse is an extensive guide, covering everything from why we should prepare, how a collapse may happen, what civilization may look like in its aftermath, and what steps you can take to not only prepare ahead of time, but how you’ll survive and thrive during the reconstruction and rebuilding that follow.

Excerpted from Beyond Collapse: Surviving and Rebuilding Civilization From Scratch:
The idea of this book is simple: Get you up to speed on some basic bits to stay alive and rebuild a working society. We want to get you started in gathering needed provisions (and references) to survive a collapse and its immediate aftermath, but then give you a series of resources that you can refer to, in order to help you along after the dust settles. After all, you probably won’t need or be able to use it all immediately. Things in here may be a bit intellectual or crazy at times, and I apologize in advance if it sounds that way. On the other hand, I want to drive the point home, and I want to be as precise and as factual as I can. Most of all, I want this book to do more than just help the individual survive. It takes a community to rebuild civilization, and that community is going to need help and at least some practical guidance.
Unlike most survival/preparation resources, we’re going to assume that civilization will break down completely, and will likely take at least a century or more to return to the level it is now. In such a situation, that electrical generator which too many experts recommend will end up being a glorified lawn ornament (unless of course you feel like making/storing an ocean of fuel and storing a mountain of spare parts…) The idea of having a small backyard garden is a good start, but it’s not going to feed you and your family all by itself. Expensive water filters are a good convenience while things are all chaotic, but eventually the filter elements are going to wear out, and you’re stuck with having to make your own clean water from then on. Solar panels can work for up to and beyond three decades, but the inverter, batteries, and electronics you plug into it probably won’t. Anything that relies on batteries (even rechargeable ones) are guaranteed to be worthless once the battery chemicals wear out, and there are no more to be had. Guns? A good idea for the more chaotic times, but eventually the bullets will run out, leaving you (and everyone else) with, at best, a bunch of clumsy clubs made from steel and wood. Any advice that relies on buying and storing something should only be counted as either temporary, or the (sometimes literal) seeds of renewable items, be it tools, weapons, or wheat. Some items will be vital in spite of their being temporary, but some will help you make a permanent means of living long-term after it all settles down.
We’re going to break it down into some sections, (loosely) based on…
  • Why you should be reading this book (and more importantly, doing something about it)
  • things to do beforehand
  • things to do and expect when the balloon goes up
  • things to do and expect immediately afterward (for up to six months after civilization crashes)
  • things to do short-term (for the first two years)
  • things to do long-term (everything beyond that second year)
  • the distant future (where we get all misty-eyed – or, well, how to really build a new civilization)
  • Recipes for critical items (for all the vital bits that you will want to use)
  • Appendices (Resources: shopping lists, post-collapse scrounging lists, websites to visit and print off, etc)
The good news is, you don’t have to read the whole book right now (and given its size, who would really want to?) You can safely read and absorb the first three or four ‘Books’, and save the rest for later, when you really need it. Definitely read and put into practice the first one, Things To Do Beforehand. The second two, While The Balloon Goes Up and Immediately Afterward, you will want to be familiar enough with so that when things do go ‘splat’ on a global scale, you’ll at least have some idea of what to do. Also make up the scrounging lists.
The others are a bit of far-in-advance ideas and suggestions, which are perfectly suitable for reading by the fireplace, and hammering out with the leadership of whatever new community you build afterwards.
We’re not going to go into ridiculous detail on everything, but I do want to give you at least enough information to have a reasonable chance of survival, and even doing that will be quite a bit in and of itself. I want to give you things to think about, and things to consider, so that you can prepare in advance, and have what you need. More importantly, you won’t have to become an expert in all of these fields, but will be started in the right direction, and when needed will be pointed to resources which will help you stock up your library. The library is going to be rather important because later, when the turmoil has somewhat subsided, you can focus on learning in-depth those things you need to know by then.

A note from author TJ Miller:

The reason I’m giving the book away is two-fold.

First, I want as many people to be aware of what’s coming, and to prepare for it. I don’t need to become a wealthy man in order for that to happen, so I gave it away in addition to having it printed. The second reason has to do with the fact that I really cannot tolerate having vital information being locked behind “digital rights management” and other crap. If it gets passed around, it gets passed around.

The free version can be had here:

If you like it, please visit the Amazon link (below) and drop off a word or two about it as a review. Even if you do not buy it, please let me know what you think (either below, or give me a shout in the forums).

I also give you perfect permission to print as many physical copies as you can. After all, electricity and computers rely on civilization to remain functional… but when civilization goes, so will the electricity and computers (well, eventually). So yes, printing this out is a very good idea. However, printing out a 450-some-odd-page book will consume a lot of paper and printer ink, employers will frown on you pushing it through their equipment, and trying to print it off at the local Office store will be pricey.

So, to save you a bit of money and time, I had it published.

You can purchase a cheaper and more useful copy of it that way – I have it up at Amazon:

Beyond Collapse

or if you don’t like to use Amazon for some reason, CreateSpace (my publisher) also sells it:

So… why this book and not someone else’s? I actually recommend James Rawles’ How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times, among other books (listed in the back of my own). It is always good to get multiple opinions and analysis on such a subject, because no one person has all the answers. All of us look at this thing from different angles, and bring different benefits to the table.

As for me? Many of you know me on this site by now, but maybe I should add a few words…
I’m very allergic to conspiracies, and they really don’t help you survive what’s coming. There’s going to be plenty enough to do when it all comes down, and I wanted to write something that ordinary folks could put to good use. I prefer to keep a quiet eye on the news, and contrary to what National Geographic may portray, I don’t dance around the woods wearing camouflage or tote an AR-15 in my spare time. I disguise my drills as fun activities that normal folks do, and I keep my prepping to myself. Even close friends and neighbors who do prep do not know the full extent of what I’ve been up to, but as I help them along (and to be honest, as they help me along), we all learn more, do more, and we have a good time doing it.

I do know that prepping is gaining widespread adoption in our society.

62,000+ unique downloads (not counting other sites folks may have hosted it on) tell me there are a lot of people who want to know more, and want to do more. I want to help that happen.

The more of us overall who prepare, the less we will have to worry about on an individual basis once it does go ‘splat. There are going to be enough folks out there who will end up without, and we’re going to need all the help we can get.

Get it in PDF Format (FREE) (442 Pages; 7.25 Megabytes)

Put it in your home library:
Amazon: Beyond Collapse ($18.99) (456 pages)
Buy Beyond Collapse at Createspace ($18.99) (456 pages)

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