I first met Jim Cobb, author of Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide, last year at a media junket hosted by Buck Knives in Idaho. I was aware of him, as he has been a prolific writer for many publications over the years. He is currently Editor in Chief of Prepper Survival Guide and Backwoods Survival Guide magazines as well author of 10 books. Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide was first published in 2014 and 2023 marks the release of the expanded and revised 2nd Edition. As I have not read the first edition myself, I am reviewing this book as someone new to the franchise.
I cannot say I am a long-term prepper by any means, and this book has certainly made me well aware of the deficiencies in my planning beyond about a 3 month window. Having been through multiple 5 day power outages, I have stress-tested my preparations based on an ice-storm that knocks the grid out over multiple counties for a couple of months. I feel fairly confident that my family, dogs, and I can make it for that amount of time in relative comfort.
But what of a true End of the World As We Know It / Excrement Meeting Whirling Blade Scenario? The Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide picks up where my preparedness leaves off.
Each chapter opens with a fictional diary entry from the point of view of a survivor of an EMP burst which documents aspects of life for the protagonist’s family and immediate community.
These entries set the tone, giving examples of successes, laments, desires, etc. within the subject area of the chapter. It is far too easy for a book like this to read like stereo instructions, but these passages do a fantastic job of personalizing the topic to be covered. I found myself identifying with, and even rooting for the diary’s fictional author.
The rest of each chapter is broken into major subsections, with plenty of lists and sidebars to break up the text in a logical manner. The former cover everything from lists of garden tools to first aid supplies…
while the latter often provide specific scenarios or tips relating to one of the chapter topics.
The author WEB Griffin once said, “The mark of another man’s genius is how much you agree with him”. There are certain topics where I feel I have a greater than average knowledge base compared to some other topics, and it allows me to better gauge the veracity of Jim’s recommendations. An example of this includes the medical chapter due to my background as an EMT and my having handled the medical duties for a multi-month archaeological dig in a remote area of Kenya.
His lists of medicines and supplies, potential scenarios and pitfalls, and advice for treating common maladies and injuries is appropriate and meshes with my experience for groups of people working in an off-grid environment for an extended period of time.
I also have an extensive garden. Every season I can in the neighborhood of 70 pints of salsa as well as apples, pickles, beans, and strawberry jam. There are several tips I can concur with from first hand experience, as well as others I learned from the book such as the homemade seed-tape seen in the “Sidebar” photo above.
Some topics which I never contemplated, but undoubtedly should have, include the importance of entertainment and morale boosting items and activities, the desirability of owning a set of chimney-sweeping tools, or the potentially unpleasant task of needing to hygienically dispose of a body if there are no funerary services available.
One other chapter bears specific mention, Chapter 11: Community Survival Planning. Far too many prepping and survival books and blogs have too much of a “Me vs. the World” perspective. That isn’t to say that the importance of gradations of trust between layers of in and out-groups of people isn’t clearly outlined and stressed. It definitely is, especially in the Defense oriented Chapter 7 but also in this chapter. However, it stresses the importance of working with members of your immediate community to pool some resources, but most especially efforts which will benefit you all. Security, Food Production, and heavy manual projects all become easier with more hands. One’s neighbors might have special skills such as a medical or military background, or a useful trade. Plus, we humans are social creatures. Social connections and feeling a part of an extended community is incredibly important in keeping up morale.
In summation, I cannot call the book “enjoyable” as it made me far too aware of my own lack of preparedness, but it does so in a way that is relatable and non-preachy. Thinking about the unthinkable is an unpleasant task at best, but Jim Cobb has done a lot of that thinking ahead of time. His Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide Cobb strips away a lot of the “Gung-ho Survival-Bro” bovine dropping, presenting a common sense roadmap for the beginner to start their prepping journey, or for novice or experienced readers to take the next steps towards long-term self sufficiency under the worst conditions imaginable.
The best place to purchase your own copy of the Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide is Amazon, which you can visit by clicking the image below.
Acknowledgements: I would like thank Jim for providing me with a review copy of the book. It was provided to me gratis, but in no way has Jim made an effort to influence this review.