While the characters in James Wesley Rawles’ novel Patriots are fictional, the world in which they inhabit and the survival techniques that they use are all authentic. The full subtitle of the book, Surviving the Coming Collapse: A Novel of the Turbulent Near Future gives you the idea that Rawles is convinced that while his is a work of fiction at the moment, we’re not far away from needing to learn these skills ourselves. You can read it in part just for fun or as a textbook in how to survive in a post-apocalyptic world.
The key character in the story is an unassuming accountant named Todd Grey. The whole novel is written from his viewpoint so you get a real feel as to what the apocalypse might look like for you. Unlike other post apocalyptic novels, it has no big war or nuclear attack to start it.
Instead, Todd tells the reader about a global financial crisis that leads to hyperinflation and the collapse of all the major stock markets. As an accountant, Todd can see the foolishness of the markets and how the whole financial sector sits precariously on a foundation of promises and optimism.
This melt down in society leads to full scale rioting with people attacking each other to try to survive. Faced with these foes, Todd and his wife Mary move to a survivalist colony out in the mountains in Idaho. They live with other like-minded people and successfully outwit looters and cannibals driven to human flesh by the lack of readily available food. They use modern survival techniques to live off the land and defend themselves.
The book then skips a year into the future and explores what would happen to a centralized government in such a situation. Rawles plays out that the government collapses and requires help from the UN to restore sanity and control over the country. However, the neat twist at the end is the government forces are not all that the survivalists hope they would be.
Rawles simplifies the techniques to reach a wider audience, but they still make a great starting place for you to acquire survivalist knowledge. The book, through the story, gives you detailed instructions for:
It is important to realize that James Rawles is constantly updating Patriots with new information based on current technology and survival ideas. He has had a keen interest in survival techniques since his time with the Scouts as a child and has many years of Army experience, which has given him the specific knowledge of how the government would respond to this sort of large scale rioting.
The book may not be the only reference you will need for survival, but it gives a good starting point and an interesting view as to what kind of world in which you will be living.