Monday, May 23, 2022

The Rugged Life: The Modern Guide to Self-Reliance

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The Rugged Life is an interesting and worthwhile collection of self-suffiency and survival tips collected by Clint Emerson. Released 10 May 2022 by Rodale Books, it's 272 pages and is available in paperback, spiral bound, audio, and ebook formats.  It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.

The chapters are arranged thematically: building, power, farmer, butcher, hunter, homemaker, protector, RTO (news & communication), first responder, and handyman. Each of these sections are standalone and can be read in any order.  There is no required cohesiveness to the content and it can be read and accessed as needed. To that end, the book does not include an index. I therefore recommend the electronic format for ease of finding specific info more easily.

This is a very broad and general book.  It's a good 'starting off' guide, a 'dreaming' guide; it's emphatically not a specific how-to guide. If it errs, it does so by trying to be everything to everyone.  Anyone actually going into homesteading will hopefully have a solid workable plan for getting from lifestyle A to whatever level of self-sufficiency is desirable. The author has a competent but stern voice and I found the emphasis on protecting property and fighting and weapon making a bit macho for my taste.

It's very tempting to see pictures of healthy gardens and adorable lambs and healthy beehives and want to be a part of that lifestyle. (I did & do!) The guides rarely show pictures of neighbor's pet-dog ravaged lambs, nosema infested empty beehives, or flattened gardens with more weeds than produce and production that wouldn't feed a toddler. This book could bridge the gap between dreams and reality. He definitely doesn't sugar coat things.

The emphasis here was more on protection and basic survival than smallholding but there is a fair bit of useful info in capsule form. The graphics are simple with line drawn illustrations and text boxes with tips and very short info bites throughout. 

Four stars. This would be a good choice for the smallholder's library, people who want to live a more self-sufficient lifestyle and are at the planning stage, and for people who are interested in building a survival skill set.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.


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