As hordes of refugees and looters pour out of the cities, a small group of friends living in the Midwest desperately try to make their way to a safe-haven ranch in northern Idaho. The journey requires all their skill and training since communication, commerce, transportation and law enforcement have all disappeared. Once at the ranch, the group fends off vicious attacks from outsiders and then looks to join other groups that are trying to restore true Constitutional law to the country.
Patriots is a thrilling narrative depicting fictional characters using authentic survivalist techniques to endure the collapse of American civilization. Listening to this compelling, fast-paced novel could one day mean the difference between life and death.
©2009 James Wesley Rawles; (P)2009 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
This is a fascinating book, but not a good novel. It is worth reading for two reasons.
(1) This book is, first, a survivalist's handbook disguised (the disguise is very thin) as fiction. Thus it's obviously going to be bad fiction, but if you think of the book as a series of scenarios which the author explores from a survivalist point of view, it's really quite good. He's obviously been thinking about this for quite some time. (The author runs a survivalist blog.) If, like me, you ever wonder what you'd do if your civilization collapsed (they do that, after all) this book is interesting, and it's easier to read than a guide.
(2) The book is also an insight into the way some Americans see the world. And that too is interesting. The book contains long, rambling sections where the author attacks the US government. (Since this is supposed to be a novel, the good guys serve as mouthpieces for the author's views.)
And in general, this book is an unselfconscious revenge-on-society fantasy, set in a world where governments are bad, guns are good, but automatic ones are best, the constitution is good, gun licenses are bad, gun-seller licenses are bad, driver's licenses are bad (!), the Oklahoma bombing was a set-up, and so on, and on, and on. I've never truly understood the people (like the author) who want to see it all burn. This book helps.
This is book is not a good choice if you are looking for an action novel. If you are interested in ideas for how to survive and End Of Days scenario, it is OK. The authors other book, How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It, Is a far better choice. Rawles may be a good survivalist, and manual writer, a novelist he is not. It does drag a bit....
Patriots (A novel of survival in the coming collapse) is is about a group of survivalists ("The Group") who plan ahead to meet at a well-stocked retreat in Idaho in the event of some event or disaster which causes the US government to fail. By the time they make the decision to Get Out of Dodge, money is worthless, gas is unavailable, food distribution has shut down and outlaw gangs rule. The military is nowhere to be found, nor are the police. The Group, later named the Northwest Militia, meets at their Idaho retreat and each relay their own stories of what it took for them to get there. While this is a novel, this book is written to be instructional in nature and offers many details for people who want to plan their future retreats. It is quite lengthy (3 7 hour parts) and every encounter is very detailed. Someone with an interest in different types of guns/ammo and survivalist living would enjoy this book. This book is somewhat instructional on how to live frugally and off the land. The Group started out with basic food supplies (unconstituted peanut butter, wheat flour, dried meat, so on) and other than hunting and gardening and minimal bartering lived off their initial stockpile for several years. While this book could be dry at times I still thought it was a good listen all in all.
While I am somewhat like minded with some of the themes of the book, I think the info in the book would have been just as well printed as lists and instructions. The story line was very disjointed (in my opinion) and the characters were not very well developed. Although I am much a supporter of "bearing arms", the ENDLESS writing on guns, parts, ammo in every situation was just too much. If I had wanted a gun manual, I would have purchased one. As some reviewers have noted, this book really seems like an instruction manual with some people thrown in so it can be sold as a novel. I do applaud the author for all the information he is trying to share, but a prepper manual would have been cheaper, faster, and more use.
Patriots is a political novel that promotes an agenda of states’ rights populism, right wing Christianity, pro-Second Amendment rights, anti-UN views, and survivalism that is cast in the near future amidst a financial collapse, the result of overwhelming national debt, hyperinflation, and a stock market crash.
This novel focuses on many technical and paramilitary topics that may not be enjoyable reading for many – even if they share the author’s politics. Perhaps there is no way to cover such topics in an “enjoyable” manner and that the point of this book is exactly that – life in a post-collapse America, reduced to a barter economy with massive civil unrest, will be difficult, reduced to a struggle to survive.
The author avoids the “UN helicopter” paranoia found in some contemporary literature of a similar genre and uses the format of a novel, tracing the lives of characters and their families as a vehicle to present its political message. However, if you do not have an interest in paramilitary subjects or don’t enjoy extended discussions of firearms, radio communications, survivalist medicine and other issues, which comprise a large portion of the dialog between the characters; then you may wish to use your Audible credits elsewhere.
Patriots references many useful materials on a wide variety of survivalist topics that can be used for further “study” if the reader is so inclined. In the print version these references may be easier to access.
The story line is entertaining with good, but predictable, characters that are used to deliver the political message. The author presents a frightening, but believable, scenario for the future. It should be well received by many who are in tune with its message, but unfortunately will most likely be dismissed by those who could benefit most from it – those who are in denial about the issues facing our nation and a “head in the sand” attitude that such a scenario as described in Patriots “could never happen here.”
As a regular reader of James Wesley Rawles's Survival Blog, I was interested to hear what a novel written by him would sound like. Knowing he's a conservative Christian libertarian, I expected a big dose of hatin' on Obama and probably a bunch of atheist liberals getting what's coming to them, but in fairness, the author mostly keeps the right wing vitriol in check until the latter part of the book. But when it does emerge, boy does it ever.
The first thing to know is that Rawles clearly hopes this book will "wake up" some of his readers, both to the threat he believes is facing the country and to the need to prepare for the coming collapse. Whether or not you believe that hyperinflation will cause a a total collapse of the U.S. government, I have always felt that there is some wisdom in preparing for worst case scenarios, for some value of "worst case." In other words, the preppers are not completely wrong. We can't all move to an armed compound in Idaho, as the characters in this book do, or even build bunkers in our back yards, but we can keep a month or two supply of dried rations, water, toilet paper, and first aid kits in storage. People with pets and kids and medications to juggle have to think more seriously about what they'd do if the power goes down for more than a day or two. And some of us might even include things that go bang in our preps...
So, when you read this book, be prepared for lots and lots of lists, of firearms, ammunition, accessories, vehicles, survival gear, rations, batteries, fuel types, backpacks, you name it. There are chapters stuffed with "how tos" on everything from blood transfusion to farming. You couldn't actually use this novel as a guide in a real-life grid down situation, but reading it will make you think a lot about what sorts of things you'd need to know. A lot of reviews complain about the listology and the didacticism of the book, and that's a fair complaint - if you just want a good old fashioned post-apocalypse novel, Patriots is awfully dry at times. But since I do actually have an interest in the subject, I didn't get too bogged down with the "stuff you oughta know" parts.
That said, Rawles is certainly not going to dazzle you with his prose or his characterization either. There are over twenty characters in this book, all of them friends who have supposedly been saving and stocking up for the apocalypse since their college days, and so we get chapters about each of them at one point or another. None of them are really distinguishable from one another beyond a few simply-described traits: there's the chubby Asian gun nut, the ex-Army Officer alpha male, the motherly nurse, the ROTC cadet prepper, the biker machinist (an awful lot of highly skilled individuals with all the right political and religious views just happen to wander down the road to the characters' compound), the token Jew and the token agnostic about whom I can literally remember nothing else, etc.
The "plot" of the first part of the book is basically everyone getting together on their compound and weathering it out for a few years, as America goes to hell and they have to deal with looters (who are Marxists and cannibals and implied to be gay) and other prepper militias.
Then comes the second part of the book. This is when the United Nations installs a provisional relief government, and the book shoots straight into gibbering right-wing lunacy. The UN troops are all mustache-twirling war criminals who think nothing of rape and torture, the American quislings promptly agree to suspending every single American civil right (literally the first thing a newly-arrived UN-backed American official does is give a speech to a skeptical community of survivalists that carrying a gun will henceforth be a capital crime), and soon we are seeing, I kid you not, FEMA concentration camps.
The militia organized by the main characters joins up with a resistance movement, and in a few months they are able to kick heavily-armed UN troops with tank divisions out of the country because Americans are just that awesome. Then they rewrite the Constitution and institute a new U.S. government that would make the Tea Party collectively die of spontaneous orgasmic expulsion of their precious bodily fluids.
I still give this book 3 stars because it was, after a fashion, both entertaining and informative, but it was like the author was trying to keep his rabid Euro-phobia and Red-baiting impulses in check for the first few hundred pages and then he couldn't hold it in anymore.
If you have a serious interest in prepping combined with a love of post-apocalyptic novels, this book is worth reading, but if your interest is only in fiction, there are much, much better books, and if you're mainly interested in the survivalist aspects, try Rawles's non-fiction or his blog instead.
This book does not focus on getting to know characters trying to survive. It is all about the technical aspects of items needed in an economic collapse and warfare tatics. If you are making a prepper list then this book is for you. If you are looking for a book to draw you into a story then you might want to keep looking.
I do have a few problems with the story. The author writes from a very narrow prospective. Near the end of the book he opens up some more, but the correlation of say cannibalism with communism as an example is kind of narrow minded and contrived. I don't like communism and I felt that was a little absurd.
There were points were the book got really technical, but based off of my understanding, it is a survival manual written in the from of a novel so the author won't get in trouble for teaching those things.
The over all plot was interesting enough and I do not regret getting the book. It is definitely worth the read and I would recommend it to others. I am interested to see what his other books are like.
It have me a lot of great food for thought. I am not a hard core survivalist by any means, but I do have emergency preparations in the event of natural disaster. Listening to this book helped me to prioritize my gear. Again, well worth the read and the credit for the book.
Before I get into the story, the first thing you have to understand is what kind of book this is. First and foremost this is a "preppers" book. Once you understand that, the style of the book and the amazing amount of detail make sense. The author is a survival expert with many years of experience in military and civilian tactical methods as well as a respected prepper who lives how he preaches. This book is the 4th edition of a story that has been revised and expanded over two decades.
The narrative of this novel serves to bring a context to the vast amount of technical detail. It is set in the mid-west and the author uses first-hand knowledge of the region to bring the characters and places to life. I found that the story kept me very interested throughout the book, only lagging in a couple of small places. This books is filled with scenes of violence and harsh imagery. For that reason, I would caution anyone below the age of 15 to read it. The author however does skillfully weave these violent themes into the story with tact and a respect for life.
I feel that the main point of this novel is to provide a feasible scenario in which survival preparedness would not only be useful, but essential. The author uses an extreme level of detail in describing the weapons, food-stores, logistical material, vehicles, medical supplies, armor, and housing. At first, if you do not accept this book for what it is--a recipe on how to setup and maintain a survival retreat--you will be overwhelmed. If you are listening to the book because you are wanting a guide on survival preparedness, this is your book. If you are not and are just looking for a book to entertain, this can still be your book, but you may be better off with something like One Second After by William R. Forstchen.
More information can be found at the authors blog (survivalblog [dot] com)
Overall, I really enjoyed this book both from an entertainment and informational perspective. Although I was already of the survival mindset, this book has given me a new understanding of the level of preparation that is truly needed to survive "dooms-day" scenarios like the one in this novel.
I would recommend this book to anyone (over the age of 15).
Survivalist, preppers, Christian fundamentalism, states-rights, guns rights, family values, logistics, weapons, explosives, military tactics / strategy, small-scale farming, apocalyptic, disaster, anti-U.N..
I have to give credit to the author for his pragmatic views on survival in case of economic collapse. What I can't stand--just my personal opinion here--is the angle from which the author writes. No offense to any Christians who may read this--to each his own--but to me this book should be titled "Ultra-conservative Christians: A Novel of survival in the coming Communist Cannibal apocalypse."
I am a huge fan of survival novels, and bought this book pretty much along that premise. "Earth Abides" by George R. Stuart, as well as "Alas, Babylon" by Pat Frank are two of my favorites. "One Second After" by William Forstchen, and "Lucifer's Hammer" by Larry Niven are pretty good as well, not to mention "The Stand" by Stephen King (horror/fantasy survival scenario!) and "Robopacolypse" by Daniel H. Wilson (killer AI robots/tech survival novel).
I have no special aversion to highly-religious authors, but in this case, I freely admit that I was disgusted by the overt political/religious views of the author. I could deal with the characters' constant need to "reflect with prayer", but when the first two "villains" show up carrying cannibalized body parts and communist manifestos in their shopping cart--Yes folks, COMMUNIST CANNIBALS are the enemy here--I felt like vomiting all over my iPod. Someone should have told the author that the Cold War is over and that the Soviet Union collapsed back in 1991.
I mean no offense to conservatives out there, or religious fundamentalists who believe that the earth is only a few thousand years old. If that's you, then buy this book! You will love it!
However, if you are not a card-carrying Tea Party'er, and don't believe that all liberals--let alone hippies--are communists, then I would suggest your credit might be better spent elsewhere. Now I need to go wash...
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