Making the Best of Basics Book Review

by Erich

Full Disclosure: I do receive a small commission if you purchase this book through one of my links below, however in no way does this affect my review of the book. If you do decide to purchase one through my link then I thank you very much for your support!

I recently picked up a copy of James Talmage Stevens’ bestselling book Making the Best of Basics: Family Preparedness Handbook. This is a book that I’ve seen advertised for some time now on the web but haven’t (up until now) picked up a copy.

As far as I know, I think this is the oldest “prepper” book around that is still regularly updated.

It’s been the all-time bestselling volume in the preparedness industry for almost 4 decades and is now in its 12th-edition printing, with it’s first-edition printed in 1976 (before I was born!) However, don’t be turned off because of the age of the book. The latest edition contains every bit of up-to-date and accurate preparedness information as any other quality book out there.

First impressions

From a first impression, I found this book to be refreshing since it is not filled with a lot of the doom-and-gloom that other more modern preparedness books out there contain. It’s primary purpose is to help the reader become more self reliant and I think it does a great job at that.

What’s under the cover

As far as content goes, Making the Best of Basics covers most of the basic prepper topics you would think of:

  • creating an emergency plan for your family
  • food and water storage (which makes up the brunt of the book)
  • energy and fuels storage
  • dehydrating fruits and vegetables
  • as well as preparing game meats, and even creating a precious metals strategy

Keep in mind though if you are looking for other prepper-related subjects like canning, gardening, or firearms, you’ll have to look at other resources for that. However, I think the book follows the title well in that it expects you to make the best of the basics — and for that it is a fantastic resource.

The negatives

One of the things I didn’t like about it (I have the digital version so it may be different in the actual physical version) was that it was interspersed with different advertisements (although they are prepper related). If that type of thing doesn’t bother you then you should be fine. I found it to be a bit of a distraction.

Also, the flow of the book can be monotonous at times and I find the format (since it’s packed in pretty tight at times) can be sometimes difficult to read. Given that, I would not recommend it as a cover to cover read but is much better served as a reference guide for your survival library.

Final thoughts

All in all though I think it does a great job at walking you through how to become prepared. For those who are able to purchase, put together, and use the things the author recommends in his various checklists and worksheets (which are spread throughout the book), they will be well prepared for tough times ahead.

Despite some of my criticisms, I think it is still a fantastic book and should be part of every preppers survival library.

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