Review of Charley Hogwood’s The Survival Group Handbook

Review of The Survival Group Handbook by Charley Hogwood

survival handbook

Disclosure: I was provided an electronic copy of this book for a blog tour.

I’ll start this review with what I would normally say at the end. Upon finishing Mr. Hogwood’s book, I immediately ordered a hard copy version. I could have easily printed the PDF provided, but 1.) I felt that the time, effort and expertise put into creating this handbook WELL merited my money. 2.) I want to have a compact, easy-to-carry version available for reference.

First, don’t let the page count discourage you. When I received my copy, I groaned. 350 pages on Survival Groups? Can’t this fit into 30? Trust me when I say that there’s not a wasted word in the handbook, and that’s coming from a writer known to waste a word or two—here and there. With that said, you can’t expect to read this in one sitting. It’s 1.) Too important of a topic. 2.) Covers every aspect of survival group dynamics you can imagine. This book needs to be read in stages and sections, giving you time to reflect on the subjects presented

Survival group basics and dynamics are an often-overlooked topic in the readiness discussion. Naturally, we gravitate toward gathering gear and preparing our environment for disaster. It’s more immediate and you can easily measure your progress. But if you think about it, you’ll always be in a group, whether it’s with family, friends or neighbors. The principles in this book apply to all of these groups, tailored for each of them…and Mr. Hogwood goes far beyond that to prepare you for larger, more purposeful survival groups.

Here are some of the concepts addressed…I stress the word SOME. There’s a wealth of information and reinforced ideas.

-Being part of a group requires you to ask yourself-What are you willing to give up or trade for the safety and security of a group? This forms the core of the book. If the answer is NOTHING, you don’t belong in a group…period. Mr. Hogwood presents this question early, setting the tone for the rest of the book.

-Group leadership. Which types are appropriate for a group of your size and how do you choose?

-Vetting members, inducting new members and interacting with other survival groups. Balancing the skills a member brings to the group with the supplies.

-Where do you locate your group?

-Different types of groups and the internal dynamics of each.

-Security. No readiness book would be complete without a talk about security, and Hogwood does a fantastic job highlighting the importance of proper security.

-Roles within the group. This section will help even the smallest group, like your immediate family, plan and prepare for an extended disaster. Hogwood lists dozens of roles and their responsibilities. All of these are important and made me think about different aspects of survival within a group.

The Survival Handbook is an easy to read, detailed guide to forming, establishing and maintaining a survival group or Mutual Assistance Group (MAG). While the overall emphasis is on a major, society-disrupting event, Hogwood doesn’t overlook less formal versions of the survival group. The concepts found in the handbook can be applied to regional or local disasters (major storm, hurricane, etc.), just as easily as TEOTWAWKI. Highly recommended, even if you have no intention of starting a survival group. Just having this on your shelf when a crisis strikes could be the head start you need to survive and thrive. Once you read the book, I suspect you won’t wait to put some of the principles to work.

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