“Wyrd biõ ful ãræd.”

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Who is James Wesley Rawles?

 James Wesley Rawles is a former U.S. Army intelligence officer who has become a leading light of the preparedness movement.  He lives with his family at an undisclosed location in the American Redoubt. Probably his greatest successs has been his blog, simply called Survival Blog.


  He has a massive following, yet still is aware of and communicates with other survivalists at the grass roots level, including people you have probably read yourself such as The Other Ryan and Commander Zero. 

Rawles is acutely aware of operational security, as he needs to be. As he himself has indicated, were he to publish his location he would have a carnival outside his gates in short order. Consequently he uses a number of practical measures to preserve his privacy. He seems to be a private person and somewhat reclusive.

Rawles is a frequent guest on television and radio, as well as podcasts.  I am not aware of any appearances at big survival seminars or expos, though I could have missed it if he attended one.  I think it would be somewhat out of character in his case.

Rawles writes both fiction and non fiction concerning the self sufficient lifestyle.  Two books that have been very big success stories are How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It, and Rawles on Retreats and Relocation.
  
Rawles on Retreats and Relocation is one of his earliest works. It's a practical guide for people who live in locations which they know puts them at dire risk in the event of a collapse. It's a how to manual for getting out.

The book addresses the concerns you have to take into consideration if you are moving out of Dodge before the big show. There's a lot more to relocating than just looking for a nice piece of land in a rural town, and this publication will take you through the process and help you insure you don't miss anything.  Once you buy, it's too late to say " that's not going to work."  I know from my own experience that you can get bitten many years down the road by the unexpected, but there's no reason to shoot yourself in the foot right off the bat. This book will help you avoid initial mistakes in relocating.

                                                           

I don't have any statistics to prove it, but I would be willing to wager How to Survive The End of The World as We Know It  is the most commonly purchased of J.W. Rawles' books.  I bought a copy for every member of my extended family, including nephews and nieces. I also sent copies to old Marine Corps buddies, and I offered a copy to the local library but of course they turned their noses up at it. I am not well loved there because I have tried to tell them they need more practical books like this and fewer bodice rippers and yellow press penny dreadfuls. At least no one would go through this book and edit out all the curse words, because there aren't any.

That's because Rawles is a strong Christian.  I don't want to say "fundamentalist" because that has come to mean something like the Taliban, but I have said, only half in jest, that he's close to being the American Taliban.  Since I'm not religious, that's just something I accept as his right.  If I find that mindset features prominently in his fiction works, I try to suppress any irritation it might cause me and get the benefit of his books. I'm not going to cut off my nose to spite my face.


Rawles does write fiction, and his books are wildly popular. When I read the first one, I was very impressed with how much actionable information was in it. His characters make plans, use equipment and supplies, and all of it is described in exact detail. If, for instance, you need a specific kind of equipment, Rawles will tell you the brand name, model and exact specifications of that type of equipment while describing it as part of the novel. The books are priceless resources for that feature alone.

One aspect of his books that I find fascinating is his habit of making the books take place in the same time frame, and frequently overlap. Instead of a chronologically ordered sequence following the same characters, he has different characters, all interrelated, who have distinct stories to tell.  These stories eventually intertwine and you get a mosaic of the collapse all over, not just in one location.  It takes a little getting used to that scheme but I have enjoyed it and I think it adds to the depth of the individual books.

Patriots is the first book in the series, published in 2009. The original novel has been updated and revised, so if you order it used be sure you get the latest edition.


Survivors was published in 2011.


Founders was published in 2012.


Expatriates just came out recently and is the fourth book in the series.

I'm reading Expatriates now and so far, I've liked it.  There's no question that Rawles' is producing a smoother, more flowing story line than was to be found in his first book . It's a little difficult at first to keep up with the different characters but as you read on it becomes less of an issue.  If you are not a religious person, then I'll give you the same advice I give myself. Remember, a lot of people in the Self Sufficiency Movement are deeply religious. These stories are told from that point of view.  The people in the book might not act like you would, or think like you would, but they have plenty of real life counterparts who would. Don't let the religious aspects of the books be such a distraction that they cause you to miss out on the enjoyment and opportunity to learn that this series offers.

For anyone interested in a more detailed account of the author,  I've put the link to the wiki entry. It seems to be fairly accurate and unbiased. 

18 comments:

  1. I think he does some of the conventions by skype or similar. He, as he advises others, doesn't like to get very far away from home in case the balloon goes up suddenly.

    Good post, Harry. I think you covered it all pretty well straight down the middle.

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  2. Well, there have been a lot of comments, one way or the other, concerning him and his latest book. I wanted to clarify my stance on the religious aspects of the books. It would be a shame if someone didn't read them over what is essentially a minor twist in the plot.

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    1. I appreciate the clarification. I won't reengage that point however as both you an Max have responded and I feel my original statement was clear as stated sans a grammatical error or two.

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    2. You do your thing and I'll do mine. That suits me.

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    3. heh... yeah that usually works best...

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  3. Harry - i've read all of his books and gotten something out of all of them, tho by far, patriots and how to survive the end of the world are my faves. i don't mind the religious stuff so much as i consider myself and jambaloney to be very religious and spiritually-minded people. we must be, we read our bible in the hottub - bahahahah! we made a very conscious decision to move here based on reading kurt saxon, rawles, makow and being involved with the apn and cpn, as well as reading blogs like your older ones. the only uncertain thing about moving here was how well the people would accept us "city outsiders". having grown up here, i knew that you can live here for 75 yrs and still be considered outsiders! but somehow, we really lucked out with this community and we are in like flynn! so much so that i now have to go and get ready for the volunteer fire department meeting! jambaloney too! they rely on us as vfd members....it sure feels good!

    i love these kinds of posts of yours as you are very objective...and that can help a lot of people learn about stuff that they might shun because of what other subjective people say. i am so glad to have you back. i think you know it!

    your friend,
    kymber

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    1. Kymber, I figured you and J were religious people. So is my wife. Your kind of religion I'm comfortable with. You two do all you can to take care of yourselves. The kind I'm not so comfortable with is the " I don't have to worry or do anything because God will be there for me." I believe everybody should call their own shots but that view seems dangerous to me.

      I have often been impressed with the fact that you folks not only found the perfect place to live, but you are social and have integrated yourselves into the community. I envy you those skills, which I don't have. I keep pretty much to myself. A few years back, when I was still working, my boss wanted me to get a notary pubic commission. To do that, I had to find two people who would be able to testify that I had lived in the county for five years (at that time I'd been here about 25). I had a hard time thinking of two people I knew well enough to approach on that.

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  4. Well there isn't any question where I stand on the subject. The older I get the less tolerance I have for the fairy tale political correctness propaganda and Rawles is as bad about smearing PC around as any Hollywood script writer trying to find a way to work Morgan Freeman into a movie roll.

    Bottom line if you tell your average person something long enough they believe it and what he is doing is no different than attempting to convince someone it is alright to hand feed bears raw meat while blood runs down your arm. A funny twist for a so called "survivalist" expert don't ya think.

    I believe Braken handled the PC aspects of collapse better than anyone I have read to date. Especially in his third book that asked some pretty pointed questions and showed some probable outcomes.

    There is also so much hypocrisy associated with his blog. You will note he likes to link to and promote a certain type of blog/author combination and the common denominator is NOT Christianity either. He especially steers way clear of linking to anyone who has more of a specific resume in things than he can boast for himself. I always find that type of personality suspect.

    His Books have gotten worse in the PC direction and picked up an almost "Bodice Ripper" quality to them as well in my opinion and his main audience is changing in a direction you would expect for that type of content.

    Just my humble opinion and observation of his operation over the years.

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    1. Well hell, I shouldn't have put my life savings into the stock of his corporation then!

      Just kidding. Nobody likes everybody. You will find this hard to believe, but from time to time I get ugly emails myself from people who don't like me. And we all know what a kind hearted and personable individual I am.

      ;-)

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    2. That's funny. People generally hate me so bad they can't even type. Guess that's why I never get any hate mail :)

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    3. Well, you're pretty much a no half measures kind of person. Just don't open any packages you get without a return address, until you have soaked them in water for an hour.

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  5. I have enjoyed reading not only Mr. Rawles books but quite a few other authors as well. I will say he got me started with his Patriots book and from there I took off looking for others to read. I am able to pick up bits and pieces from any book I read that I find good and interesting. Suffice it to say there is not one 'voice' out here that is the 'know all to be all'. A person is best off picking up from many sources like all of the different blogs I like to read. It's safe to say I have a pretty good sized book collection on my Kindle of different survival type books.

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    1. The more you read, the more you learn. And as you say, the more varied your sources, the wider the variety of information you acquire will be. I like Ragnar Benson's books, and there are several good books that have come out in the last few years from authors I never heard of before. I don't see a thing wrong with keeping your collection on Kindle as long as you have a means to charge it if the grid goes down.

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  6. We actually invited him to our wedding but he was unable to attend. He did send a generous gift, though. From time to time he would communicate with my m y wife through her blog or email and he was always very pleasant. And, the one time we met In Real Life he was very easy to get along with AND he picked up the check...so, yay!

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    1. You are the only person I know of who has met him socially. I can sympathize with his desire for privacy, but it does make him difficult to "get a read" on. He seems like a good fellow to me. I don't go along with him on his desire to exterminate every wolf, mountain lion and bear near his ranch. I don't necessarily need to be in 100 % agreement with someone to respect them.

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  7. Sounds like an interesting guy.

    Your comment today made me laugh :-)

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    1. Lisa, I've never met the man but he's certainly a powerful force in our "community."

      That's good. If I have accomplished nothing else today, that's something positive!

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