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Book Review: Holding Their Own

Joe Nobody exploded onto the survivalist scene in 2010 with his first book, an instruction guide titled, Holding Your Ground: Preparing for Defense if it All Falls Apart.  That book became an instant success, catapulting Joe into the top tier of self-reliance writers.

By Jimmy C, a contributing author to SurvivalCache.com

Who is Joe Nobody

(From Amazon) Joe Nobody has provided systems, consulting and training for the U.S. Army, Department of Homeland Security, Office of Author Joe Nobody Holding a RifleNaval Research, United States Border Patrol as well as several private firms and government agencies which cannot be disclosed.
He is currently active in this area and for the security of his family and ongoing business, wishes to remain anonymous.

He has over 30 years of competitive shooting experience, including IPSC, NRA, and other related organizations. He has been a firearms instructor and consultant for over 30 years and holds the rights to a United States Patent for a firearms modification.

Joe initially became involved in helping private citizens “prepare” at the request of his students and clients. A conscientious instructor, he would always inquire as to why they wanted to learn certain skills or techniques and often the response was to prepare for more than just simple home invasion or self-defense. If you ask Joe what his greatest attribute is, he will tell you he is a “problem solver” and uses his formal education in Systems Engineering to this end.

A note from Joe Nobody – “As the economy worsens, world tensions rise, and the modern media propagates bad news faster than ever before, more and more people want to prepare. I wrote Holding Your Ground because it allows me to reach more of the good folks who are concerned about their security. I want them to sleep better at night knowing they have a plan of defense should the ‘Event’ ever occur.”

Holding Your Ground was unique in 2010, addressing an aspect of preparing that few, if any, had covered at that point – security in a grid down situation.  The first time I heard about the name Joe Nobody was when Captain Bart reviewed his book right here on SurvivalCache, (to read review: click here) Mr. Nobody’s follow-up book, Holding Their Own: A Story of Survival, was again pioneering.  Most writers stick to either fiction or non-fiction, but not this guy.  His second book was a full-length novel that combined a believable collapse scenario, two likable characters, and the various methods, skills and techniques outlined in that original instruction guide.

Holding Their Own: A Story of Survival was groundbreaking in many ways.  For starters, the author’s original vision was for a series of books, not a stand-alone novel like the prepping community had previously been presented.  You see, he had envisioned a long recovery process, fraught with a cascade of challenges, where the protagonists struggle to forge ahead due to a lack of resources and infrastructure.
Another aspect that had been relatively unexplored in prepper fiction was how a married couple would deal with a downfall. Holding Their Own stars Bishop and Terri, a 30ish couple who live in Houston, Texas.  Bishop works for an oil exploration company, providing security for the firm’s equipment and personnel in hostile locations. Terri is a bank teller.

Overview:

The world is in the middle of the Second Great Depression, a situation that our country’s enemies simply can’t let pass.  They initiate a series of attacks that are some of the most frightening, creative, well thought-out actions I’ve ever read.  The United States, already severely hampered by economic hardship, collapses.  The grid goes down and a domino effect takes place.  In a matter of days, rule of law evaporates.
Bishop and Terri try to stay in the suburban Houston home, but it’s not working.  The army moves in, declares martial law and things continue to deteriorate.  They decide to bug out, a move that takes them on a journey across a post-apocalyptic Texas landscape.  Holding Their Own includes tons of prepper genius, tips and tricks. Bishop is creative, skilled, and sometimes just a little too lucky.  Terri, on the other hand, grows into a stronger character as the book progresses.

They encounter all kinds of plausible situations during the adventure, and it was fun to put myself in their shoes.  Joe has followed up with seven more Holding Their Own novels, almost a million words of adventure, according to the publisher.  The series has received over 1,000 Amazon reviews, with an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars approval rating.

But it all started with We’re Alive: A Story of Survival. These audio books contain foul language, often more than I felt was necessary. But in all fairness, I can’t imagine a more stressful situation than an apocalypse, and tempers probably would run hot in that situation.  Bishop, as I mentioned above, borders on being invincible at times. While I admit that the over-the-top action and adventure keeps the pace nice and fast, it is the only part of the book that seemed unrealistic.

Likes:

The way things are going today with international commerce so interdependent on each nation and our “just in time” inventory systems; a second great depression is not a far reach in my mind.  I liked the idea of neighborhoods enlisting their occupants to help each other make a stand.  We are seeing this take place around the world from conflicts in Syria to Africa, and even in more modern societies such as Ukraine.  I also enjoyed the sections on bartering for different needs.  Again, we are seeing an active black markets develop outside of current world conflicts.  These markets are made up of mostly bartering for needed items.

Want to stock up?  Read our “Top 100 Items to Disappear” list.

Dislikes:

Joe also includes an unusual “gallows humor” in his books that many readers may not appreciate. At first, I didn’t know what to make of some of the dialogue, but as I got deeper into the text, I finally realized Bishop’s cornball remarks were his way of burning stress. I’ve continued through the rest of the series, and I actually have grown to appreciate that character’s outlook.

Conclusion:

Joe Nobody books do not come cheap. The ebook versions run almost $10.00. The paperbacks range from $11-$14 each. While they are full-length novels, that is still on the high side of Amazon ebooks these days.  But if you want a fast-paced, non-zombie series that includes great survivalist tips, it’s hard to beat Holding Their Own.

Photos by Prepper Press

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