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Book Review: Holding Your Ground

Most of the books that we review are somewhat general in nature. An overview, if you will, of the skills needed for survival. “Holding Your Ground: Preparing for Defense if it All Falls Apart” by Joe Nobody is of a different mold.


By Captain Bart, contributing author SurvivalCache.com

Joe Nobody spends his time talking about the defense of your location, armed and otherwise.  The focus of the book is for the prepper who has not had the benefit of special ops or military small unit training.  By providing a way to judge your defensive posture and improve it where needed Joe provides a solid base upon which to build a secure and defensible area.

Overview

The book starts from the basics.  The author assumes you know nothing about defending your retreat, not even the terminology so he starts at the basement and builds up.  The book provides a tool, in the form of a spreadsheet (layout is in the appendix for you to enter – no software provided) that will calculate required levels of defense for a given location as well as the skill level of the defender.  Put together, it provides a ‘score’ for your ability to defend your position.  For the untrained, it will be an eye opener as you consider the things that make a place ideal or untenable.

One of the best things I liked was the assumption that ‘hordes’ of MZB was not the issue.  Joe points out early that if you come up against a couple of M1A1 Abrams tanks, you lose.  If you come up against an organized military unit, you lose.  In many situations, you will lose and in those situations, bugging out at the correct time and in the correct manner are the secret to survival.

Methods of choosing fighting positions, observation posts, access paths, in short, everything to do with a retreat are covered and covered in such a way that your retreat doesn’t look like Ft. Apache.  That would annoy the Home Owners Association and isn’t the most effective defense anyway.

About the Author

Joe Nobody is obviously a ‘nom de plume‘ and other than what you can glean from inside the book, not much is available.  His style of writing is interesting and the coverage of the topic thorough. That he lives in the Southeast part of Texas is apparent from his examples and location choices.  If you know a military trained vet, he will agree that Joe seems to know his material fairly well.

Favorite Part

The general lay out of “Holding Your Ground” is perhaps its greatest strength.  Starting from nothing we are lead through the various levels of difficulty.  We start with the basic description of the problem.  Once the Who, What, Where, and Why are taken care of, we move on into the How do we secure our site at a price we can afford.  The methodology of determining the strengths and weaknesses of various parts of our plan is the main benefit of this book.

Dislikes

I thought the primary weakness of “Holding Your Ground” was Chapter 12, Weapons.  Joe states ” If you are a gun person, feel free to skip this chapter.  It is written for those who have little experience with firearms.”  I would have liked the book better if I had taken his advice and skipped over the chapter.

While I do like his division into 3 classes (Long range, Medium Range, Close Quarters) and recognize that this is a book focused solely on the defense part of prepping, the choice of weapons he chose for each class was, to my mind, unfortunate.  While the .308 Winchester is certainly an excellent weapon for long range, the exclusion of every other caliber except .50 cal BMG and .338 Lapua is a disservice.  In addition, Joe seems to think that the AR pattern weapon platform is the only acceptable one as it is a ‘military’ pattern.  The fact that most AR’s are not manufactured to Mil-Spec standards is totally missed as is the fact that .223 and 5.56 medium range rounds are NOT interchangeable.  He blithely states there are ‘some minor differences’ but get it wrong in the wrong gun and you are in trouble.  Finally, he seems to think that a 12 gauge is substantially more effective than a 20 gauge and this is simply not the case for Close Quarters combat.

Telling me that the most important factor about an AR pattern rifle is that it “LOOKS EVIL” really has no place in what is an otherwise decent book.  The rest of the equipment section is decent and has some interesting ideas to be considered.

Summary

With the exception of the Weapons part of Chapter 12, I thought this was an excellent book for a new prepper.  It is a much easier read than the military handbooks, contains excellent decision making tools, and should prove useful in setting up a survival location.  Some of the equipment he lists as “must haves” is expensive, in some cases it is of doubtful usefulness and in others less expensive options exist.  I give this book a conditional recommendation. What is right with the book is very right and very useful. What is wrong with the book is all in chapter 12 and its sub-chapters.  Plenty of food for thought in it but also what I see as glaring, in some cases dangerous, errors.  I would recommend the book to anyone for the methodology.  I also strongly caution the reader to take chapter 12 with a whole tablespoon of salt.  If you see something there you like, and there are some things, do your own research and check with people you trust.  Used carefully this book will serve your well.

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