Book Review: Survivors

Book Review Survivors James Wesley Rawles SurvivalBlog.com

James Wesley, Rawles latest book Survivors follows a handful of determined individuals as they try to make their way to safety during a complete government and financial collapse.  The story takes place during the same period of chaos as with the author’s earlier book Patriots.

By James, a contributing author of SurvivalCache.com

Overview

The main character in Survivors is Captain Andrew Laine, a young Army ordnance officer serving in Afghanistan at the beginning of the so called “Crunch”, a period of hyperinflation set off by a full scale default on US Treasuries followed by a worldwide stock market crash.  This collapse of our modern economic system brings about the rise of large criminal gangs and various government personnel, both foreign and domestic, who attempt to grab power in the chaos.

The book follows Captain Laine as he attempts to reach his fiancee, Kaylee Schmidt in New Mexico as the oversea military base where Captain Laine is station basically disintegrates from lack of funding and command structure.  Captain Laine’s trip is anything but easy.  US Dollars in which he is paid are accepted almost no where, military (MAC) flights have been suspended, communications to the United States are intermittent at best and food is hard to come by.  All the while, a large criminal gang which crushes small towns is on a collision course with his loved ones.

Favorite Part

I liked the idea of the criminal gang and how they operated both before the “Crunch” and afterwards.  I also enjoyed Andrew Laine’s creative ways to travel back to the United States by sailboat, horseback, foot, etc. and the encounters he had along the way with people who helped him out of the goodness of their hearts.

Dislikes

For me personally, I like my survival books with only one helping of religion.  This book had just enough religion to turn me off.  Some of the sequences where people stopped to pray for 10 to 15 minutes seemed a little odd to me.  Also the characters were a little hard to follow even though the author provided a list of all of the 60 characters with descriptions in the front of the book.  Maybe I should have taken that list as a hint that I would need to reference it often (and I did).  The ending of the book was probably the most disappointing part for me.  When I got to page 371, the Acknowledgments page, I was seriously thinking that someone had pulled a prank on me and tore out the last chapter of the book.  I had just gotten into the book – ugh!!!

Summary

I have read all of Rawles’ books How to Survive TEOTWAWKI, Patriots, and now Survivors.  I would have to say that Survivors is my least favorite of the three.  I guess you can’t win them all.  On the other hand, writing a book is tough and being a critic is easy.

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{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Rescue7 March 7, 2012 at 4:54 pm

Good post James. Sounds like a long haul fantasy book. E&E from the Stan? Really?
I appreciate your choices and have some of the same preferences. Personally I like the Winchester Defender. What is the second book you would choose for survival?

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its_exit March 7, 2012 at 9:19 pm

I guess I won't be reading this one any time soon!

I appreciate the heads up.

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Wayne March 7, 2012 at 9:42 pm

It is a great read. I have read it two or three times. As far as too much religion, I didn't find it too distracting.

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Adrian March 8, 2012 at 7:08 am

I have to say I completely agree with Wayne – it really is a great read. Obviously I'm not going to tell you anything you don't know when I say that faith is a polarizing topic.

Not to say that you wont form a completely different opinion, but I think Survivors builds on Patriots, and I look forward to the forthcoming third part in this trilogy.

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Enron_Survivor March 8, 2012 at 8:10 am

Wayne & Adrian – I am glad you two liked it…..you might be the only ones. I read it…and I thought the SC review was a very nice way of saying "Skip it, it sucks" – They tore it up on SurvivalistBoards.com http://www.survivalistboards.com/showthread.php?t…

I think I still have half the book to go….haven't touched it in 2 months.

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Zed March 8, 2012 at 8:15 am

From Survivalist Boards Post – I think this says it all.

(Chuncho): "I agree with Tracker Buckman 100% His characters are all perfect Christians. Perfect in everyway. Thought out everything well in advance. All have extensive military training too. His Patriots scenario seems so unreal. None of the characters had any family showing up? If there is a collapse and any of your family or friends have any inkling you are a prepper, guess who will be at your door. UN and New World order invasion stuff is dreaming too. I started reading Survivors but had to quit. Too much like Patriots.

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Guest October 4, 2013 at 7:03 pm

As a modern-day Christian with yesterday's upbringing, I'll be the first to admit that none of us are perfect, just works in-progress. Then again, there's lots of hypocrites, too. Hell, I'm a bald-faced liar when it suits me, but that's a defense mechanism – might save my life one day!

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Erik March 8, 2012 at 12:46 pm

There are some interesting ideas in the book. The problem is lack of focus. That's often a problem with self published books which this essentially is.
The book could have focused on the Laine brothers stories and to a lesser extent the characters who were involved with them and skipped characters like the seed lady in Fort Knox and the fake government there.
He could have built tension by having convergence of good and evil in 4 corners. Laine would be trying to return to his family, shadowing La Fuerza on the last leg, trying to beat them there to help out. Meanwhile, the 4 corners folks build a makeshift army to deal with them while harassing La Fuerza to slow them down. It all culminates in an armor battle with technicals, in the desert southwest.

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Emerson March 8, 2012 at 3:53 pm

I thought the book was fragmented and jumped around too much, a big distraction. The faith part did not bother me at all, because it is in times of opposition and trials that people find they need God anyway. My recommendation would be "One Second After" by William Forstchen, well written, fluid, great character and storyline development. It sucks you right in.

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Wayne March 9, 2012 at 8:23 pm

That was a great book too. A would bet they won't make that into a movie for one reason, would scare a C—- out of too many people.

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Emerson March 26, 2012 at 9:55 am

Very true Wayne about a movie scaring the crap-load out of people, however, that is what some people need to get moving… a swift kick in the pants.

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Durak March 13, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Emerson hit it head on. It felt like he was sticking too many characters in the book and at times I had to flip back just to keep it all straight. The story felt jerky as he was trying to pull you through all the different places in the book. First one was better organized.

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CaptBart March 8, 2012 at 4:09 pm

James,
thanks for the review. I've heard similar comments elsewhere. I had some problems with Patriots so I probably won't bother with Survivors.

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Ryan March 8, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Despite the critique of the religion and jumpiness, it had a good explanation of trading with silver as well as things like the “mag lite” self defense. But unlike patriots, this one didn’t have thermite grenades. *sigh*

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LCsDad March 10, 2012 at 4:45 am

Can anyone tell me why the author puts the comma between James Wesley, (<- there it is) Rawles? Is Rawles his first name?

Might be perfectly appropriate… I just can't say as I've ever seen or done it before.

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Wolfie March 10, 2012 at 6:28 pm

The "James Wesley" is his christian name, he states it is his possession, where as Rawles is his family name and such is common property among all family members in the bloodline, thus he distinguishes between the two with a comma.

I've read the three books, Surviving the end of the world, Patriots, and Survivors. I found Survivors the weakest, some parts cut and pasted from Patriots, darn Microsoft word, enjoyed Patriots tempered with reason, for some of the improbable developments. Surviving the end of the world offered some sound advice. Helped me make up my mind to take care of a small medical issue now just in case there isn't a doctor tomorrow.

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remjax March 13, 2012 at 2:06 pm

I agree with your review 100%. If Mr. Rawles had stuck with the character overseas finding his way back home it could have been a good book.

As it was I was VERY disappointed in this one, I felt I had wasted the price of the book.
If Patriots is a 100 then this one is a 30.

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wolverines March 13, 2012 at 6:41 pm

if you're not a perfect christian then you're a murderous gang member. Please. I want real life "WALKING DEAD" comic books scenarios. You know, people doing bad things because they are actually trying to SURVIVE. how old is this author? Is he related to jesus? What year is this? do people really pray speak in biblical phrases in the 21st century? I want books that talk about fathers sticking shotguns outside their doors at the first sign of movement. I want mothers stabbing other mothers because they look at them funny. I want people robbing, stealing, killing, doing whatever it takes to put food in their families mouths. I don't want DISNEY survival stories. Come on

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Sean March 14, 2012 at 1:00 pm

The religion didn't bother me, you bet I'd be praying in preparation for a firefight. What I disliked was the lack of character conflict. Even the most hard core christian knows we're all sinners. Why wasn't there more sin? I don't mean that in a tawdry way, maybe a tragic mistake of killing an innocent, leaving a man behind, stealing bread to keep from starving etc.

I prefer complex characters and these were one sided automatons.

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Mike May 21, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Patriots was essentially a survival manual dressed up as fiction. Survivors falls short of Patriots in both these areas- the applicable guidance is far less extensive, and the storytelling is far less engaging (and simply not as well written). That said, I still found the book entertaining and worth the price.

MILD SPOILERS

What makes it frustrating is that by incorporating the development of the provisional government and the progression of the looter gang, Rawles hits on two potentially very interesting areas that he ultimately fails to either develop or conclude at all effectively. The President of the provisional government is essentially a town selectman who (at the prompting of his wife) calls a meeting with his buddies one day, and then the next time we see him has already extended his control across several towns with help of a general at a nearby base, and subsequently across the eastern US. There is absolutely minimal description as to how the initially mild-mannered individual came to head the oppressive new government that played a role in the second half of Patriots. In the instance of the looter gang, while the development is far stronger, the story simply stops prior to the apparent climax of that plot line (as well of that as the refinery). It truly feels like an editing error where several chapters at the end simply aren't getting included with the book. If done intentionally, it's baffling.

All in all an interesting read that could have surpassed Patriots, but ended up falling well short.

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Rick July 17, 2012 at 10:54 am

Dude, the overbearing religious connotations in patriots made me want to throw the book across the room a couple of times. A little is cool, no worries, we know the character is religious, but every other page quotes a psalm or something and it pissed me off! Also, I thought rawles was some kind of expert but all he did was basically write a sophisticated rip off if red dawn where the militia are awesome and the enemy is beyond stupid… Guess I won’t be reading survivors then.

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sultan April 24, 2013 at 10:33 pm

I have WP on my route directory which is my first domain that i bought and when i bought the second domain i pointed the destination to a folder withing the root. Tracy This may not be correct…

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bob leeper July 8, 2013 at 4:38 pm

i got the book yesterday.. religious??? not really. sure people pray.. most people do, i do, only i pray to god for guidance and wisdom.. proverbs 2 .6 .. not to the greenback inflated dollar like most…if im in a situation where someone spouts off a list of bible verses, i can only think of two things, they are trying to impress someone, or they really know their verses i hope its the later and not the former…for their sake alone

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