Book Review: The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse

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By Joel Jefferson •  4 min read

This book is based on the author’s first hand experience of the 2001 Economic Collapse in Argentina. He offers a broad range of very practical advice for how to prepare yourself and your family for a large-scale emergency or survival situation in an urban environment.


(From Amazon) “Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is a father, husband and survivalist that has The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse. By Fernando Ferfal Aguirrelived through the Argentine socio-economic collapse of 2001, and the consequences such collapse had in the years that followed.

He’s the author of numerous articles found on line and is recognized among the survival and preparedness community for his personal experience and no-nonsense approach to survivalism.

He’s also the publisher and owner of “Surviving in Argentina”, a blog he keeps up with updated articles, posts as well as reports of the situation in Argentina.”

Survival Applications

The Author covers most aspects of survival in an urban environment starting with basic things such as physical fitness, and moving on to subjects such as vehicle preparation, food and water storage, self defense, weapons, survival kits, currency/gold/silver, and proper survival mindset and awareness.

Aguirre has a very practical way of writing and his advice is simple and pragmatic. His experience living through an economic collapse in a first-world country gives him a unique insight into what sorts of problems that the average urban dweller might have to face in an emergency situation.

Favorite Parts

Aguirre’s discussion on guns is excellent.  He summarizes some of the arguments and counter arguments in the survival world regarding guns, and his conclusions make a lot of practical sense. He believes that the pistol is the primary firearm in a survival situation and that other weapons such as assault rifles, shotguns, sniper rifles, are of secondary importance.

Aguirre also has a great philosophy regarding knives. He carries a large serrated knife clipped to his front pocket, and he views this as the most important piece of his “first line” survival gear.

He carries another smaller knife in another pocket for every day tasks, and he prefers to leave the serrated knife unused so as to maintain the razor sharp edge. I thought that this was very smart and practical advice.

I also really enjoyed Aguirre’s first hand experiences in Buenos Aires during the crisis. He describes many issues that he dealt with on a daily basis such as finding working ATMs, relationships with neighbors, dealing with family and relatives, gold vs. cash, dogs and household pets, and other day to day issues.

At the end of the book, his wife writes a list of her top survival recommendations from a woman’s perspective, which is very enlightening and refreshing.


Not too many. The author is very confident in his opinions which might rub some people theThe Decline of the US Dollar wrong way  (For example: “Stop debating pros and cons of the various pistols/rounds and just get yourself a Glock 9mm.”) However, his real world experience and his well-structured arguments seem to back up his ideas and opinions.


This book is a great read, and I would highly recommend it for anyone who lives in an urban area, especially people with families. The end of 2010 saw record breaking rain and snow on the west coast, and huge snowstorms on the east coast that brought many major cities to a standstill.

I walked away from this book with several new ideas of ways that I could better prepare myself and my family, and I have already implemented some of these ideas into my life. The guidance and the advice contained in this book will help you and your loved ones to prepare for these sorts of unforeseen emergencies.

Also read “8 Common Mistakes of Wilderness Survival”

Photo credits:
James Dunnigan / Bud Wood

Joel Jefferson

Joel is one of the original founders of After college, he joined the USMC where he served as an (0302) Marine Infantry Officer. Joel is an avid outdoorsman and spends much of his free time in the mountains. Joel’s hobby is researching survival gear & weapons as well as prepping. Read his full interview here.