Item description for Making the Best of Basics: Family Preparedness Handbook by James Stevens...
Outline ReviewNever mind all the year 2000-type scare scenarios. Just close your eyes for a moment and imagine what would happen if you became ill and couldn't work, or if an earthquake or hurricane or bomb left your community devastated. It happens all the time. When unexpected disasters happen, people who are even a little prepared are much better off than those who have taken their dependence on outside resources for granted. When you imagine the security of not having to worry about going to the store for even a few weeks, a comprehensive storage system begins to make sense.
James Talmage Stevens's Making the Best of Basics, now in its 10th edition, is one of the best-known preparedness bibles around. Stevens lays out a yearlong storage program of 15 food and nonfood categories, six of which (water, wheat and grains, dairy products, sweeteners, "cooking catalysts" like salt and oil, and sprouting seeds) are capable of sustaining life indefinitely in a no-frills diet. The other 9 categories are designated "Building Blocks," and improve upon the basic diet and support a more routine, less Spartan existence while relying on stored supplies. (Some of them, such as medical supplies and fuel, will seem as essential to some readers as the first six.) The book's main messages--store what you eat, eat what you store, use it or lose it--are at the core of its calm advice and simple, nutritious recipes. The 10th edition has been updated with a yellow pages section that lists current preparedness resources throughout the U.S. and Canada, including Web resources.
Close your eyes for a moment and imagine what would happen if you became ill and couldn't work, or if an earthquake or hurricane or bomb left your community devastated. It happens all the time. When unexpected disasters happen, people who are even a little prepared are much better off than those who have taken their dependence on outside resources for granted. When you imagine the security of not having to worry about going to the store for even a few weeks, a comprehensive storage system begins to make sense.
Now in its 11th edition, is one of the best-known preparedness bibles around. Stevens lays out a yearlong storage program of 15 food and nonfood categories, six of which (water, wheat and grains, dairy products, sweeteners, "cooking catalysts" like salt and oil, and sprouting seeds) are capable of sustaining life indefinitely in a no-frills diet. The other 9 categories are designated "Building Blocks," and improve upon the basic diet and support a more routine, less Spartan existence while relying on stored supplies
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James Talmage Stevens, also known as Dr. Prepper, is the author of the bestselling Making the Best of Basics. Originally self-published in 1974, it has since gone through thirteen different editions and has sold more than eight hundred thousand copies.
James Talmage Stevens currently resides in San Antonio, in the state of Texas.
Reviews - What do customers think about Making the Best of Basics: Family Preparedness Handbook?
Recipes for Y2K? May 6, 2008
I bought this book because I am interested in long-term food storage, and most of it is about food, but it is not necessarily about food storage. There are a lot of recipes in here. Why I don't know. The thing that puzzled me was if you are reading the book to prepare for some emergency, how is it helpful to have all kinds of recipes for things where specific cooking temperatures are required, like bake at 350F for 30 minutes? I could see putting in recipes if they were for things you could throw together on a camp stove. But from what I could see, these were regular recipes. If I had known how many there were, I would not have bought this book.
A good part of the book is composed of urls to sites that could easily be found on Google. They are for shopping for your Y2K supplies. I kind of wonder how much of survivalism is really just shopping, only for guys. The book contains glossy color ads for companies that were obviously selling a lot of freeze-dried meals to people scared about Y2K in 1997. It is weird to look at them.
Some of the recommendations seem kind of foolish, like getting a Coleman lantern or socking away lots of batteries when you can get crank lamps and such. Others were I thought good, like to stock up on charcoal and get a hibachi.
Generally a mixed bag, more mixed than I would have preferred.
Best Overall Aug 31, 2007
This book puts it all together very nicely. It helps you organize and understand everything from emergency preparedness to long term stoage. If you had to pick one resource to rely in such matters, this would be it.
Disaster Preparedness Books Oct 5, 2006
If you're like I was, you're looking through the various disaster preparedness books wondering which one is best. I have worked my way through 7 of the most popular books and offer a shared review of all of them here. I hope this comparison helps you make a decision.
Book 1: Crisis Preparedness by Jack A. Spigarelli Like many of the disaster preparedness books, this one begins by answering the question, "Why bother being prepared?" It also outlines a framework for being prepared that includes accumulating supplies, getting mentally and physically prepared, and having your finances in order. One thing I particularly liked was the emphasis on the importance of knowledge. It wasn't just about what items you need, but also what skills and knowledge you should develop. But this book is mostly about food preparation for a major disaster, with emphasis on having a year's food storage, milling your own grain, growing sprouts, home canning, dehydrating, freeze-drying, etc. There are detailed tables showing the calories of various foods including their protein, fat, and carbs. The final third of the book offers advice on other topics, including weapons, hand tools, clothing, energy, medical, sanitation, transportation, communications, and home preparation. The book concludes with a list of recommended books and a brief listing of companies that sell disaster preparation items. Overall, this is a very good preparedness book. I probably should have given it 5 stars, but I thought it went a bit overboard on the food plan. That said, it is the most comprehensive of the preparedness books.
Book 2: Preparedness Now! By Aton Edwards This is another thorough disaster preparedness book, one that focuses more on emergency situations (fire, chemical attack, etc.). It is organized into brief chapters (some only a few pages) on a variety of important topics, including: water, food, shelter, sanitation, communication, transportation, and protection. It is also filled with many packing lists detailing what you should get in preparation. It introduces the e-kit (a very lightweight kit to keep with you) and grab-n-go bag with more extensive items. Final chapters of the book discuss various possible disasters, including earthquakes, tsunami, infectious diseases, chemical and bio warfare, crime, fire, and extreme weather. Some of the commentary is a bit questionable, but the technical content is good. Note the deficiency with this book is that it does not offer any detail on food storage.
Book 3: Disaster Preparedness for Dummies First of all, this isn't a book. It's a DVD video. I wasn't paying attention when I bought it, and was a bit surprised when it arrived. I generally like the Dummies series. They are well researched and serve as a good summary. This DVD offers a lengthy video discussing many disasters (hurricanes, earthquakes, tornados, etc.), briefly outlining how you might prepare for them. It also has an overview of how you should react in case of a terrorist attack (nuclear, chemical, and biological). But the advice is all very general, and is more like what you'd expect to hear from your local weather station. For example, the video repeatedly advises you to "stay calm" and "evaucate in an orderly fashion." The videos are high quality, but don't expect detailed outdoor survival tips or food storage suggestions. Everything presented is relevant and useful, but it feels more like a FEMA public service announcement.
Book 4: Emergency Food Storage and Survival Handbook by Peggy Layton This book is broken into six main sections. The first section offers decent but very incomplete summaries on preparing for short-term emergencies. The second section discusses how to store and purify water. The third part talks about the logistics of setting up a food-storage program, and has some suggestions on how to store food. The fourth section details what types of foods you should store. The fifth section has blank inventory planning pages. And finally the last section has some recipes. About half of the 285 page book is either blank planning pages or simple recipes. The first half of the book is pretty good stuff, but I found this book to be incomplete. It does however offer some good advice on food storage.
Book 5: Organize for Disaster by Judith Kolberg This book goes an entirely different direction than the other preparedness books. Emphasis is on understanding the federal resources (i.e. FEMA, Red Cross, etc.) available, creating a personal intelligence network, organizing essential documents, maintaining insurance coverage, listing a home inventory, preparing your house for disaster, basic first aid, and having a good family communication plan. There is also a good list of necessary items to have on hand that would suit many common disaster. I recommend this book for its common-sense look at disaster preparedness. However, it is not the only book you would need, because it doesn't detail food storage, water purification, heating, etc.. That said, it covers some topics that the other books overlook.
Book 6: Making the Best of Basics, Family Preparedness Handbook by James Talmage Stevens This book is almost completely about in-home food storage and preparation. There is little discussion outside that (except for basic water issues). Many chapters discuss food in significant detail, to include things like grains, recipes, preparing sourdough breads/biscuits, dairy products, honey, sprouting, drying of fruits/vegetables. At the end of this book is a huge compendium of preparedness resources, telling where things can be purchased in every US state.
Book 7: No Such Thing as Doomsday, by Philip L. Hoag, revised in 2001 This book offers well-researched insights into disaster preparedness. Topics include water, food, heating/cooking, light, power, communications, medical, sanitation, and security. Those subjects are well done. However, much of the book reads like a bit of doomsday prediction, with many pages devoted to scaring the heck out of the reader... focusing on missile attacks, chemical dangers, nuclear war, radiation, decontamination, communist threat, etc. For me personally, I would have like to see more pages devoted to likely threats (e.g. hurricanes, floods, earthquake, blackout, fire, etc.). Also note that this site may not carry the latest version (updated in 2001), so you may want to buy directly from the author.
Overall, if you can only purchase three books, I would recommend Book 5, Book 6, and either Book 1, 2 or 7. With those three, you should have a balanced look at common sense organizing, food storage, and emergency items to have on hand. If you can buy only one book, I recommend Book 1.
I've created a useful disaster preparedness list for your automobile on my this site author blog (just click on my name above the review). Also, you'll find a link to purchase a fully assembled auto kit.
Written by Arthur Bradley, author of "Process of Elimination" - an intense thriller in which a martial artist, a greedy corporate attorney, and a conspiracy theorist try to stop a world-class sniper out to shape the next Presidential election.
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Will help you prepare for emergencies... Jan 12, 2004
The publisher, Gold Leaf Press Says: Basics has sold over 350,000 copies. Concerns about the Year 2000 computer bug, unexpected job loss, volatile financial markets, and natural disasters such as severe storms have made home storage and preparedness a current topic all across the country.
Making the Best of Basics has been the home storage and preparedness bible for a generation of readers. With over 350,000 copies sold, Basics is the most comprehensive single volume available on in-home storage.
Making the Best of Basics has been updated for the '90s and offers the average family a manageable and effective plan to enable them to live on resources in their own home in a near-normal manner for up to a year. Basics includes chapters on storing and using (including 200 recipes) everything from water, wheat, and dried fruits and vegetables to vitamin supplements to maintain your family's health and emergency sources of fuel and energy.
Basics is an excellent and proven source you can use to prepare for an uncertain future.
More food prep oriented than emergency Dec 11, 2001
This book has some useful information but it doesn't fit the bill as an emergency book because much of it includes things like recipes which you cook in an 350 degree oven - which you may not have in a true emergency. Also, there are a lot of charts that look good but really don't help that much. 9 pages on the use of honey seems a bit much too. Resource section lists lots of resources but closer examination shows that many aren't geared to individuals or only carry one item for emergency use.