Book Review – Founders: A Novel of the Coming Collapse
Having a hard time finding some light reading about prepping? It sure doesn’t seem like there’s much out there. How many how-to manuals can you read? What about reading something ‘fictional’ with interesting characters in difficult situations? Something entertaining? Well, James Wesley Rawles is definitely well known for his how-to preparedness and survival advice. He is possibly the most prolific and famous in our field. But what some of you new to the preparedness philosophy might not know is the James Wesley Rawles is a New York Times Best-Selling Author.
Is It Worth It?
A few weeks ago, I bought the paperback version of his book, “Founders: A Novel of the Coming Collapse“. The best question I think one could ask is, “Is this book worth the price?” My short answer is, “Yes. It is worth the price.” The next logical question is likely, “What makes it worth the price?” Here’s my answer:
I think I paid about $8 for the book. That money could have gotten me in to see a movie, or bought me a combo meal at McDonald’s. So did the book have at least the entertainment value of a movie and was it at least as fulfilling as a Big Mac? That’s a resounding yes! The book was entertaining enough that it became my prime recreational reading until I finished it. Usually I have a few books on the go. It was fulfilling in the sense that it reinforced that preparedness is the right way to live. Although the book is definitely survivalist in nature, with preparedness being a close cousin I think that statement stands.
The characters were well developed with insight into their societal and religious beliefs, with some personal history thrown in as well.
The events that unfolded were realistic enough that a suspension of disbelief wasn’t even needed. It was believable.
The outcome was mostly a happy ending, but there was real loss throughout the book, as you’d expect in real life. So from the entertainment side, I found it far more entertaining than Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road”. It was dark at points, but never depressing.
How Does It Read?
Rawles’ writing style is comparable to Tom Clancy. That might sound like really high praise, but coming from me it isn’t as high praise as you might think. I’m not fan of Tom Clancy’s tendencies to put in overt amounts of details when describing things. James does a similar thing, say when talking about a specific rifle. He’ll go into details about its history, types of ammunition used, rounds-per-minute capabilities…just lots of details. Yet, I prefer it coming from Rawles because it is almost instructional in nature. I get something out of it that I might be able to use in real-life. Whereas with Tom Clancy’s minute details, I don’t think I’m ever going to need to know how many links are on a tank’s track.
What would I do differently with the story? I’ve criticized Rawles once, foolishly, and he called me on it, rightfully so. He is a lot smarter than he lets on, which is saying something. Nonetheless, I would have focused on maybe less people and gotten deeper into their psyches. That’s being REALLY picky. Oh, and I would have written about it happening in Canada, but that’s just my ethnocentrism showing.
If you don’t mind a little war-like fiction, buy this book and read it with a highlighter handy. Based on this book, I will be buying Rawles’ other books, Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse
and Survivors: A Novel of the Coming Collapse.