Survival Theory Review
Jonathan Hollerman’s, Survival Theory is a well-laid-out and pragmatic approach to the ideas and theory behind surviving the end of the world. Yes, this topic often sounds very dramatic, but this book is far more practical than its genre leads on.
Hollerman takes you through the common reasons for prepping, laying them out in easy-to-understand ways and providing evidence to support these theories—all while underscoring his primary theory that we should all be preparing for an upcoming grid-down scenario. He believes that our frail power gird is vulnerable to an EMP (Electro-Magnetic Pulse), solar flares, cyber attacks, and to physical terrorist attacks. If you think the idea of an EMP or a cyber attack is far-fetched, I urge you to read this book immediately. His evidence is staggering and all based on findings from interviews and published articles written by top government officials (not some experimental scientists with questionable funding!).
EMP believer or not, Survival Theory is the perfect book for both those beginning to prepare and die-hard preppers. (Even veterans sometime need a wake-up call to shake them out of their “preparedness tunnel vision” by challenging their research and preps.) Hollerman challenges your ideas on whether or not you should bug out, your gear, and even your method for calculating your food storage. In a straightforward, non–combative way, he shakes everything up with systematic research, consistent reinforcement of ideas, and his expertise in his field.
Where did this expertise come from? Before becoming an author and consultant, Hollerman was trained by the U.S. military as an SERE instructor. This training would become the foundation of his survival skills and tactical opinions. For those that do not know what an SERE instructor teaches or what SERE is, here’s the definition given by Wikipedia:
“Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape (SERE) is a program, best known by its military acronym, that provides U.S. military personnel, U.S. Department of Defense civilians, and private military contractors with training in evading capture, survival skills, and the military code of conduct.”
It is important to note that as an instructor in SERE, you can help train Airmen that are at risk for being shot down behind enemy lines. You are also in charge of helping to train the elite soldiers of the U.S. Special Forces. In order to keep all of our fighting men and women safe, these instructors are entrusted and trained to help guide them through the process of becoming self-reliant in any situation and in every environment. So, I would assume that it is safe to say that Jonathan is qualified and certified by the U.S. Military to advise on things within the realm of survival skills.
Back to the book: The first half of his book is written like a research paper. This approach moves the conversation far away from another crazy Doomsday Prepper episode into an articulate and intelligent conversation. It’s true that his arguments are not all original and can be found splashed across the web on a multitude of prepping websites. However, I feel that he has done a better job of laying it out, and his approach is just more authentic, believable, and digestible for the general public. For anyone living with a non-believer, this book will go a long way to bridging the gap and motivating them to join in the preparations. If you buy this book even for the first half alone, you will be glad you did!
The second half of this book outlines the basic idea of bugging out and the essential preps one needs to accomplish this mission—along with a proposed timeline of events after an EMP and tips for how you can use it to your advantage. In order to try and keep you on a budget, Hollerman takes you through the ideas behind a bug out bag and the gear you should carry. He itemizes in detail a few items that he feels are essential to your bug out setup and stresses the importance of keeping it light and minimal. He always gives the reader a few choices when it comes to gear, allowing for options for people on different budgets. It is important to point out that this gear is not cheap. Your gear should always be top quality to withstand a societal collapse. Let’s remember that Amazon and 5.11 tactical will be closed after an EMP, so the gear you are buying today is going to have to last you. For more in-depth coverage, you can also buy his Bug Out DVD. If you want to build a survival retreat, you can hire him for a one-of-a-kind design. I wish I had read this book at the start of my prepping carrier; I could have saved some money and a lot of space in my garage!
One of my favorite characteristics about Hollerman’s writing is that, like a drill instructor, he is methodical and repetitive. As human beings we have a tendency to only hear what we want to hear. So to drive his lessons home, he brings up his points over and over again to ensure you walk away with the correct message. A few, but not all of his messages are as follows:
- Bug out or you will pay the price.
- The government and people smarter than him are telling you to prepare everyday.
- In a grid down situation, the government will not be able to save you.
- You are not John Rambo, so don’t be quick to get into the fight.
- You are not special, and in a grid down situation, you will be a target.
- The idea of being a lone wolf is flawed and only saved for a last resort option, so start build your team now.
- Preparing on a budget doesn’t mean it’s going to be cheap, it just needs to be done right. Buy once and buy right! Survival gear is like sushi—no one wants cheap sushi…it’s not worth the risk!
- Your food-supply knowledge as a prepper should be questioned and re-examined.
- You need to re-read number two & three in this list a few more times!
- One last time for those that are stubborn…YOU NEED TO BUG OUT!
As he illustrates his points, he notates all of his references to back up his opinions. The sources for his reference points are all found on his website in his research library. Logistically, this is very smart, because it allows him to maintain his reference links with up-to-date information related to the threat of an EMP attack on the United States. Many of his references are links to live C-span interviews of top-ranking officials backing up his theories. The messages these officials share are all consistent and they warn of the immediate threat our grid faces on a daily basis from possible terrorist attacks. For these officials, it is not a matter of if, but rather of when it will occur. Take a look at his website and derive your own opinions. I believe you will consider it to be time well invested!
At the end of the day, all preppers are on a journey to find the training and guidance to survive and thrive in any situation. Hollerman offers his readers guidance from experience that helps one to prepare for the unknown. They may or may not speak to you directly, but his arguments are ones that are compelling enough that they cannot be ignored. I cannot speak for everyone, but I can tell you that I prepare because it makes sense. I prepare because it was the ways of our ancestors, and moreover, because history tells us to. The want to live is built deep into the structure of our DNA. Survival Theory is a book that will speak to this innate survival need, and it will motivate anyone that reads it to start preparing. Do yourself a favor and buy this book before you buy any more preps. It will not only inspire you, but it will save you time and money and help you better care for the ones you love. It is a true game changer for preppers.