Saturday, October 13, 2012

Review of Urban Preppers with Kids, Pets & Parents: Disaster Survival for the Family.

I was asked to review a book by James  G. Mushen titled, Urban Preppers with Kids, Pets & Parents: Disaster Survival for the Family.  My review should get posted on Amazon soon.  I liked the book and for the low Kindle price of $2.99, or free with Kindle prime, it was worth reading. I would not have been happy spending $15.95 on a paperback version.  It's not that it wasn't a good book, I'm just too experienced as a prepper to find it that valuable, although I did learn a few things and got some good links to disaster maps.  But, if you have friends or relatives who would think you were a kook if you handed them Patriots or even The Preppers Pocket Guide, this would be the perfect book for them.

There were some things about the book that I didn't care for, but they weren't included in my review.  What were those? 

Too much emphasis was placed on organic foods.  Even organic baby clothes.  Toilet paper and soap on the lists were all written as needing to be biodegradable.  Several chapters listed a bicycle as a good item to have.  One of the reasons listed was it's non-polluting.  It's a disaster: My focus is not on this minor pollution I may cause.  I don't really care if the toilet paper is biodegradable or not.  I'm probably going to burn it to get rid of it.  

I'm not sure the example of carrying 90 year old granny with bad knees on the bicycle is such a great idea (I had in mind putting her on the seat while I stood up and pedaled), although in another chapter in the book he illustrated a four wheeled bicycle for four people.  He also stated that if the roads are blocked due to traffic you can always bug-out on your bicycle.  That sounds somewhat reasonable until he used the examples of a hazmat situation or a nuclear reactor disaster.  Depending on the specific situation I may vote to shelter in place rather than be outside on a bicycle. 

He gave a pretty good list of food products to store but a few caught my eye.  Since he's speaking to the urban non-prepper, I would have added a few more.  He listed powdered milk.  Have you ever drank powdered milk?  Drink a glass of regular milk, then powdered milk.  Yuck.  Make sure you have plenty of Nestle's Quik on hand or the only thing you will be doing with the powdered milk is using it for cooking or fighting with the kids.  Sea salt?  Why?  How about salt?  Obviously directed to the urban yuppie (do people still use that word?).  He also left yeast off the list.  Now I know he said his list of 37 items would be the first off the shelf so you should make sure you have a month's worth, but it won't do much good having all that whole wheat flour if you don't have yeast. 

That's enough of my complaints on the book.  You may be starting to think I didn't like it.  That's not the case at all.  I liked the book a lot.  Here's what I wrote:

James Mushen has brought disaster preparedness for families down to earth in an easy to understand book.  This isn't a book like most, where the author tells about such imminent disaster that the world as we know it is going to end so we'd better prepare.  This is the starter version.  Mushen takes the reader from minor annoyances including power outages and garbage collection stoppages all the way to civil unrest and natural and man-made disasters. 

Along the way he gets the reader thinking about, and learning how to prepare for cooking, heating, procuring water, taking care of pets, elder parents, young children, and more all using step by step lists.  Individual disasters are listed (over two dozen!) with suggestions for preparation before, what to do during and after each disaster.  The chapter on Senior Survival itself would be well worth the price of his book. 

Something I've never seen before in preparedness books are cost estimates.  He writes about changes to your house that should be made and lets you know the approximate cost.  Flexible connection on the furnace? $75.   Anchor the storage shed?  $100.  Not only that, but in the Kindle version, when read on my computer, most items discussed in the book had working links which brought you to that item in Amazon. 

All in all, if I was looking for a book to give as a gift, or just wanted to make a suggestion to a non-prepper friend, this is a good starting point on the road to preparedness for families with kids, elderly parents, and pets.


  1. So often in reading blogs, books or other sources of advice on prepping things like "GMO", "HFCS", "organic food", "sea salt", "natural healing" etc. creep in. There seems to be a tendency for people who believe in these "odd" things to be preppers and also for them to tie these odd beliefs into their survival/prepping advice. I don't care that someone prefers to eat only organic food or prefers sea salt to iodized salt, etc. I don't care if someone is religious or not religious. I don't hare that someone believes in same sex marriage or not. My issue is that if those beliefs creep into advice you start to wonder about the quality of their advice.

    As an example; A few years ago Zimbabwe was experiencing a famine. The U.S. sent them a couple million tons of corn to prevent the deaths from starvation. Some NGOs actually advised the Zimbabwe government to refuse to distribute the corn because it was GMO corn. This bizarre belief actually caused the NGOs and the government to prefer allowing the people to starve to death rather then eat GMO corn!!!

    When someone advises you to store stevia or honey instead of sugar, or store organic rice instead of more affordable rice; they are allowing their personal biases to interfere with their advice. I can store 20 times more sugar then honey for the same cost. I can store 25 lbs of rice for $15 but the organic rice costs about that much for 2 lbs. Sea salt is questionable under any conditions. The arguement is it has minute quantities of minerals we might need. It is equally true it has minute quantities of minerals which are toxic. It is the nature of sea salt! Where as refined store salt is either as pure as can be made or is pure salt with a small amount of iodine. So why sea salt? It's kind of a "yuppy" thingy that says more about the person then it does about the salt.

    I honestly don't know if people with these food biases are capable of discussing food without introducing their bias. But my advice to them is to try. Once the word "Stevia" or "GMO" enters the conversation I'm no longer reading it for information I am scanning it to find all the misinformation based on their biases. Essentially I am looking for common sense and once I detect bias I am turned off. Of course I recognize that for those with similar biases this is exactly what they are looking for and also that they totally cannot understand anyone not holding the same biases. So those of you who wouldn't eat white sugar or white flour please understand you are welcome to your bizarre bias but keep it to yourself.

  2. I do like to keep powdered milk on hand, but not to drink. (Yuck!) It's great to cook with, though. And I completely agree with the food biases - I see it in all sorts of places. As soon as I see "organic," or "non-gmo" or any of that nonsense, I'm done.