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When All Hell Breaks Loose    by Cody Lundin order for
When All Hell Breaks Loose
by Cody Lundin
Order:  USA  Can
Gibbs Smith, 2007 (2007)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I've been interested in survival books ever since a severe ice storm showed me how quickly - and how much like a pack of cards - urban systems can break down. Cody Lundin, survival expert and author of When All Hell Breaks Loose, advises us to 'Be prepared, not scared' and develops that theme in some detail in his useful and informative book. Interspersed throughout are great quotes, such as the Australian aboriginal saying 'The more you know, the less you need.' Black and white cartoons inject humor, and a few color photos (including one of a cleverly improvised toilet) in the middle of the book create a sense of reality.

At the beginning, Lundin tells readers that 'Surviving a life-threatening scenario is largely psychological on the part of the survivor(s)' and that it involves '90 percent psychology and 10 percent survival and gear.' Before the specifics of dealing with issues like water and first aid, he starts with Head Candy, a pep talk 'designed to inspire confidence and a "can-do" attitude'. He covers topics like taking responsibility, the pioneer spirit, understanding needs versus wants, the power of attention, understanding your own potential reactions, the aftereffects of stress and fear, group decision making, and the importance of survivors talking amongst themselves. He quotes Frank Herbert's 'Fear is the mind-killer.' A pyramid is used to define urban survival priorities.

Part two of this survival guide is Hand Candy. Topics here include Shelter, Water, Food, Sanitation, Hygiene, Lighting, Cooking, First-Aid, Self-Defense, Communications, Transportation, and the decision to stay or go (a summary is provided at the end of each of these chapters). Advice is very specific, such as how to make a sleeping bag from drum liners and newspaper, how to make a tuna can light, or to cook ashcakes. In his Epilogue, the author suggests that 'Perhaps the greatest survival skill of all is the ability to maintain harmony in the feelings in the face of seeming chaos' and reminds us, 'don't forget about the art of simplicity and common sense in all things.' Sage advice from the author of a very useful book that I intend to keep at hand.

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