Society Ending Events: The First 180 Days by Bob Gaskin

Posted on: June 24, 2013

This was one of the books I picked up at the Living Ready Expo earlier this month. I’d seen it on Amazon and had it sitting on my Wish List there so figured I’d cut out the middleman and buy it direct from the source. This is a self-published book being produced through CreateSpace and was just released a month or two ago.

The premise of the book is to teach the reader how to prepare for truly catastrophic events, such as EMP or nuclear war. It covers, to one degree or another, topics such as an overview of potential disasters, fortifying the home, building a community, and bugging in versus bugging out.

I have to be honest, I was a bit disappointed in Society Ending Events: The First 180 Days. While it has some good information, you have work hard to uncover it. First, several pages of the book are simply copy/paste material from Wikipedia. While the information presented in that way appears solid enough, as a reader I felt cheated with buying a book that had so much material that was just copied from the Internet.

Second, the book suffers the same problem that is entirely too common with self-published efforts — it really could use a good line edit. I found typos and other errors throughout the entire book. I can forgive the occasional floating comma but there were several points in the book that I had to stop and try to figure out what the author really meant to say behind the misspellings and such.

Another issue is the author frequently cites figures without backing them up with any sort of reference. For example, “Latest studies show that the general belief among experts is that during the first 24 hours following an EMP, over 300,000 people will die from self-inflicted wounds.” What studies? Who are these “experts?” Time and again, figures like this are given, all coming from some unknown experts. I’m not saying I necessarily disagree with the findings, I’d just like to know if they are based on research done at MIT or instead are just the result of some guy in his mom’s basement rolling 20-sided dice against the wall.

The book is very slim, under 130 pages. That being the case, I feel the book is a bit overpriced. For $12-13.00, I can buy a book easily twice the size that has also been professionally edited.

All that said, like I wrote above, there is some good information to be had. The author has a small chapter on morality and how it may change in the face of catastrophe, complete with a few examples to get you thinking. The list of items needed per person to last one year is very thorough. There is some discussion on the stages of preparation that I felt was interesting.

All in all, I didn’t feel as though my time spent reading Society Ending Events: The First 180 Days was entirely wasted. I’ve always felt that if I can pick up at least one good tidbit of info, the book is worth reading. However, I cannot wholeheartedly recommend this book, due to the problems outlined above.

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