MAGS: The People Part of Prepping by Charley Hogwood

Posted on: November 19, 2013

Survival manuals are all the rage right now. Seems like everyone and their brother has suddenly become a survival “expert” and is slapping together a book and tossing it on Amazon, hoping to capitalize on the whole prepping craze. Many, if not most, of those books are forgettable pieces of garbage, filled with nothing more than half-truths the author gleaned from this-or-that website.

MAGS is an exception. It is, in fact, an exceptional book, to be honest. In MAGS, Charley Hogwood tackles a topic that is incredibly important, yet is rarely ever discussed in survival literature — building a mutual aid group (in case it slipped your notice, MAGS stands for Mutual Aid Groups).

Now, let me start by telling you a little bit about the author. I’d known of Charley and his P.R.E.P. website for a while but didn’t actually meet him until earlier this year at the Blade / Living Ready Expo in Atlanta. We spoke a few times there and have kept in touch since. I’ve come to respect his opinions quite a bit and was very excited when I learned he was taking his wealth of knowledge and experience and writing a book.

Charley has about 15 years of experience in the U.S. Army and the Florida National Guard. Trained as a reconnaissance scout, he really knows his stuff. He’s also very adept with people management, which is very evident throughout this book.

One last thing I can tell you about Charley — the dude is always smiling. Seriously. Every interaction I’ve had with him, he’s grinning. I’m funny, but I know I’m not THAT funny so I can’t take credit for that demeanor. Suffice to say, Charley is just a great guy who has a driving passion for preparedness.

Ok, with all that said, on with the review.

Just about every one of the almost 300 pages in this book is packed solid with excellent information. He breaks down the process of building a group into several segments, each of which are vitally important. From leadership styles to group format, choosing a group location to dealing with outside threats, each and every topic is discussed thoroughly.

One of my favorite sections is Chapter Four — Social Conflict and the Group. This is an area that is very much neglected in the planning of many groups, yet it could be the number one reason why a group fails. Conflict isn’t always a bad thing. In fact, conflict can end up leading to positive changes in the group. However, in order for that to happen, the leaders and members of the group need to know how to effectively handle conflict. In this chapter, the author clearly outlines several common causes of conflict and how to address them in the correct manner.

Charley also spends a good amount of time discussing the roles and responsibilities within the group, rightly stressing the need to clearly define those roles ahead of time. The information he provides on the different roles that are necessary to a group’s overall success serve as a great checklist of sorts as to who you should be seeking out for membership.

All in all, this is a tremendously informative book. Note, however, this isn’t a typical “survival guide” in that there aren’t any supply checklists nor discussion of how to light fires without a match. Instead, this is a very practical guide to, well, the people part of prepping.

You can find MAGS: The People Part of Prepping here on Amazon.

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