Thank you very much to one of our most widely read and erudite patrons, Richard Fassino, for this timely review of a newly released book on our shelves, The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch by Lewis Darnell. The Denizens blog at The Community Library welcomes a wide range of contributions from our patrons, board and staff that relate to our multifarious library collections.
With all the stories around about the destruction of the world as we know it – pick your poison – atomic war, terrorism, virulent flu gone wild, climate change cooking us, God’s revenge, etc, etc, etc – what happens after that? What happens if some of our human race survives? Are the folks with the guns and tons of food stored in their cellars going to rule? Will they wander around as in Cormac McCarthy’s book – The Road? Really, what happens then?
Lewis Dartnell has taken a shot at it in his new book – The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch. This goes way beyond the basic survival books that have become popular over the last few Xmases. When the electricity goes off, when the food stores are depleted – how might the survivors be able to make it? Our human brains, our accumulated knowledge, our documented technological advances – how can we identify what will be useful? How can we preserve that knowledge in a way to retrieve it so it can be used in that kind of future?
It is an amazing book in many ways – one of the best ways is that it gives the reader a look into the basics of life – much of which is so far removed from our daily, technologically advanced life that we don’t even know about many of those basics anymore. The food part is great – perhaps there are some good, old-fashioned farmers that still know about some of those basics, but I’ll bet even some of them will get a few surprises.
It reads easily. It’s informative.
Other related reads at The Community Library on post-apocalyptic scenarios: Wayne Gladstone’s fiction satire Notes from the Internet Apocalypse the FoxFire series on folklore, country living and survival, and The Complete Survival Manual by Michael S. Sweeney.
An open question: What books would you squirrel away against technofailure? What would you keep around to read and consult by candlelight if an EMP hit and the power grid and internet went down?