Summer/Fall 2014 Book Festival: The Knowledge How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch

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How would you go about rebuilding a technological society from scratch?  I find the question is both troubling and interesting.

Now that I have piqued your interest, today I share the next author interview and giveaway in the Summer/Fall 2014 Backdoor Survival Book Festival.  Lewis Dartnell, the author of The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch is here to answer some questions and of course, to award one lucky reader with a copy of his book.

The Knowledge How to Rebuild Our World From Scratch

Before starting, let me say that without question, this is the most fascinating and unique book ever presented in a BDS book festival.  As Lewis says in the book, this a “Reboot Manual” for starting all over when the world as we know it ceases to exist.  This is not fiction, but rather a survival guide like no other.

Enjoy the interview and be sure to check out the details of this week’s giveaway below.

An Interview with Lewis Dartnell

Tell me about your book, The Knowledge. What is it about?

My new popular-science book, ‘The Knowledge: How to Rebuild our World from Scratch’ <> is a thought experiment on all the behind-the-scenes fundamentals that underpin our civilization, and how it progressed over centuries of history.

The Knowledge picks up the story from where most Prepper manuals leave-off: let’s say that you’ve survived the collapse of society and successfully protected your loved ones but now your stockpile of preserved food and other resources is starting to run out.

What now?  What would you need to know to start recovering a society from the bottom-up and gathering or producing everything you need for yourself?

I take a post-apocalyptic world as the starting point, and ask what is the critical scientific and technological knowledge you’d need in order to rebuild our world from scratch, how to avert another Dark Ages, and how you might even accelerate that reboot second time around…

What type of research did you have to do while writing your book?

Whilst I was researching for The Knowledge I referred to hundreds of books and other documents to find out how vital processes were achieved throughout history, and therefore what stage you could fall back to in order to prevent regressing too far before starting to pull your new society back up by its own bootstraps.

All of these books are available as clickable links on The Knowledge bibliography website. But I also wanted to ensure I got direct, hands-on experience in many of the skills I was talking about. So, for example, I created my own steel knife from scratch  and learned how to spin sheep’s wool into thread, and even the author photograph for the book was created by myself using simple light-sensitive silver chemistry and a rudimentary single-lens camera. And we also filmed a handful of How To videos for the book’s website.

How long did it take to write?

Around two years.

Every book, fiction and non-fiction, includes a message. What message do you hope my readers will take with them after reading The Knowledge?

Although The Knowledge has the collapse of civilization as its starting point, the book is very optimistic and empowering – it’s all about how the life-support system of civilisation actually works and how you could recover all of this yourself if you ever needed to.

The one take-home message that I hope people get from the book is to understand and appreciate just a little more all that we take for granted in our day-to-day lives today.

Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

Sure. I’m a science researcher at the University of Leicester, UK, in the field of ‘astrobiology’. I’ve been awarded a fellowship to pursue my research, and alongside the lab-work I do a lot of science outreach – running events at schools and science festivals, appearing on TV documentaries, and science writing.

The Knowledge is my third book.  Here is a list of my books to date.

As an author in the survival, prepping and/or homesteading niche, what are you personally preparing for?

I live in the south-east of England which is a fortunately stable and benign region – no risk of earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, forest fires, tsunamis or volcanoes! But through researching and writing The Knowledge I’ve become much more conscious of the threats of disasters or the break-down of society.

Do you have plans for another book?

Yes, absolutely! I’m working on a new science book right now…

The Book Giveaway

A copy of The Knowledge has been reserved for one lucky reader.

To enter the giveaway, you need to utilize the Rafflecopter form below.  There are a number of options including a “free for everyone” option that requires just a single click. Easy peasy!

The deadline is 6:00 PM Pacific next Thursday and the winner will be notified by email. Please note that the winner must claim their book within 48 hours or an alternate will be selected.

The “Rafflecopter”

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Final Word

Those of us that live in the Western world are, for the most part, consumers rather than makers. I personally suffer no delusion that I am totally self-sufficient.  But what if I had no choice?  What if you had no choice?

You might think that this is heavy reading but actually, it is not.  It is interesting and insightful, and is written in a manner that inspires you to learn some never-before-considered survival skills.

I hope you will enter the giveaway to win your own copy of this fabulous new book from Lewis Dartnell!

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

If you enjoyed this article, consider voting for me daily at Top Prepper Websites!

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Spotlight Item:  The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch

How would you go about rebuilding a technological society from scratch?

If our technological society collapsed tomorrow; perhaps from a viral pandemic or catastrophic asteroid impact, what would be the one book you would want to press into the hands of the post-apocalyptic survivors? What crucial knowledge would they need to survive in the immediate aftermath and to rebuild civilization as quickly as possible—a guide for rebooting the world?

Regarded as one of the brightest young scientists of his generation, Lewis Dartnell proposes that the key to preserving civilization in an apocalyptic scenario is to provide a quick start guide, adapted to cataclysmic circumstances.

The Knowledge describes many of the modern technologies we employ, but first it explains the fundamentals upon which they are built. Every piece of technology rests on an enormous support network of other technologies, all interlinked and mutually dependent. You can’t hope to build a radio, for example, without understanding how to acquire the raw materials it requires, as well as generate the electricity needed to run it.

The Knowledge is a brilliantly original guide to the fundamentals of science and how it built our modern world as well as a thought experiment about the very idea of scientific knowledge itself.

Bargain Bin:  Today is all about books.  Listed below are all of the books in the current Backdoor Survival Book Festival. There are both fiction and non-fiction titles and a bit of something for everyone.

Note:  If you covet an e-Book reader, consider the Kindle.  Prices start at $119 although a basic kindle is only $69.  And if not, at the very least pick up the free Kindle app so that you can read Kindle books on your PC or favorite electronic device.

Summer/Fall 2014 Book Festival #6 – Fiction

Day After Disaster
Jingling Our Change (Liberty Dying Series Book 1)
Nanny State Nightmare (Liberty Dying Book 2)
The Shadow Patriots
Survivor Max: Too Smart to Die
Collective Retribution
Event Horizon (The Perseid Collapse Post Apocalyptic Series Book 2)
Forsaking Home
Sanctuary: A Postapocalyptic Novel
299 Days: The War
Bishop’s Song (Holding Their Own Book 6)

Summer/Fall 2014 Book Festival #6 – Non-Fiction

The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch
Food Storage for Self-Sufficiency and Survival: The Essential Guide for Family Preparedness
The Provident Prepper: A Common-Sense Guide to Preparing for Emergencies
Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide: Food, Shelter, Security, Off-the-Grid Power and More Life-Saving Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living
Duct Tape 911: The Many Amazing Medical Things You Can Do to Tape Yourself Together
The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster
Countdown to Preparedness: The Prepper’s 52 Week Course to Total Disaster Readiness


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E-book 99 Cents  – Also Available in Print!

No list of books would be complete without my own book, The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage.

The Prepper’s Guide to Food Storage is a book about food: What to store, how to store it and best practices. It is a roadmap for showing ordinary citizens that long-term food storage is not something that will overwhelm or burden the family budget.   It is based on my own tried and true experience as someone who has learned to live the preparedness lifestyle by approaching emergency preparedness and planning in a systematic, step-by-step manner.

Whether you simply want to prepare for natural disasters or whether you believe the world is headed toward a major food crisis, this book is for you. It covers basic tips and techniques you can use to stock your food storage pantry so that you can be assured that your family will have food to eat, no matter what.


Summer/Fall 2014 Book Festival: The Knowledge How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch — 73 Comments

  1. Although I feel that I could survive with what I now know, I also know that there are many things I do not know that would make a rebuild much easier and faster. There are too many things I feel I need to learn to even try to list them! Almost everything beyond basic “stay alive” skills.

    • Jim, again I want to thank you for putting me onto that website where I could down/load “One second after”. I read it and it is a great eye opener. He has a knack of writing that can make tears come to your eyes. He also makes you want to quit procrastinating and get on with your prepping. Not just stocking up your pantry, but go for the whole nine yards.
      A great book.

      • I actually go there for a lot of things, old movies, old TV shows, radio shows, and genealogy research (they have copies of the old census records. I found the link for “One Second After” on another website and thought someone here would like to take advantage of it. Never thought of searching for it myself!! Glad you enjoyed it!

  2. The first thing I would need to learn is to cook and bake without the conveniences we have today. And the list would continue…..

  3. As others have mentioned, cooking and preserving food would be at the top. we are so used to electricity and gas as well as buying so much ready to eat. Also how to make simple usable tools for everyday use and be aable to offer my skill to others. Interesting book and topic.

  4. Since clothes will eventually wear out, I’d like to learn to make them. This involves making fibers, spinning, weaving, and sewing, as well as tanning hides.

  5. I love that this is a book with some thoughtful, practical advice on rebuilding systems! I think I would want to know how to create fuel and perhaps make sturdy shoes.

  6. The list seems endless. Basic life skills that will be needed are no longer common knowledge. Sounds like this book may be a great guide for helping us see how very much we need to learn.

  7. Reminds me of the book “Atlas Shrugged”. These knowledgeable men escaped the government and created their own new world. We will have to the same when the disaster happens. This book sounds like it gets more in depth on how to use the materials we have on hand to start over. I would love to win this book and prepare now – at least have parts ready.

  8. I would need to be better at gardening and animal husbandry. Along with raising them I would need greater experience in harvesting and storing the results of good gardening and animal husbandry. Then there are all the satellite skills that extend from having these things. Lots to learn and practice.

  9. Would have to learn a few skills just to stay alive like more than my small time gardening, no room for farm animals. Probably sewing, spinning thread etc. can’t do it all and would have to trade for some things, heck it’s all too much to learn now when ya gotta work for a living! I know how to make good homemade bread & have a hand grinder I’ve never used ( currently use electric mill), but there’s so much more ! And no room !

  10. this is kind of a tough question for me. it’s not that I think I am totally prepared, (I’m not) but I do already use several skills on a daily basis. I raise my own vegetables, beans, chickens(eggs and meat), cattle(milk and meat). I make cheese, I preserve food(canning, dehydrating), I can sew our own clothing, knit, quilt. I’ve studied herbal medicines and which native plants have food value. I think my weakest points that I would need to improve would be bartering skills and defense. Making shoes and metal-smithing would be some other new skills worth learning I think too. I would definitely have to barter with someone who could raise/shear sheep and spin wool. A few lessons on how to use every piece of a butchered animal is something I’m looking into now.

  11. I’m dating myself here. I grew up with tv…so Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and so many frontier shows. When I think of collapse, I want to jump to this time frame in his book. I can see myself crawling into this book and learning what is possible then getting to know some of the how to’s. I am not mechanically adept but have recovered skills which I had learned as a girl. This one I look forward to reading. 🙂 Thanks Gaye.

  12. I would need to adjust my mindset to accept what is and recognize that I have the potential to help my family adapt and thrive.

  13. Learn how to establish communications and community again after everyone else has had to hunker down and survive in their own family or small community. The key to development further would be working with others and effective long term reliable communications.

  14. I need to get a copy of that book so I can continue my education on post shtf living, not just surviving but to live a fairly good life for my family and friends.

  15. Of all or most books I read on this subject, most stop at the end of the crisis. You get a small look of what might be in the future but most authors can’t see beyond the crisis itself. We need to see what would be needed to survive and prosper.

  16. I think it would be important to learn how to effectively barter. Since no one person can do or make everything needed to rebuild a society, I think bartering would be a very important survival skill. The guy down the road my have excellent blacksmithing skills but be horrible at gardening or hunting. Being able to barter for what we are lacking would be the start of a new society.

  17. What would I need to learn? So much! But thankfully, I’m a quick study, and have a modicum of knowledge in lots of things….kind of like that “Jack of all trades but master of none.” lol

  18. There is still so much to learn it is hard to know where to start. Using my instincts, I would say learning about livestock.

  19. I know a little about a lot so I would need to learn a lot about a little. Especially water, shelter, fire, and food in the wild.

  20. I would love to read this book. Between my husband and I, I feel we have a lot of skills to offer if we needed to start a new world, but would love to learn more.

  21. For 98% of the country the list would extremely long, myself included. I would try and learn a trade, before the fact, and learn it well. A trade will be far more important than a university degree. What would you do with a degree in 16th century furniture? Trades are far more important.

    • You might surprised at what will be needed. For sure, even university degrees will be needed to bring back society to some level of decency. Admittedly there are degrees which might seem fluff, then again, what some may see, doesn’t mean there isn’t more to the person than just that degree. ;)After all we are multi-faceted people for the most part.

  22. I have read many books regarding how to prepare for the collapse but not many on how to rebuild. This would be an excellent book for the survival library.

  23. What I need to learn is how to keep the bad guys at bay. This is what worries me the most. If the world would just leave me alone, I think I could survive. It would be difficult, and I would lose a few pounds.

  24. Personally I would need to learn how to shear sheep, process the fiber and spin it to use for yarn or material. My husband would probably take up blacksmithing to make tools and shoe horses.

  25. I already know the most important thing: I can’t do it alone. I can already can, do pretty much anything with fiber, etc, but I’d need to connect with a blacksmith, a cooper and others with divers skills who could provide me with the raw materials to use my skills. In turn, I trade my fibers, foods and projects with them.

  26. First…to find a way to communicate with family survivors who are not local…then probably to grow a garden successfully. My earliest attempts haven’t gone so well. 🙁

  27. Bartering seems the most critical..When everything is in upheaval it will seem next to impossible to trust anyone, but of course we must learn to do that and work together if we want to rebuild.

  28. People keep talking about bartering. May I suggest going to yard/garage sales and practice. Go to swap meets look for prep supplies and practice. Go to your local farmers’ Market, meet people you might possible connect with and, you got it, practice there. 🙂 While you’re at it, take the kiddos along so they can learn too. LOL I got my start at auctions, estate sales etc…… dad loved those places for finding ‘treasures.’ 😉

  29. I would say hunting skills are something that my family and I will need to learn more about. From hunting the animal and killing it, to dressing and preserving it, it seems like there is a lot to learn and no one in my family is a hunter. That will be a survival skill that everyone will need.

  30. I think this book would be fascinating! I mean, what good would it be to “survive” an “end of the world” type event and not be able to rebuild civilization? I’m intrigued!

  31. Sounds like am important and thought provoking book. The most important thing is establishing law and order to stop killing and looting. It would be hard to plant crops only to have them stolen.

  32. I would like to learn blacksmithing. I believe technology will be a long time in returning and those that have back to basic skills will be in demand.

  33. There are a mind-boggling number of skills that people used to take for granted that we as a society would need to relearn in the event that society needed to be rebuilt. The ones that I, as a mother, would most want to learn would be homemaking related … weaving, sewing, cooking without power, etc.

  34. I’m sure there will be lots that we won’t want to “rebuild” too. May we have perfect 20-20 hindsight in that regard.

  35. I have read this book the knowledge and even bought it to share with friends.. what a well written book. an easy to read book that keeps you compelled to read on till its done. He puts a lot of insight into what he is saying and makes you ask yourself.. wow what if..

  36. Since I moved to a completely new region, one of the top things I want to learn is edible wild foods in my new area.

    Looks like a fantastic book!

  37. I have been hoping for a book like this to come out! I’m sure I would need to learn lots of things, but the two glaring ones that stand out are 1) how to build a rocket mass heater w/o electric tools, altering our rental house so that we could survive Midwest winters and 2) getting the gardening/permaculture yard into a complete system that no longer requires all the inputs of free (but probably no longer available in a TEOTWAWKI scenario) wood mulch, coffee grounds, lime, and truckload of manure. I’m working on cover crops and biomass, but I’m not there yet.

  38. To grow & raise our own food. We have too many things that eat gardens & livestock in our area.

    Thank you for having this book giveaway! It sounds like something I need.

  39. There are so many things one would need to learn, but most importantly would be how to purify water to make it drinkable. Water is a non-negotiable human necessity. Thanks for the opportunity to enter the drawing.

  40. I know basics of alot of different skills but not expert on any one of them. Lot of things still left to learn and each skill is connected to at least two others. Each day brings another few hours to keep learning.

  41. I doubt that we will ever have to start over from scratch, but maybe from the 1800’s. Things aren’t looking to positive for western civilization right now.

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