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

Avatar Gaye Levy  |  Updated: November 24, 2020
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!

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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.    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



Help support Backdoor Survival. Purchases earn a small commission and for that I thank you!


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.

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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!

  7. 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..

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

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