I originally posted this review in March of 2012. We’ve recently pulled this book out and started going through it again, mainly because it has a lot of good advice for staying warm in the event that all of these winter storms knock out our power. I stand by my original review — the info in this book really holds up. It would make a great Christmas gift for anyone on your list who might need some coaxing when it comes to adopting a preparedness mindset.

You might know Cody Lundin from The Discovery Channel’s Dual Survival. Or you might know him as that guy from Youtube with the sustainable underground house. But if you don’t know, Lundin is a survival instructor based in Arizona whose instruction focuses primarily on indigenous skills—in other words, surviving off the land the way the Native Americans used to do it.

But Lundin broadens his teaching focus for When All Hell Breaks Loose, his manual for urban survival in a SHTF situation. Whereas in his survival school Lundin primarily works with hikers, campers and other outdoor sports types who are at a greater risk of getting lost in the desert or wilderness for a stretch of days, his book is more concerned about long-term survival for the entire family, and it’s deliberately written in terms that even Grandma and Grandpa can understand.

Although Lundin can come across sometimes as, in his own words, a hippy dippy New Ager, his advice in this book is practical and to the point, at times even blunt and crude to get his point across—that point being that if you don’t prepare for disaster, your chances of surviving it plummet. This book is comprehensive, including sections on both storing and finding food, building shelter, packing emergency kits and bug-out bags, security and self-defense, lighting, cooking, regulating body temperature, and hygiene in a grid-down situation; he even includes a section on how to properly dispose of a body.

As grim as all of that sounds, Lundin delivers it with a healthy dose of humor and a sense of hopefulness that if people will just take steps to prepare and learn some basic survival skills, the body count after a disaster will remain low, and YOU won’t be included in it.

Just reading this book has helped my husband and I to feel better prepared for the possibility of TEOTWAWKI, and we’ve included our copy in our bug-out kit. We’d eventually like to get copies for friends and family members, if there’s a chance that they’d actually read it; but even if they don’t, just having it on hand as a reference after a disaster would give them an advantage. We’ve been reading various survival manuals over the last few months, and this one is by far our favorite.