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Book Review - Back to Basics

Updated on April 1, 2009

I am in interested in living a more self sufficient lifestyle. We are already big do it yourself people, so it seems a logical step is to find out more about this. I ran across the book Back to Basics - A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills edited by Abigail Gehring at my library and figured I could learn a few things.

The book I have was published in 2008 and is a third edition, so I imagine this book has been around a long time. After reading through it I can understand why. Back to Basics is a great "how to" book about what has recently been considered old-fashioned ways. Funny how just a few decades ago many of these skills were considered necessary to every day living and suddenly within the past generation or two have become old-fashioned.

It seems to me that in the United States in particular there is a steady movement back to these roots. This is a good thing and this book Back to Basics will certainly help people along that journey. This book covers the basics of many different skills, there just isn't room to go into great detail about each topic. What I like about the book though is that it does give enough information to guide you in many areas.

There were many topics that I really didn't have a clue about before reading this book. Now I know a little about them and can decide if they are something I would like to pursue. If so, I can then get a book that is completely devoted to each topic. That being said, I don't know if you can own a complete book on each individual topic that might pertain to a homestead or self sufficiency. This would be a great reference book to have on hand.

The book is divided into six sections. Land: Buying It and Building on it, Energy from Wood, Water, Wind and Sun, Raising Your Own Vegetables, Fruit and Livestock, Enjoying Your Harvest the Year Round, Skills and Crafts for House and Homestead and finally Recreation at Home and in the Wild (from the contents section). Each section is then broken down into specific topics covering everything from raising a barn to solar energy to making your own beer.

Back to Basics is a book that is truly full of great information that will help someone become more independent. Whether you are living on a homestead or just want to become less dependent on other people this book will help you on your journey. I am of the mindset that I shouldn't pay other people to do something that I can do myself and Back to Basics is a book that can help me learn to do more for myself, which means more money in my pocket. And certainly it can't hurt anyone to have more knowledge right?


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    • profile image

      Motherhood Trials 

      9 years ago

      What a great book to have. We have an old (120yr.) house and am always looking for ways to conserve !

    • Abhishek87 profile image


      9 years ago from India

      Thanks a lot Jenni.. Could you give some more examples in the hub on the kind of things that .. you know, one can do by himself/herself but usually gets someone else to do.. That would be great. :)

    • Hally Z. profile image

      Hally Z. 

      9 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      I like the part about making your own beer and gardening, both of which I already do. I have interested in setting up solar energy panels at my house, but they are way too expensive right now.

    • C.S.Alexis profile image


      9 years ago from NW Indiana

      I believe this book was first published when I was a teen or early 20's. Many of the things the.. hippie generation... were seeking then, are now being considered as what we MUST DO to survive. Odd how it takes so long for change to occur, also how Old Fashioned might just be BEST. I am glad you did a review on this book, many young people do not have a clue about real survival and that is sad!


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