Many readers will be familiar with Selco Begovic and his so-called “SHTF School“, where he teaches the lessons he learned the hard way during the Bosnian War from 1992 to 1995. He’s just published a new book, “The Dark Secrets of SHTF Survival: The Brutal Truth About Violence, Death, & Mayhem You Must Know to Survive“.
Before I speak of his book, let me remind you that I’ve been in many emergencies and dangerous situations:
- civil unrest in South Africa;
- political and tribal turmoil in Zimbabwe, Congo, Rwanda and elsewhere;
- wars in Angola and the horn of Africa;
- disease, famine and other humanitarian disasters in several African countries;
- and post-hurricane relief operations after Hurricane Katrina (2005) and Gustav (2008) in Louisiana.
I’m intimately familiar with the stresses of disaster, both natural and man-made, and what they can do to people and societies. I think I’m pretty well qualified to review Selco’s book.
Selco has written a truly superb insider’s story of his own experiences during the civil war in Bosnia. He perfectly describes how things went to hell in a handbasket with almost no major warning signs – only trends that most people (including himself) dismissed as temporary or passing problems. His descriptions of foraging for food, defending himself and others, trying to help his extended family to survive, and the lasting effects of his experiences on himself and those around him, ring absolutely true.
I’ve seldom read a more brutally factual account. This is an indispensable book for anyone wanting to understand how a situation such as that in Bosnia (or many other places around the world, for that matter) can (and will) strip the veneer of civilization away from anyone and everyone, and force us all into a survival mode that we’d rather not even think about. When it’s a matter of survival of the fittest, and every person or family for themselves, it’s… it’s very bad indeed. I know. I’ve been there multiple times, and seen it for myself. I’ve seen how it changed me.
I can’t recommend this book too highly. It’s essential reading for anyone interested in emergency preparations, even for a lesser emergency than civil war. It’s also definitely relevant to the schism in US society we’re experiencing at present. If that schism should go any further, this might be a grimly prophetic book indeed.
As a matter of fact, Selco’s book has got me wondering whether I shouldn’t write one of my own, about the lessons learned in SHTF situations in the many and varied circumstances in which I’ve found myself over the years. I must think about that.