Nuclear War Survival Skills: Updated and Expanded 1987 Edition (Anglais) Broché – mai 1999
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These shelters can be put togeather within a few hours by ordinary, untrained men and women. (It is a good idea to take a weekend and practice building them.) They provide good protection during the weeks it may take for fallout to decay to negligible levels of radioactivity. (Expedient blast shelters, which also protect against the shockwave from a nearby explosion, are also discussed.)
The author is clear and thorough throughout, supplying checklists for supplies, equipment and materials; detailed building instructions and descriptions of the genuine (as opposed to fanciful) effects of nuclear weapons. There is also a valuable discussion of the purchase and use of potassium iodide compounds for protection of the thyroid gland from absorption of radioiodine. Finally, detailed plans and instructions are provided for the construction and use of a homemade fallout meter(!) to indicate radiation levels. (It is a lot more accurate than many of the over-priced, defective-or-uncalibrated war-surplus "Geiger counters" on the market!)
The 2001 edition contains a new chapter on the hazards of trans-Pacific fallout, which could drift eastward to the U.S. mainland from a nuclear conflict in Asia. (Such as India vs. Pakistan, or a North Korean nuclear attack on the South or Japan.) There is also a new appendix detailing the persuasive medical and scientific evidence that low levels of ionizing radiation below a certain threshold do no harm to humans or other forms of life, or their descendants. In fact, it may make them healthier. (Far from being crackpot, this concept is known in Biology as "hormeisis" and is dicussed in a recent article in DISCOVER magazine; see "Is Radiation Good for You?", DISCOVER Vol. 23 No. 12, December 2002.) This should help to dispel the superstition that radiation is some sort of magic poison, and that any amount is deadly.
Anyone not living in a fool's paradise realizes that the chance of a nuclear detonation in an American city is probably higher now than it ever was when the United States and Soviet Union were locked in mutual standoff. Nuclear deterrance may have worked even on hardened Soviet or Chinese apparatchiks; but to to depend on it alone now against psychopaths and apocalyptic fanatics is to invite hideous disaster.
The people who want the American people to cower in vulnerability to nuclear attack do not want anyone to read this book. Kearny addresses the things courageous individuals and families can do ON THEIR OWN, using the McGyver approach, to improve their chances of survival.
Drop the giant-cockroach nonsense and learn the effects of blast, radiation, and fallout. Learn to build your own fallout shelter in a day using shovels, axes, and saws. Learn to make a fallout radiation meter from a coffee can, a chunk of drywall, and a piece of aluminum foil. Make a shelter ventilation fan in hours from wood laths, plastic sheeting, cord, hinges, and staples. Make a mortar-and-pestle-style grain mill from a section of steel pipe and a coffee can.
The designs and procedures were developed and field tested on real-live Americans over many years at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Even if you have a merely-idle interest in technical subjects, you will enjoy this book, and it might even save your life. This is a great book that changes the way people see nuclear war and strategic military policy.
This is a government sponsored field manual that tells individuals how to prepare for and how to survive "the bomb". And as preparedness books, and Government manuals go - this book is the BOMB!
Many books on survival and preparedness are shallow, poorly researched and untested, fear mongering or written with a social or political bend. Or the advice of the book amounts to - "Sit tight, take notes, wait for government officials, they will save you". This book is none of those things. It was written by Cresson Kearny - a Rhodes scholar who was working as a research engineer at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory at the time that he was asked to write this book. His other qualifications include (but are not limited to!) serving in WWII - where he worked on testing and improving jungle combat gear for US soldiers. As a demolition specialist in China (during a portion of the Japanese invasion). He was re-recruited by the US military for combat gear improvement for US soldiers in Vietnam. He also traveled the world trading knowledge with other countries on protecting civilians from the effects of a nuclear war. Etc, etc.
Mr. Kearny has thoroughly researched and thought through the most likely scenarios (most relevant at the time that he wrote this book) and gives step-by-step solutions on how to deal with each problem. His solutions are simple, tested and can be implemented by almost all individuals. He advocates looking out for yourself, and gives advice on how to do so.
Although this book was specifically written to address a massive nuclear war with Russia - the knowledge and approaches in this book can be applied to all disaster scenarios. Some of the things he covers:
-Facts and myths about nuclear bombs.
-Warnings that a bomb has gone off/ are on their way.
-Evacuations - when/ where...
-Shelters, building several quick, effective fallout shelters (all tested by him and by "average American families").
-living in the shelter - water, food, CO2/fire dangers, ventilating the shelter, light, sanitation, medical, furnishings, clothing, cooking, how long to stay in there...
-detailed instructions and templates used for building a radiation meter from common household items! (Invented by him - the "Kearny Fallout Meter" or KFM)
-detailed instructions and templates for construction of a homebuilt ventilator.
-where to find food and antibiotics for you and the rest of the country, how to process that food so that it can be eaten by adults and children. (And how to build any tools needed to process that food).
-special dietary considerations for children.
The information is presented in a - this is what is important and here's how an average person should/could go about doing this - manner. Very simple, very straightforward, very hands-on.
I have only scratched the surface on the wealth of practical information contained in this manual. Buy it! Then buy one for a friend!
Note: This book is available as a free PDF download (do a search on: Nuclear War Survival Skills PDF download). I recommend downloading it and reading it. I suspect you will then want to have a hard copy on hand too.
4-17-07 Addendum: one of the assumptions of this book was that our satellites (USA) would show missiles being fueled and fielded, and cities being evacuated. This would give us a 2-3 day advanced notice of a major power's (Russia's and/or China's) nuclear launch. This is no longer a good assumption.
Events that have occurred since this book was written:
-Russia has built and actively maintains excellent permanent shelters for most of its population.
-Russia has upgraded its missiles (and continues to actively do so).
-China has maintained and is actively improving its excellent system of shelters and underground facilities.
-China has upgraded its missiles (and continues to actively do so at an alarming rate).
When using this book keep in mind the above changes - ie don't count on the USA having a 2 day warning.
Simply put, this is a User's Manual for civil defense. What to do before a nuclear attack is likely, and how to avoid many of the post-attack dangers (particularly fallout). I'm actually surprised that this information isn't more widely disseminated in the US. In fact, among the public, there is almost no public awareness or even recognition of civil defense, only that the `government' must have plans in place to deal with catastrophes. This is a dense tome filled with details, but even a small amount of information in this manual could be vital to an individual's or family's survival after a nuclear weapon is detonated near their home.
This manual includes information on the effects of a thermonuclear detonation, how much damage is done, how wide spread it would be, the dangers of fallout, how to mitigate the effects of fallout (probably the single most important aspect of the book), how to build a shelter (both a quick, expedient shelter, and a more elaborate shelter if you have the time), the effects of radiation sickness, preparations for storing food and water, and how to build a simple but effective radiation detector. There is enough detail to keep a hardcore survivalist busy for years, but you don't need to be a hardcore survivalist to find this useful. This manual also includes enough basic information that the average American should be aware of that could make the difference between life and death. Many of the problems/issues addressed by Kearny are also relevant to other types of natural disasters or crisis situations, not just a thermonuclear attack.
I have to agree with another reviewer that this manual would also be of great use to authors who want to write about nuclear war. Even if you don't think that a nuclear attack is all that likely (or you truly are living at ground zero and won't survive the initial blast), I found this to be an interesting, readable account of what to do. You can find this manual online for free, but the nice bound edition is definitely worth the $20 in my view. Highly, highly recommended.