preload preload preload preload

Fall of the Roman Empire Michael Grant Scribner

9th July 2013 History Books 27 Comments

Michael Grant is a highly successful and renowned historian of the ancient world. He has held many academic posts including those of Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge; Professor of Humanity at Edinburgh University; Vice Chancellor of The Queen’s University, Belfast and Vice Chancellor of the University of Khartoum. He is a Doctor of Letters at Dublin and a Doctor of Laws at Belfast. He has also been President of the Classical Association of England, the Virgil Society and the Royal Numismatic Society, and is a Medallist of the American Numismatic Society. He lives and writes in Italy. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Hundreds of reasons for this collapse have over the centuries been suggested. Michael Grant in his reinterpretation of these cataclysmic events identifies thirteen defects which he sees as being responsible for the fall of the Roman Empire. These flaws within the society of Ancient Rome set Roman against Roman, deviding the nation and thereby destroying its ability to resist invasion.

Fall of the Roman Empire

Surviving Off Off-Grid: Decolonizing the Industrial Mind

"Do you consider yourself a preparedness person? You need to read this book. Has your financial situation only become worse over time, and are you in debt? You need to read this book"… –

“I find this book to be one of the most profound books I’ve read in quite some time. It may even be the most relevant (and challenging) book of 2011 with all that is going on economically and politically” –

"…what I read was well-written, engaging, informational, and inspiring…" –Playing In The Dirt Blog

"…no one else I know of is saying… the things Michael Bunker is saying in this book. It is an incredibly thought provoking read… what he is saying is not only contra-mundum, it’s right on" –Herrick Kimball, The Deliberate Agrarian

"Michael Bunker is not anti-technology and he is not a Luddite… he dares to question whether modern conveniences are necessary, and he’s quick to name the cost of dependence: slavery." –

Western Society is in confusion, the industrial world is teetering on collapse, and it looks like things could get worse. Agrarian Blogger, historian, and “plain” preacher Michael Bunker has been living off of the grid for many years, and he has some advice for those living in the industrial/consumerist economy living an off off-grid life is achievable. It has been done for thousands of years, and it can be done today… It is quite possible that many people who have relied on a failing system for their means of survival will very soon find that they have made a mistake of historic proportions. Historic, because every major “classical” culture went down the same road our society is on today. This book is about the lessons we should have learned, and what you can do to survive what history tells us must come next.

Surviving Off Off-Grid: Decolonizing the Industrial Mind

  • 27 responses to "Fall of the Roman Empire Michael Grant Scribner"

  • Hypocrite Henry
    2:39 on July 9th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    The author is a schollar with a long list of published works on classical civilization, and this title didn’t disappoint the reader. As a thematic overview of the subject at hand its absolutely excellent, in 13 chapters explaining each of the main reasons that weakened and finally ended with the western Roman empire (forgetting silly theories or folklore). The internal divisions and the idea that it wasn’t worth defending the empire in its various battles (not only physical,but also social, theological and intelectual) is the main theme of this work.

    Obviously it was the “barbarian invasions” that led to political change, but these barbarians originally worked for Rome! And in the past the Empire had survived several invasions of similar magnitude. The numbers of troops were misleading, and mostly poorly armed and motivated “limitanei”, the impressive number of exemptions from military service overloaded the nonimmune classes, encouraging owners to “give” to the army the most useless workers , etc.

    Economically the oppressive tax system was based on land; the small owners bearing almost the entire tax burden, eventually putting themselfes at the service of large landowners (the beginnings of feudalism), also a lot of isentions led to the breakdown of the system. The rich Senators, removed from the military commands and certain positions, moved away from the management of the state, concerning themselves only about their personal properties.

    Incredibly the state also has divested the small urban middle class Curiale, forcing it to assume the roles of management and collection of taxes, subjecting them to absurd laws that included corporal punishment! The imperial bureaucracy was impressive with real armies of rogue officials and laws of dubious usefulness, causing the entire population to unite against these bureaucrats. The exaggeration of pomp, ceremony, courtesans intrigue and limited access to the sacred person of the emperor, kept him not only far from the eyes of its people, but also from their hearts.

    Also of note its the failure of alliance between East and West (the help was always minimal). Racial differences and prejudices of the Germans, who at the end of the empire were the main protectors and soldiers of the empire, the lack of tolerance, integration, respect of their religion and a common sense of purpose led to the failure of the foedus experience (federated allies).

    At a time of such great need of human resources for the army and tilling the land, the huge number of elements that become monks, completely dependent of other citizens, led to a worsening of the circumstances. Intolerance in religious matters and in disputes between Catholics and Aryans (among other heresies such as the donatists in Gaul) and between Christians and Pagans, has led to another huge division in society; especially when thinkers such as St. Augustine began to promote “forced” conversions. Matters of culture and ways of thinking also influenced the fall: the pagans had an excessive compliance with the whole situation, seeing it as just another hiccup in the long and endless Roman Empire, leading to an overconfidence which resulted in the lack of concerted actions that would lead to a positive change in the situation; on the other hand, the Christians often saw the situation as completelly black and as a punishment from God, being more concerned with eternal life.

    The book also contains an excellent summary of events, list of rulers and popes, long bibliography and list of ancient writers (essential if you want to to know more about the subject). Highly recommended as a summary of the causes that led to the changing of the political situation in the ancient world.

  • Jonathan Huie
    3:39 on July 9th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    A great book. Makes you think about your life and why we live the way we do. Do we really need all the stuff in our lives? After reading this book my wife and i are doing some soul searching about whats really important to us. Everyone should read this book it will open your mind to possibilitys you have never thought of.

  • precious
    5:28 on July 9th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    Michael Grant may not be the most revered classical scholar of the late twentieth century, but he just may be the most prolific. Mr. Grant published on an astonishing scale, especially for a man who spent most of his adult life in the diplomatic service of his country, Great Britain.

    This piece, underscoring the many reasons contributing to the fall of Rome in the fourth century, is a lucid and broadly accessible analysis of the decline and collapse of the greatest empire in history; a “Gibbon for the common man” one might say, only without the great eighteenth century historian’s reluctance to assign fault and causality.

    After reading “The Fall of the Roman Empire” it is difficult to ascertain precisely how or why the imperial state lasted as long as did, precisely the question that Chester Starr examined in his 1982 monograph, “The Roman Empire, 27 BC – AD 476: A Study in Survival.” Grant argues that only the internal flaws can account for the fall of Rome, which really transpired over the course of just a century; barbarian invasion was necessary, but not sufficient to explain the collapse. The author highlights no less than thirteen disunities that he claims undermined the Roman empire and led inexorably to its disintegration. Any one of them, it seems to me, were enough to seriously injure the health of the expansive polity of the Roman empire, a territory so vast, so encompassing that Starr refers to it as an “impossibility” in his piece.

    To begin with, Grant highlights the failure of the Roman system to deliver a smooth and legitimate transition of power to the emperor’s throne as a primary source of disunity. Indeed, this structural flaw was cited by both Machiavelli and Montesquieu as the principle reason for Rome’s downfall. With each succession the empire was rocked by civil war and competing claims to the throne backed by parochial armies from the frontier. These internal conflicts resulted in the fracturing that allowed the Barbarians a frequent opening to invasion and conquest.

    Moreover, Grant argues, by the end of the empire, the Romans had no real “Roman” army at all. The vast majority of the troops in the legions were conscripted or mercenary Germans — or even Huns from the newly federated lands, autonomous swaths of territory populated and ruled by Barbarians under the ostensible rule of Rome. There were no genuine Romans left to draft, so thoroughly had the agrarian lands been denuded of small landholders, which traditionally provided the backbone of the legionnaires. And these new German legionnaires were poorly assimilated into the social body politic (more on that below).

    Next, the author stresses that the Roman state needed money to pay its army, the very army it needed to survive as an empire. Yet, the collection of this revenue did much to destroy the empire by imposing a terrible tax burden (Grant claims that 90% of imperial revenues were derived from land taxes) on the foundation of citizenry, the rural farmer, the same rural farmer that traditionally provided the manpower to the legions. (Note: some recent classical historians, including Starr, have argued that the cost of supporting the imperial army was not that onerous, coming out to the modest sum of 15 sesterces per person per year, at least in the early empire. Unlike those authors, Grant never attempts to define the budget and tax rates, which undermines his argument).

    In a theme that resonates today (at least for me), Grant also argues that the elite in later Roman society were far richer, relatively, than their ancestors during the Republic (five times richer, he claims), and worse yet they felt little desire or obligation to serve the state, either in politics or in the army, an undertaking once considered noble, but in the final centuries deemed beneath the highest wrung in society. So, the rich lived their lives of luxury on their estates and deprived the state of desperately needed leadership for generations, while the Emperor himself remained completely detached from his people, living increasingly outside the city of Rome in Milan, on isolated estates at Ravenna or elsewhere, often relying on pithy taglines on the ubiquitous bronze currency trumpeting an imperial glory (e.g. “Unconquered,” “Perpetual”) long since vanished to prop up his image across his empire. Also along this line of detachment from society, Grant describes a growing set of voluntary “drop outs” from the Roman community that further eroded manpower and general civic cohesion, monks and nuns mainly, living in remote convents who were perhaps a bit more like Hippies in the 1960s. However, the author makes no credible argument that their numbers were sufficient to actually damage the fabric or functioning of society any more than the Hippies ultimately did, although they did serve as the ultimate expression of rejecting the conventions of the hallowed past.

    Finally, the Romans couldn’t get along among themselves. There was a concerted effort to unify around Christian faith, but that only created deep and passionate schisms in society, resulting in efforts to deny freedom of religion, first against pagans, then against Manichaeans and Jews, and finally against Christian heretics, which Grant argues were some of the most brutal and violent persecutions. Meanwhile, the Romans failed utterly in assimilating the large numbers of Germans — nearly all of whom converted to the Arrian brand of Christianity, a sect ultimately rejected by the mainline Roman church — who became citizens in the later empire as former Barbarian territory was federated into the empire, an inflow of martially inclined manpower that, for a time, propped up the sagging legions.

    In closing, this is a solid introduction to the many threads that in part or in concert led to the Fall of Rome, one of the most fascinating and enduring of historical subjects. It is targeted at the lay reader and Roman history novice and serves that audience well.

  • NoScriptEvah
    5:49 on July 9th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    Grant gives a new perspective about the last century of the (western) Roman Empire. When the average layman thinks of the fall of the Roman Empire, he (or she) thinks of the Rome of the early Caesars: a libertarian, libertine kind of place, full of fun and debauchery. But Grant convincingly shows that late Rome suffered not from decadence but from puritanism, not from too much liberty but from crushing taxes. Late Rome was more like Soviet Russia than like America today: a place suffering from too much government in every sphere of life, from Christian intolerance …to bureaucratic overregulation of the economy. The perfect gift for your libertarian friends!

  • Rob Atherton
    7:32 on July 9th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    This book has some “how to” information regarding living a lot less dependent on modern industrialism, but mostly it is about how to think in less dependent ways. Most would term the author a very “conservative” Christian, and his beliefs are an integral part of what you’ll find here. However, even though I don’t share all the author’s beliefs (though I am a Bible-based Christian), I did appreciate the different viewpoint, and the call to live less caught up in the world’s nonsense. There’s also a good deal of historical information here.

    If you’re a Christian (or any believer in God), I’d recommend this book as a chance to see through some of the “fog of the world”. If you aren’t a Christian, however, I’m guessing the other information the author provides won’t be enough to get you past his belief system.

  • Debjit
    8:45 on July 9th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    This book on some levels broke my heart. How far we’ve fallen as a people from personal independence and strength to selling ourselves willingly into bondage for garbage goods, services and ideas. Michael Bunker does an incredible job illustrating how we went down this road to dependence on things that were supposed to “save time” for us. This quote gives a taste: “However, it is notable that, prior to the advent of grid power, the people could only be subjugated by military power, or by the persuasive power of philosophy or religion. Historically, coercion had to come from outside the individual person, group, or society. It was readily identifiable. If people were slaves, they were slaves to superior might. They could see their chains.” Until I finished this book I did not realize how profoundly heavy the chains that I willingly used to bind myself to slavery in the worldy system were until I could feel them pulling me down. Once you become aware of them, can “see” them you’ll never be able to go back. I’ve been a survivalist, a “prepper” for a long time, thinking I could buy enough goods to get me over the hump of TSHTF and then just “start growing things” once the worst was over. What a dead end trap that is, and this book helped me see that. You can’t “buy” your way into survival, it’s a foolish idea. It’s no secret to all of us that our lives are about to change beyond recognizing, that’s why we are all searching for a way out. This book is a giant first step for those that don’t know where to get started, as the author delves into the most important part of making a change: getting your MIND in the right place. For those like me that were already well down the path of living “off-grid” with our survival gear and grandiose plans of outlasting TSHTF, this book shows a divergent path by taking us through our presuppositions about what survival really is, and shows us the true path to personal freedom. It’s so far from where all of us probably reside mentally he has to start with defining terms, such as what survival really is, to taking us through ending debt slavery down to the basics of evaluating land, food, water, and shelter. This book is really different from the usual “buy this and you’ll be free” survival book. It’s not just a “how” book, but a “why” book as well. It helped me view the plans that we made critically and to look at each part in terms of the whole, and the outcomes and consequences of the choices we’ve made in the past as well as for the future. I can’t recommend it enough, it’s that valuable. It provides true hope.

  • Edksec
    11:29 on July 9th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    This book was pretty much unreadable for me. It is filled with enough Christian religiosity to choke a pack of horses. I wanted to read what looked to be a modern perspective on the subject, well thought out and/or researched. Instead I was thrown from one side of the page with a quote from God, then across the crease to the other side of the book into the thorny pricks of new and old testament proverbs stabbing with their wise warnings. Ouch! If you are a thinking person, you might make it through the first chapter, but don’t count on it. If you are a God fearing person, a good Christian, this book is well worth the read.

  • Ectonym
    12:09 on July 9th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    This is one of the most profound books I’ve read in years. It directly applies to current world events as well as the history of the last century. It provides answers and hope. Practical, thoughtful, inspiring, and challenging…it caused me to think about things in ways I’ve never considered before. The book goes into some “how” but more importantly the “why” and “what now” – which the author defines as “Decolonizing the mind”. It is about a new way of thinking.

    This isn’t your typical survival book. This book essentially states that survival isn’t just about making it through to when things are “normal” (as in the case of short-term survival with power outages, etc.) but rather a way of life that is sustainable and better. A way of life free from slavery to “the grid” (power, debt, consumerism). This book explores the way of life of prior generations, the founders of this nation, and people for thousands of years before that.

    There is so much useful content to this book that it is hard to summarize. Some of the key parts I appreciated were:
    1. A historical background of prior civilizations such as Greece and Rome and their relevance to industrialized nations today.
    2. How to analyze whether the benefits of a given technology outweigh the dependence and slavery required to maintain it.
    3. The author is intellectually honest about his faith and where he is coming from so you can make an informed decision about the information he provides.
    4. Several self-help tests to show you your level of slavery and dependence on the grid system.
    5. A very personal story of the author’s grandmother that strikes a chord with the situation many of us have faced or will face with our loved ones in an urban/industrial/consumer way of life.
    6. Particularly fascinating for me was a chapter on land that involved an example for how an “off off-grid” community could form, expand, and thrive together.
    7. Some moments of humor throughout. The author is not afraid to make fun of some of his attempts to move “off off-grid” for your benefit (and so you can learn from his mistakes).
    8. Surviving Off Off-Grid goes into intermediate steps for moving out of the system.
    9. There are some interesting ideas about how some specialization is good in agrarian/off-grid life (i.e. – not everyone is a farmer). That people can absolutely use the skills they are gifted with in an “off off-grid” life. The problem today is that most people are hyper specialized into uselessness (…including myself).

    Overall, this is the new standard for the off-grid agrarian movement in my opinion. It left me wanting to learn more…so the main downside to the book was that after 350 pages or so…it seemed to have an abrupt ending. Hopefully there will be additional books to follow-up on such an interesting topic.

    This book is about a revolution in your mind that will eventually lead to a revolution in the way you live. It is about freedom and hope…and leaving behind a system that is falling apart. I ordered several extra copies of the book for family and friends because I want them to see how things were, how they are, and what they could be if we return to the old paths.

    I included a chapter listing below for those who may want to see it:
    Chapter 1 – Defining Terms
    Chapter 2 – Revolution
    Chapter 3 – Something Must Be Done
    Chapter 4 – Debt Slavery
    Chapter 5 – The Grid
    Chapter 6 – Light and Heat
    Chapter 7 – Cool Stuff
    Chapter 8 – Land… Of The Free
    Chapter 9 – Different Strokes
    Chapter 10 – Water
    Chapter 11 – Food, Part 1
    Chapter 12 – Food, Part 2
    Chapter 13 – Food, Part 3
    Chapter 14 – Preserving the Harvest
    Chapter 15 – Building
    Chapter 16 – Answering Objections

  • Carol Bartz
    17:25 on July 9th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    This book is very thought provoking. For those who think our current economic system is unstable, Michael Bunker provides not only ideas for going off-grid but a philosophy of living that challenges the notion that city life is good.

    As I moved about my house cleaning and cooking today, everything I touched and did had new meaning when judged by Michael standards.

  • Timothy Sykes
    19:23 on July 9th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    I stumbled upon this book in my research for “prepping” and “survival” information which I have been actively pursuing over the last year. I read most of the reviews both positive and negative and decided it was worth the money, because even the negative reviews didn’t say the information was useless, only that the reviewer didn’t agree with the conclusions/or philosophy of the author. After finishing the book, I can honestly say it WAS worth the money. The book completely challenged the most basic assumptions and beliefs about life and sustaining life in the future. This understanding is the primary piece of the “survival/prepping” paradigm puzzle that I was missing and had given me so much trouble. Trying to balance living in a modern world, preparing for the worst, and then guessing how long the disruptions would last ultimately increased my stress levels, lack of confidence, and led me to institute many incorrect “survival” systems that are actually unnecessary if your fundamental understanding of the world and your place in it is congruent with the actual reality present. Not only does this book challenge the reader, but it almost seemed as if the author was sitting right next to me answering the questions that popped into my head during that given section. Obviously, the author has spent numerous quality hours researching and structuring the material in a way to try to anticipate any questions the reader has while balancing the presentation of the information as to not scare off or offend any not so open-mined persons or individuals that have never been presented a philosophy in this way. This book is for every human being alive on this earth, whether you end up agreeing completely with this author’s conclusions or not. No matter what, it will expand your thought process and require you to at least defend your personal philosophy against a plethora of information presented. Enjoy.

  • westvolusiaguys
    21:05 on July 9th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    I must say that this book is really quite good. The author, Mr. Michael Bunker does a good and thorough job of bringing up most important topics for living off grid. I believe that if he left his skewed (anarchist) version of Christianity out of it, it would do much better. If you can get through his continual reminders and re stating of things he said previously, then you are in for a treat. Since I am Christian, I was especially looking forward to reading this. However, his lone wolf belief that Christians should be seperatists does not always line up with scripture. In a personal conversation with the author, Mr. Bunker said “The great thing about the prevalence of spiritual anarchy is that you can read my book, take what you like, and go somewhere else if you don’t like what you hear.”. And that pretty much sums it up. Take what you need and move on. The good parts are great and Mr. Bunkers personal spin on Christianity can be weeded out. In Mr. Bunkers own words, “The human mind can rationalize anything”. Please pray before and as you read this book.

  • Eric Kennedy
    22:50 on July 9th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    Although the title suggests that this book will discuss the requirements for living off grid, this book is actually a fairly critical assessment of the current “off-grid” movement and the level of dependency caused by modern consumerism. Although the author grounds his personal philosophy in a rather strict interpretation of the Bible, I think that the questions he poses are good ones and should be considered regardless of your personal beliefs. I suggest that there are many reasons we should strive to live more independent and sustainable lifestyles, and if the reader can power through the sometimes overly dogmatic Christian preaching (essentially the first and last chapters) the majority of the book will appeal to a wider audience than just the Christian separatist movement. I actually think it’s a bit unfortunate that the author chose such a strict religious-based argument because I believe that everyone could benefit from reflecting on the questions posed in this text and I’m concerned that many will not get to the substance because they may be turned off by the chosen rhetoric (and I say this as a Christian).

    Anyway, if you think you might be interested in pursuing an off-grid lifestyle or would just like to start thinking about ways to live more sustainably, I strongly recommend that you give this book a shot. It won’t teach you many practical skills but it will get you to start asking the right questions, and that may be the most important part to successful off-grid living.

  • Chris_T
    3:17 on July 10th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    Michael Bunker clearly is an intelligent man and he writes a profound book. The book appears to be self-published, but it is very well done. I have come across his blogs in the past and was turned off by his authoritativeness, which is toned down in the book. The “why” of the book is excellently presented, but in my opinion, there is one glaring issue with his theology: What about the Great Commission? How are Christians to go out into the world sharing the Good News of Christ if they are to completely separate and isolate themselves from society?

    I’m also curious to hear Mrs. Bunker’s side of the story. Back in the day when people lived off the land and raised their own food and supplies the women also had servants or community assist them since they literally spent all day undertaking the incredibly laborious tasks of just surviving and caring for their families. What is she doing while Mr. Bunker is writing books and blogging about their lifestyle?

    All in all an interesting read.

  • Chopperrrr
    3:34 on July 10th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    First, a little about my background: I was born and raised off-the-grid before there even WAS a grid in my area. A 20′x20′ 200 year old log cabin on 86 acres of farm, field and forest was my home. We had “4 rooms and a path”. There was a dirt cellar under the cabin, a root cellar, a spring house, smoke house, hog barn, chicken house, calf pen and the main (cattle and horse) barn where we also stored our hay and other animal feeds. We had an extensive garden, orchards, small vineyard and raspberry patch. We gathered wild strawberries and sometimes ‘harvested’ wild game. Our friends and neighbors also homesteaded much as we did, but there was no “agrarian separatist community”. None was needed. Christian or non-Christian, we were just always ‘there’ for each other. Since then in my adult years I have spent the last 18 years living totally off-the-grid, and I loved it! However, I moved from AZ high desert to the mid-west last June to be near family. Even though I am currently somewhat dependent on the grid, I am getting away from any dependence on the entire “system” as fast as possible – no excuses. If the world as we know it implodes in my lifetime (I’m 70) perhaps I’ll be able to help family and others to adapt and make the paradigm shift necessary to not only exist, but to live a truly fruitful and fulfilling life.
    I came to Christ while in college – and here is where I believe Mr. Bunker is missing the key. Being an Agrarian Separatist does not (cannot) “save” you. Without Jesus Christ as the LORD and Savior of one’s life this philosophy alone will cause one to spend eternity apart from God just the same as will anyone else who has not received His gracious and merciful provision for the forgiveness of sin – which we all need. Salvation is by grace alone through faith alone (and that is a gift) in Christ alone. That said, SOOG is the only work of Mr. Bunker’s that I have read so I may very well not be fully aware of his thoughts on this issue. And yes, it was a very difficult read. Tedious at times, it is never-the-less a very timely and critical wake up call to a gravely fallen world – and especially our nation – that will most certainly collapse. Probably very soon. I’m not a “doom and gloomer” but history does repeat itself – for a reason. And “the handwriting is on the wall”.
    Many others have written excellent reviews from both Christian and non-Christian perspectives. The sub-title is possibly a more accurate title. From whichever side you find yourself, bite the bullet and take the cure. Please do read this book and become a part of the solution – not the problem.

  • Umm
    5:21 on July 10th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    The previous reviewer’s analysis is correct. I would only add that eerily much of what caused Rome to dry rot and collapse is being mirrored in the USA- high taxation, large bureaucracies, the lack of desire to serve in the military, radical racial diversification, growing elements of societal drop-outs (ie. homeschoolers, Christians, environmentalists), complacency, the growing gulf between social classes. Will the USA fall like Rome? After all, there is no army of barbarians at our doorstep like Rome faced. We have no military coups unlike the dozens which took place in Rome. But there are several fits, enough to think that at the very least, America two centuries from now will be as recognizable to us as modern England would be recognizable to Alfred the Great, William the Conqueror or Richard the Lionhearted.

  • mikehunt
    6:08 on July 10th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    If you think you know all about surviving off grid, you need this book. If you don’t know anything about surviving off grid, you need this book! Bunker brings some fresh insight in to the “separatist movement” that is starting to gain momentum in this country. Don’t look for it to tell you everything you need to do to live off the land, it is more of a why to than a how to book. Sure, there are several chapters that cover food storage, gardening, construction tips and finances, but the great thing about “Surviving Off Off-Grid” is the way it makes you think about everything you thought was right in a whole new way. The mind is the most valuable tool anyone has and Mr. Bunker will really give yours a tune-up. You will be edified and challenged as you are shown what can happen if you seek the old paths and dare to return to a lifestyle that our forefathers enjoyed and the true freedom that comes with living in obedience to God the way the Bible describes, not the way the modernist church espouses. This book will shake you up and probably make a lot of people mad, but it will also change and save some lives too.

  • Wilet Ritz
    7:14 on July 10th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    I suppose my reviewing a book that eschews modern devices in favor of a pseudo-Amish like mentality is a bit, ‘cheeky,’ especially as I purchased it via my Kindle, and thus, was using a device that will cease to work upon the ‘Grid’ coming crashing down…rather than a paper and ink version of the text. Which is what the author hopes will happen, sometime soon…. in order to save us.

    But there you are. I am not a ‘green’ individual, yet I drive a Diesel car. I am not a vegan, yet I love tofu with mixed vegetables. I am not a Protestant, for I had to come to the realization that I am not smarter, better, or holier than those saints, martyrs, and holy men and women who clearly lived lives of godliness, in the centuries BEFORE 1517, and thus, could effectively be called ‘Catholic’ (but not necessarily “Roman”!) And, as the author Mr. Bunker (Archie Bunker’s relative, if last names mean anything) is clearly VERY conservative, he is also ‘romeaphobic’ in the style of Ellen G. White’s writings, so he and I probably wouldn’t get along… just like I consider the Amish to be well-meaning, but deluded, (as they have neither an apostolic priesthood, sacraments, or grace, according to the historic praxis of undivided Christendom). But then, they consider me to be ‘xenos’ as well, and that is as it should be. Only one of us is correct, and the other is not. And only God’s grace can sort that mess out…not a book review.

    But that doesn’t mean that the Amish (or Mr. Bunker) don’t get things ‘right’ from time to time. Mr. Bunker’s book is a ‘slap-upside-the-head,’ hard-hitting, thought-provoking assessment of the modern apostate society, and WHY it is apostate, and WHY it deserves to perish. Much of what he fumes against, were the very things the early Monastics in the Third and Fourth centuries fumed against- the worldliness of cities, the perversions of large numbers of people, and the necessity of ‘earning one’s daily bread’ from the ‘sweat of one’s brow.’ Plus ca change, etc.

    But Mr. Bunker makes US MODERNS stand up and take notice, in a way that St. Bendict cannot (unless you study late Roman Christendom’s saints on a daily basis). Bunker’s book is, above all, NECESSARY for all of us to read- even if we disagree with the personality of the Author, or his ecclesial views. I felt myself being convicted time and time again, as I read his book. Other reviewers have said that ‘Surviving OFF Off-grid’ is not a ‘how to’ book, but a ‘why you need to think of this’ sort of book. And that is what it is. I would say, before reading ‘Patriots’ or ‘How to prepare for the coming collapse’ or one of the other ‘prepper’ titles out there, you must read this book…. FIRST.

    I can only remember one other book (Well, two- ok, three) that made me think this deeply, and changed my life accordingly, in my half-century life to date: the Shaeffer’s (Father and son) books: “How shall we then live?” (when I first began to think covenantally) and “Dancing Alone” (Before I became Orthodox); the other was C. S. Lewis’ “Mere Christianity” (Before I took on my baptismal promises as my own, as an Adult, knowing once and for all, that I am a ‘miserable sinner’ as the BCP states). Need I point out that all of those books presuppose a firm knowledge of the Holy Bible, as well? But then, that’s a given in ANY scenario, frankly. You’d expect me to say that, right?

    While I find the author’s ‘short hair/long beard’ appearance silly, and his womenfolk’s penchant for ‘Laura Ingalls wear’ to be merely reactionary, his book NEVERTHELESS hits between the eyes, as does no other book I have read in the last ten years. As an Orthodox, and a fan of established Episcopal church order, I STILL consider this book today’s preamble to the Fall, much as Augustine’s ‘City of God’ was like unto it, for Rome in the Fourth Century. However, you will have to make up your mind…. for yourself.

    But, having said that, I still think one should buy it… even on a Kindle. And ‘read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest.’ Mr. Bunker effectively puts modern urban clerics and our ‘at ease in Zion’ congregations to shame; which is not a bad thing to have happen, once in a while; if we are truly listening to God’s voice.

  • Reese Mitchell
    13:04 on July 10th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    We have all been taught to think one way. This, in essence, is what the word ‘colonized’ means. In order to ‘de-colonize’ you must be willing to think outside the box. As far as off-grid books go, this one is very outside the box, which makes it quite interesting. The book sparks your interest by the way it comes at the subject. That spark then ignites into a small ember, which carries you through to the well lit burning flame of understanding. If you want to use the information that you’ve picked up in your off-grid quest, this information will light a fire under you to propel you toward your goal. It may very well be you’ll be doing it for a totally different reason than when you began.

  • Cole Desir
    15:47 on July 10th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    You’ve probably read plenty of books that tell you how to survive off the grid. This book doesn’t have a misprint in the title. It teaches you why you should be getting on with surviving off “off-grid”. In other words, a whole lot less dependant. Off-grid living focuses on such things as using technology to produce electricity (perhaps wind or photovoltaic cells) Off-off-grid living would pose the question “How can I thrive without electricity?”. This book doesn’t describe the backwoodsman skills you might employ to eke out an existence as a hunter gatherer. Rather, it lays out a belief system that is as old as humankind, but largely forgotton in the western world of grid-connected luxury.

    The belief system you will be introduced to as you read is the basis for all planning, designing and action contained in the book. So, while it’s chock full of excellent examples and suggestions about HOW to go about becoming more self reliant, once you understand WHY it is so important and natural to do so, you will be on your own exciting journey into actually living it!

    Michael Bunker is a colourful character. He’s like John Wayne, John Calvin, Grizzly Adams and Thomas Cromwell rolled into one Texas-sized individual. Bunker doesn’t pull his punches and this book is written in a direct and forceful manner. You can tell it has the ring of authenticity that comes from someone who genuinely practices what he preaches. Bunker lives in an Agrarian community in central Texas with his family and they largely produce what they need there. This book is a distillation of his learnings, mistakes and successes and has been literally field-tested for years prior to making it into print.

    So, if you want a book that thinks survival is all “Check out my cool bunker!” then go get one of the hundreds of books out there that cover this stuff. But if you want to learn how and why to live with meaningful and fulfilling process, relationships and freedom, click on the link to “Check out Michael Bunker!”

  • assumed
    18:43 on July 10th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    I find this book to be a fascinating read – and I am a veteran 20 year public school teacher of a very Conservative nature. What puzzles me is the fact that installed in our skulls is a mind that doesn’t take very well to repetitive lives, living day in and day out the same. Now, of course as we grow older (and some say wiser), we acclimate and succumb to a body that seems to has to fight to keep nimble – both in spirit and physical attributes. However, as a species, we aren’t happy, we aren’t fufilled unless we push ourselves foward into the unknown, the untamed, the untried. Inside of us is a mechanism that constantly needs to invent, to expel limit, to devise and to conquer. Now – where does that come from? From where have we been given this schema to constantly push ourselves, to be something that the people of our past would look at and gasp at the array of talents that mirror our accomplishments. Where does this come from?

    Where we really set on this planet to constantly repeat what has been done over and over and over and over in the past? OR – are we supposed to learn, and push, and fail, and fall – only to “rinse and repeat” as needed as there is some higher calling for us. Something beyond the tilling and the plowing, and the repetition that we find in other creatures. Maybe we are supposed to transcend a life of doing everything ourselves into a life that depends on others as a way to push our species forward. Were we put here to live our lives over and over again the same way each generation? Or were we made to look beyond our starting home base, to question, to adapt, to re-adapt to new ways of life. Where does this electric shock that propels us to research and to look for new ways and means come from?

    Is it our destiny to live and cultivate our own little piece of land and never be able to move off this planet? OR – has the Lord that watches over us (whomever that might be) put something in ALL of us that forces our unique and talented peoples on this planet to never be happy with what is BUT what could be because this planet is as mortal as all of us and we will one day have to colonize elsewhere. Maybe we are in the infantile stage of life and not quite fully in charge of our faculties yet – like a baby that falls and gets up, and falls and gets up, and falls and gets up, and then…starts falling…not so much? Starts to grasp the concept of perpetual motion and balance?

    This book should be credited as an excellent look at our past. I have picked up quite a good many references about the way things have changed – and consequently remained the same. And, as a side note, let’s say we didn’t push ourselves to constantly move across this land just the same as we invent and move beyond from where we were thousands of years ago. Do we have agreements with other countries to do the same? How long could we be allowed to live the simple life as other parts of the world grew more resourceful and powerful. What contract would we have that they never push us out of the way? Suppose we were today as were in the early 19th century – what guarantee would we have that we would still be a free and unique country at this time?

    I rate this book a “four star” effort. However, we have to understand who we are to understand what we are supposed to be. That answer may be as far away intellectually as our nearest and next habitable planetary system that awaits our arrival.

  • The Big Ragu
    22:38 on July 10th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    Overall, the author makes a lot of good observations, and though I don’t agree with his perspective on everything, I think most of his “core” points are valid and certainly worth considering. And this is no biggie, but for me the style of writing made this a tedious read; a lot of pontification, so much so, that I had to put the book down as it was starting to drive me nuts. I was like, “dude, you’ve beaten that horse into glue, I don’t need another example or story… can we just move on to the next point?” I plan to pick it up again to try to finish, but I’m going to have to be in the right frame of mind. I do think this book could have been written in half the pages, but maybe that’s just a preference thing on my part. But I still recommend this book.

  • yoyofellow
    1:02 on July 11th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    There are many books out there that tell you how to live off-grid, but none of them go into the detail of the ‘why’ like this one. Our thinking has been so cluttered, and our distractions so numerable, that we often never really sit down and think about the reasons we do what we do. Pulling our head out from all the noise, this book gives a reality check, and makes us take a good hard look at ourselves. Just going along to get along no longer seems wise, because this book introduces a new paradigm in living off the grid. Read it, you’ll see what I mean.

  • Ronnano
    3:45 on July 11th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    It’s hard to write a review of a book that I probably did not give a fair shake. Saying that, I tried my hardest to read it. There is some interesting viewpoints in this book, however you have to get beyond the constant religious attempt at proselytizing. Normally, I can just read over these, but it was an onslaught throughout the part of the book I read. I finally gave up reading it because this becomes the premise of everything the author is saying. It would probably be a good book had he written it for everyone.
    If you are a deeply religious christian, then you would probably enjoy reading as you would agree with his theistic approaches to life.
    I think the editors hide this information in their marketing of the book so as not to scare away possible market share.

  • Preston D Lee
    6:11 on July 11th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    There are many books disecting and explaining the Roman Empire’s rise and fall, and many of them may indeed be more detailed than “The Fall of the Roman Empire” by Michael Grant, but none capture the actions of that age and explain it in such a manner that it is comprehensible to someone without a Harvard degree. Mr. Grant writes in a methodical and clear way that keeps the reader interested and excited. He divides his book in to thirteen chapters, each one describing thirteen points that led to the empire’s downfall. He addresses issues not only of military importance, but that of the internal and social struggles, such as the slaves, peasants, generals and nobles. He also includes a series of maps one what the empire looked like at various times throughout its decline. The contents of the book are reason enough to buy it, but the introduction is a general overview of the entire empire, and is very well done. That’s the positive side. However, I don’t think he was quite detailed enough! I realize that the entire book was intended to be a general run over, but some areas he glazed over, and others he ignored completly. For example, he explained the Weastern Empire in depth, but almost completly ignored the Eastern. He only refered to it when it affected the other. The only other nuance I disliked was that every so often he would contradict himself, like in referece to the social impact of the poor against the state being the most important of the internal struggles that brought down the fall, while he later says the credibility gap was the cause of the decline. After weighing the pros against the cons, I believe this is a very worthwhile book to read if you are just begining a study of that era.

  • Kristin DeAnn Gabriel ?
    7:51 on July 11th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    i bought this book based on the title believing it could educate me on how to grow in skills. it becomes apparent after getting about half way thru it could be a good book of how to think about our past and future if the author wasn’t of the mind that adopting his religious views and practices a necessary part of the program.

    if he were to reduce the Saturday morning at seven am knock on the door seventh day Adventist aspects, the rest of the book would be a good start on how our thinking and living practices aren’t in line with how to prosper, grow and treat our neighbors better.
    perhaps it’s aimed at authoritarian bible thumpers.

  • Shlomo
    8:26 on July 11th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    Michael Bunker has produced a splendid work that illustrates the societal disconnect mankind has made from the natural world. Basic history is provided with countering viewpoints that are enlightening to read. The critical thinking associated with Bunkers solutions seem reasonable and his arguments are well put forth. The theological basis for Bunker’s opinions are clearly outlined. I am concerned however, that before we place Bunker any higher on a pedestal, readers may want to examine his various blogs. It is revealing; both on the surface and for the complex layers underneath. Whether this ultimately distracts from the author’s message is for the reader to decide. Simply speaking for this book, it’s a worthwhile addition on the preparedness shelf.

  • meg yeah
    11:31 on July 11th, 2013
    Reply to comment

    In “Surviving Off Off-Grid,” Mr. Bunker begins by taking you through a history of past cultures, their movements away from the land to specialized societies centered in metropolises, and the downfall of those cultures as a result. Once he’s shown in history these failures, and compared them in their drastic similarities to current day, especially in the United States, he offers a solution, which actually isn’t a new one: it’s back to the old paths (Jer 6:16), how it used to be, how God instituted work: he takes you back to the land, back to an agrarian culture and society.

    In it, Mr. Bunker describes how people lived before industrialism. He describes how it is possible to live growing your own food, making your own clothes, and drinking water from your own reservoirs. He covers land and farming methods; preserving food, even without canning; storing food for long-term storage; building various types of buildings involved in sustainable living, like green-houses, living quarters (that are developed according to climate), root cellars, barns, etc.; how to have light and heat without electricity; and other information. At the end of the book, he answers common objections to this life-style and worldview.

    This book is not a book detailing specific how-tos — it deals more with the philosophy and generalities of the how-tos, why living this way should be done, and how it has been done in the past. It is more about engaging the minds of people to hopefully see that there is another way to look at their lives and the world around them.

    Do you consider yourself a preparedness person? You need to read this book. Has your financial situation only become worse over time, and are you in debt? You need to read this book. Have you had grandparents or great-grandparents that talked of a different time around the farm? Do you try to eat organic foods and stay away from processed foods? Do you see the world around you as just how things are, and haven’t considered it may not be the best for you and your family? You need to read this book.

    It is my prayer the Lord will use Mr. Bunker’s “Surviving Off Off-Grid” book as a means to enlighten those whom He will; and, in the process, bring glory to His name in revealing more of Himself and His will.

  • Leave a Reply

    * Required
    ** Your Email is never shared