The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Civilization in the Aftermath of a Cataclysm
I read a lot of technical books. I love fiction but can't ever seem to take the time to read it, the list of non-fiction I need to read is too darn long. But The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Our World from Scratch by Lewis Dartnell is a non-fiction book that reads like a story in many ways, and explains its concepts in very interesting and compelling ways.
It's not a specific reference guide, not a book you would probably keep in your Bug Out Bag (unless you carry a Kindle), but will get you thinking in ways that can help you with your understanding of how the world around us functions.
Frankly I think its a must read for all high school or college students, or anyone who has any sense of curiosity about the world around them. Lets look into it a little more:
Human scientific achievement has spanned tens of thousands of years. If a catastrophic event was to occur and only a handful of humans were to survive it, would it be possible for them to rebuild the world around them within a few generations, or would they start from zero and have to completely rediscover all that knowledge?
Like the Europeans in the middle ages looking at the Roman ruins and architecture with no idea how to recreate it, will those survivors have to make due with whats left until its gone, never to be replaced or replicated?
Wood burning car
This is one of the most interesting and fundamental points of this book - how to leapfrog over certain technological accomplishments to get us more quickly to the state of technology today.
Dartnell discusses several examples and how to create the most "critically useful substances" such as "soda, lime, ammonia, acids, and alcohol."
The book itself is a primer of the scientific method and can broaden your understanding of how to make discoveries and refine them and how the method itself is one of mankind's greatest achievements.
The book covers all the important subject: Agriculture, Food & Clothing, Materials, Medicine, Electrical Power, Transportation, Communication, Chemistry and much more.
I had no idea how so many of the items we use everyday were made, and how tricky it would be to try to make them with limited resources.
A sobering fact is that all the easily gatherable fuels are no longer easy to gather...oil and coal will be gone since it now requires massive infrastructure and existing fuels in order to extract the harder and harder to get materials.
Think of the off-shore oil rigs and enormous digging and drilling machines in use today.
Charles F. Brush's Electric Wind Turbine
The remaking of life saving drugs, metals such as steel, electricity, industrial chemistry, all of this and more are discussed in brief but detailed sections and gives the reader food for thought and a platform from which to gain more information about a specific subject.
And that is one of the greatest things about this book: it lets you know what you don't know. It gives you a sky-high overview of the world at large and shows you where to focus your time and efforts.
It's by no means an exhaustive step-by-step instruction manual, more like Cliff Notes for survival and a conversation about what makes up the fabric which creates our modern world.A must-read. It gets an A+ from us.
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If our technological society collapsed tomorrow what would be the one book you would want to press into the hands of the postapocalyptic survivors? What crucial knowledge would they need to survive in the immediate aftermath and to rebuild civilization as quickly as possible?
Human knowledge is collective, distributed across the population. It has built on itself for centuries, becoming vast and increasingly specialized. Most of us are ignorant about the fundamental principles of the civilization that supports us, happily utilizing the latest—or even the most basic—technology without having the slightest idea of why it works or how it came to be.
If you had to go back to absolute basics, like some sort of postcataclysmic Robinson Crusoe, would you know how to re-create an internal combustion engine, put together a microscope, get metals out of rock, or even how to produce food for yourself?