The Lost Ways by Claude Davis is a survival guide with a twist. It’s premise is that in order to survive a cataclysmic event such as an EMP (electro magnetic pulse), famine, or other natural disasters, instead of merely packing a bug out bag with three days’ worth of food, we have got to learn the survival skills that our pioneer forefathers had in spades. After all, having no power, internet, TV, refrigerator, phones, Safeway and Walmart was no tragedy for them. They called it everyday life.
Back to our roots
Davis says that the subtitle of The Lost Ways by Claude Davis is “Saving Our Forefathers’ Skills,” and he sets out to do exactly that. Even the presentation of the book is done the old-fashioned way, with design and typeface that harks back to the olden days. The book’s size is also quite big, giving it the gravitas and importance that the author feels it deserves. He writes as though these ways are secrets that it is his mission to number one, preserve, and number two, share with others.
Davis got a number of experts to contribute chapters to the book, covering such topics like
- how to make traps for beaver and muskrat
- what to do when you run out of ammo
- how to make poultices to cure the sick
- how to make a subterranean roundhouse (that works very well as a root cellar)
- how to process water so it’s safe and clean for years
- how to defend your family
and so on, and so forth. And so this book is actually a collective effort that draws on the many years of experience of experts who know their history. Davis also includes a recipe for pemmican, a superfood with just three ingredients (red meat, fat and blueberries or strawberries) and can go for years without going bad. Apparently our ancestors survived on pemmican during the hardest times when there was no other food to eat. Pemmican takes a while to prepare, and so Davis includes a recipe for another superfood that only takes 10 minutes to make, with ingredients that are already in your kitchen.
The Lost Ways is a good book for the beginning doomsday prepper. It’s broad enough, and it draws from others’ expertise. It is clear and easy to understand, and quite engaging. The old-fashioned presentation adds to its charms. Hearing Davis’ story about how he got to the place of realizing that the secret to survival lies with our forefathers is fascinating. The man makes some good points, if you have a SHTF mindset and believe that doomsday is an eventuality and not a possibility, then, you are going to want to be as ready as possible.
Maybe what gives the lost ways its charms is also what contributes to its flaws. I found it to be completely unironic—to the point of humorlessness at times. It takes itself a little too seriously, to be honest. The premise plays on a lot of people’s fears that something massively bad is going to happen and therefore we have to get ready to feed and protect ourselves. I can just imagine that someone who is just beginning to read up on survival techniques might need a lighter touch.
Newbie preppers will have a lot to learn from The Lost Ways Book, and learning the survival secrets of our pioneer forefathers might even help us in our everyday lives.