We saw “The Lost Ways” by Claude Davis being advertised widely and purchased a copy. It has a a few interesting items, and a lot of recipes. Overall we do not recommend it. We'll explain why, and share the books that we prefer.
The Lost Ways Book Review
The Lost Ways books touts itself as a survival book, teaching you how to live like a pioneer or Native American. In reality, it reads more like a collection of blog posts, with modern technology sprinkled throughout.
It's incomplete, inconsistent, and definitely not off grid. (Immersion blenders do not belong in a book claiming to be teaching “the old ways”.)
The Lost Ways book is not as as good as Carla Emery's The Encyclopedia of Country Living, and it's more expensive.
We liked the information about the sheriffs, smokehouse and root cellar chart, but it needed about 40 more items like these to compete with Carla's book.
The Lost Ways is about twice the price of the Encyclopedia of Country Living, with less than half as many pages. The Encyclopedia of Country living is also a very dense book in comparison. (There is far more information on each page.)
For about the same price, you could get Emery's book AND another one and have far more value.
So although the Lost Ways book is okay, it is not on our recommended list. It needs more information on construction/building, skinning, and other traditional skills.
WARNING: If you choose to purchase the “Lost Ways” book, be careful with the checkout process. It is easy to accidentally order more than one copy or order bundles, or order the electronic version and not get the paper printed copy. Buyer beware.
Our short list of preparedness books includes the following:
- Carla Emery's Encyclopedia of Country Living
- The Homesteader's Herbal Companion
- The Boy Scouts Handbook (1911 version)
- SAS Survival Handbook
- Where there is no doctor
- Where there is no dentist
- and if you are really focused on medical prepping, Lange Medical books (for reference) our cardiac surgeon friend recommends these – Surgery, Orth, Pediatrics and so on
- Peterson Field Guide to Medicinal Plants and Herbs of Eastern and Central North America
- Butchering Poultry, Rabbit, Lamb, Goat, and Pork: The Comprehensive Photographic Guide to Humane Slaughtering and Butchering
You can also access electronic copies of out of print or older books at books.google.com. Some of them are quite good, including:
- Original Boy Scout Handbook (eBook)
- Henley's Recipe Book (ebook of how to make darn near everything)
More Homesteading Information
You can access our homesteading articles, all sorted by category, on the Common Sense Homesteading page.
We also have dozens of book reviews listed on the Homestead Library page.
Some Notes on Recent Lost Ways Advertisements
One the reasons we wrote this review is the “over the top ads” the Lost Ways book team is putting out.
One of their ads features wild lettuce as a pain reliever. The instructions in the Lost Ways book for making wild lettuce extract are likely to produce a truly putrid brew.
If you want to learn more about how to identify and safely use wild lettuce, see, “Wild Lettuce – Sleep Aid and Pain Reliever – Weekly Weeder #24“.
Another ad is for hardtack, where they tout it as a “superfood”. Hardtack is flour, water, and salt, baked until it's bone dry.
The reason there was hardtack left from the Civil War is because, to quote Crocodile Dundee, “Well, you can live on it, but it taste like sh*t.”
If you want to read some information about storing food that people want to eat, please see:
Originally published in 2020, updated in 2021.