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By December 3, 2012 Read More →

Book Review of Cody Lundin’s “When All Hell Breaks Loose”

Stuff You Need To Survive When Disaster Strikes

I recently purchased a copy of Cody Lundin’s book When All Hell Breaks Loose.”  Mostly because I have been a huge fan of the guy since I saw him appear on Backpacker Magazine’s cover in 1999.  I grew to admire Cody even more while watching him on the Discovery Channel in Dual Survival, I recognized most of that antics on the show as just chrome for ratings, but still enjoyed the skills they did feature and of course the interaction between his co-stars and their different personalities.

I admit I had put off reading this book just because there was so much else going on in my life and also because there were plenty of online reviews posted at the time.  Since I had already read his first book “98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive” , I felt as though I had already read this new book.  Upon recently finishing this book, When All Hell Breaks loose, I admit I was surprised.  It was much more than I expected it to be.  Even though it has been out for several years now, I was pleasantly surprised to find that all of the information, and his opinions, are still relevant today, perhaps even more so.  Some of the prepping/survival blogs reviews at the time looked down on this book deeming it for beginners only.  While it is a great book for beginners it is most definitely not ‘just for beginners’.  There is enough information and ideas in this book to keep even a seasoned prepper mentally busy for quite some time.

While I am not completely sure, I suspect some of those reviews came from a slight annoyance at the various cartoons that weave in and out of the book.  The cartoons were done by a friend of Cody’s and if you have watched Dual Survival you know that Cody walks on the bohemian side of survival and is very creative in different aspects of his life.  The cartoons are a reflection of this, and also help keep the attention of the masses.  Personally, I found them entertaining and helpful, but I can see how an experienced prepper may find them distracting.

The idea of this book started out like this:

“With the success of my first book, 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive, I was commissioned by my publisher to write a book on urban survival in June of 2004.  They initially wanted to use 98.6 as a framework for the new book, and even offered to help write it (cringe).  Of course I refused.  Nearly a year passed before more dialog happened with my publisher regarding the project.  Over the months, I had grown even more disgusted with what was happening to my country, and how “fear” seemed to hold sway over the masses.  I knew I could offer people an alternative to fear, vulnerability and powerlessness, and it was this knowingness that led me to want to pursue the project.” (Cody Lundin)

From that motivation grew the 449 page urban preparedness guide “When all Hell Breaks Loose.”  If every single person on the east coast had read Cody’s book the only thing that would’ve made the news about super storm Sandy would’ve been the images of lost property because everyone would’ve been physically and mentally ready for the loss of power, heat and services that followed.  This book covers everything from mental preparedness, food, heat, water, light, common medical situation, to bug out bags – it even covers how to improve group interactions in a emergency situation.  While some of the book is devoted to what supplies to keep on hand, much of the book is also focused on procuring supplies, improving your living conditions, improvising and how to do it all safely.

There are many tips and tricks in this book that were new to me, and I have been doing this preparedness thing for quite some time.  There were even some survival myths,♦ which I believed in, that he dispelled.  Another aspect that I really enjoyed is that Cody takes great pains in this book to explain and exemplify ’cause and effect’ failures and successes in preparedness and during emergencies.  Pointing out how and why these pitfalls in preparedness happen is the only way to avoid them completely.  While reading many parts of this book I couldn’t help but flash back to the episode of Dual Survival where Cody quoted “…do dumb-ass things, suffer dumb-ass consequences,” after failing to talk Dave out of stealing honey comb from a beehive.  You can’t help but realize, as you are reading, that your survival and subjective comfort during an emergency depends on your own actions or lack thereof and not the government’s or your landlord’s.  On the same note I also really enjoyed how Cody worked in self-reliant living every chance he got.

Even if you don’t live in an urban setting you can still learn many things from this book especially if you travel frequently to or through urban areas for work like I do.  You just never know when those skills will come in handy and I can honestly say that I feel much more confident and less nervous about traveling to big cities after reading this book.  If you live in a city you should read this book, if you live in the suburbs you should read this book, if you travel to or through cities at all (or think you may have to someday) you should read this book.  Of all the preparedness books I have read, I have found this one to be one of the most complete and comprehensive – possibly the best book on the market for everyone to have on hand.  The wealth of knowledge in this book is amazing it is well worth the money.  In fact, if you are just getting started with preparedness and feeling like you have a lot of catching up to do, get this book and read it.  It won’t overwhelm you, it won’t scare you, and you won’t regret the purchase.  It’s one of the few books I can say that about.

Here is a little bit more information on the author if you weren’t already familiar with him:

Cody Lundin is an internationally recognized professional in the field of primitive living skills, modern wilderness survival and urban self-reliance training.  Due to his intimate understanding of the physics, psychology and physiology of survival, Cody is routinely sought after to train the media, individuals and organizations in the art of self-reliance.

As a result of his skill and dedication, Cody has been featured in dozens of national and international media sources including The Today Show, TV Guide, The Discovery Channel, Lifetime Television, The History Channel, Dateline NBC, CBS News, Fox News, USA Today, Playboy magazine, Esquire magazine, Field and Stream magazine, The Donny and Marie Show and CBC Radio One in Canada.

In September of 1999 Cody was honored as the third person in history to appear on the cover of Backpacker magazine which featured a story on his skills and philosophies of survival.  He has consulted for National Geographic Television, PBS, the Travel Channel, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the United States Forest Service, Copley News Service, and the British Broadcasting Corporation, (BBC) among others.

Founder, Director, and Head Instructor of the Aboriginal Living Skills School, LLC 
Cody founded the Aboriginal Living Skills School in 1991 in Prescott, Arizona.  When not teaching for his own school, he is an adjunct faculty member at Yavapai College and a faculty member at the Ecosa Institute.

Best Selling Author
Cody is the best-selling author of two books on survival and preparedness, 98.6 Degrees:  The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive and When All Hell Breaks Loose:  Stuff You Need to Survive When Disaster Strikes. 98.6 Degrees has been translated into Spanish and is routinely featured in Amazon’s top ten survival books since its release in 2003.  It’s also been adopted as a training manual by dozens of Search and Rescue teams around the country and has saved several lives.  All Hell Breaks Loose sold 10,000 copies in less than three weeks, and continues to be featured in Amazon’s top ten under the headings of “Disaster Relief” and “Safety and First Aid.”

Television and Film Host 
Cody routinely helps develop or host new network and cable programming.  Cody hosted the Discovery Channel show “Lost in the Wild”, and was chosen by the Today Show to design and perform the live survival segment on Sir Richard Branson’s private retreat in the British Virgin Isles for the finale of “Where in the World is Matt Lauer.”  He was chosen as the survival expert for two Dateline NBC adventures, three “What Should You Do” episodes for Lifetime television with Leeza Gibbons, and featured as the sole expert on the Donny and Marie Show for a Y2K preparation special.

Bottom line:  In my opinion, it’s a great book no matter where you live or how long you have been prepping, ignore the cartoons if they distract you – if you live in a city you should have read this book yesterday.

All images, quotes and bio information are used with permission from

About the Author:

Stephanie is a writer for the American Preppers Network, a small local paper and for her blog, The Home Front and was featured in Marie Claire UK in the October 2012 issue that featured women preppers. She is also the credited writer of "Emergency Bag Essentials (Swatchbook): Everything You Need to Bug Out" released in August 2014 and available on "I write articles based on my own experience with emergency preparedness, self-sufficiency, homesteading, food preservation and life around the farmstead. I grew up in a very rural area where I learned to garden, the art of canning, to hunt and fish, and to raise my own animals for food. I also spent 6 years volunteering for the local county Search and Rescue group where I learned a variety of survival skills and a little bit about law enforcement protocol. " "As a general rule of principle I do not write articles about information that I have only read - if I am writing about something it's because I have done it myself and gone to great lengths to provide you with the facts meshed with personal experience. My alter egos are as an full time mom, amateur photographer, and backpacker." Stephanie's past APN articles are featured below on several pages. To connect with her --> click on one of the many little square social media buttons below!

14 Comments on "Book Review of Cody Lundin’s “When All Hell Breaks Loose”"

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  1. Michelle Williams says:

    Cody is just as passionate as he is practical about survival.  

    • JD says:

      I’m all for barefooting it – been doing it since I was a kid.  However, Cody Lundin’s barefoot exploits are exaggerated.  There is a thing called ‘critical thinking’ that will make it obvious that he does not go everywhere barefooted.  The Dual Survivor show (rigged and nothing remotely close to “Survivor Man”) only shows him going barefoot on fairly smooth surfaces.  When it does show him barefooting it through difficult terrain, he’s tippy-toeing like he’s walking on coals and he moves nowhere near as fast as his shod companion.  Also, the shots are very short (staged).
      I did barefoot running for awhile and got up to nine miles on pavement/sidewalks completely unshod (6 miles on trails).  But all it took was one small piece of broken acorn shell to get my foot infected such that I had to get it surgically cut out and take antibiotics to stop the infection.
      I still go barefooted as much as I can, but NO ONE (human, at least) can traverse the terrain that Lundin does on his show without repercussions that would halt barefooting for awhile.  Our feet can only become so tough, but never as tough as dried leather or rubber.
      I appreciate the naturalist approach Lundin has, but if he alleges he goes barefooted everywhere, especially in the rough terrain and conditions his show is based on, then he is a poser.  Critical thinking is critical.

      • JD –  “Survivor Man”  “Dual Survival”  “Man VS Wild” and “Man, Woman, Wild” are ALL rigged. They have all admitted to receiving support while in the field, setting situations up to demonstrate certain skills, pre-scouting and pre-planning the locations, and to leaving the filming locations to stay in a hotel or other accommodations and then returning to complete filming on occasion for a number of reasons.  Even Les Stroud has admitted to doing these things. 
        Dual Survival constantly shows Cody travels across volcanic glass, through patches of elephant grass, through cactus thickets, and a whole host of other unpleasant footing types and yes he was usually admittedly being careful – the shots were not cut short or staged looking. There used to be plenty of humans that went barefoot all over that kind of terrain all the time they are called “our ancestors”. I have also seen the man MYSELF in an airport completely barefoot headed for his next gate, hundreds of people who have met and interacted with Cody via his survival school and through his speaking engagements around the world can, and have verified his barefoot lifestyle – right or wrong it is not a ‘show’, and it is his choice.
        If you doubt this, you can too can reserve a spot in one of his classes and speak to him about it personally. In the meantime while I thank you for the comment, I would appreciate it if future comments would stick to the book. Which is what the article was about. Not the validity of Cody Ludin’s barefoot lifestyle. I would understand this debate if he promoted going barefoot as a survival tactic in the book – which he does not, even remotely.   

  2. I also have a copy of this. Very good book

  3. Tommy Buford says:

    Great book, no hype, no fluff, full of sound info and research that could save your life!!! 5 stars

  4. Shawn Davis says:

    i got both of his books for an early birthday gift cant wait to read threw them both…right now i am in the middle of his first book , 98.6 Degrees the art of keeping your ass alive!

  5. jedi1111 says:

    Most stores and restaurants won’t let you in their establishments without shoes.  Ate you telling me he hasn’t entered a  store or  restaurant in 20 years?

    • Jedi1111 – and anyone else reading…….

      Cody Lundin freely admits on his website, and on TV,  that he carry flip-flops with him so that he can enter places of business that require shoes as following the rules is very important to him.

      Once Again………… 
      Cody going barefoot – is Not a Survival Tactic listed IN THE BOOK. I would appreciate it if comments were in relation to the book. This review is not on Cody Lundin’s barefoot lifestyle – it’s a review on his book.

      I do not understand this fascination with Cody’s barefoot lifestyle. I know a couple of people who go barefoot up where i live, even in the dang winter, no one gives it a second look.


  6. im still waiting on the group links *hums the jeopardy theme song*

  7. I ordered that one last winter, but haven’t had a chance to read it yet. Will make that a priority and get back to you. But first I have to finish The Collapse of the Dollar and How to Profit From It. So it may be a week or so.

  8. Shawn Davis says:

    i have both his books and am still reading threw them but so far they are full of great info.