The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Self-Sufficient Living
Paperback, 400 pages
Published by Penguin Group (USA)
Reviewed by Molly Remer
Written in clear, straightforward language and covering an impressive array of topics, Urban Homesteading and Self-Sufficient Living, are excellent resources to those on a sustainable living path. At first I expected them to be “too basic,” but discovered useful information and resources applicable to people at various stages and experience levels. Because they are so comprehensive, the books both serve primarily as a broad overview of relevant topics, rather than as in-depth how-to guides. They serve to whet your appetite for further resources for a sustainable lifestyle.
I’m not a fan of the title Complete Idiot’s Guide in general, finding it unnecessarily insulting rather than amusing, but that is a minor drawback to these thorough, useful guides.
Of the two tomes, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Urban Homesteading really shines. The focus is on micro-farming and self-sufficiency for the city dweller. It covers gardening (including options for those without yards), chickens and other small livestock, food preservation and preparation (including cheesemaking and various recipes for food prep), soapmaking, composting, foraging, and off-grid living. It also includes information about zoning laws and working with landlords. As someone who has homesteaded in a rural area for a number of years, I still found the Urban Homesteading book quite useful and informative.
The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Self-Sufficient Living focuses on living a self-reliant lifestyle and on sustainable living. It covers topics such as gardening, kitchen coordination, raising animals, and self-sufficient housing.
Disclosure: I received complimentary copies of these books for review purposes.