©2006 James Wesley, Rawles

SurvivalBlog Staff Biographies

Senior Editor: James Wesley, Rawles (JWR)

I'm a survivalist author and lecturer. I'm the founder and editor of I'm a former U.S. Army intelligence officer, and now work as a full-time blogger and freelance writer. This blog reflects my interests. I’ve been an enthusiastic survivalist since my teenage years. I grew up in the Bomb Shelter era, and that mind set just never wore off.

I have authored several best selling nonfiction and fiction survivalists books. My expertise is primarily in retreat security, food storage, firearms, communications, first aid, and off-grid power systems. I have a B.A. degree from San Jose State University with minor degrees in military science, history, and military history. I served as  a U.S. Army Intelligence Corps officer and held a Top Secret security clearance with SCI access. I attended the Army NBC defense officer's course, as well as Northern Warfare School at Fort Greeley, Alaska. Before resigning my commission as a Captain, I worked numerous live intelligence gathering and analysis missions overseas the tactical and strategic levels. 

SurvivalBlog has more than 320,000 unique visitors per week, and it is considered the Internet's premier source of information on family preparedness and survival topics.

I am of primarily English ancestry, a Christian, and hold to Reformed doctrine. I am saved by God's Grace and Christ's blood, and not ashamed to say so!

My view of history is of the geographical determinist school. My view of economics is of the Austrian school. Politically, I am a conservative/Constitutionalist libertarian. These outlooks have shaped my views on preparedness.

I've spent the past 20 years primarily as a journalist and technical writer. During that time I wrote a full length survivalist novel, titled "Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse." I later authored several sequels to that novel, one of which reached #3 on the New York Times bestsellers list. I also wrote the very popular non-fiction book "How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times". I'm presently working under contract on a pair of sequels in the "Patriots" series, under contract to E.P. Dutton. I'm concurrently writing a non-fiction book on guns and other tools for survival for E.P. Dutton's Penguin Books division.

I started using the Internet in the late 1980s, before most Americans had even heard of it. I began posting about survival topics to Usenet newsgroups (such as misc.investing, rec.guns, and alt.survivalism) in the early 1990s.

In 1987, I married The Memsahib. She passed away in 2009 and is greatly missed.

Through God's tremendous providence, I remarried in late 2010. My new wife is "Avalanche Lily".

We home school our children. We live at the Rawles Ranch “Somewhere in The American Redoubt.” Our family enjoys hiking, rock hounding, hunting, kayaking, and target shooting. We are members of a Reformed Baptist church.

As part of our charitable works, we support the Anchor of Hope Orphanage and Mission School in rural Zambia. We also send "care packages" to troops deployed overseas through Any Soldier, and we support Compassion International. I highly recommend all of these charities.

I was on the staff of Defense Electronics magazine for four years. I researched, wrote, and edited more than 60 feature-length technical magazine articles on a wide range of high technology subjects including component technologies, computer hardware and software, foreign military organizations and equipment, high technology terrorism, aircraft, air defense, missile guidance, digital flight controls, intelligence gathering and analysis, antisubmarine warfare, satellites, and communications equipment. I concurrently held the position of Managing Editor of The International Countermeasures Handbook and The Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) Handbook. I've also written for Defense Computing magazine. I've also worked for several high technology companies.

I was commissioned as an Army Intelligence Officer--35A(5M)--in 1984. I specialized in signals intelligence and electronic warfare. Other than my Officer’s Basic Course at Fort Huachuca and a couple of stints of temporary active duty (TDY), I spent my commissioned time as a reserve officer, with the 519th ASA Company. (It was later re-designated Co. D of the 373rd CEWI Battalion.) My duty positions included: Operations platoon leader, electronic warfare officer, intelligence analyst, NBC officer, Supply/Service Platoon Leader and the umpteen other additional duties that the Army loves to heap upon company grade officers. I also served as a Special Security Officer (SSO). It was my privilege to work a "live" Guardrail signals intelligence gathering and analysis missions in West Germany.

I resigned my commission when Bill Clinton was first sworn into office as President. I resigned because I didn't want to serve under him as Commander in Chief. At the time I was a Captain, and my six year obligation to the Army had already lapsed.

Memberships (Past and Present):
The National Rifle Association (NRA)
Gun Owners of America (GOA)
Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership (JPFO) (Gentiles can join, too!)
The FALFiles (I'm Member #133)
The Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO)
The Association of Old Crows (AOC)
John Birch Society (JBS)
Society for Technical Communication (STC)
The Washington Arms Collectors Association (WAC)

In SurvivalBlog, my posts are often identified by my initials, "JWR".

Managing Editor: Hugh J. Latimer (HJL)

Hugh J. Latimer (a pen name) as our Managing Editor. He handle day-to-day operations at SurvivalBlog, including editing letters and articles, compiling column items, writing some feature articles, creating and updating advertisement graphics, and posting the blog.

For those who are curious, his pen name was chosen to honor Hugh Latimer (1487-1555), a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, and Bishop of Worcester before the Reformation, and later Church of England chaplain to King Edward VI. In 1555 under Queen Mary he was burned at the stake, becoming one of the three Oxford Martyrs of Anglicanism.

Here are a few details about Hugh:


Product Review Editor: Scot Frank Eire

Scot Frank Eire is our Product Review Editor. He handles all product reviews

For those that are curious, his pen name is a play on Scotch Irish as well as working in “Frank” from the Frankish tribes the city of Frankfurt is named for. Frankfurt is where his family was based in the mid-18th century.

Here are a few details about Scot:

If you have a product that you would like reviewed, please send it to:

Scot Frank Eire
Product Review Editor
Suite 131
235 W. Brandon Blvd.
Brandon, FL 33511



Avalanche Lily (Mrs. Rawles):

By God's providence, there was a strong response to my late wife Linda's July 2009 Bucket List post. One of the responses came from a lovely young widow. She is a committed Christian, a homeschooling mom, and very outdoorsy. (She is a gardener, a target shooter, and enjoys hiking and kayaking.) In SurvivalBlog posts, my new bride is known as Avalanche Lily. She chimes in on various blog topics, and she edits articles. It was abundantly clear that it was God's hand that put us together. We both stand amazed at the foresight and selflessness of my late wife ("The Memsahib") in writing the post that was instrumental in bringing us together. Avalanche Lily is an amazingly energetic lady, and I'm thrilled to have her as my wife and as co-editor of SurvivalBlog.  God is so wonderfully provident, and we feel tremendously blessed. You can e-mail Avalanche Lily with questions or comments.


#1 Son:

JWR's eldest son is a homeschooled young man who loves to hike, hunt, and target shoot. He manages, our first spin-off web site.

#2 Son:

JWR's second son is a homeschooled young man who enjoys the outdoors, but is also fascinated by technology. He creates and markets the SurvivalBlog archives. He is the founder of Whiteout Productions.



Our Domestic Correspondents and Editors:

Michael Z. Williamson - Editor at Large:

Mike Williamson is a well-known science fiction writer, a custom blade maker, and occasional historical re-enactor. Since his interests often cross-over into SurvivalBlog territory, he has been a frequent contributor to SurvivalBlog, since 2006. His extensive practical and tactical experience--including visits to "The Big Sandbox"--give him a unique insight into preparedness topics. Here is is his Wikipedia page.

Cynthia J. Koelker, MD - Medical Editor:

Dr. Cynthia J. Koelker is the author of the book 101 Ways to Save Money on Health Care, which explains how to treat over 30 common medical conditions economically, and includes dozens of sections on treating yourself.  She also hosts the popular medical prepping blog at She recently authored the book Armageddon Medicine, for laymen.


Pat Cascio - Field Gear Editor:

Paschal "Pat" Cascio has been a gun and knife writer for more than 20 years. He has written for monthly issues of American Survival Guide, Handguns, Gun World, American Handgunner, as well as annual publications for Guns, American Handgunner, Guns & Ammo, and Knives Illustrated. He has also designed several knives that are currently being produced. Pat has had an interesting life. He spent many years a private investigator and police officer. He is a former chief of police in a small town in eastern Oregon. He did a stint as a trainer in Rhodesia with the British South African Police (BSAP), at the height of Rhodesia's Bush War. He also ran Rescue One, a private intelligence and investigations agency, with offices in Athens, Greece, Cape Town, South Africa, and in the United States. He has spent more than 35 years actively in the martial arts, and holds Black Belt rank in five different styles of martial arts, with a 6th Degree Black Belt in one art. He also also spent three years working for the legendary Col. Rex Applegate, who taught him a lot about knife fighting and knife design. Pat is also an ordained minister.

Pat plans to retire from the SurvivalBlog staf in Spring of 2014, so please don't send any more gear for him to review.


L.K.O. - Central Rockies Regional Editor:

L.K.O. lives in the high Rockies of Colorado. He has a solid background in electronics and software as a vocation, and back country backpacking as his avocation. He has keen interest in photovoltaic power systems, ham radio, and many other technologies.


Mat Stein - Back Country Editor:

Mathew Stein is a design engineer, green builder, and author of two best-selling books:When Technology Fails: A Manual for Self-Reliance, Sustainability, and Surviving the Long Emergency and When Disaster Strikes: A Comprehensive Guide for Emergency Planning and Crisis Survival. Stein is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where he majored in Mechanical Engineering. Stein has appeared on numerous radio and television programs and is a repeat guest on Fox News, Coast-to-Coast AM, Alex Jones’ Infowars, Vince Finelli’s USA Prepares, and The Power Hour.  He is an active mountain climber, serves as a guide and instructor for blind skiers, has written several articles on the subject of sustainable living, and is a guest columnist for the Huffington Post. His web sites are and He lives in the high country of the Sierra Mountains in northern California.


The Economatrix:

SurvivalBlog's volunteer Economic Editor, the trustworthy Cheryl N. lives in an un-named Southeastern state.


SurvivalBlog's volunteer western editor. He has a broad background in engineering, technical editing, off-grid power, cellular telephony, intentional communities, local agriculture, and biotechnology.

George Gordon ("GG")

George Gordon is the nom de plume of an American businessman who closely follows economic developments and hence "is getting more and more worried." His pen name is is an homage to George Gordon Lord Byron, the British poet who was famously described as "Mad, bad, and dangerous to know."


The Pioche Professional Polymer Pistolero (PPPP). The pseudonym for a SurvivalBlog correspondent who was an instructor at a well-known firearms training academy.


Our Book Review Editors:

For the privacy of the editors, we disclose neither the names nor the street addresses of our 19 volunteer book review editors. Be advised that our book review editors are all volunteers and that most of them have full time employment in other fields, so their reviews are written only when they have time available. They have been given the option of refraining from writing reviews of the books that they dislike, with the proviso: "Sometime the kindest thing that you can say about a book is nothing at all."

Publishers and self-published authors should send review copies directly to the following addresses:

Farming, Ranching and Apiary Book Review Editor

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 280
Briggs, TX 78608

Gardening, Aquaponics and Permaculture Book Review Editor

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 408
Pomeroy, WA 99347

Food Storage Book Review Editor

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 781612
San Antonio, TX 78278

Cooking and Recipe Book Review Editor

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 140602
Garden City, ID 83714-0602

Economics and Investing Book Review Editor
Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 44
Hollidaysburg, PA  16648

Libertarian Book Review Editor

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 177
Newcastle, Wyoming 82701

Firearms, Optics, and Retreat Security Book Review Editor

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 264
Marengo IA 52301

Medical, Health and Wellness Book Review Editor

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 101
Germantown, Ohio 45327

Outdoor Survival Book Review Editor

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 378
McLouth, KS 66054

History Book Review Editor

Book Review Editor
Boxholder 431 Kera Drive
Mountain View AR 72560-8761

Biography Book Review Editor

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 10
Ponce de Leon, MO 65728

Miltary Book Review Editor

Book Review Editor
223 West Bulldog Blvd.
Box 556
Provo, UT  84604

Amateur Radio Book Review Editor

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 118223
Carrollton, TX  75011

Computing Technology and Encryption Book Review Editor

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 970
Fortuna CA 95540

We have four Fiction Book Review Editors. Publishers should select any of the following addresses at random:

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 134
Dupont, Indiana 47231

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 872
Bethel, Alaska 99559

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 9671
San Diego, CA 92169-0671

Book Review Editor
P.O. Box 659
Warner, NH 03278

Note: For e-book reviews, you can e-mail me a PDF of the book, or a link to the book's web address. I will then forward it to the appropriate book review editor.


Our Foreign Correspondents:

"The Werewolf" in Brazil:

"The Werewolf"  lives outside a small town in rural Brazil. He has a full-time "day" job, five children, and a lovely wife. His home is his ranch, where he raises pigs, chickens, geese, tilapia (via fish farming), and a variety of crops geared toward self-sufficiency including beans, rice, and corn.

Giorgio in Italy:

Giorgio in Italy. He describes himself: "I am 40 years old and lucky enough to be married to a beautiful and intelligent soul mate who is an Italian professoressa, fluent in five languages. We have been married eight years, with, alas, no children. We live 8-to-9 months a year in northern Italy, an hour from Milan, with the rest of our time spent in the States or traveling. Having traveled and, periodically, worked in much of Europe and sub-Saharan Africa, we have had some experience in dealing with diverse cultures and getting the "other guy's" perspective. My degree is in Aviation, but I no longer work as a pilot. My skill set is varied and, though by no means what I would consider expert, competent in survival-relevant subjects including hunting, shooting, security, self-defense, mechanics, fitness and wilderness survival."

"SurvivalistSam" in New Zealand:

"SurvivalistSam" is a 19 year-old survivalist living on New Zealand's South Island.

The Chartist Gnome in Switzerland:

The nickname of a market analyst living in Switzerland who advises JWR.


Note: Our foreign correspondents kindly send us their e-mails without any compensation other than the occasional free book, and our doing some shopping for them in the States. I'd appreciate reading the insights of folks who have survived the hyperinflation in Zimbabwe, secessionist turmoil in Kashmir, convoy IED attacks in Iraq, the civil war in Libya, or kidnappings in Colombia. Please e-mail your letters here.

We are currently seeking other foreign correspondents.  Letters from residents unstable countries would be great, but we will settle for mundane.  (We can learn just as much from the insights of a sheep rancher in Australia's Outback as we can from someone living in war-torn Ethiopia.)

Some Other Friends -- See The Profiles:

Biographies of several of my friends and acquaintances are included in the Retreat Owner Profiles.



You can e-mail Jim and Avalanche Lily here. Note that because of the high volume of e-mail (200+ daily!), we cannot always respond personally.

Copyright 2005-2014. All Rights Reserved by James Wesley, Rawles - ©2006 James Wesley, Rawles