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Old 04-27-2016, 02:13 PM
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Default Book review: Forging the Hero by John Mosby



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Title: Forging the Hero: Who Does More is Worth More
Author: John Mosby
Paperback: 202 pages
Publisher: Warhammer Six Press (April 18, 2016)
Language: English
ISBN: none
Sold through: readfomag.com (Forward Observer magazine)
Price: US$45 for print and e-book bundle

America is done. Caput. It is all over but the final dissolution. You cannot save it. We cannot save it. We cannot vote in a return to some better time, whatever you might think that is or was. A revolution will only bring worse. All that is left is the rich and powerful squabbling over what they get to take home from the fire sale. That is the message from the first part of John Mosby’s new book Forging the Hero subtitled Who Does More is Worth More, sub-subtitled A Tribal Strategy for Building Resilient Communities and Surviving the Decline of Empire.

Drawing on the studies of the likes of Toynbee, Orlov and Glubb, Mosby spends the first third of the two hundred page book in a historical analysis of the decline of empires throughout history, showing just how far gone is the United States of America. Athens, Sparta, the Roman Republic, the Roman Empire, the Ottoman Empire, the Caliphate of Bagdad, Mongol, and other fallen empires share many features of their rise and fall which are mirrored in America. The arguments he presents are persuasive if not air tight. His conclusion is that while the country as we wished it were is dead, we can still save what is important to us if we are willing to the do the hard work that it will take to preserve our cultural values.

Throughout human history, mankind has existed in tribal organizations. Even today, much of the world is dominated by tribal social structures. While the imperial structures of the world cast tribalism in a negative light, Mosby argues that it is only because of the threat that tribalism poses to imperial control. Mankind came from tribes and, after the fall of empire, mankind will return to tribes. Mosby urges that embracing your tribalism is the way forward and the only way to preserve those values that matter to you. The remainder of the book is spent detailing what tribes are, why they are good, and how to go about growing a successful tribe.

Many preppers may not make it past the first twenty pages of Mosby’s examination of tribe. At this point, the book is starting to feel like a scholarly work, and the average reader may be thinking that all of this background information is not going to help them. How is all of this outdated tribe rubbish going to help? Modern Americans are so predisposed/socialized to see tribalism as a backwards, inequitable, repressive amalgamation of all negative –isms that it may be hard for some to take the work seriously. But serious Mosby certainly is. He spends much effort showing the reader how some of the best values embodied in the USA’s founding documents are actually drawn from tribal structures, and how modern nation states have co-opted and perverted the natural hierarchies of the tribe. Advancement by way of merit, equality under the law, the liberty to do as you please so long as you do not weaken the tribe, self-reliance, self-sacrifice, family and community focus over selfishness, these are all hallmarks of tribalism.

That is not to say that Mosby is an adherent to the idea that there was a Golden Age of tribalism, where everyone held hands and sang kumbaya. No, Mosby recognizes that it was a violent period of history, with nearly 0.5% of the population being killed in conflict each year – which he points out would be 1.5 million Americans per year. Violence is coming for you whether you have a tribe or not, so maybe you should have some people backing you up, is the message. Forget what you think you know about tribes and hear what the historians and anthropologists have said about tribes.

The tribal concept opens a new way of thinking of threats to your community, if you have not considered it before. Regardless of whether you have a tribe or even think it would be a good idea to have a tribe, there are others out there – others who will not have your well-being in mind – who do already think of themselves in tribal terms whether they label themselves a tribe, a gang, a cartel, a union, or a police department. If you have a substantial immigrant population, for example, the members of which identify more as Mexicans, Mechistas, Iranians or Canadians (it could be any grouping) than they do as Americans, then in a SHTF scenario that is just one vector along which they may just decide to tribe up for protections against outsiders – you. If there are criminal gangs in your area, then there is at least one tribe already united against you.

Tribes are united by common values and purpose, which Mosby identifies as Ørlǫg. Historically this was along familial lines – kith and kin – but tribes can be and sometimes were intentional groupings or sodalities. If you are from a close knit family, taught from childhood that you can only really trust kin when the going gets tough – and it has actually proved true for you -- then you may already the beginning of a tribe with your family. Ørlog is all of the important shared values, behaviors, rituals, traditions and customs of your tribe. Men do not hit women. Do not sleep with a woman in whom one of your friends is interested. Christmas dinner should have roast turkey. We celebrate Hanukkah, not Christmas. If you are attacked fight back hard enough that they are afraid to attack you again. Always invite a visitor at the door in for a meal. We never squash an open book flat on its face. Wash your hands before eating. Don’t use the good towels. Everyone gets a schnauzer tattoo. Any of those could be a part of your tribe’s Ørlog. It does not matter if someone outside of your group thinks that schnauzers or tattoos are silly. It has importance to yours, and that is all that matters.

If you must form a sodality because you have no tribe around you, then you must identify your own core values and find others who share those values. Then you must build those relationships into a tribe. It will not be easy. You need to grow that tribe from “Hey, can you help me move this bookcase this weekend. I’ll have some beers” to “If I lay down my life to protect your home tomorrow, will you care for my wife and children for the rest of your life?” You might have that with a close friend or two right now, but how are you going to share that with a whole tribe? It seems daunting or even impossible. Luckily Mosby provides several methods for helping to build that feeling. Self-sacrifice is one of the main ways to build that relationship and indeed one of the main tenets of tribalism. You need to forge yourself into the hero tribe at the same time that all of the other members of your tribe are trying to forge themselves into the hero. You want to be the best member that you can be for the betterment of the entire tribe. If everyone is trying to do the same, then the tribe gets stronger. But you can only control yourself, so the focus is on being the best that you can be. Inspire your tribe mates to do better by being better yourself.

Mosby’s work is well foot-noted for further research into the concepts presented. A bibliography and index would be nice, but was not really expected. There are a good number of editing mistakes, especially missing words or missing letters on words. These errors mostly don’t interfere with the understanding of the work. One might wish the footnote story of one friend sleeping with another’s female…friend, stalkee, fiancée, something…hadn’t been cut unnaturally short, but the reader can fill in his or her own values to imagine what happened and infer the Ørlog violation. As far as author mistakes, the one that seemed a bit odd was that on one page the author says not to get in a stand up fight with tribes/groups that will mop the floor with you, like the local sheriff department. A couple of pages later in a call out box, he says that if you have a corrupt sheriff that may be great because you can essentially threaten to disappear him to get him to look the other way, which seems to me to be inviting him and his corrupt deputy buddies to show up on my front porch. The very next sentence after the call out box says that good judgment means not getting into a slug fest with the local SWAT team. So, maybe that one was a misfire, or this reviewer failed to understand the meaning, or it was just conveyed poorly, but that seemed a minor point to me. At a price of $45 for the print plus e-book bundle, the cost is high for a relatively short book. For the reviewer the price is worth the product, supporting an author who is doing their best to help give people their best chance of survival.

Mosby is not loath to cause insult. If you do not agree with his values, he does not care. He does not care what your values are. The reader may be offended at a word choice here, comments about specific religions there, negative interpretations of the way certain biblical passages have been used, foul language and any number of other things in the work. Mosby has a done a good job of backing up his ideas with good research, but he also admits that he has injected a great deal of personal information about his own values into the work. This was necessary to convey the complexity of what real tribe is and what Ørlog is. He is not asking the reader to agree with his own values. Identify your own values and your own tribal Ørlog and leave Mosby to his own. He will leave you to yours. Tribe does not care what outsiders believe. Just do not encroach on his tribe’s welfare. Mosby has no qualms about crushing you like a bug.

Forging the Hero is definitely worth a read. Even if you reject his tribal ideas or his imperial fatalism, there are valuable insights into how other groups may act if everything goes to hell. If you gave this book to a non-prepper, maybe they would put it down when they got to the part about tribes, but the imperial collapse section might just be enough to wake them up to the fact that things just are not right in the world. But if you are trying to form any kind of group or community team for surviving during and after a collapse event, then you really should give a thorough reading to John Mosby’s book. It just might save your family’s life.

NOTE: John Mosby is a pseudonym. John Mosby has written two other books The Reluctant Partisan, Vols. I and II. He maintains a website/blog under the title Mountain Guerrilla at https://mountainguerrilla.wordpress.com/ and offers various tactical training classes through that site.


Last edited by Bazooka Joe; 04-28-2016 at 11:04 AM.. Reason: added image
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Old 10-15-2016, 06:57 PM
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The author has posted a lengthy excerpt (most of chapter one) from his book on his website.
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Old 12-04-2018, 02:48 PM
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Update. The book is no longer available through the link in the OP. It is now available through Lulu.
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