How To Start Your Own Country

Erwin S. Strauss

Beginning with the premise that schism is the fundamental human method for dealing with frictions within groups of people, the author outlines five approaches to founding your own country today: traditional sovereignty, ship under flag of convenience, litigation, vonu (or off-the-grid), and the model country (exists on paper only). Sovereignty without territory (such as the shadowy Knights of Malta), the necessity of the use of military force, internal organization and other questions are given a sobering Macchiavellian treatment. How To Start Your Own Country ultimately becomes a mind-expanding exercise in determining what constitutes a state with all of its potential ramifications. Most of the book is an exhaustive alphabetical listing of new-country attempts—compiled with the help of the International Micropatogical Society (the society for the study of small countries)—from “Antartica, Kingdom of West” to the “United Moorish Republic”— from the farcical to the righteously Randian. SS

Publisher: Loompanics
Paperback: 174 pages

How To Survive Without a Salary

Charles Long

“Surviving without a salary is not the denial of work’s importance. Quite the contrary. It is the celebration of work—real work—as a human act whose value is intrinsic, irrespective of its value in the consumer marketplace. We do our work in our own small way, not because Mammon pays us, but because it makes us human.” The author interweaves the philosophy of his “conserver lifestyle” with practical advice on exit strategies, debts, taxes, freelance work, casual employment, buying at auctions, cutting costs, and other methods for getting out and staying out of the 9-to-5 trap. SS

Publisher: Eden
Paperback: 232 pages

The Last Frontiers on Earth: Strange Places Where You Can Live Free

Jon Fisher

Described by the author as an “exercise in speculative geography,” The Last Frontiers on Earth is also an examination of the lengths one might go to avoid paying rent and taxes. Hard-to-find possible homesteading sites are outlined: from the truly heroic, such as establishing a residence on a floating iceberg in the polar ice caps to the more prosaic, such as becoming a “bicycle nomad.” Discusses the pros and cons, for example, in the case of an underwater habitat: “There are some offsetting advantages of underwater living. It has been found that in a pressurized undersea habitat small cuts heal fully in 24 hours instead of a week. Beards hardly grow at all. There are no insect pests to bother with, and bad weather passes unnoticed above while conditions remain calm and serene in the depths.” SS

Publisher: Loompanics
Paperback: 125 pages

Steal This Book: 25th Anniversary Edition

Abbie Hoffman

“Make war on machines, and in particular the sterile machines of corporate death and the robots that guard them. The duty of a revolutionary is to make love, and that means staying alive and free. That doesn’t allow for cop-outs. Smoking dope and hanging up Che’s picture is no more a commitment than drinking milk and collecting postage stamps.” Both an amazingly time-warped radical period piece and a still-usable nuts-and-bolts urban-guerrilla, underground survival manual. While some of Abbie’s leads seem a little far-fetched (i.e., scarfing free food at bar mitzvahs while on the lam), the International Yippie Currency Exchange for burning vending machines still applies. Definitely the finest writing on the subject of riots from the well-equipped rioter’s point of view (trashing the pigs in their own trough, MAAAN!!). SS

Publisher: Four Walls Eight Windows
Paperback: 308 pages

The Toilet Papers: Recycling Waste and Conserving Water

Sim Van der Ryn

“Much of this book is concerned with how all of us can take more responsibility for our own shit to save water, soil and money,” declares its author, emeritus professor of architecture at UC Berkeley and former California State Architect Sim Van der Ryn. Originally published in the 1970s, The Toilet Papers is basically a waste-not-want-not rethinking of the relation of shit to water in Western society, beginning with a short illustrated history of toileting and sewage in both the East and the West including a discussion of the relative merits of sitting vs. squatting. Van der Ryn then discusses “dry toilets,” “graywater” systems for gardening, plans for how to build your own “compost privy,” the conversion of waste-water into valuable by-products through aquaculture and other appropriate-technology approaches to this eternal dilemma. SS

Publisher: Chelsea Green
Paperback: 128 pages

The Whole Spy Catalog

Lee Lapin

This is a jumbo-size sourcebook devoted primarily to locating and researching people, their assets or other information more or less “by any means necessary.” To keep the dry realities of PI work and other investigative work from bogging things down, Lapin throws in plenty of Walter Mitty-appeal espionage lore such as night vision, bugs, phone tapping, scrambling, encryption and video surveillance including some titillating details about Mossad and the KGB of today. Most impressive is the clarity and generosity with which he imparts his hardcore hands-on do-it-yourself-sleuth training, which is as useful for investigative journalists and the merely obsessive as it is for wannabe spooks: handy fax forms for missing persons traces, court-document retrieval services, online databases (with prices) and even tips on old-fashioned breaking and entering. SS

Publisher: Intelligence
Paperback: 440 pages

You Are Going to Prison

Jim Hogshire

Loompanics’ embattled how-to star (author of Selling Yourself to Science and Opium for the Masses) depicts in stark terms the perversely brutal conditions under which millions are forced to live in the “Land of the Free,” plus a few pointers on how one might attempt to stay on the outside or at least survive once in the relentless clutches of the “criminal justice machine.” You Are Going to Prison is packed with all the need-to-know info on our number one growth industry, prison construction and incarceration, which never makes it into movies like The Shawshank Redemption or The Birdman of Alcatraz— who was actually a serial prison rapist who shaved his entire body and ate only red meat. Describes everything from what to say when pulled over by a cop to “cheating the hangman” by injecting peanut butter. Includes a detailed analysis of the dreaded topic of sex behind bars and especially prison rape. SS

Publisher: Loompanics
Paperback: 181 pages

The Absence of Myth: Writings on Surrealism

Georges Bataille

Collection of newly translated writings from the period of 1945-1951 when Bataille rose to the defense of Surrealism’s place in history at the point where it seemed the most trivial and passé, eclipsed by Existentialism and Communism in the chic circles of the French intelligentsia. Despite being previously denounced as an “excremental philosopher” by the impulsive and tyrannical Breton, Bataille prophetically writes of Surrealism as a potentiality yet to be realized. He discusses Surrealism in religious terms as a “spiritual authority” and a “moral imperative” and compares the advent of Surrealism to the Renaissance in its importance. “No one, then, can fail to know that the clearest certainty of surrealism is to manage to rediscover the attitudes of mind that allowed primitive man to combine in ritual and, more precisely, to find in ritual the most incisive and tangible forms of poetic life.” Also contains the memorable quote, “…the absolute authority of the instant is the amok…” SS

Publisher: Verso
Hardback: 224 pages

On Nietzsche

Georges Bataille

Bataille’s bleak personal journals written while he was waiting out the Nazi occupation of France in the countryside, constructed as a dialogue between himself and excerpts from Nietzsche’s writings. Racked with self-doubt and far removed from the icy ecstasy of his idol’s words and his own later writings he noted: “Making my inner experience a project: doesn’t that result in a remoteness, on my part, from the summit that might have been?” SS

Publisher: Marlowe
Paperback: 256 pages

How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found

Doug Richmond

A sensible overview of identity-changing, part how-to and part journalistic survey for the armchair disappearee. Based on case histories of successful and unsuccessful disappearances, the author interweaves their motivations (“deadbeat dads,” life insurance scams, debts, fugitives, mid-life crisis) with the nuts-and-bolts: how to “locate” a new identity, “choosing” the right name, “pseudocide” (faking a suicide) and even the best spot to apply for a U.S. passport. Deals with the potential pitfalls of “disappearing” which more technical manuals refuse to address, such as where the money will come from and the safest types of jobs to work at under a new identity. SS

Publisher: Citadel
Paperback: 107 pages