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In the survivalist subculture or movement, a retreat is a place of refuge. Sometimes their retreats are called a bug-out location (BOL), a bunker, or a bolt hole.[1] Survivalist retreats are intended to be self-sufficient and easily defended. Generally, they are located in sparsely populated rural areas.

History

While fallout shelters have been advocated since the 1950s, dedicated self-sufficient survivalist retreats have been advocated only since the mid-1970s. The survival retreat concept has been touted by a number of influential survivalist writers including Ragnar Benson, Barton Biggs, Bruce D. Clayton, Jeff Cooper, Cresson Kearny, James Wesley Rawles, Howard Ruff, Kurt Saxon, Joel Skousen, Don Stephens, Mel Tappan, and Nancy Tappan.[citation needed] Survivalists or "preppers" build these survivalist retreats to help them survive in the event of a disaster or simply "disappear," hence, the need for self-sufficiency.[2]

1960s

With the increasing inflation of the 1960s, the impending U.S. monetary devaluation, the continuing concern with possible nuclear exchanges between the USA and the Soviet Union, and the increasing vulnerability of urban centers to supply shortages and other systems failures, a number of primarily conservative and libertarian thinkers began suggesting that individual preparations would be wise. This was further reinforced by the effort on the part of the U.S. government to encourage the installation of bomb and fallout shelters in the United States after the Cuban Missile Crisis.[3] Harry Browne also began offering seminars in 1967 on how to survive a monetary collapse. He worked with Don Stephens, an architect, survival bookseller, and author, who provided input on how to build and equip a remote survival retreat. He provided a copy of his original Retreater's Bibliography (1967) for each seminar participant.

Articles on the subject appeared in such small-distribution libertarian publications as The Innovator and Atlantis Quarterly. It was also from this period that Robert D. Kephart began publishing Inflation Survival Letter[4] (later renamed Personal Finance). The newsletter included a continuing section on personal preparedness by Stephens for several years. It promoted expensive seminars around the USA on the same cautionary topics. Stephens participated, along with James McKeever and other defensive investing, hard currency advocates.

1970s

In 1975, Kurt Saxon began publishing a newsletter called The Survivor, which advocated moving to lightly populated regions to "lie low" during a socio-economic collapse, and setting up fortified enclaves for defense against what he termed "killer caravans"[5][6] of looters from urban areas.

In 1976, Don Stephens popularized the term "retreater" and advocated relocating to a rural retreat when society breaks down.

Writers such as Howard Ruff warned about socio-economic collapse and recommended moving to lightly populated farming regions, most notably in his 1979 book How to Prosper During the Coming Bad Years, a best-seller in 1979.

For a time in the 1970s, the terms "survivalist" and "retreater" were used interchangeably. The term "retreater" eventually fell out of favor.[7] This was attributed to the United States withdrawal from Vietnam, which led to the perception that the country was less at risk of being attacked.[3] People began to become interested again as public paranoia intensified over the Soviet threat during Cold War period.

One of the most important newsletters on survivalism and survivalist retreats in the 1970s was the Personal Survival ("P.S.") Letter (circa 1977-1982) published by Mel Tappan, who also authored the books Survival Guns and Tappan on Survival. The newsletter included columns from Tappan, as well from Jeff Cooper, Al J. Venter, Bill Pier, Bruce D. Clayton, Rick Fines, Nancy Mack Tappan, J. B. Wood, Dr. Carl Kirsch, Charles Avery, Karl Hess, Eugene A. Barron, Janet Groene, Dean Ing, Bob Taylor, Reginald Bretnor, C. G. Cobb, and several other writers, some under pen names. The majority of this newsletter revolved around selecting, constructing and logistically equipping survival retreats.[8] Following Tappan's death in 1980, Karl Hess took over publishing the newsletter, eventually renaming it Survival Tomorrow.

1980s

Survivalist retreat books of the 1980s were typified by the 1980 book Life After Doomsday[9] by Bruce D. Clayton, advocating survival retreats in locales that would minimize fallout, as well as specially constructing blast shelters and/or fallout shelters that would provide protection in the event of a nuclear war.

1990s

Several books published in the 1990s offered advice on survival retreats and relocation. Some influential in survivalist circles are Survival Retreat: A Total Plan For Retreat Defense by Ragnar Benson, Strategic Relocation—North American Guide to Safe Places by Joel Skousen, and The Secure Home, (also by Skousen).

2000 to present

In recent years, advocacy of survivalist retreats has had a strong resurgence after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City in 2001, the 2002 attacks and 2005 attacks in Bali, the 2004 Madrid train bombings in Spain, and the 2005 public transportation bombings in London.[citation needed]

Several books published since 2000 advocate survival retreats and relocation. Some that have been particularly influential in survivalist circles are How to Implement a High Security Shelter in the Home by Joel Skousen, Rawles on Retreats and Relocation by fallout shelters have been advocated since the 1950s, dedicated self-sufficient survivalist retreats have been advocated only since the mid-1970s. The survival retreat concept has been touted by a number of influential survivalist writers including Ragnar Benson, Barton Biggs, Bruce D. Clayton, Jeff Cooper, Cresson Kearny, James Wesley Rawles, Howard Ruff, Kurt Saxon, Joel Skousen, Don Stephens, Mel Tappan, and Nancy Tappan.[citation needed] Survivalists or "preppers" build these survivalist retreats to help them survive in the event of a disaster or simply "disappear," hence, the need for self-sufficiency.[2]

1960s

With the increasing inflation of the 1960s, the impending U.S. monetary devaluation, the continuing concern with possible nuclear exchanges between the USA and the Soviet Union, and the increasing vulnerability of urban centers to supply shortages and other systems failures, a number of primarily conservative and libertarian thinkers began suggesting that individual preparations would be wise. This was further reinforced by the effort on the part of the U.S. government to encourage the installation of bomb and fallout shelters in the United States after the Cuban Missile Crisis.[3] Harry Browne also began offering seminars in 1967 on how to survive a monetary collapse. He worked with Don Stephens, an architect, survival bookseller, and author, who provided input on how to build and equip a remote survival retreat. He provided a copy of his original Retreater's Bibliography (1967) for each seminar participant.

Articles on the subject appeared in such small-distribution libertarian publications as The Innovator and Atlantis Quarterly. It was also from this period that Robert D. Kephart began publishing Inflation Survival Letter[4] (later renamed Personal Finance). The newsletter included a continuing section on personal preparedness by Stephens for several years. It promoted expensive seminars around the USA on the same cautionary topics. Stephens participated, along with James McKeever and other defensive investing, hard currency advocates.

1970s

In 1975, Kurt Saxon began publishing a newsletter called The Survivor, which advocated moving to lightly populated regions to "lie low" during a socio-economic collapse, and setting up fortified enclaves for defense against what he termed "killer caravans"[5][6] of looters from urban areas.

In 1976, Don Stephens popularized the term "retreater" and advocated relocating to a rural re

With the increasing inflation of the 1960s, the impending U.S. monetary devaluation, the continuing concern with possible nuclear exchanges between the USA and the Soviet Union, and the increasing vulnerability of urban centers to supply shortages and other systems failures, a number of primarily conservative and libertarian thinkers began suggesting that individual preparations would be wise. This was further reinforced by the effort on the part of the U.S. government to encourage the installation of bomb and fallout shelters in the United States after the Cuban Missile Crisis.[3] Harry Browne also began offering seminars in 1967 on how to survive a monetary collapse. He worked with Don Stephens, an architect, survival bookseller, and author, who provided input on how to build and equip a remote survival retreat. He provided a copy of his original Retreater's Bibliography (1967) for each seminar participant.

Articles on the subject appeared in such small-distribution libertarian publications as The Innovator and Atlantis Quarterly. It was also from this period that Robert D. Kephart began publishing Inflation Survival Letter[4] (later renamed Personal Finance). The newsletter included a continuing section on personal preparedness by Stephens for several years. It promoted expensive seminars around the USA on the same cautionary topics. Stephens participated, along with James McKeever and other defensive investing, hard currency advocates.

In 1975, Kurt Saxon began publishing a newsletter called The Survivor, which advocated moving to lightly populated regions to "lie low" during a socio-economic collapse, and setting up fortified enclaves for defense against what he termed "killer caravans"[5][6] of looters from urban areas.

In 1976, Don Stephens popularized the term "retreater" and advocated relocating to a rural retreat when society breaks down.

Writers such as Howard Ruff warned about socio-economic collapse and recommended moving to lightly populated farming regions, most notably in his 1979 book How to Pr

In 1976, Don Stephens popularized the term "retreater" and advocated relocating to a rural retreat when society breaks down.

Writers such as Howard Ruff warned about socio-economic collapse and recommended moving to lightly populated farming regions, most notably in his 1979 book How to Prosper During the Coming Bad Years, a best-seller in 1979.

For a time in the 1970s, the terms "survivalist" and "retreater" were used interchangeably. The term "retreater" eventually fell out of favor.[7] This was attributed to the United States withdrawal from Vietnam, which led to the perception that the country was less at risk of being attacked.[3] People began to become interested again as public paranoia intensified over the Soviet threat during Cold War period.

One of the most important newsletters on survivalism and survivalist retreats in the 1970s was the Personal Survival ("P.S.") Letter (circa 1977-1982) published by Mel Tappan, who also authored the books Survival Guns and Tappan on Survival. The newsletter included columns from Tappan, as well from Jeff Cooper, Al J. Venter, Bill Pier, Bruce D. Clayton, Rick Fines, Nancy Mack Tappan, J. B. Wood, Dr. Carl Kirsch, Charles Avery, Karl Hess, Eugene A. Barron, Janet Groene, Dean Ing, Bob Taylor, Reginald Bretnor, C. G. Cobb, and several other writers, some under pen names. The majority of this newsletter revolved around selecting, constructing and logistically equipping survival retreats.[8] Following Tappan's death in 1980, Karl Hess took over publishing the newsletter, eventually renaming it Survival Tomorrow.

Survivalist retreat books of the 1980s were typified by the 1980 book Life After Doomsday[9] by Bruce D. Clayton, advocating survival retreats in locales that would minimize fallout, as well as specially constructing blast shelters and/or fallout shelters that would provide protection in the event of a nuclear war.

1990s

Several books published in the 1990s offered advice on survival retreats and relocation. Some influential in survivalist circles are Survival Retreat: A Total Plan For Retreat Defense by Ragnar Benson, Strategic Relocation—North American Guide to Safe Places by Joel Skousen, and The Secure Home, (also by Skousen).

2000 to present

Most

Most survivalist retreats are created by individuals and their families, but larger "group retreats" or "covenant communities" are formed along the lines of an intentional community.

Retreat architecture and security

Con

Construction of government-built retreats and underground shelters—roughly analogous to survivalist retreats—has been done extensively since the advent of the Cold War, especially of public nuclear fallout shelters in many nations. The United States government has created Continuity of Government (COG) shelters built by the Department of Defense and Federal Emergency Management Agency ("FEMA"). These include the massive shelter built under the Greenbrier hotel (aka Project Greek Island), military facilities such as Cheyenne Mountain Complex, and the Raven Rock Mountain Complex, and Mount Weather sites. Facilities in other nations include the Swiss redoubt fortress system and its dual use facilities such as the Sonnenberg Tunnel and Norway's Sentralanlegget bunker in Buskerud County.

Further reading

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