Video Review: The Book Of Eli

June 29, 2011


My wife and I seldom see new releases at the movie theaters; when we do, it’s to vote with our dollar, to publicly support a theme or project. More often though, we wait until the movie reaches the video market and either buy it or place it in our NetFlix queue. Such was the case with The Book of Eli.

The Book of Eli is set in a post-apocalyptic America, thirty-one years after “the flash.” Eli is one of the few people still around who remembers the times before the cataclysmic change.  Since “the flash”, civilization has reverted to a harsh shadow of its former self. It’s reminiscent of the American wild west where lawlessness and depravity knew no bounds.

Lessons From The Book Of Eli

Although the movie was created for purely entertainment purposes, there are some insightful lessons to be gleamed by the prepper. Eli doesn’t explicitly show how to purify water, to select wild edibles, or to build debris huts. Instead, the lessons are more along the lines of the environment that may exist after an event such as “the flash” disrupts society.

The Value of Water is High

Water is a commodity for most of us today. We can turn on the tap and get as much as we want at a reasonable price. If we choose, we can further filter it or even buy bottled water.

But that may not always be the case. In the post-apocalyptic world depicted in The Book of Eli, water is far from being a commodity. It’s a liquid that’s quite literally to die for. Water demands a hefty price and in some instances, people are willing to kill for it, or to be killed rather than turn their supply over to ruffians.

Lesson: Stock up on water and water purification supplies so that you won’t be caught without the valuable liquid in trying times. Each person should have at least two liters of water per day.

The Brutality is Escalated

Where there is no law, each man does as he sees fit. The weak in strength, the weak in resolve, the weak in character have a hard time persevering in such an environment. Each person must be discerning and have impeccable situational awareness; his very life depends on it. Postering and body language speak volumes in that world.

Lesson: Learn to expect the unexpected and prepare to defend yourself and your belongings.

Bartering is Way of Life

U.S. currency has imprinted on it “This note is legal tender for all debts, public and private.” In the world in which Eli walks, the things of value are those which are useful. Shoes, gloves, water, blankets, shampoo, etc. These are the things that people want. Paper money has no value.

“People had more than they needed. We threw away things that we’d kill each other for now.” ~Eli

Lesson: Add barterable items to your coffers. Buy extra pocket knives, blankets, flashlights, etc – the things that are inexpensive and easy to gather today yet have great intrinsic value in survival situations.

Communities Can Be for Good or Ill

Just as today, people in the years after “the flash” are social. They gather together for a common purpose. In many cases, the purpose is benevolent, for the good of the community and for the good of others. Often though, people band together and run rough shod over others. The term gang or mob would be more applicable than community.

Lesson: Carefully and selectively begin reaching out to others and building your community of like-minded people.


In my opinion, the film is worth watching. It’s well-made and grabs your attention and keeps it through it’s 118 minutes. For the prepper, it’s got some good, probably realistic, estimations for what a post-the-end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it may be like. And as preppers, we’ll continue to hope for the best while preparing for the worst.

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7 Comments on “Video Review: The Book Of Eli”

  1. Beck Says:

    Just finished reading “Solar Flare” by Larry Burkett. I would highly recommend it.



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