Book Review – Concrete Jungle

Concrete Jungle – A Green Beret’s Guide to Urban Survival is written by former Green Beret Clay Martin.  I usually give things written by Green Berets the proper respect by tossing them on the bookcase without ever reading them, but since Clay was a Marine Scout Sniper before he lost his mind, I decided to read it.

Let me be clear, Clay didn’t ask me to read it, and I bought it myself.  When it first came out, I thought, it’s like all the others, just a rehash of either FM 7-8 or Military Operations in Urban Terrain.  But, online I kept seeing more and more people praising it, and the political tensions keep going up, so I decided to get it and read it.

It’s very well written…most survival-type books are dry and boring.  Clay writes in a conversational style, just as if you are sitting on the barstool next to him.  The book takes into account so many things that are commonly overlooked in the preparedness community, and you’ll find blog posts on this site where I mention them as well.

The best measure of how smart a man is is how much he agrees with you, and by that standard, Clay is a genius.  Almost as smart as me.  Almost, but we’ll talk about that in a few minutes.

The introduction throws you into the cauldron right away, with a stark warning about how things are going in the United States and why you should be making preparations NOW, especially with the election just 2 weeks away.

I’m not going to give away the secret recipe here, you’ll have to buy the book to get the details and you’ll want it as a reference.

Clay mentions right out of the gate that so many in preparedness want to talk about gear, but neglect skills.  All the coolest cool-guy tacti-cool gear in the world won’t save your life if you don’t have the skills to use it, and that’s where Clay opens.  

In his first chapter, Clay gives a better presentation on the intelligence gathering topic of elicitation than the professionals at Fort Hauchuca.  It’s an essential skill you can be doing right now.  Check out some of my protest intel gathering posts to learn a bit more on this.

As he outlines how to begin gathering supplies and skills, he gives a great formula of buying a little of everything, and eventually you’ll have a lot of everything.  It’s a great way to prepare on a budget.  Medical gear is commonly overlooked, as well as the skills needed to use it, and Clay addresses it here.

Side note for my followers…He also mentions buying paper maps and a compass, so if we both say it, you should probably do it.  Today.  

The chapter on building your team is excellent, and matches what I’ve posted here.  Find people with skills and cross train.  Read the book for the specific skills sets you need to build, Clay does a great recap, far better than mine.

Clay repeats my warning about vetting the people you meet, especially online.  The various federal agencies have this institutional belief that patriotic Americans are the most dangerous people on the planet and set up operations to infiltrate groups, and encourage, yes, ENCOURAGE criminal acts.  The Michigan group recently arrested have filed a defense that the person who pushed the scheme and hatched the scheme was the FBI informant.  You don’t need that hassle.

Here we come to my one and only complaint…I disagree with Clay about the value of traditional martial arts, and if you read my martial arts training posts, you’ll see why.  Any particular style or school is only a product of the local instructor.  When I teach, I only focus on real-world applications, not winning tournaments or looking cool.  It just so happens that my students win in tournaments because training for real life just happens to make their movements sharper and more powerful.  My point is that literally ANYTHING is better than no unarmed skills, and traditional martial arts, WITH THE RIGHT INSTRUCTOR, will give you a warrior mindset and confidence.

As an example, when I teach forms (Hyung in Korean, Kata in Japanese), rather than just having students learn the movements as part of a belt requirement, I break the form down and explain the combat purpose of each sequence, making it relevant to self-defense.  Anyone who just teaches “forms” as part of a belt test requirement is teaching DANCE, not martial arts, and you should get your money back.

We still cool, Clay?  OK, good.

In his chapter on “Stabby Things”, he gives an excellent and realistic discussion about knife training and I agree completely.  Knives are a “let me get to my handgun” tool and handguns are a “let me get to my rifle” tool, so you must absolutely develop skills.  He gives a great idea that I’ve never thought of to skirt some concealed knife laws.  Buy the book, I’m not telling, but I’m for the item he suggests. 

The only addition I have for his knife chapter is the 3 Blade Rule.  If you carry a folding knife, a multi-tool, and a fixed blade knife, they aren’t any immediate survival tasks you can’t accomplish.

I’ve long held that Rucking is the best fitness preparation for preparedness and Clay agrees in this book, laying out a great program to get you out and moving.  A note about rucking…if it’s raining on the day you wanted to ruck 6 miles, DO IT ANYWAY.  In the real world, you may have to move over terrain carrying a load in the rain, & your life will depend on it.  I swear that the instructors at the West Coast School of Infantry aboard Camp Pendleton knew a rain dance because it was like a monsoon every time we went over 5 miles in full gear.  Stop being soft.

I really liked his discussion of Tactical Darwinism, and it applies in life in a lot of other areas as well (like organized retail crime, my current focus).

Clay makes the same case I do about going gray in public.  We’ve already lost in the streets, and they are straight up killing people in the streets right now for wrong think and the police are arresting only people from one side who get out and resist.  Save your energy for when this situation goes kinetic, which is unavoidable at this point.  Right now, Don’t-Be-There-Jitsu is your best tactic.

Y’all know I like to quote God’s Ultimate Tactical Handbook, but in this edition, a new verse has been added by Clay:

A bully will put you in traction,

But a professional will put you in a pine box.

Book of Martin, 9:168

This is 100% accurate and why tip your hand which one you are ahead of time.

Martin gives a very good discussion on planning for neighborhood security and how best to go about organizing and securing the neighborhood, including how to fort up in a strongpoint and he gives great advice on how to fortify a house.  Buy the book.  All I’ll say is that after reading it, I’m pricing chain link, 2×4’s, and barbed wire.  I would add to his neighborhood security section the force multiplier of using radio.

In the book, Clay gives very practical advice on guns and gear, and he gives the same caution I do…If you have a main combat rifle in an obscure or special caliber, because the editors at Guns Gone Wild told you it was THE caliber, what are you going to do when all that’s on the battlefield dropped by the bad guys is 5.56 or 7.62?  Clay points out that after your initial load out, you should be able to re-supply off the battlefield.  If you’ve read anything by me, you’ll know that “Battlefield Pickup” is one of my favorite phrases.

In his discussion on hardening your home, I admit, I had never considered his escape hatch idea…buy the book, you’ll love it and get to work on it immediately.

Another great quote from the book comes from history and the Rhodesians….”An obstacle is only an obstacle if it’s covered by fire”.  Agreed, and let’s Make Zimbabwe Rhodesia Again.  In all seriousness, if you want a free preview of what’s to come, read about what happened there.

The chapter on escape planning had a few great ideas I had never considered and are highly recommended.  I live a block from a river & had only considered using the hiking trails along it, not the river itself.

To recap, this book is worth three times the price you’ll pay for it.  It’s available at:

The book is certainly worth adding to your preparedness library.


Published by JD

I am the author of the Tactical Wisdom Series. I am a personal protection specialist and a veteran of the US Marine Corps. I conduct preparedness and self-defense training.

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