Modern Homsteading - A Wranglerstar book - Review

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British Red

M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)
Dec 30, 2005
I was recently given the opportunity to get an early review copy of this book by the “Wranglerstar” family. My thanks to Randy Pratt of Master Books and the Wranglerstars for sending me an electronic copy to review.

Modern Homesteading covers the life of the Wranglerstar family and their journey to a lifestyle of “modern homesteading”. If you don’t know who the “Wranglerstar” family are, they are a YouTube phenomenon with 1,000+ videos and over a quarter of a million subscribers who avidly await the next video. The Wranglerstar videos are a tonic for many of us – detailed videos of a man and his family trying to live “The Good Life”. They are not intended to be “Masterclass Tutorials” but show a guy carrying out wonderful projects from building a treehouse to timber framing and milling their own timber. My personal favourite video shows the husband and wife team felling a 125’ tall, 4’ diameter tree with a crosscut saw. Inspiring stuff.

I mention the background because I feel the book will be most appreciated by those familiar with the Wranglerstar videos.

The videos are usually detailed, skills based and filmed by Cody (Mr. Wranglerstar) with occasional guest appearances from Mrs Wranglerstar and son Jack (the book is written predominantly by Mrs Wranglerstar). It is none the worse for that! In the book Mrs Wranglerstar talks about her, quite sensible, initial aversion to appearing in the videos and putting too much into the public domain. Having read the book, I have to say that I think, in writing, Mrs Wranglerstar has found her medium. Her style is witty, light hearted and engaging, it feels very much as though a friend was telling you their story over a coffee.

So for those considering the book, what is it about? The book covers, in the main, the journey of the Wranglerstar family to their current homestead. Their backgrounds (Mrs W trained sled dogs!), how they met (it was certainly not love at first sight), their early married life, jobs they did and properties they bought. Far from being a simple chronicle of events however, there is a lot of time discussing why they made decisions – and mistakes!

What the book is not is a “homesteading how to” encyclopaedia. Most of this book is a blend of autobiography and advice on things to consider to the wannabe homesteader. If what you want is a book on how to live “The Good Life”, then this is not the book for you (buy instead John Seymour’s “New Complete Guide to Self Sufficiency”), however if you are fans of the Wranglerstar channel and want to know more about their back story, or are considering quitting the rat race and starting a new life in the countryside, then this is for you.

This is I believe the first Wranglerstar book. It does show. There are things I would like to see done differently. Firstly as the book is mostly autobiographical and advice based, I would have left it there. A book on “the route so far”. There is other, good, material in the book that feels muddled. There is, for example, a brief chapter on timber framing. I found it jarring to be reading with great interest a life history of people I admire and then at chapters end, suddenly reading a technical piece on carpentry. It “broke the flow” for me. I very much want to read Mrs Ws thoughts advice and reminiscences and Cody’s thoughts on timber framing – but separately and probably in different books.

My other difficulty is there is, particularly in the first 50 pages or so, a lot of material about the couples (Christian) faith. In places I found the material relevant as aspects of their belief led to, or at least informed, decisions they made. In other places it detracted from the flow of the book. For me a chapter in the book about their faith and what it means to them or again, a separate book would have been better.

I suspect there are many audiences for the Wranglerstar family:

· Those who simply enjoy escapism and vicariously “living the life”
· Those who are looking to acquire hard skills
· Those who wish for religious guidance.

In future it might be better to “theme” books along these lines to make the content more consistently relevant to the audience.

Overall the book is an interesting read and Mrs W has a great future as an author with a witty and engaging style. For fans of the Wranglerstar channel and those considering a homesteader lifestyle (particularly in the US) I recommend it.

In the UK the Kindle version from Amazon is the affordable option. The physical book is available from the publishers

but shipping is expensive!


Everything Mac

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Nov 30, 2009
Interesting review Red, thanks for taking the time to write it.

I used to be a big fan of the Wranglerstar videos but not so much these days. However they are clearly doing very well for themselves.

All the best


Full Member
Jan 10, 2006
Talking about religion isnt going to sell them well outside certain areas of the US.

(Maybe they dont care?)

I have several clergy friends of varying faiths and brands...and do you know? They seldom talk about religion.
Nov 29, 2004
"...They seldom talk about religion..."

Some faiths do, some don't, some don't at all. Almost none of them feature an afterlife where I can meet Freddie Mercury and Jimi Hendrix which would be a big selling point for me.

I'm familiar with the Wranglerstar channel, based on how good the few videos I've managed to watch have been, the book will end up on my Christmas list, whether anyone will buy it for me is a different matter. :)

Thanks for the review and the heads up.
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