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Walter Szykitka authored the popular original edition of The Big Book of Self-Reliant Living in 1974 under the title Public Works. He is the editor of two other how-to reference books. He lives in New York City.
Praise for the first edition:"How we have survived this long without [this book] I don't know. The concept is brilliant and simple... If we had lived in a rural community a century ago, much of the knowledge gathered here would have been in our bones." --Harper's "It has the hand-hewn feel of the old Whole Earth Catalog... I find it to be perfect bedtime reading, and my dreams are filled with the care of corn crops and methods of collecting water after falling from an airplane. Public Works gives me fantasies of starting over with a few acres of farmland, a hammer, and a saw, and provides me with a vision of unelectrified reliance." --Paul Ford, Morning News (Web-based periodical)