I have read both of, and reviewed the second book, in James Howard Kunstler's World Made By Hand post-apocalyptic series.
Personally I thought they were more about middle age wish fulfillment than an accurate accounting of a possible future.
But apparently the author, who is touchy feely with the more leftward (sustainable) side of the survival spectrum, so there was fallout I didn't even consider.
Reality does not have an ideology: Class, Race, Hierarchy, and Social Relations in The Long Emergency, James Howard Kunstler, 30 July 2013
The characters in my novels lived very differently than people do in these late days of turbo-petro-industrialism. The economy of their town and the county surrounding it — the extent of normal travel in the new times — was centered on agriculture and the activities that supported it and derived from it. The division of labor had changed drastically in my fictional world, household management especially. Without microwave ovens, washing machines, heating furnaces, and other mechanical slaves that we take for granted, running a household required a lot more work. It was my heuristic judgment (i.e., guess) that such conditions would likely propel work assignments back to more traditional arrangements between men and women, especially because the care of very young children takes place in the home and, despite the wishful propaganda of our times, such care happens to fall mostly to mothers among the higher primates. (The vaunted role of “house-husband” might be improbable if it were not for the fact that so many “breadwinner” jobs today can be done by anybody, male, female, or someone in between.)
Anyway, the reaction to this fictional experiment was surprisingly pugnacious. High and low, far and wide, women denounced my book in formal reviews and casual emails. There was a unifying theme to them, though: a refusal to consider the possibility that social relations might change no matter what happened to the economy. That, and outrage that anyone might suggest a retrograde path for the recent achievements of feminism. It seemed self-evident to me that a lot of this achievement was provisional, depending on larger macro historical trends. That idea alone was greeted, in my replies to reader emails, by the sharpest opprobrium, since it was assumed that the political victories of recent decades have become permanent installations of the human condition. I recognize that, as a principle of politics, privileges and rights attained are rarely given up without a fight. But I wondered at the failure of imagination I was witnessing, especially among educated women readers.
I don't know. In the near term, a soft collapse (which was the case of the distantly Upstate New York where the novel takes place, if not for the rest of the planet) into a lower level of technology probably isn't going to be particularly favorable to men or women. It's not as if there is a huge amount of folks out there who have a whole lot of bankable survival skills. He has the usual Navy SEAL types (backed up by a magical bee queen mama), but compared to the overall population total that makes for a very small number of people. In some of the slash and burn cultures (the east agricultural type to get back up and running without fossil fuels) women were the main farmers.
So I think there is some fairness to some of the criticism. In the near term, the outcomes will be far more random than his novels indicates. Historically, women were just as involved in the physical labor that went into feeding a family. Not all cultures broke down the labor effort they way American frontier settlers did.
So while I think the feminists are likely being a bit clueless (he didn't link to specific complaints), that doesn't mean that Kunstler is isn't clueless as well. If I had to take a guess, you will have near random small grouping of adults, with an equally random grouping of small children. Given the stress, and likely starvation involved, there probably will be relatively few infants until there is a settling down. Which is about where things are when his novels get started.