Top 20 Survival Preparedness Books


The following list of survival & preparedness books are the top twenty purchased through MSB book links during 2012.

(UPDATE) Even years later, they are still great choices.

More: Important Survival Preparedness Books To Have On Your Bookshelf
More: 10 Survival Novels


1. Encyclopedia of Country Living, 10th Edition

2. Basic Butchering of Livestock & Game

3. SAS Survival Handbook, Revised Edition

4. U.S. Air Force Survival Handbook

5. Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness

6. Where There Is No Dentist

7. Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills

8. The Doom and Bloom(tm) Survival Medicine Handbook

9. Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables

10. Where There Is No Doctor

11. All New Square Foot Gardening

12. How To Survive the End of the World As We Know It

13. One Second After

14. Red Cross First Aid & Safety Handbook

15. Emergency Food Storage and Survival Handbook

16. Trapper’s Bible: Traps, Snares & Pathguards

17. Mini Farming: Self Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre

18. Guide to Canning, Freezing, Curing and Smoking Meat, Fish & Game

19. Prepper’s Pocket Guide: 101 Easy Things

20. Field Guide to Medicinal Plants


  1. Got a few in hardcopy, a few more in pdfs. Been meaning to get the Doom & Bloom Survival Medicine Handbook, so ordered it from amazon using your link, plus a couple other items. You won’t be able to retire off the commission or anything, but you’re a daily read – so thank you.

    I’d add Making the Best of Basics, James Talmage Stevens. My copy is about 13 years old now. Maybe Edible Wild Plants from the Peterson Field Guide series too.

    1. Thanks ‘justajoe’, every penny helps towards keeping the lights on, and I hope that the suggestions do help some folks here and there. I don’t have Making the Best of Basics yet, but with your suggestion I may look into it. Edible Wild Plants is a good one too, as you mentioned.

  2. I didn’t even make the cut for the top 20?

    I was having a pretty good day until I read this list…LOL

    It is a good list though. Obviously, I am partial to a few other titles that aren’t included – but you can’t go wrong with any of the above.

    1. The list simply reflects what the readers have been purchasing lately by way of our Amazon outlets – and shouldn’t (doesn’t) reflect on the merits of any other good books out there (of which there are many). The Joe Nobody books have high marks on reader reviews at Amazon. I’ve recently purchased and am reading Holding Your Ground.

      1. Ken – I hope you enjoy the book. I realize my work isn’t for everyone, but couldn’t help but post a wisecrack.

        I do enjoy the blog here and have learned much from it.

        My best to you and yours sir.


    2. I know you were joking, but if it makes you feel any better, I bought your book!

    3. @Joe Nobody.

      I found two of your books (Holding your Ground & Standing Their Ground) worthwhile for different reasons. Thanks for writing them!

      Be well.

    4. I have all 4 of your previous books, and good thing I came across your post here: it reminded me to check again, and I’ve just ordered part 2 of “Holding their own”.

      Thank you very much for your books.

      I really hope to see more tactical preparedness books from you.

      There are so many books on survival related to wilderness, food, medicine, etc., but your are the only books that I know which teach how to survive the inevitable violence.

      Apparently, the list of books in this article is good, and I have most of them, but I would not hesitate to add 2 or 3 of your books to the Top-20 list.

      By the way, Urban Survival by David Morris would definitely make the list, too.

      I just don’t understand how canning food can possibly more important than self-defense.
      Obviously, some people (if those are really the best-selling books on Amazon) believe that they will be able to eat lots of good food, and their towns or cities around them will just die out of starvation… Yeah, right.

      My priorities are:
      1. Self-defense. I have a family and 2 kids. We have bullet-proof vests and gas masks. My loved ones must live, even if it’s hell outside the house. They will live. Period.
      2. Water and food.
      3. Emergency medicine and training.

      We don’t have gold or silver. If we were millionaires, we’d probably worry about “investments”, but – not an issue. I’d rather buy another bag of rice from Costco or a pack of ammo than an ounce of metal that I can neither eat not shoot.

      I digress…

      Thank you very much for your books, Sir!
      They are in MY list.

  3. Thank you all for the kind words.

    I own 4 of the books in the above list myself. It’s a good list.
    Prepper/Self-reliance books are like pizza, rifles and music – you ask any 10 people to list the top 20 and you will get at least 11 answers.

    A tip-of-the-hat to Ken for having the guts to post the list. Now, if he really was a brave man he would post a list of the 20 best firearms for preppers…talk about starting a riot…LOL

  4. As we read your list, we wondered why so many of these books were HOW TO. We wondered why so many of us place so much faith in our abilities to use our hands to make our world what we see it as.

    We have all of your books in the list…we have studied ALL of the books in the list during the past 18 years…we have used much of the knowledge that is contained therein, but after we read DEEP SURVIVAL by Laurence Gonzales we realized we had wasted alot of valuable time.

    After reading that book and pondering its justifications We realized that it is not what we have or even the knowledge we possess, but the steadfast resolve to survive that is the key to life…IF you do nothing in the remaining time that we have, I strongly suggest that your next book is the one that will forever change the way you look at survival…and will forever change your perspective of life and surviving the days that lie ahead.

  5. Oh! Just one more thought for Joe NOBODY! The answer to your question about weapons is…the best weapon is the one you have with you, and the second one, is the one you can hit what you aim at with.

  6. My favorite book about medicine and First Aid is: “Living Ready Pocket Manual First Aid” Fundamentals for Survival by James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. He is on Face Book as The Survival Doctor. His book goes into advanced First Aid when there is no help coming or medical assistance available. His book is very comprehensive. It just recently came out, so it hasn’t had time to catch up although the sales from Amazon are impressive so far.

    I also, like “Survial Mom” by Lisa Bedford.

    Another good one is, “Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag” by Creek Stewart.

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