Survival And Preparedness Books For The Bookshelf


UPDATE: The Survival Library is now open… ;)

We now have a dedicated page for a survival & preparedness bookshelf (‘Survival Library’), and is a menu selection located at the top of the webpage above.

I have started with a number of categories including General Preparedness & Survival, Gardening, Preserving Food, Cooking, First Aid, Livestock, Herbal, Foraging, Survival Fiction, and more to follow…

There are lots and lots of books written in this genre of survival and preparedness — reference, non-fiction, and fiction – and I am striving to list those which excel and/or are popular and favored books.

Note: Having a hard-copy bookshelf of your favored reading materials in this regard is not only convenient, but could be crucially important under circumstances of ‘collapse’.

So head on over to the Survival Library!
I will be adding more categories and books as time goes on…


  1. Please keep the list short with ones you can really recommend! I can already go to Amazon and find pages after pages of titles!

    1. I agree. There are SO MANY books, however, I plan to list only the most popular, specifically relevant, and well-reviewed, so as to keep the list from becoming overwhelmingly long. The list will ‘evolve’ over time.

  2. Survival guide by the British sas. Has everything you’ll ever need to know.

  3. @ Ken
    I notice you have one of my favorite books; Lights Out by David Crawford.

    Might I suggest you also add Lights Out by Ted Koppel another good reference/info book?

    Lights Out (Ted Koppel)


    1. Understand that this comes from a writer, so take it for what it’s worth. I can’t read ANYTHING without analyzing it.

      299 days is apparently intended more as a textbook for survival in-the-event-of than any kind of novelization. The characters are stereotypes right down the line, the writing is bad and the editing is bad.

      It presents a great deal of information for the prepping community, from how to build a “team” to what tools might be needed and the psychological aspects of a survival situation. The stereotyping is necessary in that sense because the characters are there only to support the basic intent of the book.

      As a survival textbook or a procedural for what might be necessary it does its job well, and I assume that most people read it in that light.

      1. @ Lauren
        Thank you for your analyses, probably not what I’m looking for….
        Just wanting a good old shoot-em-up, bang-bang, bring home the bacon book for entertainment….

      2. Lauren
        You did better than I, could not get past the first chapter of the book.
        Found it that bad, and I had purchased the first two in the series.
        Lesson learned never purchase the next book until you have read the 1st book yourself and liked it.

        1. I cheated and got them from the library. :) I never buy a book unless I’m willing to read it more than once. Any book has to EARN its position on my bookshelf!

          I have a bit of an advantage. I used to do manuscript evaluations for a living (a very small living, but a living nonetheless) so I learned to work past the drek so I could explain where the book failed or succeeded. This one failed in the first page, but I kept reading out of habit.

      3. Lauren, totally agree on 299 Days series. It was every bit the suckfest Rawles books are. Characters are cardboard cutouts, plotting is terrible, dialog is beyond stilted. Those 2 series are WAY overrated……..

        1. It has no plot and no characterization. That’s one of the things that led me to the conclusion that it was a survival manual with a few characters thrown in to make it appeal to people. As a survival manual it does its job. The information is blatant, in your face, with no effort to weave it into the story, which tells me that the story is secondary, if it matters at all in the intent of the author.

          Sorry, I could go on for pages. Characterization, plot, timeline, setting, blah, blah blah… :)

    2. Eh, it was ok. It was less preachy than Patriots, IMO, which made it easier to read for me. If you think of the series as one big, long book that makes it easier to get through. I still have two more to get through to finish the series, but there isn’t really a lot of shoot em up so far. It’s an interesting read and I liked how the author depicts the decline of society into pretty much utter crap.

  4. Hey Ken
    How about; The Complete Joy of Homebrewing Fourth Edition,

    Would that go under “Preserving Food” or “First Aid” hehehehe

    As Charlie Papazian, world renown brew-master would say… “Relax. Don’t worry. And have a homebrew.” :-) :-) :-)


  5. @Ken
    Very interesting that you added Atlas Shrugged to the list. Rand’s writing of the book predates the modern preparedness movement but the whole time I was reading the book I kept envisioning Galt’s Gulch as a kind of prepper or survivalist community. I wonder if that’s just due to my current perspective and world view or if I still would’ve viewed it the same way if I read the book 30 years ago. Kinda like the way you research a new car on the internet that you’re interested in buying and then suddenly you see them everywhere you go even though you didn’t notice them the day before.

    Here’s two titles I would add:
    Surviving Off Grid, by Michael Bunker
    Alone In The Wilderness, by Joseph Knowles (available as a free download on Kindle) True story?

    1. If you are going to get a one stop shop book, Matthew Stein’s “When Technology Fails” is it.

    2. @Ken
      The originally posted title was correct, there are actually two “Offs” in it and in the book be explains why. When most writers talk about surviving off grid they talk about bringing all kinds of technology with them to enhance their survival such as battery powered equipment and generators and methods of protecting their stuff from an EMP etc. In Bunker’s book (Surviving Off Off Grid) however he goes over the many methods of doing it without any of the modern technological devices we have all become dependent on. The book is not so much of a how to type book (although there is a little of that too) it’s more of a how to think book. It’s more about getting into the mindset of living off off grid. There are times when he comes off as a bit of a Luddite or sounds a bit Amish, but it is still an interesting read. Lots of good historical examples of how people survived before technology.

  6. A set of navy machinist mates technicals. You can build anything with those!

  7. Lots of great ideas so far, I’d recommend some comics or some classics for pleasure, you can only take so much and morale is important too, don’t forget about the kids and family!

  8. There is a local antique store about a mile from my house with a ton of old books. I have gotten some really great books there for $1 each. Everything from diesel engine overhaul, reloading, 6 book botanical encyclopedia, 10 book classics library, full set of Zane Grey, etc. All hardbacks, all a buck apiece. I have HUGE LYNN expanded my reference and how-to library by going there.

  9. Where there is no Doctor a village health care handbook by David Werner a “wow” medical guide that is used all over the world if there is only one medical guide for a bug out medical book this is it. Published in the 70s and written for the masses, the illustrations alone will blow you away.

  10. “Carrots love tomatoes” by Louise Riotte. “Square foot gardening” by Mel Bartholomew.”Garden wisdom and know how” by Rodale Books.(all the Rodale Books are pretty good.)
    I would add carpentry, plumbing, electrical manuals as well as small engine repair/trouble shooting books. Haynes/Clinton automotive manuals (at least for the vehicles you own.)
    Some History/literature books. Foreign language dictionaries might come in handy.
    The “Anarchist Black and red book” for the adventurous types out there…

    1. All Rodale’s are very good, indeed. Amzn has several used from .01 and up, with $3.99 S/H. I’ve picked up 4 in the past few months @ .01 that were “Used-Very Good.” Very minor wear & tear. Stock and prices change occasionally, so I check every so often for sales on others on my Wish List.

  11. I think the gardening section is very tough to pin down because of so many local conditions we all have. Find books which are specific to your locale for best results. If you are an apartment dweller and have a exterior deck, maybe a book on container gardening would be worth it.

    Maybe a series for entertainment for younger readers – the Gary Paulson Brian series. Very good advice for teaching essential hunting lessons. I think the best book of the series is HATCHET, but all of them have some good advice.

    Thanks for tackling this topic.

  12. The reluctant partisan series by “john mosby” former SOF ODA. Check out the mountain guerrilla blog and forward observer magazine

    1. @waterskidude, Encyclopedias… That’s something you certainly don’t see anymore… ;) everything’s gone ‘online’, or DVD/CD, etc..

      But for a true grid-down/EMP collapse (as one example), having hard-copy books (e.g. an encyclopedia set) will be most valuable. One’s local library will also be a treasure trove of information.

  13. Just finished a very good read. The War After Armageddon by Ralph Peters. It’s fictional and the genre is future history. It will appeal especially to military types and involves MOBIC (Military Order of Brothers in Christ) against the Jihadis. Takes place in the middle east and is set in what I estimate to be 30 to 40 years in the future. LA and Vegas have been nuked and this the Christian retaliation. I want go to much into the plot but it was a good read and very thought provoking.

    On the non-fictional front the DW recently brought home a thrift store find called Making the Best of Basics. It’s a family preparedness handbook by James Talmage Stevens. Lots of good info.

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