Top Survival Books and Other Great Reads

Books!! Who Reads Books?

We do of course! No doubt, some people would rather watch movies than read good survival books.

But hey! What are you going to do when the lights go out?

Do you know how make a splint or a solar still? Do you know what to do where there is no Doctor? Could you raise rabbits for food, dig a latrine, or start a fire with a pencil?

Yeah, I didn’t think so. (Well, maybe if you are a regular here you could.)


Books are amazing.

Books are magical. A great book can take you away to an alternate universe. Likewise, it can allow you to escape the monotony of the mundane and delight in things ridiculous and fantastic. Additionally, it can challenge the very foundations of your belief, or show you how to do things you otherwise could not.

Yes, sir. Books are full of information: theory, skill, thought, imagination, adventure, and more.
There’s no better way to expand your mind than to read great books.

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”
― Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood

A good book can prove to be an indispensable source of information or even a great friend.

“Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside of a dog it’s too dark to read.”
― Groucho Marx, The Essential Groucho: Writings For By And About Groucho Marx

Listen, we think a well-stocked library of physical books  – or some way to access ebooks grid-down is an excellent idea.

Books are Indispensable

Like a man trapped in a cold wilderness, who finds a single solitary match in his pouch, you never know when just the right book might contain that spark of information or inspiration that could save your life.

Therefore, we have put together a list of non-fiction survival books, as well as a bunch of good reads for men, that we think might stir your imagination, and possibly set your mind aglow with whirling transient nodes of alternative survivabilities.

Non-Fiction Survival Books

Medical And First Aid

First Aid — (American Red Cross Handbook) Responding To Emergencies

First Aid Survival BooksThis is the participant’s textbook for the American Red Cross First Aid–Responding to Emergencies course. You can sign up to take the course and receive certification at the Red Cross Website.  The course is also available online (no certification). The textbook is an excellent resource for learning First Aid, CPR, Emergency Cardiovascular Care, and automated external defibrillation (AED) information and Skills.

Get it!

Where There Is No Doctor by David Werner

First Aid Survival BooksHesperian’s classic manual Where There Is No Doctor is perhaps the most widely-used health care manual for health workers, clinicians, and others involved in primary health care delivery and health promotion programs around the world. With millions of copies in print in more than 75 languages, the manual provides practical, easily understood information on how to diagnose, treat, and prevent common injuries and illnesses. Special attention is focused on nutrition, infection and disease prevention, and diagnostic techniques as primary ways to prevent and treat health problems.

You can download the .pdf version from the Hesperian Foundation for free.

Purchase the print version!

Where There Is No Dentist by Murray Dickson

Where There is no DentistThis basic dental manual uses step-by-step instructions to discuss the preventive care of teeth and gums, diagnosis and treatment of common dental problems, and oral health and HIV.

You can download the .pdf version from the Hesperian Foundation for free.

Purchase the print version!

Living Ready Pocket Manual – First Aid: Fundamentals for Survival By James Hubbard

Living Ready Pocket Manuel First AidWhether you are miles from help or immersed in an urban disaster situation, every second count during a medical emergency. This book will help you take quick, effective action to stabilize the situation.

The easy-to-follow, step-by-step instruction in this book will help you prevent or respond to:

  • Dehydration
  • Hypothermia, frostbite, and heatstroke
  • Skin wounds including burns, cuts, bites and gunshots
  • Anaphylaxis, allergic reactions, and rashes
  • Broken bones and injured joints

Plus you’ll find detailed packing lists for survival first aid kits of all sizes. This pocket-sized manual is perfect for packing in first aid kits, bug out bags, day-hiking packs and vehicle kits. Medical emergencies are unplanned and unpredictable, but you can be prepared. Arm yourself with knowledge that can save a life.

Get it!

The Survival Medicine Handbook: A guide for when help is NOT on the way BY Joseph Alton MD and Amy Alton ARNP

The Survival Medicine HandbookThe Survival Medicine Handbook(TM) is a guide for those who want to be medically prepared for any disaster where help is NOT on the way. This book is written by Joe Alton, M.D. and Amy Alton, A.R.N.P., the premiere Medical Preparedness Professionals from the top survival-medicine website The expanded second edition of the three category Amazon bestseller (Survival Skills, Disaster Relief, Safety/First Aid) is geared to enable the non-medical professional to deal with all the likely issues they will encounter in catastrophic scenarios.

Get it!

Auerbach’s Wilderness Medicine by Paul S. Auerbach

Now in its 7th edition, Auerbach’s Wilderness Medicine continues to help you quickly and decisively manage medical emergencies encountered in any wilderness or other austere setting! World-renowned authority Dr. Paul Auerbach and two new associate editors have assembled a team of experts to offer proven, practical, visual guidance for effectively diagnosing and treating the full range of issues that can occur in situations where time and resources are scarce. This indispensable resource equips physicians, nurses, advanced practice providers, first responders, and rescuers with the essential knowledge and skills to effectively address and prevent injuries and illnesses – no matter where they happen!

Get it!

Relocation Information


Strategic Relocation: North American Guide to Safe Places, 3rd Edition By Joel and Andrew Skousen

Strategic RelocationThis is the long-awaited update of Mr. Skousen’s classic book on relocation for security. Nearly 3/4 of this 3rd Edition is rewritten, and it is expanded to 349 pages. In the process, the authors created all new graphics, charts, and tables. There is also a new section on international retreat potential and 200 additional pages of analysis on every state and province of the US and Canada, complete with color maps.

The maps are chock full of detail, including private and public land use, satellite terrain features, military target areas, roads and graphic depictions of population density—one of our major threats to security in a crisis.

Despite the ongoing illusions of peace and prosperity, our world is getting less stable, not more. The economic foundations of the US and the world are all based on fiat money and are crumbling. Earthquakes, Hurricanes, War, and Terrorism, are ever-present threats, and the secondary effects of social unrest in large metropolitan areas will be disruptive and dangerous if there is a shortage of essential commodities that cause people to panic.

Get it!

Homesteading, Off-Grid, and Country Living Skills

The Encyclopedia of Country Living, 40th Anniversary Edition: The Original Manual of Living off the Land & Doing it Yourself By Carla Emery

The Encyclopedia of Country Living, 40th Anniversary Edition: The Original Manual of Living Off the Land & Doing It YourselfThe bestselling resource for modern homesteading, growing and preserving foods, and raising chickens, The Encyclopedia of Country Living includes how to cultivate a garden, buy land, bake bread, raise farm animals, make sausage, can peaches, milk a goat, grow herbs, churn butter, build a chicken coop, catch a pig, cook on a wood stove, and much, much more. This comprehensive resource is the most authoritative guide available to a sustainable lifestyle and living off of the land.

Here is one of my favorite quotes

Unlike their great-grandparents, the urbanized members of today’s society are almost totally dependent on other people to produce their food, clothing, and shelter—and they’re subject to the market prices for those essential commodities. Many people spend their lives a paycheck away from hunger or homelessness—because they must pay other people to supply their most basic needs.

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Your Cabin in the Woods By Conrad E. Meinecke and Victor Aures

Your Cabin in The WoodsWhen the going gets tough in day-to-day living, Your Cabin in the Woods is my favorite escape literature.

In very general terms, Conrad Meinecke can show you how to build your cabin in the woods, but maybe the most important thing about the book is its buoyant optimism and can-do spirit. A saw, a hammer, a few nails and some canvas and you’ll be well on your way independent living in a natural setting. This book has it all! ~ Review by Dale Norman

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Making the Best of Basics: Family Preparedness Handbook By James Talmage Stevens 

Making the Best of BasicsClose your eyes for a moment and imagine what would happen if you became ill and couldn’t work, or if an earthquake or hurricane or bomb left your community devastated. It happens all the time. When unexpected disasters happen, people who are even a little prepared are much better off than those who have taken their dependence on outside resources for granted. When you imagine the security of not having to worry about going to the store for even a few weeks, a comprehensive storage system begins to make sense.

Now in its 11th edition, is one of the best-known preparedness bibles around. Stevens lays out a yearlong storage program of 15 food and nonfood categories, six of which (water, wheat and grains, dairy products, sweeteners, “cooking catalysts” like salt and oil, and sprouting seeds) are capable of sustaining life indefinitely in a no-frills diet. The other nine categories are designated “Building Blocks,” and improve upon the basic diet and support a more routine, less Spartan existence while relying on stored supplies.

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The All New Ball Book Of Canning And Preserving: Over 200 of the Best Canned, Jammed, Pickled, and Preserved Recipes By Jarden Home Brands

From the experts at Jarden Home Brands, makers of Ball canning products comes the first truly comprehensive canning guide created for today’s home cooks. This modern handbook boasts more than 200 brand new recipes ranging from jams and jellies to jerkies, pickles, salsas, and more.

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The All New Cooking With Home Storage By Peggy Layton and Vicki Tate

Not quite sure what to do with your stored wheat, beans, and dehydrated foods? If so, Peggy Layton has the answers for you. Be sure to add this one to your collection of survival books.

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Gardening When it Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times by Steve Solomon

In hard times, the family can be greatly helped by growing a highly productive food garden, requiring little cash outlay or watering. Gardening When It Counts helps readers rediscover traditional low-input gardening methods to produce healthy food.

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Preserving Food without Freezing or Canning by The Gardeners and Farmers of Centre Terre Vivante, Deborah Madison and Eliot Coleman

Typical books about preserving garden produce nearly always assume that modern “kitchen gardeners” will boil or freeze their vegetables and fruits. Here is a book that goes back to the future—celebrating traditional but little-known French techniques for storing and preserving edibles in ways that maximize flavor and nutrition.
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Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills, Third Edition by Abigail R. Gehring

Countless readers have turned to Back to Basics for inspiration and instruction, escaping to an era before power saws and fast food restaurants and rediscovering the pleasures and challenges of a healthier, greener, and more self-sufficient lifestyle.
Get it!

Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide: Food, Shelter, Security, Off-the-Grid Power and More Life-Saving Strategies for Self-Sufficient Living by Jim Cobb

The preparation you make for a hurricane, earthquake or other short-term disasters will not keep you alive in the event of widespread social collapse caused by a pandemic, failure of the grid or other long-term crises. Government pamphlets and other prepping books tell you how to hold out through an emergency until services are restored. This book teaches you how to survive when nothing returns to normal for weeks, months or even years, including:

•Practical water collection for drinking and hygiene
•Storing, growing, hunting and foraging for food
•First aid and medical treatments when there’s no doctor
•Techniques and tactics for fortifying and defending your home
•Community-building strategies for creating a new society
Get it!



Guns, Weapons, and Security

Boston’s Gun Bible By Boston T. Party, Kenneth W. Royce

Boston’s Gun Bible goes into great detail about the pros and cons of various defensive weaponry, equipment, and the philosophy behind their appropriate usage. The work is markedly political, obviously pro-gun, and has a rather witty ”screw the hoplophobes” tone that I enjoyed. The writing is crisp and to the point. Eloquent without being boring. This is a hallmark of Boston’s work, and you will not be disappointed in Boston’s Gun Bible. At about (850) pages, it can’t be considered light reading, but the subject matter is important and needs a lot of covering to get it all through to the reader in its entirety. Review by Kevin (Mad Dog) McClung, knifemaker, and gunsmith.

Get it!

Survival Guns by Mel Tappan

Mel Tappan demonstrates that having the right weapons for securing food and providing personal defense is the key to sustaining life on an independent basis, whether or not a catastrophe occurs.
Get it!

The Complete Guide to Gunsmithing by Charles Edward Chapel

Written by one of the most prolific firearms experts of all time, The Complete Guide to Gunsmithing is a highly detailed and essential reference for the gun enthusiast and gunsmith alike. At nearly 500 pages, Chapel covers everything from the use of proper tools to how to get a gunsmithing job and everything in between.
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Long Range Shooting Handbook: Complete Beginner’s Guide to Long Range Shooting by Ryan Cleckner

This book is the complete beginner’s guide to long range shooting written in simple everyday language so that it’s easy to follow. Included are personal tips and best advice from my years of special operations sniper schooling and experience and as a sniper instructor.

If you are an experienced shooter, this guide will be a resource covering the principles and theory of long range shooting. This is the preliminary book to help you understand fundamental concepts such as MOA vs. Mils and external ballistics, that can be a trusted resource for the range.

Learning to shoot long range isn’t that difficult. Once you understand the basics, you can start to master your technique, and you’ll be hitting targets in no time.

Get it!



Hunting and Fishing

The Complete Guide to Hunting, Butchering, and Cooking Wild Game: Volume 1: Big Game by Steven Rinella

Steven Rinella was raised in a hunting family and has been pursuing wild game his entire life. In this first-ever complete guide to hunting—from hunting an animal to butchering and cooking it—the host of the popular hunting show MeatEater shares his expertise with us and imparts strategies and tactics from many of the most experienced hunters in the United States as well.
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The Hunter’s Guide to Butchering, Smoking, and Curing Wild Game and Fish by Philip Hasheider

The Hunter’s Guide to Butchering, Smoking, and Curing Wild Game and Fish gives hunters all the information they need for processing and preparing their harvested game to create the most flavorful and creative meals. The book takes you from field dressing to skinning and cutting the carcass, to preserving and storing, to making sausage and cured meat, to preparing delicious, well-rounded meals for the dinner table. It offers detailed step-by-step instructions, complete with illustrations and full-color photography, as well as a variety of mouthwatering recipes.
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The Total Fishing Manual: 317 Essential Fishing Skills (Field and Stream)by Joe Cermele

From small streams to major rivers, ponds to big lakes, and bays to the open ocean, this book has hundreds of field-tested strategies that will help you catch more fish with or without a boat. Professional fishing guides from across the country tell you how and where to find lunker bass, trophy walleyes, huge trout, and much more right in your home waters. Whether you’re bobber fishing for bluegills with the kids or heading out after the muskie of a lifetime, the techniques and tactics in this book will make your trip a success.

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The Trapper’s Bible: The Most Complete Guide on Trapping and Hunting Tips Ever by Eustace Hazard Livingston

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Hunting and Trapping!
A collection of tips, tactics, and anecdotes from the finest trappers the United States has ever seen, The Trapper’s Bible is an essential reference guide for hunters, trappers, and historians.
Taken directly from some of the upmost authorities on the trapping profession, hundreds of photos and illustrations adorn this fascinating compendium. Broken up into sections, this volume details a wide variety of different traps and contains an extensive section outlining the behavior and nature of a long list of animals commonly hunted and trapped. The Trapper’s Bible offers the best of the best — an informative look into life as a trapper.

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Basic Fishing: A Beginner’s Guide by Wade Bourne

New to fishing and have no idea how to start? With Basic Fishing, you’ll be an accomplished angler in no time at all. Expert angler and award winning outdoor writer Wade Bourne has created a step-by-step guide that masterfully breaks down the art of fishing with diagrams, vivid photographs, and lessons on:

• Different types of fishing equipment and how to select the best tackle
• Baiting techniques for artificial and natural baits
• Tips for selecting the best fishing spot
• Handy methods for cooking and cleaning fish

…and more!

Get it!


Additinoal Great Reads

Lights Out by David Crawford

This excellent story chronicles the challenges of Mark Turner when the lights go out over most of the free world. He must find in himself the ability to unite his family, friends, and neighbors if any of them are to survive the harsh reality that everyday life becomes when the veneer of civilizationis gone.

Get it!

One Second After by William R. Forstchen, Newt Gingrich, and William D. Sanders

New York Times best selling author William R. Forstchen now brings us a story which can be all too terrifyingly real. A story in which one man struggles to save his family and his small North Carolina town after America loses a war, in one second, a war that will send America back to the Dark Ages…A war based upon a weapon, an Electro Magnetic Pulse (EMP) — a weapon that may already be in the hands of our enemies.

Get it!

The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper

Published in the early 19th century, James Fenimore Cooper’s The Last of the Mohicans is a fictionalized adventure taking place during the French-American War. The daughters of an American colonel become caught up in the conflict between the two nations’ contest for supremacy in North America, and embroiled in the war between the Native American allies of the two sides. Cooper’s trademark intricacy of description and his portrayal of life during this tumultuous era have made The Last of the Mohicans one of the world’s most widely read American novels.
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The Remaining by D.J. Molles

In a steel-and-lead-encased bunker a Special Forces soldier waits on his final orders. On the surface, a bacterium has turned 90% of the population into hyper-aggressive predators. Now Captain Lee Harden must leave the bunker and venture into the wasteland to rekindle a shattered America
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The Last of the Breed by Louis L’Amour

When his experimental aircraft is forced down in Russia, and he escapes a Soviet prison camp, Joe Mack must call upon the ancient skills of his Indian forebears to survive the vast Siberian wilderness. Only one route lies open to Mack: the path of his ancestors, overland to the Bering Strait and across the sea to America.
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Patriots by James Rawles

America faces a full-scale socioeconomic collapse—the stock market plummets, hyperinflation cripples commerce, and the mounting crisis passes the tipping point. Practically overnight, the fragile chains of supply and high-technology infrastructure fall, and wholesale rioting and looting grip every major city.

As hordes of refugees and looters pour out of the cities, a small group of friends living in the Midwest desperately try to make their way to a safe-haven ranch in northern Idaho. The journey requires all their skill and training since communication, commerce, transportation and law enforcement have all disappeared. Once at the ranch, the group fends off vicious attacks from outsiders and then looks to join other groups that are trying to restore true Constitutional law to the country.

Patriots is a thrilling narrative depicting fictional characters using authentic survivalist techniques to endure the collapse of the American civilization.
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Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

This is the story of a man who said that he would stop the motor of the world—and did. Was he a destroyer or the greatest of liberators? Why did he have to fight his battle, not against his enemies, but against those who needed him most, and his hardest battle against the woman he loved? What is the world’s motor—and the motive power of every man? You will know the answer to these questions when you discover the reason behind the baffling events that play havoc with the lives of the characters in this story.
Get it!

Enemies Foreign and Domestic by Matthew Bracken



BULLETS RAIN DOWN UPON A PACKED FOOTBALL STADIUM, killing dozens, and triggering a panic stampede which leads to a thousand more deaths. A police marksman kills the sniper, a mentally unbalanced Desert Storm veteran holding a smoking assault rifle. It’s an open and shut case, or so America is led to believe…
Jimmy Shifflett, the alleged stadium sniper, is linked to a shadowy “gun club” in southeastern Virginia, which the FBI believes is a cover for a secret right-wing militia terror group. Those who knew Shifflett the best don’t believe he was a member of any militia, or that he was guilty of the horrific mass murder.

Get it!

Going Home by A. American

If society collapsed, could you survive?

When Morgan Carter’s car breaks down 250 miles from his home, he figures his weekend plans are ruined. But things are about to get much, much worse: the country’s power grid has collapsed. There is no electricity, no running water, no Internet, and no way to know when normalcy will be restored—if it ever will be. An avid survivalist, Morgan takes to the road with his prepper pack on his back.
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Wolf and Iron by Gordon Dickson

After the collapse of civilization, when the social fabric of America has come apart in bloody rags when every man’s hand is raised against another, and only the strong survive. “Jeebee” Walther was a scientist, a student of human behavior, who saw the Collapse of the world economy coming, but could do nothing to stop it. Now he must make his way across a violent and lawless America, in search of a refuge where he can keep the spark of knowledge alive in the coming Dark Age. He could never make it on his own, but he has found a companion who can teach him how to survive on instinct and will. Jeebee has been adopted by a great Gray Wolf.
Get it!

  • Show Comments

  • Angelica

    Awesome list! I’m definitely going to grab a copy of The Encyclopedia of Country Living at some point. I feel like modern people have totally forgotten these skills in such a short amount of time–scary!

    Do you have any recommendations for books on reloading ammo? Being able to produce your own ammunition will probably come in handy when things go down.

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