Knowledge is the most powerful survival tool you could ever possibly possess. A knife and a fire steel will do wonders in the wilderness, and a hefty stockpile will be a huge asset in case of an emergency situation, but nothing will ever come close to helping you survive like the knowledge and skills you possess.
While we all already know this, we also simultaneously realize how difficult attaining knowledge can be. The learning curve can be steep, mastering skills often happens slowly, and the material we need to learn can feel broad and overwhelming. Sometimes, too, it can be hard to determine whether a source of information is even reliable enough to help us on our quest for valuable knowledge.
That’s where this list comes in handy. The survival books below are some of the most read, rated, and reviewed on the web. These books are written by some of the most well respected and knowledgeable industry leaders. It’s vitally important to get your information from trustworthy sources – after all, you never want your facts wrong when your life is on the line.
Scrolling through this list, you’re likely to find at least 2-3 books that really stand out to you among the rest. I’d suggest starting off reading those. There’s plenty to learn – might as well begin with the topics that interest you most!
The Best Survival Books: Top 5
1. SAS Survival Handbook: How to Survive in the Wild, in Any Climate, on Land or at Sea
Author: John Wiseman [Kindle Edition/eBook]
By far the top selling survival book on the net. The SAS Survival Handbook concentrates on wilderness survival based on the training techniques of the Special Air Service. Its goal is to explain how to survive outdoors in any part of the world, no matter what climate you’re in and whether you’re at land or at sea.
2. How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It: Tactics, Techniques, and Technologies for Uncertain Times
Author: James Wesley Rawles [Kindle Edition/eBook]
A guide to overall preparedness and general self-reliance. Tips from surviving on your own, to how much food you should stockpile, what to plant in your garden, which animals are best to keep as livestock, and more. From the founder of SurvivalBlog.com.
3. Build the Perfect Bug Out Bag: Your 72-Hour Disaster Survival Kit
Author: Creek Stewart [Kindle Edition/eBook]
A book all about bugging out and building the ideal bug out bag/72-hour kit. Includes a complete BOB checklist, photos and explanations of each item, a resources list and practice exercises.
4. Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why
Author: Laurence Gonzales [Kindle Edition/eBook]
An analysis of different survival stories, both of those who successfully made it through their hardships and those who did not make it out of their survival situations. Laurence Gonzales attempts to show through her work that there are stages of survival and that there is an essence of a survivor that makes these kinds of people able to survive, not only in the wild, but also in the face of life-threatening illnesses and difficult life experiences.
5. 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive
Author: Cody Lundin [Kindle Edition/eBook]
Wilderness survival through and through with Cody Ludin, director of the Aboriginal Living Skills School in Prescott, Arizona, well known for his time spent on Discovery Channel’s Dual Survival TV show. Cody’s book is one of the most entertaining and engaging ways to learn about wilderness survival and bushcraft techniques.
The Best Survival Books: Top 6-10
6. The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse
Author: Fernando “Ferfal” Aguirre [Kindle Edition/eBook]
A book based on firsthand experience of the 2001 economic collapse in Argentina. Discusses topics such as household preparedness, financial prepping, fighting techniques, and a heck of a lot more.
7. Mud, Sweat, and Tears: The Autobiography
Author: Bear Grylls [Kindle Edition/eBook]
Bear Grylls’ life story. Advertised as a must-read for adrenaline junkies, as its supposedly extremely action packed and thrilling.
8. The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook
Author: Joshua Piven [Kindle Edition/eBook]
A book that details a tonne of different scenarios, from defusing a bomb to delivering a baby in the back of a cab. How-to guides and hands-on, step-by-step instructions included – should be an excellent thought experiment for those of you who feel you’re nearly ready to tackle everything life can throw at you.
9. The Survival Medicine Handbook: A Guide for When Help is Not on the Way
Author: Joseph Alton [Kindle Edition/eBook]
Their description of this book is straight to the point; it’s “a guide for those who want to be medically prepared for any disaster where help is NOT on the way.” Excellent read from what I’ve heard.
10. Contact! A Tactical Manual for Post Collapse Survival
Author: Max Velocity [Kindle Edition/eBook]
What do you do in a post-collapse world? Here’s a book that gives you as much information as possible under the umbrella of security so that you’ll learn what to do during a SHTF situation after societal collapse.
The Best Survival Books: Top 11-25
11. OUTDOOR LIFE – The Ultimate Survival Manual – 333 SKILLS That Will Get YOU Out Alive
Author: Simon & Schuster
This book gives you an overview of what to do in wilderness survival situations, urban survival situations, and emergency/disaster situations.
12. Wildwood Wisdom
Author: Ellsworth Jaeger
A historical guide that was originally written in 1945! Type of information you can find within it; firecraft advice, canoeing, tips on axes and knives, and on crafting shelters in the wilderness.
13. Survival Wisdom & Know How: Everything You Need to Know to Subsist in the Wilderness
By the editors of Stackpole Books
An illustrated manual on one heck of a lot of outdoor/wilderness survival topics: from building outdoor shelters, to tracking animals, identifying edible plants and berries, tying knots, orineteering, etc. If you’re looking for an outdoor survival manual, this is one for you.
14. Survive!: Essential Skills and Tactics to Get You Out of Anywhere – Alive
Author: Les Stroud
There’s a reason Les Stroud is well loved in the community, and it’s due to his experience. His book teaches you about wilderness survival in a variety of different climates and geographical locations. Lessons from survival shelters, how to find water and when to drink contaminated water, how to locate and trap animals, and so much more. Check it out if you’re a fan.
15. Hawke’s Green Beret Survival Manual
Author: Mykel Hawke
This is another outdoor survival concentrated book, concentrating on helping you learn about shelter and water, food and fire, tools and medicine, navigation and signaling, and survival psychology.
16. Bushcraft: Outdoor Skills and Wilderness Survival
Author: Mors Kochanski
Mors Kochanski’s book can sell itself with his name on the front cover. He’s a legend in the bushcraft industry, and like Les Stroud, for very good reason: all his amazing experience. A wilderness survival/bushcraft manual you can’t skip if you’re a fan.
17. US Army Survival Manual: FM 21-76
By the U.S. Department of Defense [Kindle Edition/eBook]
This had to be included, and chances are, you knew it would be on here before you even popped in to take a peek at the top most popular list.
18. Holding Your Ground: Preparing for Defense if it All Falls Apart
Author: Joe Nobody [Kindle Edition/eBook]
If you’re looking for survival books that stress personal and home defence, this is where it’s at.
19. Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It’s Too Late
Author: Scott B. Williams [Kindle Edition/eBook]
A SHTF book that concentrates on what to do if natural disasters or social collapse where to happen. Looking for ideas when it comes to bugging out and escape plans? This is a good one for that.
20. Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties: The Classic Guide to Building Wilderness Shelters
Author: D. C. Beard [Kindle Edition/eBook]
A hands-on guide by one of the founders of the Boy Scouts of America. Can’t get more practical with outdoor/wilderness survival instructions than this.
21. The Ultimate Man’s Survival Guide: Rediscovering the Lost Art of Manhood
Author: Frank Miniter
Not your typical survival guide, and may not be for most of you. Contains a bunch of how to guides, from how to fight off a bear, how to set a dislocated joint, how to pick the perfect cigar and bottle of wine. Not that I’ve read it but I’m not sure I would – though it is popular, so who knows!
22. Wilderness Survival: 2nd Edition
Author: Gregory J. Davenport [Kindle Edition/eBook]
Another wilderness survival guide, concentrating on personal protection, signaling, finding food and water, travel, and health.
23. How to Stay Alive in the Woods: A Complete Guide to Food, Shelter and Self-Preservation Anywhere
Author: Bradford Angier [Kindle Edition/eBook]
Detailed explanations and illustrated instructions on wilderness survival split into four sections: sustenance, warmth, orientation, and safety.
24. The Doom and Bloom Survival Medicine Handbook
Author: Joseph Alton [Kindle Edition/eBook]
A book for non-medical professionals who want to be able to help themselves, friends, and family with bad medical situations when help is not on the way.
25. Primitive Wilderness Living & Survival Skills: Naked into the Wilderness
Author: John McPherson
An in-depth how-to book that describes outdoor primitive skills and techniques.
Extra: *Bonus Survival Book
*. The Gift of Fear and Other Survival Signals that Protect Us From Violence
Author: Gavin de Becker [Kindle Edition/eBook]
Again, not your regular survival book, but it’s highly relevant to survivalists. This book is for those interested in personal security, and has been said to show you how to spot the signs of danger before it’s too late.
*Thomas’ personal favourite survival book
Looking for more survival book recommendations?
Take a look at our list of the top 22 emergency & survival first aid books if you’re getting serious about learning as much as you can about first aid.
Have any survival book advice for us?
What would you say is the best survival book of all time? Have you read any of the survival books listed above? We’d love to know what you thought of them.
If you have any other books you’d either recommend, or even some that you think absolutely no one should waste their money buying, share your opinion in the comments section below!
Nechama Tec’s 1993 book Defiance: The Bielski Partisans, an account of the Bielski partisans, a group led by Polish Jewish brothers who saved and recruited Jews in Belarus during the Second World War.
Most of the “survival books” deal with individual skills. However, this is the book that most likely would save your life.
One day, my late wife and I got up before dawn. We were in eastern Iran. Our goal that day was to take one of two public buses miles to the border, cross 8 miles of no-man’s land to the first border check in Afghanistan, clear the border check and get to the first city before dark.
When arrived at the border, the public bus split into two groups. Our group were the experienced people who are called world travelers. We knew how to organize. First question was how many languages a person spoke. Second question was who had crossed the border in the past. Third question was how long each person had been on the road. We organized into negotiation team, scout team, security, trading team. We made the crossing and got to the first city before sundown. The rest of the people from the original public bus were dumped somewhere after dark in Afghanistan.
When I first read this book, I had to keep putting it down. It was horrible to read. It wasn’t like the movie that came out years later – young women in period clothes with movie pancake dirt on their faces.
Mike E. says
You seem to be talking about two different books here. The first is about the Bielski brothers and Jewish survival during WWII and the Holocaust, which by the way is what the movie Defiance was based on. I have read several accounts about Tuvia Bielski. He saved over 1200 lives and was a real hero!
The second books is about escaping from Iran. What book is this?
In general, I believe that learning from the “survivors” of the past is the best way to learn how to survive, anything. The most important survival skill is having the proper mindset and attitude…
Survival guy says
What about fiction? These days there is a ton of survivalist fiction books on Amazon, usually some kind of post apocalyptic stuff, some of them not even released on paperback, just kindle.
Do you know any good fiction that is at the same time entertaining and actually educational as far as survival goes?
Rich Taber says
I have many of the fine books listed here, and I also agree with the comment one reader mentioned about Colin Towell’s book, “The Survival Handbook”. It is available in several versions and is an excellent book to read and study. I reviewed it on Amazon and gave it high marks, as did many others. The author is a British Military Survival Instructor who has “been there and done that! The depth of knowledge displayed in this manual, the excellence of the illustrations, and the world wide applicability of its contents to me make it one of the finest manuals available.
Thomas Xavier says
Cheers for the suggestion Rich, much appreciated!
An issue that’s truly neglected by most is the fact that we take water for granted. With extreme weather events on the rise there is a definite probability that you can find yourself with an abundance of water one year, followed by the driest spell in human history. Without water, we die and currently we are seeing millions of people displaced in Africa and Asia. I have first hand knowledge of these situations and decided to write a book about water and survival. Our cities do not have the infrastructure to cope with the growing demand.
Elise Xavier says
Interesting topic for a book! I usually delete self-promo comments, but in this case I think it’s very relevant so I’ve left yours up!
Can I be “really” honest here?
All the books in the world will do you NO good if you haven’t:
1) Read them from cover to cover
2) Practiced “doing” the stuff they speak about and illustrate
3) Continue practicing the stuff until it becomes second nature
Otherwise, you’ll be no better off than those who haven’t read the books, practiced the skills, and made all your skills practicing into “muscle memory” for that instantaneous reaction if (or when) that instant reaction is necessary.
As humans, we can become lazy, or overconfident, or forgetful. You “may” forget what you’ve learned, or you’ll be rusty if you don’t practice skills learned, and (inevitably) as you age your reaction time slows whether you like it to or not.
IF SHTF, AND you still manage to live to a ripe old age, it’ll be because you’re: 1) crafty; 2) can hide or disguise your presence; and 3) you can anticipate what others may be trying to do and use what little advance warning you have time to beat them to the punch.
Elise Xavier says
Can’t possibly disagree with the heart of what you’re saying. I’ve always found books a great way to solidify things in your memory and make you think about things in new ways. Adaptability is very important to survival and it doesn’t come easy to me. Reading about ways others do things helps a lot with this, same with watching instructional YouTube videos. Yes, you still need to practice 100%, but some things can definitely be gained from books, instructional videos, and articles. It’s nowhere near enough, and will never be able to replace practice, but it’s got some good supplemental value.
Thanks for the comment!
I’m confused by the breath of books about “survival.” I’ve read a lot of the books that I see listed here, and for the most part, they really don’t do people a lot of good since survival is a skill and the only way You develop any skill is by practice.
In addition, People use the term “survival ” rather loosely. Just looking at the books listed seems to run the gamut of the definition of “survival.” For example, the excellent book, “Wildwood Wisdom,” is an early 20th Century Camping/ Bushcraft Book, and one of the best out there. It is clearly my favorite.
It really isn’t about “survival,” per se, since it is more about camping and knowledge of plants, trees, edible plants, but it took Jaeger (the author) literally a lifetime to acquire that knowledge and skills.
In addition, 99% of people would never need those skills unless they were deeply interested in living a similar life.
The rudiments of survival for most people are really pretty simple and can be broken down into a couple of paragraphs. And here, by “Survival,” we mean short term survival until one can get help.
On the other hand, living a primitive lifestyle and being competent in all manner of primitive skills is a life long endeavor.
There is no “ultimate survival book,” and as someone that has studied this field for at least two decades, I would suggest to people to prioritize based on their goals and current skills levels and lifestyles.
And I say this as someone that actually lives in a very rural environment on a dirt road with no running water and whose closet neighbor is one half mile away, and who actually lives the life (and I am in my ninth year).
So as someone that actually lives a rather primitive life, and who has a pretty wide collection of “survival books,” I would suggest that for 99% of the people that have an interest in this subject, that they instead concentrate on prioritizing skill development.
And since at least 70% of all Americans live in urban areas, one should instead focus on developing skills that You can actually use on a daily basis.
Skills such as what to do in case of an emergency and how to learn how to protect home and property, and how to fix things in case of an emergency. And to put together both tools and skills that will aid You in the recovery of a natural disaster.
It makes no sense to develop Primitive Survival Skills for example if You have no clue as to how to protect Yourself and Your loved ones against the ravages of Mother nature on Your home and property. So that is where I would start. (Actually, that IS WHERE I started).
And that would be contingent on where You live and the climate zone You live in.
So for me, that meant developing carpentry, plumbing, electrical skills, masonry skills, learning how to take down trees, having arbor climbing skills, knowing how to use a chain saw and maintain them. Knowing how to make repairs and how to build things. Knowing how to use an axe, and to sharpen one and how to replace an axe handle.
Knowing how to grow food for yourself, hunt and trap. These skills have very little to do with short term survival, but everything to do with developing the skills You need to survive.
Next in priority would be Medical and Emergency Medical Service Skills. I notice You have Joe Afton’s excellent book on Your list.
After this, next would be to know the trees and plants in Your area. Then what wild edible foods that You can synergize with Your regular meals so that You have actual hands on working knowledge of how to plant, raise crops and what wild foods that are available in Your region. Plant knowledge and animal knowledge is also important.
Learning how to trap is another important skill that someone should know. But note it is pretty far down the list, and not at all important for short term survival.
For short term survival, the list is pretty short: 1) Always carry a good warm coat with a hood even in July and August) . That more than anything will keep You alive in almost all circumstances.
2) Carry a Cell phone to call for help. 3) Carry some means of making a fire. 4) Carry something to keep You dry. Most people have either rain gear or ponchos. Something just as good is a couple of 6 mil plastic sheets. Two Sheets of 8 x 10 six mil plastic will keep You dry and cozy, and is so lightweight, that You hardly know You are carrying it, and of course You will need cordage. You don’t have to have paracord, simple cheap 1/8th inch white nylon is just as good.
5) Always know where You are, and You will never get lost. I carry a compass in every vehicle I own and I have a compass in almost every coat. I think that I have at least 10 compasses. I always carry a Gazetteer of my state and a National Gazetteer as well. They are invaluable. With a Gazetteer, I always know where I am.
Most people don’t know this, but a good compass will actually give You an accurate reading in Your vehicle. I’ve done this at least 30 times. With a compass and a road map, I have never been lost. As a matter of fact, I couldn’t get lost if I tried. By making a point of always knowing (by being mindful) of which direction You are traveling, it is almost impossible to get lost with a map and a compass.
6) having a set of extra athletic shoes and some good warm socks and an umbrella, and You have the makings, along with Your coat and plastic tarps, for a great “Get Home Bag.” So for Your car, a good sun hat in summer and a warm watch cap in winter along with sun glasses, and You have all the bases covered.
That is about it. I’ve covered all the bases for 95% of the “survival ” necessities for most people.
It really isn’t all that hard. How many of You are going to be flying in a plane and getting stranded on a desert island or in the middle of the pacific? Not too many. But how many of You are going to get stuck somewhere because You forgot to fill Your gas tank, or Your vehicle breaks down and You have to hike it to the next town. Actually most of You at some point in time will experience this. And how many of You are going to have a storm knock out the power for a day or have the furnace break down and not have any heat until the repair man can get to You? Actually most of you will at some point in time run into that situation. Or how many of You can handle a couple of downed trees or one slamming into Your house and You having to remove it? Can You do it safely?
Or how many of You will run into a situation where You will need emergency medical service skills to treat someone? It has happened to me three times. Or what do You do if You become injured? Can You take care of Yourself? Or how about Your family.
Sure, it isn’t as glamorous as being lost in the Pacific, and You having to hunt for Your food like on TV, but it is much more real.
In other words, focus on real life PROBABILITIES as opposed to fantasies. Learn what it takes to survive in YOUR PRESENT environment. Develop those skills, and when You have mastered them, THEN focus on those less realistic or probable.
In reality, most of these books should not be considered survival books at all, but are rather Skill Development books. Because that is what You are actually doing. Developing the skills to deal with different situations at different times and getting through those incidents as easily and as pain free and as comfortable as possible.
Enjoying Country Wisdom and Know How by Storey Books. A great bugging in guide to gardens, animals. medicine and basic house repair. Another book? Back to Basics by Readers Digest. Simple, easy to get the basics and move forward. We do have some of the survival guides listed above on the shelf. We see them as a prep, but not as much as a long tool. The basics of two week survival better simply be ingrained in your head. If you haven’t practiced, you won’t survive anyway. I, certainly, will not depend on a Kindle copy of anything. Living near the Amish helps put perspective on how important those electronics are for survival (not at all).
Elise Xavier says
Thanks for the book recommendations! Definitely agree that most of these books are prep; there are some books I would say would be really good for reference, but most would either fall into the first aid or foraging categories. Definitely in my opinion better to have hard copies for references, but nothing wrong with having a kindle + a small solar charger and loading it with plenty of prep books in case SHTF and you want something entertaining to do. No, it’s not as good as practising beforehand, but I still feel it’s better to have, especially in case you want an answer to something specific. Besides, nothing more motivating than an actual hard time to get you reading what you should have before.
LOL, I have the Army field manual 21- 76 1970 edition it is ok but very dated, with illustrations instead of pictures. Great list you came up with though.
If I may I would like to suggest two more books,
“The Idiots Guide to Foraging” by Mark Vorderbrugggen, PhD
and “Good Mushroom-Bad Mushroom’ by John Plischke III
I got them both at Booksamillion.
Thomas Xavier says
I have the 1957 edition reprinted in 2009. I have no issues with the illustrations and I always found the advice to be straightforward and practical without excessive disclaimers or politically correct jargon. I particularly like the “Hazards to Survival” chapter. Something that isn’t often discussed.
Thanks for the other recommendations Bill, I am not much of a forager but I am sure Elise will be interested!
One book I’ve really enjoyed over the years was Ray Mears “Outdoor Survival Handbook”.
It was the first “survival”manual I bought when I got out of the Army back in ’93.
It was my Bushcraft primer back before the word Bushcraft became a catch phrase or a selling point.
I think it is a shame so many now try to make a living off of peoples fears of the unknown-Ray’s book did not do that it was not “doom and gloom”,but rather “get out and learn and enjoy nature”.Just a better message in my opinion.
Hey there! Thanks for the list! I’ve recently gotten interested in survival and bushcraft and picked up Bushcraft 101 by Dave Canterbury and so far have not been liking it much. It has a lot of info but not enough graphics to back it up, and I find his tone to be a bit condescending. However, I like his “5 C’s” and it has given me a lot of ideas of what to research further. I just picked up #16 (Bushcraft by Mors Kochanski). I really like having real reference books in my hand, so I do appreciate the list and I will likely be grabbing more than a few of these!
Elise Xavier says
Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Dave’s book. Let me know how you like Bushcraft by Mors Kochanski. Hope you find at least a few books you really like!
book by Dr.Dennis Wahler “Lost in the Wilderness”How to stay Alive sold thru Amazon
Elise Xavier says
odd list. Seems like some are missing that I would but in the top 25. I guess everyone has a different point of view or some are not available as Kindle downloads.
Elise Xavier says
Which would you put in the top 25 that aren’t listed here?
Kevin Daughtridge says
I currently have most of the books in this list. Very good list by the way. I just wanted to add a few . Kind of food for thought in no particular order.
The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-by-step Guide to Help You Prepare for Any Disaster
The Prepper’s Pocket Guide: 101 Easy Things You Can Do to Ready Your Home for a Disaster
Prepper’s Natural Medicine: Life-Saving Herbs, Essential Oils and Natural Remedies for When There is No Doctor
Boy Scout Handbook
Some handy reads from the early century with regard to bushcraft and structures include:
Camping and Woodcraft Vol 1
Camp and trail Methods
Woodcraft by Nessmuk
Camp and Trail by White
Camp Craft by Warren Hastings Miller
Elise Xavier says
Thanks so much for sharing your take, and for these particular recommendations, Kevin!
An “oldie but goodie” book that has been recommended to me is “Camping and woodcraft; a handbook for vacation campers and for travelers in the wilderness” by Horace Kephart. It was originally published in the early 1900s. Which makes some of the information a tad dated, but the basics are still applicable. Bonus: it’s also $0.99 on Amazon for Kindle.
Thomas Xavier says
Kephart is the man! a great suggestion Erin, thanks for sharing it with us.
I’m suprised the Boyscout Handbook is nowhere on this list.
It’s an easy read, formatted and organized well, and includes all of the basics for outdoor survival.
In addition, it’s cheap, and easy to find.
Also, the old BSA Explorers Handbook has a ton of great stuff in it, how to fish, build a shelter, sharpen an axe, trap game… even how to build your own backpacks!
As a side note, I prefer the older editions of these book. The art is neat, and they focus more on the actual skills, wheras the newer editions of the book soend a lot of time talking about how to be politically correct, etc. Stuff that really has nothign to do with outdorrsmanship.
I didn’t see “Mel Tappan on Survival” on your list. Mel was the survivalist Guru before the term prepper was invented. The book is somewhat dated now. Technology, the acceptance of the survival mindset and the sheer amount equipment available to the modern ‘ survivalist’ has changed dramatically since Mr. Tappan passed away but for general information and just plain old common sense solutions to everyday off the grid problems it’s hard to beat.
The last time I checked on Amazon the book was once again available. After several decades I guess the demand finally reached the point that someone finally decided to put it back in print.
Linda Smith says
More helpful than a Green Beret survival manual for the average suburbanite is the good ol’ Boy Scout Handbook. Many experts recommend it; it’s easily understood & within the ability of most folks. It helps is you have a Boy Scout to go with it. haha
Elise Xavier says
Good point! That’s a great suggestion, Linda! And yes, I’m sure it does. ;)
I agree about the BSA handbook, try to get one of the older editions – I have a 1960s 6th edition that I really like. For a history of changes to the Handbook, see http://www.troop97.net/bshb1.htm
Illini Warrior says
Ragnar Benson has authored some survival books that are now considered controversial by certain ABC gooberment agencies …. but many of his offering are more than top notch ….
Ragnar’s Urban Survival
Ragnar’s Ten Best Traps
Starting a New Life in Rural America
just to name a few ….
Elise Xavier says
Thank you for the suggestions! Will take a look at ’em :)
You might want to add the field guides by Tom Brown Jr. That’s how I started years ago. Oh and #5 is a great one too. Great list.
Another great book is the phycologist of wilderness survival by Dr. Gino Ferri http://www.survivalinthebushinc.com/?page_id=708
Elise Xavier says
Thanks for these suggestions, Peter! :) I’ve gotta give ’em a good look over.
For most people reading this list, it will end here. They’ll think, “Oh, that’d be nice to have “some day” but right now I’m still working on my tools/gear preps/food supplies/planning/strategy/convincing family members…or whatever is occupying the mind at the moment.
It is EASY to get distracted. It is easy to flit from one article to the next and think, “yeah, I need to do that.” It is easy to “add that item” to my ever-growing list of needed items or needed skills. But it won’t do any good if you don’t make study of these books a priority. I’ve found nearly all these titles in my public library and read them cover to cover. Many of these titles cover the same basics. Some are from a survivalist view and some are from prepper’s views. While reading, I make note of either the “aha!” items and those items that suit me and my post-SHTF lifestye and set a date for purchase after first prioritizing needed gear and practicing needed skills.
Elise Xavier says
Very good point, Harry!
You’re very right, it’s not enough to only read about things in passing, you need to learn about them in depth, and then actually go out and make them happen – practice them yourself as well – especially when it comes to the wilderness survival skills. After all, you can read 15 books about firecraft – doesn’t mean you’ll be able to make a fire when you actually need one.
Reading and learning is only step 1. Going out and doing is what’s really important.
Good point. We should all practice, practice, practice! I know I’m rusty and need to get out there, even if it’s in your backyard.
The Forager’s Harvest and Nature’s Garden by Samuel Thayer on edible plants are both excellent! I will be looking to add many on your list to my want list.
I may be biased here but one of my favorite survival books is “The Survival Handbook”by Colin Towle with the Royal Marines.I got to meet the author and count him as a friend.He was “on loan” to the U.S. Navy at the SERE school when they were in Brunswick,ME.I got to know several instructors and sharpened their knives for them when they came into the knife shop I worked at.
Hollie Hawley says
Great list. I really need to improve my wilderness skills (I’m a city kid, after all), so I’ll dive into this list. Lots of good stuff there.
I have read a book that my mother had from back when she was REALLY. a serious survivalist. It is called, Life After Doomsday. I can’t remember who the author is right now, Sorry. It covers a large amount of topics from home made fallout shelters, how to protect your home/shelter, purification of water, guns, knives, etc. It may be somewhat dated since the main concern is radioactive fallout and if I remember correctly, it doesn’t cover biological threats. It does have a huge amount of information in it though. Maybe it will help someone that is reading this right now. Good luck and I hope we don’t need to put any of this into use.
Elise Xavier says
Do you think it’s this one by Bruce Clayton?: http://amzn.to/1yFSQAF
Still sounds like a very valuable source. And anyway, no one survival book needs to cover everything. Shelters, safety, water, and weapons are all really important groundwork you should know about no matter what you’re prepping for.
Thanks for the recommendation, Michelle!
I bought #3 for my sister last year and have it on my kindle. She happens to love it. I think a good guide to edible plants and their look a-likes is necessary. I bought a good one for my dad last year. I would need to dig into my Amazon history to remember the name. I need to order one for myself also.
Elise Xavier says
See if you can find out which book you bought for your father – I’m curious now!
Good to know which books people like. Someone on Google+ mentioned that #6 is amazing, and pulled out an awesome quote from it: “Sometimes shit hits the fan and you still have to go to work the next day.”? So yup. Now I’m thinking that should be next on my reading list ;). Will add #3 to it as well.
Edible Wild Plants: A North American Field Guide to Over 200 Natural Foods
I did quite a bit of research. My dad likes it because unlike the military manuals it has actual pictures which is good if you are not experienced in the field. For example, if you are harvesting wild mushrooms, it is very easy to mix up a non toxic and toxic mushroom if you are looking at a hand drawn field guide. There are seasoned harvesters that still take great care with their fungi. Also, it is a good idea to read your field manuals before you ever have to use them. They are useless if you need to use them and you are not familiar with them.
Elise Xavier says
Yes, you should definitely be reading the field manuals before you need them!
Pictures are very important for that kind of thing. I have a hard time identifying plants myself, no background in it, so pictures would be more helpful for me than the write up even. I’ll definitely look into getting that book as well – thanks so much for checking up the title and getting back to me!
Vincent Blin says
Elise, thank you for all these recommendations.
Would you mind telling me which one is the book where we can see the few photographs from in your list.
The book shows nice and clear pictures on your photo instead of just texts and diagrams.
Thank you in advance.
PS: Would love to read a review from you guys on the A1 pro by Fallkniven
Elise Xavier says
All the pictures, including that one, are taken of book #5 on this list: 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive by Cody Lundin. It’s excellent! Highly recommend.
& I’ll pass that request along to Thomas :).