I remember hearing a saying, years ago, that goes: “In 10 years, you’ll be the same person you are today, except for the people that you meet and the books that you read.” I can’t really say that this statement is totally true, as there are other things which have an impact on our lives; but the two things it talks about, people and books, are definitely two of the things which have the best chance of bringing about change in our lives. Hopefully, that will be change for the better.
The other important thing about books and people is that most of what we learn come from one or the other. Yeah, we can learn from the internet too; but that’s only been around for a few years. Before that, we were limited to the two sources I mentioned.
There’s just one little problem with the books though; that’s picking out the ones which will do you the most good. As with any other subject, there are good survival books out there and there are ones which are not so good. The only way you can usually sort one out from the other is to read them. But then, if you don’t know much about survival, it’s going to be hard to pick the good ones out from the bad.
So here’s my list of the five books I recommend to everyone I meet who is interested in survival. I won’t be so bold as to say that they are the only good books out there; but they are what I consider to be the best of the best. You may have a different opinion; but you should take a look at these anyway.
The 5 Best Survival Books for Outdoorsmen, Preppers, and Survivalists
By Dave Canterbury
Regardless of whether you are planning on bugging in or bugging out, you’re going to need to learn what are known as bushcraft skills. These skills, which include everything from starting a fire to building a shelter, are often referred to as “wilderness survival skills.” Yet many of them, like fire starting, will work wherever you are, especially in a post-disaster world.
Bushcraft 101 is an introduction, for those who are not familiar with these skills. The author goes into great detail, talking about equipment and methods, preparing you to make the right choices for your own survival. Well illustrated, Bushcraft 101 will take you from novice, to knowledgeable, in its 245 pages.
Canterbury has also written other books, which make for a natural follow-up to Bushcraft 101, including: “Advanced Bushcraft,” “Bushcraft First Aid,” and “The Bushcraft Field Guide to Trapping, Gathering and Cooking in the Wild.” These are all excellent books as well.
While the Bushcraft series of books was written in the height of the “prepping movement,” it doesn’t fall into the trap of many other books written during this time. It provides accurate information, almost all of which predates that movement. These books are not filled with the “latest and greatest” but rather with time-tested ideas, many of which have been in use for hundreds of years. You don’t have to buy the latest gadgets to put this information to use.
By William R. Forstchen
One Second After is actually a novel. While fiction isn’t normally the place where we would go, in order to learn about anything, William Forstchen does an amazingly realistic job of portraying the aftermath of an EMP attack on the United States. This book gives readers a much better idea of what it will be like to survive in such a situation, than any other book out there. It is so well written, that it was read in Congress.
This book is actually part of a trilogy, which includes the books, “One Year After” and “The Final Day.” Together, they trace the efforts of a small town in the mountains to first survive, and then start on the trail towards rebuilding their corner of society, in the aftermath of that attack.
Part of what makes this series of books so good is that the author has good, accurate information about what an EMP is and what effects it will have, to include the effects of living in a society which no longer has electrical power. His knowledge drives the story line, keeping it real. By comparison, many other books I’ve read about surviving an EMP have made-up “science” that doesn’t track true.
About the only real survival lessons one can learn from One Second After are along the line of bringing a community together to survive the various problems that will exist in a post-TEOTWAWKI world. But that’s not the reason I recommend this book. I recommend it because it will give you the best picture you can find, of what it is that you’re preparing for.
By Cody Lundin
Cody Lundin is a long-time survival instructor, living and teaching in Arizona. He lives in a passive solar underground home, which he designed and built, putting his survival knowledge into practice. In more recent times, he has been seen on television, as a co-host of the program “Dual Survival.” He was not chosen for this part because he was a great actor, but rather for his survival knowledge.
While Cody has written a couple of different books, I personally think that this is the best of them. He gives very practical instruction and advice, in a down-home, easy to understand manner. Cody’s instruction is thorough, bringing all the necessary aspects of survival into play. He covers a lot of areas that others miss, like the importance of personal hygiene. While I mostly consider this an urban survival book, in reality the lessons that it teaches are good for both urban and wilderness survival.
Before reading Lundin’s book, my personal focus was mostly on wilderness survival. It was he who first opened my eyes up to the reality and advantages of urban survival. While I have gone on to learn much more about urban survival than what I learned from him, it was this book that shifted my focus from only looking at survival as something to do in the wilderness, to preparing for bugging in.
By David Werner, Carol Thuman, et al.
Medical services tend to become overrun in the wake of most disasters. Between people who are injured in the disaster itself and those who get injured in trying to salvage what they can and survive in the aftermath, there is more work than most medical facilities can handle. Add the problems of disease and starvation to that, and you’ll be lucky if you can get your family in to see a doctor.
On top of that, there are often transportation problems, making it difficult to get family members to a doctor, hospital or clinic. Those delays can be deadly, as many injures need to be treated immediately, in order to prevent the risk of infection setting in.
Where There is No Doctor wasn’t actually written to be a survival guide, but rather a resource for missionaries and those who find themselves thrust into the position of having to provide health care, even though they aren’t health care professionals. That makes it an ideal resource for those of us who are preparing for coming disasters.
This book explains sickness, disease and injury in a clear, simple manner; providing information that is actionable by the average layman. A wide range of medical procedures are explained in a simple manner that you don’t need medical school to understand. Unless you already have a medic in your survival team, this book could very well be the lifesaver needed, when you can’t get to a doctor.
By John “Lofty” Weisman
First published over 30 years ago, this book, now in its third edition, has become a standard in the prepping and survival community. Written by a former member of the British SAS, it reads much like a military manual; but it is not; it’s the work of Lofty Weisman.
Weisman, like Lundin, is a long-time survival instructor. His beginnings in survival come from the SAS, which became the model for every “special” military unit around the world. His knowledge is extensive, after a lifetime of living and teaching survival; actually much more than many of the people who are touted as survival experts in the media today.
This book sis massive, at 579 pages, which in and of itself says a lot about what it contains. Lofty provides an incredible amount of information in it, dealing mostly with wilderness survival situations. If you want to buy just one book that will tell you how to survive in the wilderness, this is the one. You’ll learn more about wilderness survival from the SAS Survival Handbook, than any other book you can find on the market.
While I have nothing against any of the survival “celebrities” that are touted today, I’d be cautious about reading their books. It’s not that their books aren’t any good; they probably are. My big concern is that those celebrities are so busy, that they may not have had the time to give their book their best.
Always make sure that you use multiple books as your sources. While each author has their message to convey, you rarely find one author who will teach you everything you need to know. Reading material from a variety of sources helps ensure that the gaps which one author leaves in their material are covered by another, giving you a more complete education.
And of course, never stop learning.