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  • Comments (61)

    • 1

      The recommendation of One second after puts your non political approach in doubt.
      The forward Newt Gringrich wrote alone was pretty telling about the ideology of the book.
      Racism, sexism and misogyny are rampant. The “White American male” is superior to anyone of color or who is a woman. Heavy anti liberal/Democrat/progressive slant.

      • 4

        We considered that when deciding whether or not to include that book, but decided to include it because people in the community said “yeah it has some slant, but overall we like it.” From your feedback, however, I will update the description to note it has some political slant.

      • 4

        And that put the entire list in doubt.
        This book was BLATANT in it’s right wing politics, it’s derision and sexualization of women and it’s contempt for anyone non white.
        Racism and sexism run rampant in this book series. Women are either sex objects or family, and that includes the MCs STUDENTS.
        PoCs are either bad or good subservient lackeys to the white man.

        Have you even read this book???

      • 5

        As said in the article, no, it’s impossible for us to read every book. We rely on reports from the community. This list is in need of an update soon, and I’ll keep your feedback in mind!

      • 6
        [comment deleted]
    • 10

      You should also consider putting the FEMA CERT manual on your list. You generally get them when you take the local CERT class but they are also available at Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/gp/p…

    • 8

      I would vote this guide for a significant update (as you apparently plan).  The major issue I see is the lack of subject matter experts in the various fields.  Based on their credentials, Sarah Avery seems like a reasonable choice for reviewing fiction and maybe popular (i.e., non-technical) nonfiction and John Ramey seems well positioned to assess the quality of books describing emergency scenarios, reasons to prepare, and survival skills.  However, I don’t see how either of these authors are well qualified to evaluate books on things like violence or medicine or water purification.  Using a standard like “consensus across the prepper movement” to select a book (as they do with the SAS Survival Handbook) is pretty questionable, since most preppers are amateurs with little (if any) actual experience with extreme emergencies – after all, the worst things we prepare for haven’t happened in the US or Europe in 70 – 150 years, if ever.  Choosing something because it was “Amazon’s top seller in the category” (as they do with the B&D Guide to Home Repair again strikes me as invalid.  After all, people who actually know lots about Home Repair are not the ones buying home repair manuals, so sales of the book don’t necessarily indicate its accuracy.

      Also, unlike many subsequent guides, this one doesn’t provide a complete list of the options reviewed.  I found myself wondering whether some of my favorites had been considered.

      As for problems with particular selections, I’m a gardener and permaculturist (albeit just at a hobby level) and Gaia’s Garden isn’t the book I would recommend to most preppers.  It’s a great book, but permaculture colonies can take multiple years to get established well enough that you can harvest them without hurting them, and many permaculture staples are actually quite hard to source.  Moreover, permaculturists still plant gardens of annuals (like tomatoes or green beans or sweet potatoes) and Gaia’s Garden doesn’t teach you how to do that.  If you want one book that will help you get into gardening and even allow you to grow food in a multi-month emergency (depending on the season) from the seed packets you can get at the local store, I would recommend the classic How to Grow More Vegetables.

      Other books I would recommend for consideration include:

      -When All Hell Breaks Loose by Cody Lundin.  If you only had one reference guide for an extended shelter-in-place, this is the one I’d recommend.  It covers mental mindset, clean water, staying warm or cool, etc. in a super-practical, using-what-you-already-have way, complete with (slightly silly) illustrations.  It seems to me to be superior to The Ultimate Prepper’s Guide.

      -The Self-Sufficient Life and How to Live It by John Seymour.  An encyclopedic reference guide on homesteading.  I’m not a homesteader, so I can’t promote this book as better than your pick.  However, I find it to be well-written and am curious as to whether it was considered.

      -Emergency by Neil Strauss.  This is the light read I recommend to people thinking about prepping.  I like that it stresses getting training (and practicing your skills) over buying stuff.

      I would also recommend, with a big caveat, Facing Violence by Rory Miller.  The caveat is that the second half of the book is on fighting/self-defense techniques and I don’t think you can learn fighting from a book.  But the first half is about the social dynamics that lead to violence, identifying predators, recognizing situations that can lead to violence, and having strategies to avoid these situations or get out of them without fighting.  I haven’t read your pick in this category (When Violence is the Answer) but going through the Table of Contents and Amazon sample, it doesn’t seem like it covers this material.

      • 5

        Excellent comment! Agree with your main points. This article is distinctly different from our norm because of the nature of how hard and subjective it is to put a books list like this together. But we’ve been looking for avid-reader community members to chip in. Emailing you now.

    • 10

      One additional thought:

      For some of the technical areas here, you might consider dividing books into 2 categories: ‘Things to Read Now’ (i.e., to get into this area of prepping) and ‘Shelf References’ (i.e., the one thing to have on your shelf if you’re planning to do this in an emergency).

    • 9

      Warning, eyestrain length comment here; apologies.

      First, compliments on a few of your choices.  Specifically the Atwood and Butler recommendations.  Octavia Butler has been one of my favorite authors since the first book of hers I read (Survivor) back in my late teens, some forty years ago.  As far as other books, I’m most intrigued by the titles addressing foraging for food and the medical books, two issues that will be of paramount importance if SHTF, and knowledge of same will do a lot more in helping you to survive than being able to hit a target at a hundred meters with a Mini-14.  Criticisms: it’s your web site and you can do what you want, but I personally would never recommend a book I had never read to anyone.  As others have pointed out, Amazon rankings and word of mouth in the community are not reliable guides as to the quality of information those books contain.

      I have to turn a thumbs down on your recommendation of One Second After.  I found it childish and utterly irrelevant to any real survival issues.  Why?  Because the only real EMP weapons anyone has consists of atomic bombs and if one hits us, the collapse of information infrastructure is going to be the least of your worries.  In that event you’d be far wiser to instead realize that those high-altitude EMP bursts will without doubt be followed up by many more warheads detonating at, shall we say, a much lower altitude.  In any EMP attack your real problems are going to be fireball, blast overpressure, and fallout, not your dead iPhone or no internet. As far as any sort of a sneak attack intending to decapitate command and control, it would be utter suicide for any country to do this as the most hardened parts of the US military are those addressing the launching and targeting of ballistic missiles and anyone, but anyone, who launched even a few at us would be getting a massive response before their warheads even got here.  Besides the absurdity of the premise, I also found the book to be more of the old-white-guy-with-fantasies-of-heroism type of a story like the very worst of Tom Clancy.  Which is every book Clancy ever wrote.

      And now the good stuff: Fiction — the first appearance of what we now call a survivalist or prepper in literature appeared in Robert Heinlein’s 1964 novel Farnham’s Freehold.  When the book was written an established term for such a person didn’t even exist.  It’s not his best book, and about halfway in the book takes a bonkers turn into a completely different type of story, but most preppers would probably find the first half fascinating if a little bizarre.  It’s all based on Heinlein’s own preparations, including a shelter beneath his home, so there’s a lot of practical stuff in it.  Heinlein was a prepper before I was even born.  Another novel is the must-read book War Day by Whitley Streiber and Jim Kunetka.  It’s compelling and well-written fiction, coupled with the most exhaustive real-world research anyone has ever done for a novel about nuclear war.  Back in 1986 I gave my copy to a close relative whose job was being a junior nav and weapons officer on a SAC B52, and the novel left him depressed as hell.  Why?  “Because they got it all right.  Everything.” he told me.  And for fans of One Second After, if you want to get an idea of what a real EMP attack might look like you need to be reading War Day instead of One Second After.

      A nonfiction resource is anything written by a guy named Mel Tappan, who wrote a survivalist column for Guns and Ammo magazine back in the 70s and 80s.  I believe it was he who actually coined the term “survivalist” and he was tremendously knowledgeable about an enormous variety of subjects within that field.  He published several books, but I would also recommend trying to find a collection of the columns he wrote for the magazine.  One of the books he strongly recommended was a translation of a Chinese text called something like “The Barefoot Doctor” which was issued by the Chinese government to officials in rural areas that had literally no facilities or doctors for people to turn to.  It was purportedly extremely basic and assumed no medical knowledge on the part of the reader, and as such could be a valuable reference.  Another resource that simply can’t be ignored is the huge number of field manuals and the like issued by the US military establishment over the years, which are all in the public domain and can be downloaded en masse from many websites.  Examples would be the manuals used to train combat medics or corpsmen, or the ones used to train Special Forces or clandestine troops.  A real standout would be the “Improvised Weapons” manual that shows how to make everything from napalm to directional Claymore-type mines, constructing firearms from piping, and using strike-anywhere matches as both propellant and priming compound for improvised reloading of empty cartridge cases.  The US Army Ranger Manual is also really good for that sort of thing.

      Finally, a subject I’m most intimate with, self defense and personal combat.  I was a metro police officer in a city with a violent crime rate that pretty much always surpasses those of Detroit, Chicago, DC, Miami, et al. and I’ve been bitten, stabbed, shot at, gone to the ER more than once to get sewn up, and have wrestled guns off of people many times.  I’ve also taken many psychopaths into custody at gunpoint, and/or after having to subdue them physically. I also trained in Judo, Hapkido, and Jujutsu for over a decade.  As you can probably imagine, I’m extremely skeptical about most books on combat or self-defense and I’ll be the first to tell you that 95% of the tripe you will learn in most of the traditional martial arts schools should be considered exercise and not training for combat. If you have the time to devote to it, Judo, Western Boxing, and Muay Thai are all excellent preparation for unarmed combat, though it could take you months or years to reach even a basic level of competence.  I don’t necessarily agree with the idea that you can’t learn how to fight from a book.  Aside from the massive amount of basic and advanced defensive tactics training I received as a police officer, and the martial arts training I did, I also studied every fighting art that I could find reputable literature on and successfully incorporated techniques from them in my own repertoire without the benefit of even informal training in those techniques.  I know they worked because I used them, frequently.  Two or more people with common sense and decent training texts can achieve quite a lot in skills development if they’re motivated.

      Unfortunately, the single most valuable reference I can recommend is a book that’s almost impossible to get outside of the police community, that being the PPCT system developed by Bruce Siddle.  It’s the most commonly taught system in law enforcement in this country, if not in the world and my personal experience was that I learned more about effective fighting in that initial 50 hours of training in the academy than I learned in over a decade of Asian martial arts training.  And again, I know it works because I’ve had to use it countless times.  That stuff is for when it might not be appropriate to put someone in their grave, but who still need to be shut down.  For when things get grim, the single best book I’ve ever studied is the deceptively thin WW2 commando training text “Get Tough” by W.E. Fairbairn.  It’s in the public domain and can be downloaded from multiple sources (google it).  Everything in the book is simple, nasty, and brutal beyond the norms of decency.  Nothing in it requires the abilities of a professional athlete or a brainiac genius to execute.  A word of warning though, some of the techniques in it are so dangerous that they simply can’t be practiced at full strength unless you want to break the neck or spine of the person you train with so some caution and common sense are an absolute requirement.  Finally, I’ve been collecting manuals on what the US military calls “Combatives” (and before that “hand-to-hand combat”) from multiple branches and the armies of other nations going back beyond WW2.  Most of the older stuff wasn’t nearly the quality of “Get Tough” but going into modern times the techniques have improved.  I recently ran through some new things with a few old Army buddies who have for multiple reasons kept up their proficiency in the stuff, and have seen the latest field manuals on the subject from both the Army and Marine Corps.  The most recent information is nice and brutal and simple, and is vastly superior to what they taught back in the 80s and earlier.  I can’t hype these military training manuals strongly enough, because if you search diligently you can find many or most of them free to download. Another option has been buying CDs loaded with literally hundreds of PDFs of military manuals.  They are the best and most valuable source of the “Dummies” guide to everything from carpentry to improvised explosives to how to treat a traumatic amputation in the field.  I have a lot more books and the like I could recommend, but I think I’ve wheezed on long enough now.  I hope some of that was helpful.

      • 7

        Joe! What a great comment, thanks for the contribution. We’re actually rebuilding this page as we speak and have acted on some of your ideas.

        FWIW we do think it’s worth publishing a list even though we haven’t read every book, because without this list people are left with almost no orientation other than the junk they hear about in random social forums of untrustworthy Amazon reviews. 90% awesome is better than 0%.

        On the EMP side, you may like our article https://theprepared.com/emergencies/guides/emp/

    • 8

      Hiya’ Sara & John! This was a very detailed and expansive list
      ! thank you for putting it up! One thing I would like to add is more good books n how to use the medicinal herbs, how to find them, and how to harvest them properly! there are a couple good books on your list that touch on it, but they are very general and broad, and a good book that delves into herbs more is a better addition to any bookshelf. Granted, I have almost all the herbal and plant books you mentioned on my shelf already plus a dozen or three more! My household forages and wildcrafts many herbs and spices all season long. Most of the herbs we gather are processed into tinctures, salves, and syrups. Some we hang dry to dehydrate, then store in sealed glass mason jars in a large cabinet designed to keep out light just for our herbs! We have now taken to gathering good old dollar tree spices and things like that every time we go to town to grocery shop! Pepper, salt, and garlic powder being among the chief of these. We are in Oregon, Lane County, and there are quite a lot of trees here that provide some interesting healing properties! My mom just bought me a book for my birthday last October (I turned 44), “The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies” by Claude Davis and Nicole Apelian. Check it out here: (link removed), I loved it and immediate bought three copies for Christmas presents! I immediately noticed a superfood tree listed in its pages that I know for a fact has been quietly making its way into many American backyards! If you can spot this peaceful invader he’ll provide you with food (all parts are edible), water (it can purify it), more protein and calcium than milk, four times the iron of spinach and… a LOT more! I planted one in my backyard two years ago and was absolutely blown away by how fast it grew – over 4′ feet in just 2 months. Best of all, this tree already grows in many American backyards, so see if it grows in your own backyard as well.
      Wanted to share my good find with y’all!
      Joy & Health to you,
      Justin Baker

      • 6

        Thanks for the input Justin. We’re working on a relaunch of this list as we speak, will take a look at your recommendations. What’s the peaceful invader tree?

      • 6

        Thank you for your response, John. I appreciate you looking into that relaunch! To answer your question – BIRCH! I encourage you to take this opportunity to check out this book and I look forward to seeing your new, updated list!

    • 8

      Hello!  Thank you so much to the team at ThePrepared.com for your hard work and dedication to writing excellent articles and doing extensive research!  I am most grateful!  I have written a brief summary (4 pages) of emergency preparedness information for my friends and family, and I emailed it to them recently, and included a link to your excellent website.  I noticed that you are updating your list of recommended books, so I would like to make a suggestion in order to help you.

      I highly recommend “Surviving when modern medicine fails: A definitive guide to essential oils that could save your life during a crisis”, 3rd edition, by Dr. Scott A. Johnson.  The book is available on his website and on Amazon. The book provides general information on essential oils, methods of use (topical, inhalation, oral), and then recommendations for an extensive list of health conditions!

      Another excellent book for emergency and survival situations is by Dr. Scott A. Johnson is “The Doctor’s Guide to Surviving When Modern Medicine Fails”, which is very helpful for use in remote areas, emergencies and other situations when medical care is not available.

      On Dr. Johnson’s website, you can get a discount if you buy books in bulk packs (pack of 10, pack of 25).  Very highly recommended overall!

      Dr. Scott A. Johnson is a Naturopathic doctor and has many other qualifications, and he is extraordinarily thorough in his research.  His lists of references in his many books are vast, and his information is very deep and evidence-based.

      These two books are available in paperback form, with minimal illustrations and concise content, so the books can be carried in a backpack, and help you during a crisis. These books are also available in Kindle form, which can be helpful, but of course, that format may be very helpful during an extended power outage

      If you want gorgeous photos and more technical content for serious study (at a technical level that suits both home users and healthcare professionals), I highly recommend his enormous book “Medicinal Essential Oils: The Science and Practice of Evidence-based Essential Oil Therapy”, which has more than 2,200 pages!

      Best wishes to everyone!  Thanks again to the team at ThePrepared.com!

    • 6

      Any fiction prepper/collapse book list needs to include the ones written by Franklin Horton. His ‘Borrowed World’, and ‘Locker Nine’ series are, in my opinion, the best post-collapse books out there. His first few were a little rough, needed some closer editing in the written versions (I’ve listened to the Audible books, which are great). He’s envisioned a plausible reason for a collapse, and then showcased many different intelligently developed scenarios, and characters responding to them. He’s written over 8 books and has done a good job showing what a post-collapse world could look like, both right after it happens and several months into it.

      I strongly second ‘The Survival Medicine Handbook’, by Dr Bones and Nurse Amy — great information contained in there. I’d also recommend the Special Operations Forces Medical Handbook (ISBN 10: 1977597289).

      • 7

        We’re actually working on a big update to this list as we speak, so will take a look at your suggestions, thanks.

      • 3

        The Franklin Horton books are some of my favorites. Excited to read the newest in the Mad Mick series that includes a long anticipated cross-over with The Borrowed World series. 

        C.A. Rudolph’s “What’s Left of My World” series is also very entertaining, although the last book he published in it is a bit of a cliffhanger, so I’m hoping to see a new release from him soon. 

        I’d have to say that my taste in fiction books is probably not as discerning as others. Like a disaster movie that is so unbelievable, but highly entertaining, suspension of disbelief goes a long way when you enter these fictional worlds and I choose them based on their entertainment factor versus their place in the world of literature. 

    • 9

      The non-fiction side is obviously helpful in a definitive, objective way.  If I may offer some editorial about the *fiction* side…

      I like the post-apocalyptic genre in large part b/c it’s interesting to read about/imagine how humans respond to the various crises.  Some are overtly sci-fi in nature, others supernatural.  Those can be fun, but not particularly instructive.  Regardless, the scenarios described in any of these stories illustrate various societal/human responses with a lot of variance on the path chosen vs. outcome.

      One Second After is… interesting for it’s description of the societal response, and it’s tempting to be drawn into that world.  But, as others have noted, the book is otherwise trash.  Poorly written and entirely derivative of Alas, Babylon.  Plus, this site continuously cautions against (mocks?) the “Rambo Syndrome”… I would say that One Second After is guilty of the promoting the “Patton Syndrome”. If Rambo is the ultimate lone warrior, the Protagonist in OSA is, naturally, a veritable God with regard to leadership and command (something the author fawns over ever 3rd page).  In fairness, the fault of OSA lies more in the endless virtue of every character miraculously within the Protagonist’s universe.

      Alas, Babylon treads similar ground, with some of the same flaws.  But it does a much better job of conveying the aftermath without so much jingoistic nonsense.

      Station Eleven also has a very good opening section, which covers the initial days of a pandemic quickly spreading across the globe.

      • 8

        I’d like to piggy back on this comment as I’ve read all three of these books.  A hearty vote for Station Eleven.  Not only because it deals in some realistic ways with a pandemic and the days immediately after and then much farther out, but even more importantly the writer is fantastic.  It’s not a “hold your nose” and read book it’s real literature just beautifully brought to life.  I also appreciate that it’s by a woman in a heavily male-leaning field.

        If one wants to partake of the One Second After series, I have a big vote for the audio book version narrated by Bronson Pinchot.  He is absolutely fantastic–one of the best audiobook narrators around.  The book, as noted, is very similar to Alas, Babylon in its glorification of the male lead, oversimplification of the female characters etc.  So they are books to be read with a grain of salt (if that expression works).  

      • 4

        Hi, Mrs. G!  I have been traveling and away (from everywhere, inc this site) for quite a while.  But, having just watched the HBO series ‘Station Eleven’, I came back here b/c I recalled mentioning the book and… well, read your glowing review of it also.  I loved that book.  It was one of the more interesting, different, and beautiful books I’ve read – of any genre.  

        As I said, I just finished watching the series and, while it diverges quite a bit, it is equally beautiful and stunning.  It is simply a fantastic story, well done by the creators and the cast.  Seriously… I cannot stop thinking about it and will likely watch again.  I simply cannot praise it enough.  If you liked the book, I think you’ll enjoy the show.  Just know, the whole series is sort of a slow burn and the first two episodes are set up, so… even slower!  But the payoff is there for sure.  Hope you’re well and enjoy!

    • 2

      I bought the SAS Survival Handbook through your link but when it arrived it was a large book over 2 lb! Not appropriate for a bug out bag at all like you suggest.

      • 9

        There are multiple versions of the book, including a smaller one that’s a better choice for portability.

      • 3

        You need the Pocket Version

    • 6

      Just finished “Deep Survival” andit’s a terrific read.  It really gets into the mental outlook that one has to have in order to survive and gives you ideas on where to go to develop that outlook. 

      For your consideration I would suggest Samuel Thayer’s books on wild edible plants ( I own all three of his works).  The photos, detailed descriptions and timelines on what time of year to harvest each plant are quite helpful.

      Additionally, although it will take some time to get proficient,  I would suggest first aid books using homeopathy.  Remedies are quite compact & can be used for multiple situations/injuries/illnesses.  I have been studying homeopathy for the last twenty years & have utilized for myself, family, friends and clients.

    • 6

      Thanks for providing a very worthwhile list of prepping books. Happy to say I already own several of them.

      I see an update is planned. Would you consider “The Non-Electric Lighting Series” for inclusion?  https://www.amazon.com/s?k=%22The+non-electric+lighting+series%22&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss   

      There are 8 books in the series. Each one covers a different topic (candles, Coleman lanterns, etc.). The books range in length from 50 to 150 pages. All are available in paper as well as Kindle ebook format.

      Reader feedback is impressive:  “I learned more about kerosene pressure lanterns in 30 minutes with this book than anyone ever told me and more than I’d learned in hours of watching YouTube.” — totallyfrozen

      • 7

        Thank you for sharing that suggestion Ron. I have not heard of that series but am definitely going to look into it now.

        When I was interested in getting a kerosene lantern I looked all over the internet and it was difficult to find some good information about different fuel types, lantern types, maintenance, etc… So I personally am very interested in learning more. I love having candles, lanterns, and other flame light sources in my house, but my wife isn’t the biggest fan. She is worried about carcinogens, so we don’t use them except for an emergency unfortunately. 

        Are you the same Ron Brown who is the author of this series? If so, I’m sure the members of our forum would love to hear some of the knowledge you have learned through writing this series. If you have a minute to share some cool facts, some common misconceptions about non-electric lighting, or anything else you have to share from this series, i’m sure it will be a big hit!

      • 9

        Yes, I am the same Ron Brown. How would I go about writing and/or sharing an article on The Prepared? To whom would I submit it?

      • 7

        Great to meet you Ron, I did receive your email the other day and will look into your books further.

        We would love to see you start contributing in the community area. If your contribution goes well, our editors will highlight it for more distribution and/or link to it as a source in the main wiki-style articles (eg. BOB checklist). 

        I look forward to reading the content you post in the future. Hope you have a wonderful day.

    • 2

      Thank you for the update! I saw several of my favorites on the list. Looking forward to checking out some of the fiction books listed too! Not sure if I missed them before or if they were new additions. 

    • 5

      Ok chaps, here is my contribution with a British perspective, created from over 40 years of being a survivalist in the beginning and morphing into a prepper around the millenium.

      This is my current library, I hope it helps


      Book list factual and fictional. One set for reference and planning, the other set for mental preparation of how to handle likely scenarios.


      Aftermath, Charles Sheffield (Very Good)
      After Doomsday, Poul Anderson
      Atlas Shrugged, Ayn Rand (Hard to grasp)
      Alas Babylon, Pat Frank (Truly a superb classic)
      Amerikan sunset, Jennifer Ladewig (Drivel)
      A Wrinkle in the skin, John Christopher (A character essay )
      Black Sun, Robert Leininger Very good
      Blood Crazy, Simon Clark
      Crabs, Guy Smith
      Comet, (The) Robert Charles Very Good
      Damnation Alley, Roger Zelazny. Better than the movie
      Day after Tomorrow, (The) Whitley Strieber

      Day by Day Armageddon J L Bourne (SUPERB BOOK)
      Day of the Triffids, John Wyndham
      Death of Grass, John Christopher
      Deathlands, Jack Adrian
      Deluge, Fowler Wright

      Deluge, Richard Doyle
      Drought ,(The) JG Ballard thought provoking
      Drowned world, (The) JG Ballard interesting
      Down to a sunless sea, (either version) David Graham (Truly great, another classic)
      Earth Abides, George R Stewart 2nd only to Alas Babylon
      Earth Winter, Richard Moran
      Eternity Road, Jack McDevitt Interesting future shock
      Empire of Ice, Richard Moran

      Empty World John Christopher
      Famine, Graham Masterson

      Flood, Richard Doyle
      Freeman, (The) Jerry Ahern
      Heavy Weather, Bruce Sterling
      Ice, Arnold Federbush. depressing
      Icefire, Judith & Garfield Reeth Stevens entertaining
      Ice Quake, John R Spencer
      Kraken Wakes, (The) John Wyndham
      Last Ranger, (The) Craig Sargeant ( Rambo wannabe crap)

      Living is Forever J Edwin Carter
      Lucifer’s Hammer, Larry Niven & Jerry Pournelle. (Becoming a classic)

      Long voyage back, Luke Rhineheart( In the top ten of all time )
      Long Loud Silence, ( The) Wilson Tucker
      Last ship, (The) William Brinkley
      Malevil, Robert Merle
      Moonfall, Jack Mc Devitt
      Night of the Triffids, Simon Clark (Good follow on from Day of the Triffids)
      New Madrid Run, (The) Micheal Reisig
      On the beach, Neville Shute
      Out of the Ashes, ( Ashes series) William W Johnstone
      Plague 99, Jean Ure

      Plague of the dead (The Morningstar Saga) Z A Recht
      Patriots, James Wesley Rawles ( A Brilliant piece of work)
      Postman, (The) David Brin

      Resurrection Day Brendan Dubois
      Rift, (The) Walter J Williams
      Savage Dawn, Robert Cole
      Shiva Descending, Gregory Benford
      Some will not die, Algis Budrys
      Stand, (The) Stephen King

      Survivors Terry Nation ( British Classic)
      Survivalist, (The) series Jerry Ahern
      Third Pandemic, (The) Pierre Ouellette
      This is the way the world ends, James Morrow

      Thunder & Ashes (Morningstar Saga) Z A Recht
      Virus, Japanese Author ( lost from my collection)
      When the City stopped, Joan Phipson
      Wild Shore ( The) Kim Stanley Robinson Deep stuff

      World in Winter ( The) John Christopher
      Year of the quiet sun, Wilson Tucker Suprisingly Good
      48, James Herbert
      8.4, Peter Hernon good read
      28 Days Later, Alex Garland
      299 Days the Preparation, Glen Tate ( My book of the year for 2014)

      All good reading stuff for making your mind more accessible to the possibilities and permutations

      Most of these books are very thought provoking and make you think about some issues you otherwise may have overlooked.

      My Favourites are ALAS BABYLON, Patriots, and Day By Day Armageddon

      Factual and Reference

      Archery Steps to Success., Hayward / Lewis
      Bunker, Dr Bradley Garrett 9780-241-336014

      Cold War Secret Nuclear Bunkers, N J McCamley
      Build the perfect survival kit, 0-87349-967-0
      The Survivalists, Patrick Rivers 0-413-31650-5
      Earth Shock, Basil Booth & Frank Fitch 0-7221-1778 7
      The Nuclear Survival Handbook, Barry Popkess
      Tappan on Survival, Mel Tappan 0-916172-04-x
      Survival guns, Mel Tappan
      The Survival Retreat, Ragnar Benson 0-87364-275-9
      The Modern Survival Retreat, Ragnar Benson 0-87364-980-x

      Dancing at Armageddon, Richard G Mitchell

      War Plan UK , Duncan Campbell 009150671-9

      The Survival Nurse ,Ragnar Benson 1-58160-075-5
      Apocalypse Tomorrow, Duncan Long 0-87947-089-5
      When Technology Fails, Mathew Stein 1-57416-047-8
      The Coming Global Superstorm ,Bell and Strieber 0-7434-0888-8

      How to live Off –Grid, Nick Rosen 978-0-385-61127-5
      Life after doomsday ,Bruce D Clayton 0-87364-175-2
      Surviving Doomsday, C Bruce Sibley 07219-0780-6
      Outdoor Survival guide, Hugh Mc Manners 0-7513-0644-4
      Travel Vans, John Speed 99920-1-158-0 (The book for building BOVs)
      SAS Survival guide, ( pocket size) John lofty Wiseman 0-00-470167-4

      Beneath the City Streets, Peter Laurie: 0586050558

      When All Hell Breaks Loose, Cody Lundin (VERY VERY American)

      Eco-House Manual ,Nigel Griffiths , 9780857331212

      TRAVEL VANS John Speed (Building BOVs/SUVs/ Campers)

      EMERGENCY POWER FOR RADIO COMMUNICATIONS 978-0-872-615-3 by Michael Bryce

      Storing your home grown fruit & Vegetables, Paul Peacock

      Preppers Pantry, Daisy Luther

      The Complete Guide To Food Preservation, Angela Williams Duea.

      • 4

        This is amazing, thanks Bill! 

      • 2

        Your most welcome

      • 4

        Thanks for the list Bill! I’m always looking for new books to read and consider adding to my library and this list includes tons of titles I’ve not heard of before. Looking forward to checking them out in addition to the updated list from staff. 

    • 4

      I’m curious why you removed the Madd Addam series from the fiction list.  As a new prepper 4-5 years ago, I basically bought everything that was on your original list and read it all cover to cover to learn as much as I could.  While informative and often well written, the non-fiction books will never be page turners.  Interspersing a fictional book that still keeps you in the prepper/survivalist mindset is a welcome change of pace.  Now, the fiction list could go on forever.  But since that series made the original list, it’s interesting it was removed.  Yes, the future scenario is far fetched in some ways, but since the category is fiction, lets not be too picky.  On the other hand, the overall plot isn’t all that out there.  It’s an excellent trilogy, and will stay on my list.  Regardless, thanks for all the hard work.  The digital stuff is great, but you never can beat a good, simple book.  Thanks!

      • 6

        Also…there’s a book that should be on here that isn’t.  The Prepared’s Guide to Basic Prepping…or something like that.  You guys absolutely should put out a print version of all this stuff.  Publish an update every year.  I’d buy it.  If SHTF, I’m probably not going to be able to get on the internet anymore.  But you all could still be helping me if I had you on my bookshelf.  Just an idea!

      • 6

        Great feedback, thank you! There wasn’t a big reason to remove Madd Addam other than that we hadn’t heard many people talking about it in the last few years, so it seemed it had fallen out of favor / the zeitgeist. But since you’ve given it a strong endorsement, we’ll add it back in! 

        We’ve been thinking about how to offer a subscription to TP’s content in analog / off-line form. eg. a kindle that’s automatically updated every year so you have everything offline if the grid is down. Still feels like we have more work to do on the basic knowledge base (eg. there still isn’t an article about wildfires), but we’re getting close and want to talk with the community soon about how to support these next-level ideas 🙂

    • 5

      I’d also suggest Mushrooms of the Upper Midwest. It’s regional, but it’s a great guide that shows you the difference between all the lookalike edible/non-edible mushrooms. 

    • 2

      For medical books (though it’s expensive unless you can find a used copy) International Medical Guide for Ships is one of the best medical guides. It assumes you are remote from immediate medical care and have access only to limited equipment. Particularly good because it does not have the “first aid” bias of most wilderness medical guides. 

    • 4

      My kids came across this great graphic novel at the library called “Maker Comics: Survive in the Outdoors!”

      It’s targeted for children, but I’m loving it myself. Since it’s a graphic novel, it shows how to do things in a visually simple way such as bandaging up a sprained ankle (which is illustrated and described in excellent detail).

      I’m also amused that my 4 year old now knows how to sharpen a knife. 🙂

      • 2

        That’s awesome that your children are learning so young!

        I was talking to a librarian last month and she said that kids were gobbling up graphic novels more than traditional books. Kids today must be more visually driven or have differing attention spans than previous generations.

    • 3

      Copy and pasting a comment from Alicia of a book she recommends:

      I just finished and am re-listening to “The Unthinkable: Who survives when disaster strikes and why” by Amanda Ripley. This describes the he phases humans go through in a disaster including the Freeze response and denial and rationalizing that it’s not really serious – needing to make it familiar. Fascinating. It also had statistics on how reading the safety card and knowing the exits increases chances of survival of a plane crash because they had the advantage of knowing where to go when seconds count.

    • 3

      One comment that doesn’t come across in the one liner or category, Deep Survival is a series of insights about what happens psychologically in dangerous and/or survival situations and is one of the best books I’ve read to help understand the psychology of surviving as well as what psychological factors contribute to failure to survive. 

      • 1

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts and review on that book! Always good to hear that the ones that have been chosen are good recommendations.

    • 3

      Strong recommendation for adding Larry Dean Olsen’s Outdoor Survival Skills to the list. There’s a reason this book has stayed in print for five decades: it’s still one of the best primitive survival skill books written for North American conditions. 

      • 2

        I hadn’t heard of that book so thank you for the recommendation Clark. I will add it to my read list.

        I always try to be prepared with modern technology like a lighter and paracord, but having the primitive survival skills in my head as a backup is a welcome comfort.

      • 2

        Is it sort of like a bushcraft book with primitive survival techniques?

    • 4

      The best single book I recommend to people starting out is Arthur Bradley’s “Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family, 3rd Edition.” It is obviously for family preparedness. Bradley is a Ph.D. physicist with NASA who works on astronaut survivability. Well thought out, logical, and very accessible. Available from disasterpreparer.com and amazon.

    • 4

      I tried reading a tell-tale sky, but just couldn’t get through it. I didn’t appreciate the caricatured depictions of black people and I found it to be over-militarized. Too many macho guys running around shooting guns when they should be planting potatoes, you know?

      I’d like to add my vote against One Second After, as well. We’re all pretty tired of that rhetoric.

      I really liked The Book of the Unnamed Midwife, if y’all wanted to check it out. There’s also sequels that go generations into the future, which I thought was neat.

      • 2

        I enjoyed One Second After, but there really are so many that follow that same story line of an EMP SHTF and you can only read so many of those. 

    • 4

      I’ve been working on my car this weekend with the assistance of some rented Chilton and Haynes vehicle repair manuals from the library and I have to say that Chilton is far superior.

      Actually, both seem to have the same verbiage, same pictures, and same order of things, but the Chilton one is just formatted and laid out better that it is so much easier to read and understand. The Haynes one was giving me a headache just reading, and the Chilton one empowered me to feel like the repair was possible.

      My guess is that for some less popular cars they might buy off the source material from the other company so they don’t have to make it all from scratch themselves. Either that or they are under the same parent company but just publish under two different names.

      Get Chilton.

    • 3
    • 4

      I live in the Phoenix metro area.  We generally do 100+ degrees for months on end.  Do root cellars work here? If they do, is there a book about building a root cellar for the desert?

      • 3

        In the best books article, one of the recommendations is: Root Cellaring: Natural Cold Storage of Fruits & Vegetables. I don’t know if it goes over specifically about creating one in the desert though.

        From hobbyfarms.com I read:

        “Root cellars serve different purposes depending on their locations, and cellars in regions with excessively hot or cold temperatures are modified to suit their purpose. If winters are mild, as in Arizona or Florida, low temperatures can be difficult to obtain, no matter how deeply a root cellar is buried. But even in these warm areas, root cellars can help keep produce as cool as possible, and some builders are particularly inventive in designing methods whereby water dripping across burlap sacks cools the air near the root cellar’s intake vents. Other warm-weather residents content themselves, like the Egyptians, with storing nuts, grains and dried foodstuffs in warmer, low-humidity cellars. Arizona is a particularly good environment for producing sun-dried fruits, and those products will keep for many months without preservatives if kept dry and a bit cooler than the normal environment.”

        So it probably can be done, but you might not be able to store as much for as long as you would in another area where temperatures stay cooler.

    • 4

      Great list! I’ve bought and been working through several of these. It wasn’t on the main list (but recommended on a different TP article) but Grow or Die by David the Good was a fantastic book on growing food in tough conditions – short, practical, and geared toward helping those who are learning for the first time, never done it themselves, and may not have had a chance to prepare in advance. I’ve read a lot of books on gardening and if I could only have one, it might be that one. Definitely throwing a copy in the bug out bag.

      On a separate note, I didn’t see any books on the list that were specifically geared toward raising livestock. Seemed like all the other bases (foraging, gardening, hunting) are covered except that one.

      Any recommendations on animal husbandry/raising livestock?

      • 1

        Thanks for the Grow or Die recommendation. I’ve planted some small gardens over the years but definitely am still a beginner and sounds like this will be a good book for me. Do you have any livestock? Or are you considering getting some? That sure will be fun and rewarding. Sorry I don’t have any book recommendations for you.

      • 2

        I don’t have any animals yet, but hope to in the next couple of years. We’re in the mid-atlantic area, and I’ve been reading through Ben Falk’s “The Resilient Farm and Homestead” (also on the TP list). One of the concepts from that book that I’ve really come to appreciate is the value in the Oak-Hickory forests that are common in this area. Humans can eat the hickory nuts (and acorns with preparation), but they also provide a protein/fat/carb-rich food (during fall and winter) for livestock (hogs, chickens, and even cows) and wildlife (deer, bear, squirrels, etc., that could be hunted) in a way that doesn’t require annual planting but produces for decades. Made me plant some acorns/walnuts last year. Lost a couple to squirrels, but have about 8 one year old oak/walnut saplings that have kept on growing. Plan to add some more nut trees (and protective wire cages) this spring. Definitely not a short-term solution, but great medium to long-term, sustainable value.

        Not sure if they ship out of state, but I found that our state forestry office (https://www.buyvatrees.com/) sells saplings at very reasonable prices and other states may do similar. In addition to a great price point, they were also a good knowledge source of trees/shrubs that are native to (or grow well in) my area.

    • 2

      Okay, so I just finished The Dog Stars by Peter Heller (a novel), and while I don’t think it offers a lot of practical advice on prepping (unless perhaps you are a small craft pilot and luck into aircraft access post-TEOTWAWKI), I did enjoy the hell out of it. I thought the author did a nice job creating a suitably bleak world with a degree of harshness that seemed realistic for that world, and then finding notes of beauty and hope in it. I also thought the book was a good exploration of the interiority of a character who has experienced that degree of loss, and the author did good things with the polarity between a seemingly cold-hearted tactictian and a more sentimental poet-outdoorsman. The former is not without humanity and the latter is not without utility. And I liked The Dog Stars much better than The Road, though they are in some ways similar.

      TL;DR — it’s not going to help you prepare, but it’s a great read!

    • 2

      As I’m packing up to move, I stumbled upon a copy of The Devil Never Sleeps: Learning to Live in an Age of Disasters, by Juliette Kayyem, which I started a while back and mostly finished. Curious if anyone else read it and what they thought. The book purports to be about leadership and crisis management, but I found it heavy on argument acrobatics and light on substance… e.g., a lot of time spent “proving” that “the devil” (disasters) will return/recur (um, thanks, but I didn’t need to be convinced) and that starting to prepare late (i.e., now) is better than not starting at all (also a bit of a “duh”).

      As I read, I began to feel like this was a book that got published because the author has had an interesting/prestigious career and elite credentials (Obama DHS, Harvard Kennedy, CNN commentator) and because a publisher thought there would be an appetite for it during the pandemic. It’s a shame, because I’m sure the author actually does have more of value to say than “bad things will keep happening”. I ended up feeling sort of doubly-resentful— first, resentful because this struck me as an example of how star power gets book deals (instead of, you know, good ideas for books, well-executed); second because I really think it could have been a much more useful and interesting book, if there had been a good, aggressive editor in the mix who was empowered by both the author and the publisher to do their job.

      I re-read some of the book this evening to see if my recollection stood up, and it did. There was a lot of interest and of value in the book, but it was stretched too thin throughout. That issue was made worse by melodramatic repetition (I think every chapter ends with the sentence, “You are here.”) and by a certain vagueness to the conceptual frameworks that the author uses to help the reader understand disasters differently— almost like she’s afraid it won’t sound as profound, or will drag, if she gives detailed examples. It’s almost like this is a book by an academic (vague conceptual frameworks) who is also a news commentator (melodramatic one-liners), who leaned into the worst of both academia and network news rather than merging those traditions on some substantive but colorful middle ground. 

      I also think the book might have worked better if the author had been more particular about its audience: She was definitely trying to write for corporate CEOs AND small business owners AND big-city emergency managers AND small-town emergency managers AND households. Trying to show, succinctly, that a concept holds for all of those actors seems to lead her to a lot of lists, where the examples aren’t well elaborated or specified and then seem trite. I also wonder if this effort to universalize across sector and scale leads her to versions or framings of the book’s key concepts that are so watered down that they don’t feel useful anymore. It might have worked better if she had structured the chapters around what preparing for more frequent disasters should look like for people managing these different types of organizations, or mixed sector-focused chapters in with concept-focused ones.

      TL;DR — I strongly suspect that this thing got rushed to press because pandemic and am bummed that nobody took the time to make it a better book.

    • 1

      Walden by Henry David Thoreau should be on the list, in my opinion.

      While there are some practical tips in the book, the main reason I recommend it is for its philosophical and psychological contribution to the arguments for self-sufficiency and homesteading (ie the “why”, the crucial mental game, etc). 

      And it’s a beautifully written, timeless classic that is one of the literature building blocks underpinning the existence of sites and communities like The Prepared. 

      • 2

        Another somewhat similarly “why” oriented modern book is “The Comfort Crisis”.