My name is Jim and I’m a bookaholic. There’s no 12 step program for this addiction, nor would I sign up if there was. I love books, always have and probably always will. My personal library numbers into a few thousand. Perhaps paltry by some estimations but hey, I only have so much room in my house!
The vast majority of my collection is in some way related to disaster readiness and survivalism. Most of the fiction is post-apocalyptic in nature. While I’ve not read everything out there on these topics or with these themes, I’ve read a lot of ‘em.
Here is my recommended reading list for reference books related to emergency preparedness. I’d welcome any suggestions for the list from my readers here.
The Unthinkable by Amanda Ripley: This is an excellent book all about how human beings respond to stress and disasters. The author really did her homework, studying many different disasters through history and examining how people reacted. She then consulted various experts to find out why they acted as they did. This book will teach you how to counteract some of the responses to stress that are hard-wired into our minds and bodies.
Build the Perfect Survival Kit by John McCann: Don’t let the slim size fool you, this book is chock full of great ideas for pretty much any survival kit you might wish to assemble. McCann is great at coming up with items that serve multiple purposes, thus freeing up space for other stuff you’ll want or need.
Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It’s Too Late by Scott Williams: While there is a bit of information on assembling a bug out bag, the bulk of the book is centered on helping you plan where you’ll go and how you’ll get there. Williams goes through every region of the United States, giving information on climate, flora and fauna, and even suggests specific places to consider.
Emergency Food Storage and Survival Handbook by Peggy Layton: I love checklists and this book has them in spades. This book is a great resource for those who are just getting started with a pantry system. Lots of recipes utilizing stored goods is a great bonus.
Makeshift Workshop Skills for Survival and Self-Reliance by James Ballou: I’ll be honest, I’m cheap. This book teaches you how to make do with what you have, rather than going out and buying the latest and greatest tools and gadgets. Being able to improvise solutions to repair problems is very handy when Home Depot or Lowes aren’t available.
Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery and Storey’s Basic Country Skills by John and Martha Storey: I put these two together as while each is great in it’s own right, coupled together they are pretty unbeatable. Both are considered “bibles” for homesteaders.
By no means is this short list to be considered the end all, be all list of survival reference books. But, I feel these are all “must haves” in any survival library.