The Best Prepping and Survival Books You Should Read

One of the great joys and advantages of living today is the prevalence of books. Be they bound ink and paper or electrons on a screen, books can be invaluable references or moving, thought-provoking stories about the human experience. I am constantly awed at the sheer value of the things; for only a few dollars you can learn new skills, fill in gaps in your education, expand your philosophical horizons and finally, perhaps, come away with a different point of view on your life.

That’s powerful stuff. To be better in order to be a good neighbor and be a valuable member of my community. I want to make it harder for someone or something to make a victim of me. I want to be a better man than I was yesterday, with more of the skills, grit and determination that our grandfathers had. I encourage all of my friends and readers to do the same.

I read just about everything I can get my hands on, but for our chat today (well, lecture, as it were, at least until we take to the comments) I am going to share some of my recommendations for books that feature preparation, survival, disaster, crisis or endurance as central themes. A few are fiction, and the others are reference works. From them all I gained something: New skills, ideas or tricks. A better, safer way to accomplish something. A sharpened mindset. An eye for better procedure. Appreciation for how good we all have it today. Even a glimpse into a future that may yet come to be.

It is my sincere hope you’ll give some or all of them a read. I know you’ll get something out of them, and what you take from their texts may be entirely different from me. That’s the real wonder of books; they allow the reader to have a conversation, of a sort, with the author, however far away or long ago the book was written. And every conversation is unique to its participants.

That’s quite enough of me waxing poetic. Below are my recommendations and commentaries on my favorites in their categories. I have included a special section at the end with my top favorites from every section. Be sure to check those out!

Quick disclosure: If you visit a link in this article and then you buy something, I may earn a commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. You can read my full disclosure here.

Weapons and Combatives

Tactical Pistol Shooting, 2nd Edition by Erik Lawrence and Mike Pannone

A concise, detailed book revolving around the modern technique of the pistol. This volume has a substantial amount of photos accompanying the text, and is an informative reference for novice or seasoned pro alike. Authors Lawrence and Pannone are both respected voices in the training sector, and provide no-bull info earned from experience and considerable study.

Green Eyes & Black Rifles: Warrior’s Guide to the Combat Carbine, by Kyle Lamb

Legendary trainer Kyle Lamb’s first instructional book on using a fighting rifle. Green Eyes & Black Rifles contains a terrific amount of nuanced, detailed instruction on everything from basic marksmanship fundamentals to setting up the carbine for mission success. Lamb’s analysis on the efficacy of various stances and positions is the highlight of the book: the real world will rarely allow you to go prone, and knowing how to gain maximum stability in the position you are dealt could spell the difference between success and failure.

Combatives for Street Survival, by Kelly McCann

Far from a conventional martial arts manual, this brutal, no-screwing-around guide form Kelly McCann is a brass tacks dissertation on how to inflict maximal damage in minimal time when in a fight for your life. The techniques he expounds on are not for sport or showmanship. Easy to learn, practice and apply, this book is an excellent reference for anyone who may find themselves in a real fight.

Professional Gunsmithing: A Textbook On The Repair And Alteration Of Firearms, by Walter J. Howe

Knowing how to maintain your guns when there is no more gunsmith will be crucial to survive the post-collapse world. Author Howe’s classic reference on both the theory and skills behind gunsmithing is full of invaluable information and detailed drawings that will clearly explain a variety of gunsmithing skill techniques and procedures. This book proves that you don’t have to learn the craft the old-fashioned way.

Shooter’s Bible Guide to Handloading: A Comprehensive Reference for Responsible and Reliable Loading, by Wayne Van Zwoll

Handloading, or “rolling your own” ammo is not just a pleasant pastime and way to save a few bucks on ammo. The ability to fabricate bullets and load your own cartridges is an invaluable skill when supplies run low or are cut off. The well-loved Shooter’s Bible series presents one of the best guides to reloading, examining in detail everything from bench and press setup to preventing tricky things from spoiling your latest batch of ammo. A must-have for the at-home reloader.

Survival Guides & Manuals

SAS Survival Handbook, Third Edition: The Ultimate Guide to Surviving Anywhere, by John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman

One of the most quintessential guides on general survival written, and one that deserves a place in every single prepper’s bookshelf. This guide features info on surviving every single conceivable outdoor environment as well as dangerous disasters and hostile situations. Added content includes hardening your home against break-ins and protecting against home intruders. Indispensible!

Pocket Reference, 4th Edition, by Thomas Glover

A tiny, back pocket encyclopedia that is stuffed to the rafters with useful info on everything from first aid skills, knots, vehicle towing operations and wild animal info to heavy equipment coordination hand signals, meteorological data, maps and more. When you are in a place where there is no Google anymore, you’ll be glad to have this little book.

The U.S. Armed Forces Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Survival Manual, by Dick Couch

One of the greatest, deadliest and most prevalent threats in the modern era is the one posed by weapons of mass destruction. Be they nuclear, biological or chemical in nature, any one of these doomsday weapons will prove lethal if you have not taken the time to specifically train and prepare against them. This book contains info sourced from top military manuals and tactics presented in an easier to use format for civilians.

Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival by Dave Canterbury

Dave Canterbury, of Dual Survival fame, has written a detailed book that focuses on the details of surviving in the wild: what makes for good cordage, making your own supplies in austere environments and making best use of containers. A bestseller, and full of intricate drawings to accompany the content, author Canterbury hearkens to a time when man was more reliant, and connected with nature in order to survive.

Urban Survival Guide, by David Morris

David Morris’s Urban Survival Guide is a precious resource for anyone living in a densely populated area, as the threats that will emerge during times of crisis are different than those facing people living in a more rural area. Morris’s book is presented as a 12-week course that will walk you through the process of training and preparing for an urban crisis, be it economic collapse, societal unrest or worse, even if you are unable to leave! Each module builds on the last and is easy to follow.

Homesteading and Self-Sufficiency

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

This classic book, newly updated for today’s trends and tools, is your ticket to the off-the-grid skills and know-how. Covering topics from animal husbandry and beekeeping to foraging and at-home delivery of babies, this book is comprehensively thorough and will be the core of any homesteader’s, or would-be homesteader’s, education.

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

If you live way out, it is often easier to source your own meat than drive all the way into town with an ice chest. After the end, there won’t be any more supermarkets so you had better know how to harvest and process your own high-quality animal protein. Steven Rinella, host of TV’s ‘Meateater’ has you covered in this enjoyable and educational volume that explains everything from what to do immediately after the kill to preparing a tasty meal from the victuals.

The Complete Guide to Hunting, Butchering, and Cooking Wild Game: Volume 2: Small Game and Fowl, by Steven Rinella

Like Volume 1 above, author Rinella will teach you the ins and outs of processing and preparing wild game, this time covering small critters and all manner of birds. Together with Volume 1 these books are essential for new or burgeoning hunters as well as a great reference for seasoned pros.

Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide, by Jim Cobb

Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide encompasses a variety of skills beyond the usual off-grid guides, including info on bartering, anticipating and stockpiling high-worth barter items, power considerations and community building strategies. This guide will give you the blueprint for living and interacting with society after a major disaster.

A Year Without the Grocery Store, by Karen Morris

AYWTGS sets out to teach preppers, or anyone who wants to learn how to properly store food long term, to store provisions for the long haul, while still affording you the ability to cook the meals you are used to. There are few books that really get into the nuts and bolts of provisioning like this one, and it also includes information on stretching your dollars to store up to a one year supply of food for a single person for under $200.

Medical and First-Aid

Medicine for the Outdoors: The Essential Guide to First Aid and Medical Emergencies, 6th Edition by Paul S. Auerbach

Long the bible for outdoor adventurers and preppers, Medicine for the Outdoors shows you step-by-step how to treat any conceivable medical emergency in any environment, from scorching desert to darkest forest. Well-illustrated and comprehensively indexed. This latest edition has interventions revised in the light of the latest medical science and advancements.

Bushcraft First Aid, by Dave Canterbury & Jason A. Hunt, PhD

A Companion book to author Canterbury’s  Bushcraft 101 above, this book will teach outdoorsmen and preppers how to treat anything from a broken bone to lacerations when in the most austere conditions and with primitive or even no tools. Bushcraft First Aid also explain how to use plants as medicine to treat various ailments and illnesses.

Emergency Dentistry Handbook, by Met Clark

Dental care is often overlooked among a prepper’s repertoire, and many think a little cavity or bad breath is the only thing that may befall them after the SHTF. Nothing is further from the truth, as an abscessed or broken tooth will mean show-stopping agony, infection and then death. This weighty book will give you the knowledge and skills needed to save a tooth, perhaps even a life, when a dental emergency occurs in austere or remote locations.

Prescription for Natural Healing, 5th Edition, by Phyllis A. Balch CNC

Combining the best of handed-down home remedy and the latest in nutritional science, Prescription for Natural Healing has everything from how best to treat minor aches and pains to natural therapies for chronic conditions. Many fans and adherents swear by the detailed explanations and treatments featured in this book. When pharmacies and doctors’ offices are a memory, this book may be the only thing that keeps you alive.

Acupressure’s Potent Points, by Michael Reed Gach

Using no more than your hands, you can utilize the ancient technique of acupressure to activate your body’s healing mechanisms and reduce pain and discomfort from a host of ailments. This book uses a diagnostic approach along with step by step instructions for treating them. If all you have is your hands, making use of these skills may make the difference for providing relief.

Tactics and Security

The Art of War, by Sun Tzu

The archetypal manual of strategy. Its lessons are as important today as when it was written hundreds of years ago. Required reading for everyone from executive negotiators to special forces officers, this venerable tome can give you the wisdom to navigate any conflict.

U.S. Army Guerilla Warfare Handbook

When all you have is a small band of motivated individuals, being able to hit and fade, remain hidden or strike with overwhelming suddenness are all keys to success. Guerilla warfare has played an essential role in conflicts since history began, and the tactics, techniques and procedures to do so effectively is all laid out clearly in this handbook.

Kick Ass Home Security!, by Sgt. Mark Buschena

Written by a no-nonsense police sergeant, this book offers a guide on how to harden your home, what steps to take to reduce the likelihood that your house will be chosen by a burglar and what to do if a home invader breaks in. Includes a detailed, professional appraisal on the specifics of burglaries and home invasions along with suggestions, tips and step-by-step instructions to prevent loss of life and property.

How to Disappear, by Frank Ahearn and Eileen Horan

With ever increasing electronic and online threats, protecting your identity, or starting a new one, may be the best way to avoid danger. Authors Ahearn and Horan share experience hard-earned in both government and private sectors. Their tested methods can help you reduce or eliminate your personal information signature, making it difficult or impossible to track your whereabouts.

How to Hide Anything, by Michael Connor

There is good reason to hide things and people: if it cannot be found, it cannot be stolen or harmed! In this devilishly clever book, author Connor takes us through a battery of devious hiding places, from ones small enough for a few tiny items to large stashes that can conceal adults. Great for beefing up home security or preparing caches in the event that you need to bug out.

Fiction and Other

The Dog Stars, by Peter Heller

A beautiful, dangerous and sometimes funny novel about life and loss in the aftermath of a society ending flu pandemic. A man, a small plane pilot who has lost his family tries to eke out an existence in an airport with his dog and slightly unstable and trigger-happy fellow survivor. Written with Heller’s trademark poetic prose.

The Stand, by Stephen King

One of legendary horror writer Stephen King’s masterworks, this doorstopper novel is the tale of a world annihilated by plague, and the survivors struggle to survive among themselves and other hostile groups. The dawning terror that they are living out a titanic battle between Good and Evil is as eerie and mesmerizing today as ever.

Discipline Equals Freedom: Field Manual, by Jocko Willink

A guide to curb-stomping weakness, victimhood, procrastination and fear, this rollicking guide fro decorated U.S. Navy SEAL Jocko Willink is your personal roadmap to becoming the very best version of yourself, physically and behaviorally, that you can be. Has guides on everything from routines to working out and nutrition. Essential for anyone that wants to get more done.

The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli

Sometimes you have to make practical decisions and negotiate accordingly in trying times, and this classic text is one of the best when it is time to separate high minded ideals from cold reality. It offers advice on dealing with the expectations of people and how best to assert control over them.

Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage, by Alfred Lansing

A book chronicling the unbelievable true tale of the doomed Antarctic voyage of Ernest Shackleton, Endurance is a harrowing story of perseverance, grit, determination and the refusal to give up that is monumental. A great tale to remind yourself that no matter how bleak the situation may seem, there have been survivors of worse, and whatever you are facing, you can survive to and live to tell the tale.

Author’s Picks

Sentinel: Become the Agent in Charge of Your Own Protection Detail, by Patrick McNamara

An excellent guidebook and primer on daily preparedness by the inimitable Pat Mac. If you are unfamiliar with the author, he is one of the firearms community’s most colorful and intense trainers. He is a 22 year Army special operations veteran (with 13 of those spent in 1st SFOD-D, better known to most of America then as Delta Force), owner and lead instructor of TMACS, Inc., and is a bodaciously good shooter and phenomenally fit dude.

McNamara is known for his easy conversational style of instruction, and it comes through in his writing, though the text is not as liberally peppered with his characteristic wild witticisms and expressions. The premise of his book is that one should take a page from executive protection teams and act as the AIC, or agent-in-charge, of your day-to-day activities: to have a plan for uncertainties and to be prepared to counter the unexpected threat, be it natural or man-made.

Sentinel is McNamara’s blueprint for ownership and awareness over anything that could imperil you or your loved ones. In it he lays out procedures, techniques and theory on such diverse elements as close-quarters shooting, urban awareness and performance driving to fitness methodology, home fortification, first aid and trip planning, either across the country or across town.

This book serves as my general template for daily preparation, and I consult it regularly to see where I am deficient. My only complaint I can lodge against this one is that I wanted to be 5 times longer! It is a small paperback, and not even 130 pages cover to cover. Pat Mac is an expert in a great many disciplines and skills, and I know these chapters only scratch the surface of his knowledge. That may not be a fair complaint considering the intent of the book, but it stands.

That minor nag aside, I heartily recommend this one if you have been stuck or wondering on just what constitutes “readiness”  pertaining to personal skills. Here’s your crib notes.

Day by Day Armageddon, by J.L. Bourne

One of my favorite works of zombie apocalypse fiction. Now, I’ll level with you reader: I am hard on my books. I don’t mean physically, I mean I am fairly merciless when it comes to the written word, especially my fiction and other literature. Poor grammar, shoddy storytelling, tired and overused narrative devices and just plain bad, clumsy writing. I have blazed through my fair share of zombie apocalypse novels, the great, the good and the disposable, and one thing I cannot abide is the typical author-tract style of book.

You know the ones: flimsy premises, one-dimensional characters (except the obvious author avatar who kicks all the asses and saves all the terrified, lesser mortals), unrealistic dialogue, Randian diatribes about the author’s pet grievances. That stuff does not make for enjoyable reading, not for me. I bought this book years ago on a whim, and was totally surprised, pleasantly, by it in its entirety!

The book is written and presented as if it was a handwritten journal kept by the protagonist, a U.S. military pilot, during his trials and tribulations through the onset of a mysterious outbreak that quickly turns into the end of society as he knows it. The story is appropriately grim, and completely devoid of the swashbuckling antics found in lesser apocalypse fiction. The text is accompanied by highlights, scribbles, sketches, stains, and damage that really sell the “apocalyptic log” format. It is a well used trope, but handled with great skill here. There are also black and white photos in the book of various scenes, that, upon further reflection are tough to justify including, but they were presented conservatively and did not break my suspension of disbelief.

The writing is crisp, and believable for the character and his situation. The sense of danger, dread and the unknown is palpable. The author is clearly familiar with the various preps and techniques presented in the book, but it is incorporated in the tale in an organic way: there is no heavy-handed screed that does not fit the narrative setting or the characters, and while there is obviously a lot of the author in the protagonist, this never became clumsy or ham-fisted. He is as vulnerable, fallible and human as any of us are, and it is readily apparent that for all his skill and training, he only survives on a few occasions through providence or sheer, blind luck.

A real page-turner, scary, action packed, and a rare zombie novel that will actually get you thinking instead of merely entertaining you. Highly recommended.

When All Hell Breaks Loose, by Cody Lundin

Cody Lundin is perhaps best known as one of the former co-hosts of the Discovery Channel’s show Dual Survival. It was a fun show, but I think it a shame if that is all he is known for, as his body of work includes teaching at both his own Aboriginal Living Skills School and faculty positions at the Yavapai College and Ecosa Institute as well as two excellent books. He is one of the rare survival instructors, especially among the cadre espousing primitive skills, that has really lived what he teaches, and the depth and breadth of his knowledge is apparent in his latest book When All Hell Breaks Loose.

If you are already familiar with the author and put off by his lifestyle choices and aesthetic, don’t let that keep you from checking out the book: he does not preach his choice of lifeway as the only way, and the book is a grounded, nuanced guide to everyday preparedness.

Where Sentinel is more of a coarse outline showing you what skills to develop, and what your end-state should look like, WAHBL is organized more along the lines of a proper survival manual most of us are familiar with, detailing the how and why of various survival techniques. All the staples are covered here, everything from food, water and its preparation in austere environments to sanitation, self-defense considerations and communications. Lundin has packed the book with excellent comic illustrations and diagrams throughout, and they are both informative and entertaining.

Where this book diverges from so many similar titles is Lundin’s treatment of the subject matter. He has divided the book into two main parts: what he calls Head Candy and Hand Candy. Head Candy is the section on mindset, the psychological and emotional components of survival. Hand Candy focuses on hard skills, like taking shelter, guarding against threats and such. I especially appreciated the section on Head Candy as mindset development and psychological preparation is too often neglected before a crisis strikes.

The esoteric conventions of the book are further accompanied by an illustrated cast of colorful characters, a gallery of advisors, that appear throughout the book; with names like Mr. Head Candy, Robbie Rubbish, The Holy Cow and Vinnie the Uptown Cockroach they offer uplifting quotes, insights on improvised gear, culinary tips and advanced or expert techniques to expand upon the teachings in the book.

If all this sounds lighthearted, that is because it is. Make no mistake: this is no Survival-Lite Manual or children’s edition. While he is overwhelmingly positive and matter-of-fact with the content, Lundin pulls no punches on just how dire a situation can turn for the unprepared. He simply does not take himself so seriously that all enjoyment is bleached form the text, and his work reflects that. He also expends some ink and effort on explaining what the book isn’t and that ultimately developing any skills and knowledge you require beyond what the book teaches is your responsibility.

One of my favorite tomes on preparedness, and one that you can turn to a page at random to get something out of it. An easy, enjoyable read, and packed with facts and info wrought from experience. Pick this one up when you can.

One Second After, by William R. Forstchen

Swinging back to fiction, and here is hoping this tale stays in the realm of fiction; One Second After is a novel detailing a small town’s story after an utterly cataclysmic surprise EMP attack sends the continental U.S. back to the Stone Age. The story centers on one man, John Matherson, a retired Army officer and professor of history, and his struggle to keep his family alive and town afloat in the face of nationwide infrastructure collapse and the implosion of society.

Pretty standard premise, sure. Where this novel outshines similar ones is in its detailed, chilling description of just how bad things will get in the event of a true nationwide catastrophe. The author, William Forstchen, does a remarkable job in describing the aftermath of the attack, and the toll it extacts: the plunge into darkness, shortage, lack, uttermost need, and finally the cruel and uncaring calculus that a community will arrive at when there is simply not enough of anything, and what some people will stoop to either from their baser natures, sheer want, or descent into nihilism.

Forstchen writes with special vividness about the emotional pain visited upon the protagonist throughout the novel, and this is potently contrasted against his increasing role as a somewhat unwilling leader that is foisted on him by his neighbors and community. Once again we have a protagonist that is very human, and fallible, and the author colors his fears, hopes and self-doubts with considerable skill. Characters relationships change and values clash in believable ways on the backside of the event as stresses and dangers mount.

There is no set-piece storytelling here. Most characters do not face fates dictated by literary convention. A many of them could be any of us, and their fates in the post-collapse U.S. sometimes feel as unfair and unjust as real life.

This book painted such a vivid, shocking picture of the societal consequences following a coordinated EMP strike that it was cited as a realistic description of the aftermath of such an event on the floor of Congress by Rep. Roscoe Bartlett of Maryland. I too was unsettled by the premise of the book, and while it made for an enjoyable read, it showcases an adult, lurking terror, one that is far more probable than any zombie or monster.

One of the best depictions of its kind, terrible in its portrayal of the cost of complacency. Check it out!

The World’s Most Dangerous Places – 5th Edition, by Robert Young Pelton

The World’s Most Dangerous Places has long been the bible for any international traveler, war correspondent, soldier, contractor, filmmaker, tourist or activist heading to warzones, impoverished nations and dictatorships. Although the latest edition is now significantly out of date and in need of updating regarding rosters of who’s who among government officials and major players in terror groups, NGO’s and the like, the core of the text- tips, procedures, cultural info and so on- is still relevant today, and much of it can be adapted to life right here at home.

This book, DP, as it is commonly referred to among fans and longtime readers is comprised of information collected from the author and other contributors who make their living being, basically, adventure travelers to the world’s worst locales. They actually talk to, travel with and get captured, sometimes imprisoned, by movers and shakers in these, uh, exciting destinations.

Producing a body of work known as the “ground truth” the information presented in the book is a far, far cry from what you’ll get from State Department advisories, mainstream media and travel agencies. Topics cover everything from getting through unscheduled detainment intact to identifying what kind of gunfire you are hearing and which way it is headed. Tips abound for travelling by vehicle  in remote places, making nice with your kidnappers, avoiding such threats as pick-pocketing, surveillance routines, diseases, dangerous wildlife, cultural faux pas, not getting ripped off by scams, and much, much more.

Detailed profiles of each country are examined with the biggest happenings and threats analyzed. Much of the info, again, on who’s who in these places is outdated, but a considerable amount of the local and cultural intel is still relevant. Each country is assigned a rating, from 1 to 5 stars, with 1 star denoting a country that has a dangerous reputation, but is one where you’d have to work a little bit to get waylaid, and 5 stars denoting Apocalypse Wow!- a country barely recognizable as a civilization, Hell on Earth.

The book is darkly humorous, and written with Pelton’s trademark wit and earnestness. Some terrible things are presented in such a plainspoken way in the book you won’t know whether to laugh or cry. For most of us, the advice presented especially for Westerners, Americans in particular, heading abroad is invaluable and the result of a heck of a lot of hard-knock experience on the author’s part. That section alone is worth the price of admission.

Author Robert Young Pelton’s life reads like fantastic fiction itself, and he has entered and survived in more hostile “off-limits” places inimical to Westerners than is believable, meeting and travelling with police and military forces, a rogues’ gallery of pirates, smugglers and terrorists, and everyday people. His interviews with untouchable figures on the world stage and deep in crisis zones are of near mythical proportion. Indiana Jones wants to be RYP when he grows up. It is a wonder he is still alive after all this, and I am a little saddened that my life is so boring by comparison.

A doorstopper of a book, backed with insights, tips and lore that cannot be gleaned anywhere else. Find a used, artfully dog-eared copy and park it on your desk.

The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

A Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, and one of my favorite works from author Cormac McCarthy. Many of you will have read this one already and many more will have heard of it. If you have not read it, brace up and take it on. This novel more than any other makes me appreciate every day I wake up and the lights come on.

Set somewhere in America after an undisclosed cataclysm has ended society as we know it and most forms of life, the story centers simply on a father and young son making their way south to escape the encroaching harsh winter. Written in the sparse, clean and poetic prose of McCarthy, the utter destitution of the pair is palpable, the totality of loss claustrophobic. Scenes of devastation and desolation are given such texture you fear to cast your eyes to the window in case you see it in life.

Through all the ugliness, and in spite of the physical and emotional torment the pair confront there is a thread of hope; the father’s love for his son propels him, and carries an admonishment that goodness, simple goodness, must go on, that they are the only ones to carry it to a place where it can once again grow, and that if they falter, even if they survive it would be worse than dying.

McCarthy has never shied from shivering depictions of brutality in his books, and such scenes are on full and frequent display as appropriate to the setting. This is no novel of hardscrabble living after a disaster, no white knights ride in to beat back the raiders. There is no relief, and no cavalry coming. Any moments of beauty are only intermissions, silvery remnants of a pleasant dream before the nightmare of waking takes hold.

The Road depicts The End, with all the trappings that entails: the end of society, the end of amenities, of plenty, of security, and the end of humanity. Not humankind, but the humanity that separates man from mere animal. The mystery and nihilism depicted tangibly closes in on you, hunting your heart, with only the most desperate of hopes acting as the tiny candle that keeps it at bay.

A monumental work of literature by one of the great living masters. Crushingly dark, achingly beautiful. A masterpiece of the genre. Steel yourself. Read it.


That concludes my list of favorites. I believe that every one of these titles has much to teach us, and it is my hope that you’ll give them a read and learn from them as I have. I believe every one of them deserves a place in the ‘Survival’ section of your home library.

Have you read one or all of the books on this list? Do you have a favorite? How about a gem you recommend? Let us hear from you in the comments!

4 thoughts on “The Best Prepping and Survival Books You Should Read”

  1. The U.S. Armed Forces Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Survival Man -the link for this book takes you to a different book.

  2. Both books entitled The U.S. Armed Forces Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Survival Man, have links that take you to a different book.

  3. To this list I would add “Earth Abides” by George Stewart, published in the 1960s but still available used. It’s a tale of how survivors come together after a cataclysmic pandemic (and how a hammer comes almost a religious icon). “The Road” is indeed chilling and thought-provoking.


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