33 Best Survival Books

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Last Updated on November 18, 2020

Survival books are what started me on my path to prepping.

For a long time now I have been meaning to post a list of prepper resources. I do have a lot already listed on our Resources page, but I hadn’t really spent any time listing the resource books and materials that I recommend.

This list of the best survival books below is made entirely of books I own and have read. Well, almost all of them have been read. Some like “Emergency War Surgery” keep getting put on the back of the pile, but every other one has been evaluated by me and I believe that these books are a tremendous resource to preppers and survivalists not to mention homesteaders or anyone looking to be more self-sufficient. This to me is just the beginning of your library of must-have prepper books.

I wrote a post a while back about the importance of having physical copies of reference material like this for a number of reasons. Without rehashing the entire post, which you can read here, the need for me is simple. If the computers go down, or the electricity is out or they simply stop printing books… you need to have a library of information that you can put your hands on.

These books serve me and my family in two ways. First, books like “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It” was foundational. Books like this enabled me to open my eyes and begin to see what I needed to do for my family’s safety. Other books such as “The Encyclopedia of Country Living” sit on the shelf until I want to learn something or have a question.

Below I have listed a great starter library for the average prepper. This will give you both the foundational material as well as the reference should our lives be turned upside down one day. If you can’t get on the internet or make it to the library, you will wish you had books like these to reference when you need it. Even if nothing ever happens, these books are great to have around your house and will always be there if you need them.

I have also added this entire list to my Resources page today so they can sit in one easy to find place.

Best Survival Books – Manuals

Introduction to concepts

Some of the best survival books can be used to introduce concepts to loved ones.
Survival books make good gifts and can be used to introduce friends or loved ones to concepts.

Homesteading / Self Sufficient Skills

Natural Remedies / First Aid

Tactical Methods / Strategies / Security

Fiction – Philosophy – Foreshadowing

What are some that I missed?

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About Author

Freedom-loving American doing what I can to help prepare and inform others. Editor and creator of The Prepper Journal 2013-2017, 2020 -

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Don’t forget the FoxFire series either.

Brian Kern

I read One Second After after hearing Newt Gingrich talk about it. It’s what made me get interested in emergency survival. Great book.


Kudos for publishing your collection. I am curious as to why you have the NATO Emergency War Surgery, but no Physicians Desk Reference, basic anatomy reference books, or other medical references. Seems like without a more complete base of knowledge, war surgery techniques may not be terribly useful.

Pat Henry

Thanks Dave,

For one the PDR is expensive, but I might look into getting that anyway. As I understand it, the book tells you what medicines to take for which illness. That’s great if you have a bunch of medicine, but unnecessary without meds, right?

Of course, surgery without medication could be largely useless too in that case.


Kelli Pennington

Sometimes doctors will sell their older copies of the PDR (I used to work at a clinic) but not always. If you know a dr or are on decent terms with yours you could always ask. As for an anatomy reference it is super helpful. I have two of them (from when I was debating going to school for mortuary science). Interesting stuff.

s s

The best book that I have found on bug out bags is Realistic Bug Out Bag by Max Cooper. It is jammed packed with useful and insightful information that blows away many of the other books on the market.



Superb, what a website it is! This web site presents useful facts
to us, kesep it up.

lea perrins

Could anyone help me find the title of a book I read about please? It was first aid and emergency surgery procedures for a melt down situation that was aimed at the layman and (I believe) how to use every day alternatives as medical equipment. I remember it came under a lot of criticism because of some of the techniques mentioned. I honestly can’t remember any more than that but have been keen to track it down. Many books rely on prior knowledge or equipment being available. It would be very useful to have this book- if it exists? May… Read more »

Pat Henry

I’d love to be able to help Lea. Do you remember any other details about this book?

lea perrins

Hi Pat, I am so sorry because I have only just seen your reply! I had forgotten that I written this. I really can’t remember any more. I think it was written by more than one person. I just remember it being critisised because it described some outdated procedures that medical personnel thought were irresponsible to be ‘advertising’. However, in a melt down situation these would be what you would have to use so I thought the information was very valuable.Again, I am sure it was aimed at the layman. If I ever find it i will post back for… Read more »


Try 77 Days in September. It is about a man on the way home by plane. The plane fails on takeoff because of an EMP. The story is about trying to get to his home state and family 1500 miles away. It also covers the family and their concerns. Anyone who travels a lot would find this thought provoking.

Aeryn O'conna

A cool book I found on Philosophy was The New Ice Age its got some interest ideas about how Global Cooling could lead to a world crisis.



All good books; for short term survival.
However, for civilization’s long term survival, and to thrive after TEOTWAWKI event, no other book beats “The Knowledge” by Lewis Dartnell, ISBN: 978-0-14-312704-8, Penguin Books.
Get it, read it, thrive.

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