Top 10 Survival Books for your Prepper Library

June 21, 2020

We’ve done blogs in the past about books you should consider for your prepping library.  From the past blogs, we’ve gotten a lot of feedback and further recommendations.  We also have recently had a number of requests to do another blog for those who have newly come to the prepping community because of the coronavirus pandemic.  With the events unfolding this year, we think more and more people are becoming aware that having some semblance of being able to take care of yourself if services or our infrastructure are compromised is more important than ever.  Food shortages, lack of medical care, and a lack of personal safety are all possible realities not in the distant future but maybe as near as tomorrow.  Apart from having items in your inventory like food, water, or medical supplies, knowledge is paramount.  

So, with that in mind, here are 10 books you should heavily consider having in your library to ensure you’ll have a hard copy with important information.  If at any time you want to pick up any of these books, we’ll post links to each one in the description section and in the comment section below.

Book 1

  • Title: The Survival Medicine Handbook
  • With hospitals fully dedicated to the fight against COVID-19 and a full stop to elective surgeries, we see how vulnerable the health care system in the United States really is.  While we don’t recommend at all that you do surgery on yourself or your family members, in a worse situation when no medical professionals or facilities are available, this almost 700-page guide can walk you through the life saving medical procedures you need to know.  From tracheostomies to tourniquets, from bullet wounds to high blood pressure, this book assumes you have little to no medical knowledge and walks you through the procedures you need to know when there is no help on the way.  Hopefully, you will never need to use anything in this book, but studying up on medical procedures now is a key skill to have.  Should a medical crisis happen, you don’t want to be unprepared, and you don’t want to be thumbing through this book at the moment of the crisis.

Book 2

  • Atlases and Local Maps
  • Title/Topic: Atlases, Maps, Aerial Photographs
  • Our reliance on technology is definitely a weakness.  Can you imagine if you didn’t have the internet while you were self-quarantined?  Yet, even though the internet was designed so research institutions could communicate after a disaster or nuclear attack, any technology is susceptible to failure during a natural disaster.  After even the smallest of earthquakes here in California, often all phone lines are busy as people call their friends and family to ask “Did you feel it?”  In a much larger earthquake or another natural disaster, it isn’t unreasonable to assume that these critical technology connections could fail.  Having hard copy, printed atlases, maps, and even aerial photographs could be a lifesaver if you’re forced to evacuate your area, need to find your way back home, or need to find sources of water in a grid-down situation.  We recommend having these materials both in your library and in the trunk of the vehicle you use the most.

Book 3

  • Foraging
  • Title/Topic: Foraging – The Forager’s Harvest, Nature’s Garden, Edible Wild Plants
  • The pandemic revealed just how unreliable our food supply really is and how dependent and narrow our diets have become.  When things initially hit, you saw how people rushed the stores which caused them to get emptied out.  Our heavy reliance upon the harvest of the three big grains: soy, wheat, and corn, and the animals that we eat that are fed these grains as well, leave us dependent on a narrow food chain.  Our ancestors were foragers.  They knew the edible plants in their environment and they harvested them and incorporated them into their diets.  Dandelions, Stinging Nettles, Gooseberries, nuts, mushrooms, and cactuses have many edible varieties.  A good book on foraging that focuses heavily on your area or climate zone, can be a lifesaver.  You don’t want to wait until a crisis hits to make a decision on whether a mushroom is an edible kind, so you should definitely read up on foraging and begin to identify the plants, even if you don’t eat them, so should you ever need to consume them you can do so safely.  You will find that you’ve been walking by a cornucopia of edible plants.  You’ll start to notice the abundance of foods in parks and on nature walks.  You never know.  You may become curious enough to try your hand at making Dandelion wine or Prickly Pear syrup or some other seemingly exotic food.  At the very least, put a good book on foraging in your prepping library.

Book 4

  • Urban Environment Survival
  • Title/Topic: Urban Emergency Survival Plan: Readiness Strategies for the City and Suburbs
  • If you’re new to prepping you’ll find that there are quite a few books specific to surviving in the wilderness.  That’s great, and we would recommend you have at least one of those books in your library in case you do find yourself in that environment.  City Prepping covers prepping in all types of situations, but we like to sometimes focus on urban survival because 58% of Americans live in cities and urban environments.  This book, Urban Emergency Survival Plan, is a good starter for the person who wants to be prepared for the future but may not have an acre of land to grow food or an underground bunker.  There’s some practical advice in this book for the person who needs to shelter in place at home or who needs to bug out in a hurry to a safer environment.

Book 5

  • Self-sufficiency & Growing Food
  • Title/Topic: All New Square Foot Gardening & The Backyard Homestead
  • If you don’t happen to own an acre of land, as many don’t, including me, you should still be aware of basic gardening techniques and maximizing what little space you do have.  Balconies and even window sills can provide enough space sometimes to at least supplement food supplies.  If you do have a yard or enough space for outdoor containers, All New Square Foot Gardening or The Backyard Homestead, are books you will want to add to your library and read before you need them.  Growing and preserving your own food is relaxing and satisfying, but it also reduces your dependence on unstable food supply chains and stores.  Again, as with all these books, you will want to read them before you need them.  Knowing and preparing ahead of time is always stronger than thumbing through the book for the first time while surrounded by a crisis.  We’ve been starting new garden beds in our new house we just moved to and trust us when we say, it’s something that takes to learn.  Start now while you can.

Book 6

  • Prepping 101
  • The Prepper’s Blueprint
  • If you want an exhaustive sort of prepping for dummies, The Prepper’s Blueprint is your must-have book.  There’s a lot of really good information in here for anyone looking to get their head around preparedness and surviving disasters.  This book even has a section on how to get ready for disasters that turn out to be much longer-lasting: economic collapse, long term power outages, and, yes, pandemics, to name a few.  If you’re now looking for a thorough overview of prepping, this is a good book to read and you’ll want it around as a reference should the current situation worsen or be compounded by other disasters or social instability.  As you discover you want to know more about preparedness, we would further suggest you explore any of the books in the Process Self-Reliance Series.  It’s a good little series with books ranging from canning to urban homesteading to what to do when there’s no doctor to sustainable foods.  There’s a lot of opportunity for deeper exploration of many of the topics covered in the Prepper’s Blueprint.

Book 7

  • Prepping 101
  • The Prepper’s Pocket Guide
  • In the same vein as the Prepper’s Blueprint, but simpler to read and digest is this book: The Prepper’s Pocket Guide.  We have been recommending this book for years to anyone who wants to begin lightly prepping.  It has 101 easy things you can do to ready your home for a disaster.  Some of it might seem a little simple to anyone who has been prepping for a while, but for anyone relatively new to prepping it will provide some good insight on practical things you can begin to do right now to prepare yourself to survive an uncertain future.  This book starts with the basics and works its way up.

Book 8

  • Preparing Food
  • Title/Topic: Meals in a Jar: Quick and Easy, Just-Add-Water, Homemade Recipes
  • When you were social distancing and quarantined to your house, you may have stared at your pantry or kitchen cabinets and wondered if you could mix ketchup in water to make tomato soup.  If you weren’t used to preparing your own meals prior to the pandemic, you definitely need to know how to cook.  It’s a skill that’s essential to survival and the cornerstone of self-sufficiency.  We like to print recipes from the internet and keep them in a file near my cookbooks, but you’ll also want to make sure you have a book like this one: Meals in a Jar: Quick and Easy, Just-Add-Water, Homemade Recipes.  A high-stressed crisis situation is not the time to learn to cook or even to try and think of what meals to prepare.  What we like about this book is that with meals already prepared in a jar, you can easily cycle through older supplies to make sure your stored foods are as fresh as they can be.

Book 9

  • Self-Defense
  • Prepper’s Home Defense: Security Strategies to Protect Your Family by Any Means Necessary
  • Prepping is about knowing what you need to know before you need to know it.  While we hope you never are in a violent situation where you have to defend yourself or your home, it’s a good idea to have some knowledge of how to defend yourself.  This book, Prepper’s Home Defense: Security Strategies to Protect Your Family by Any Means Necessary, is a thorough look at defending yourself and your home.  It is very much written from the perspective that civilization has fallen and looters are coming, so some may find it a bit on the extreme side; however, we think having an awareness of the practical knowledge in this book would definitely help you if you ever find yourself in a truly bad situation.

Book 10

  • Title/Topic: Any fiction book
  • If you found yourself going stir-crazy while on lockdown, you recognize the need to be able to escape in a good book.  You can’t rely on the television or the internet to be your sole sources of entertainment.  In a deeper crisis, these sources may not be available to you.  We suggest that you have at least one or two books of fiction in your library, for those times where you are forced to wait a crisis out or, like with this pandemic, you’re forced to shelter in place.  Put in your library a good spy thriller or a classic you’ve always wanted to read.  You’ll thank yourself for the ability to escape a bit should you have to keep stable as a crisis rages on outside, around you.


So, that’s the 10 major books we would suggest, minimally, that you get in your prepper library.  There are links in the article for you to check them out further.  If you’re new to prepping because of this current pandemic, welcome, and hopefully these books will get you started in the right direction for the current crisis and any future crisis.  If you’ve been prepping for a while, one of these books may be new to you or you may want to lend your copy of one of these books to a concerned friend or family member who is now glad you took prepping seriously.  We have made other videos on prepping books for your library, so you might want to take a look at those for an even more in-depth look, but we wanted to make this lighter, 10 book blog for anyone dipping their toes in the water for the first time.  We hope you enjoyed it.

If you found this article informative and helpful, please feel free to like and share it with your friends, family, and community. If you have any comments or anything you would like to share, please feel free to leave a comment in the section below.  There are so many books out there, and I have only listed about 10 here.  If you have a favorite, leave the title and author in the comments below.

5 1 vote
Article Rating
Notify of
1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
2 years ago

Very helpful..thank you

Related Posts

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x