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In this review: Why you should trust us How we picked and reviewed Beginner basics and household preparedness Field guides and pocket guides Food and water Medical Tradecraft and skills Fieldcraft, homesteading, and gardening Self defense Reasons and context for preparedness Fiction.

This list is curated by preppers and survival instructors with 15 years of combined experience. Some are writers themselves, actively publishing prepping related material while working day jobs as university-level English professors. Fiction writing Sarah Avery. Escaped academic with a Ph. Started prepping after Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey. Twitter John Ramey. Founder of The Prepared. Prepping for 14 years and teaching survival skills for 10 years.

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Worked for DoD and White House on emergency technology and related issues like economic decline. Our goal with this curated list is to separate the noise from the value so you can quickly find the best books. We bought or borrowed every book, unless specifically noted in a review. Common sense prepping, straight to your inbox. Get our free newsletter for great new articles and giveaways. Then we looked at recommended reading lists in books we already knew and respected, consulted librarians, and took a hard look at our own collections.

Once we had our long list, we divided books into categories that made sense to us, and started culling. Beyond those quick smell tests, we used these criteria:. That shortened the long list until it made sense to get our hands on some physical copies and read them. In a few cases, we found books so excellent in some particular way that we included them despite a questionable trait. In those cases, we noted the issue in the review.

The current list is just the beginning of what we plan for our book recommendations. Have a favorite book? Leave a comment and let us know!

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Buy on Amazon In our assessment, this is the best overall introduction to household preparedness for the beginning prepper. Harrison packs an enormous range of readiness into a manageable, welcoming book by applying a seemingly simple system: Organize, Acquire, and Rotate.

Rotating supplies involves practicing skills that use them, so the OAR cycle leads to a constant fine-tuning of skill. Harrison opens the book with stories of two hypothetical families riding out a winter storm with a long power outage. The prepared family has practiced all the skills they need for a week without electricity. They have what they need and they know where to find it. They experience the disaster as an adventure and emerge feeling empowered. In the chapters that follow, Harrison leads the reader through an introduction to the OAR cycle as applied to the individual, the immediate family including pets , the close social circle, the systems of the home itself, and the car.

Then, with all those elements in mind, she walks you through several kinds of disaster, from the common power outage, fire , to the rare pandemic, terrorism. Breaks the big process of household prepping into bit-size pieces for beginners. Buy on Amazon This book focuses on preparing your home and family for sheltering in place, with the last chapter devoted to bugging out. She starts by urging you to put your financial life in order before you spend any money on preparedness gear.

Begin with the likeliest disasters, she tells us. For most people, financial setbacks are more probable and frequent than natural or national disasters. Carr organizes her easy things into chapters covering all the basic survival needs. Includes sections on special considerations like children and pets. Buy on Amazon Creek Stewart is one of the most reputable prepper authors out there, and this book on Bug Out Bags was the beginning of what has become a small preparedness publishing and business empire.

His years of teaching survival skills, hands-on, in the wilderness gives him a special claim on credibility. Each item has its advantages and drawbacks weight, ease of use, etc.

Stewart makes it easy to use the particulars of your life to sort your options into a manageable packing list. Additional chapters cover: selecting the pack itself, special concerns for traveling with pets, organization and maintenance of the BOB, mental preparedness, developing a plan, and practicing skills.

The checklist pages at the end of the book are well laid out and easy to use. This book explores the strange, counterintuitive things the human mind does in emergencies. Some can save you, others can get you killed. Research based with fascinating case studies. Buy on Amazon Your most important survival asset is your mind. Some people, through luck or flukes of personal history, seem to have an effortless knack for survival.

Laurence Gonzales devotes this book to discovering what the differences are between those two sets of people and their responses to their environments. The first section of the book focuses on how disasters actually unfold and the range of things people do when caught up in them. The science of disaster produces answers that seem counterintuitive in our Hollywood-saturated society. Gonzales wraps complex concepts from cognitive science in real-life stories as exciting as any adventure novel. The second section focuses more on cautionary tales and exemplary survivors.

Buy on Amazon The consensus across the prepper movement is that this is the best survival manual to bring with you if you need to evacuate. Our research so far confirms it. Wiseman sets out to prepare the reader to survive in literally any situation. His three most important principles of learning for the survivor are will to live, knowledge, and kit, in that order.

The chapters organized around the knowledge and kit for particular needs, environments, and events all assume the centrality of the will to live. Prepare for the common case.

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That said, if you can only carry one how-to book on your back, the book that covers everything outside your home is the one to bring. Organized better than most foraging books, in a way that's meant for "I need to eat now" rather than a hobby. Buy on Amazon The organization scheme for Edible Wild Plants is what sets it apart from other field guides. Whereas most field guides organize information by scientific Linnaean classification, Elias and Dykeman organize Edible Wild Plants around the seasons.

Indexes by scientific and common names, and by Linnaean characteristics, supplement the photo-rich seasonal core of the book. An introduction offers nutritional information, cooking techniques particular to wild foods, notes on Native American uses of wild plants, and a consideration of ethics, sustainability, and common sense. The ethics will be familiar if you hunt or fish: leave enough behind for the population to bounce back.


Endangered and threatened plants are not included. Mushrooms and other fungi are not included because the dangers of misidentification are too common and serious. The book also has a section on common poisonous plants with warnings and symptoms, at the end where you can find it in a hurry. Includes small steps for beginners, big projects for longtime preppers, and instructions for water-related skills. Human error and political malfeasance can happen in any kind of weather or terrain. Luther shows you how to do water tests on your everyday tap water, because it might not be as safe as you assume.

Her tips for how to conserve water may, for readers in California and other progressive-but-arid climates, be old hat, but for those of us with limited drought experience, those sections are useful. Check out our review of the best emergency water containers to cover your minimum two weeks of home supplies. Filtration, purification, boiling, and other methods are all here, along with non-obvious information about storage containers and practices.

Some plants are wild, but most are common in manmade environments. Use it to forage, or to design your stealthy home food forest. Moreover, humans have for centuries selectively bred our food crops to be sweeter and less fibrous than their native forebears, so that wild varieties of foods you can find at a grocery store may be much richer in nutrients and safer for your insulin levels than commercially available varieties. After an introduction on the safety issues of foraging and the basics of plant identification, Zachos organizes most of her chapters around plant types and common edible parts, such as greens, nuts, and tubers.

A final chapter details techniques for preparation and preservation of wild foods. The book is for readers interested in the current foraging trends, and requires no previous knowledge.

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The Ultimate Survival Medicine Guide: Emergency Preparedness for ANY Disaster Written by a retired medical doctor and nurse practitioner, this great beginners guide is better than most because it doesn't assume help is on the way. Buy on Amazon smaller "guide" version The Survival Medicine Handbook: Third Edition Almost pages thick, this home reference medical guide walks you through emergency medical situations when there's no help coming.

Buy on Amazon larger "handbook" version The Altons have published multiple books and editions.

Most books on first aid focus on stabilizing and transporting the sick and injured, on the assumption that the goal is to get the patient to a modern medical setting. But what if no modern medical setting can be reached? The Altons, a retired medical doctor and nurse practitioner, respectively, wrote this book for readers with no previous medical background, to prepare them for situations of widespread emergency or social collapse.

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Their case in point is Hurricane Katrina, after which hospitals were understaffed, undersupplied, and overwhelmed with patients in need. Even in temporary disasters, and certainly in long-term ones, laypeople can find that the buck stops with them. Sections on basic principles, prevention, and sanitation open the book. The Altons present their information with an emphasis on flexibility and improvisation, training the eye and mind to find useful materials where no medical supplies are available. The final section on medications covers how to procure antibiotics that are safe for humans from veterinary sources, which do not require a medical license.