“Wyrd biõ ful ãræd.”

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

If I could only have a few survival books on the shelf.

  I looked over my survival library last night, and tried to pick out the very best books. My criterion was planning guidance, rather than entertainment. The books for entertainment I'll look at some other time.

I haven't done these in any particular order. They're just books that I would consider to be essential. For people new to the self sufficient mind set, they make great "get started" sources.  For the old hands, they give different insights into old problems.

This book is not a publication of the Mormon Church. Rather, it's a condensation of Mormon preparedness practices and methods.  As a general guide book to the essentials of food storage and much more, you can't beat it.

As far as I know , 2012 was the last printing. It's hard to find these days but you can get it if you try.

James Wesley Rawles is a bit of an eccentric, but for a long time he was the leading light of the survivalist movement. He's a former Army intelligence officer and the primary proponent of the American Redoubt philosophy.

He's the author of a series of interrelated fiction books describing events after a societal collapse, but those fit in the entertainment category although you can glean a lot of practical information from them.

This particular book is the one I bought many copies of and then handed out to my relatives in hopes of convincing them to do a little prior planning.

The book is a basic handbook on getting ready, and what to do once TEOTWAWKI arrives.  It ought to be on every survivalist and prepper's book shelf.

  This is the companion volume to the book above. It came out much later than How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It.

This is ancillary to the first book.  I would say it's primary importance is as a guide for building up your "on hand" supplies of equipment and tools.

Once the bad thing happens, it's unlikely people will be able to run down to the hardware store and make purchases. If you go through this book with a highlighter, you can get the things you need but hadn't thought of . Then you won't be left wondering why you didn't buy such and such an item when you had the chance.

Most of us don't have inexhaustible supplies of money, so we have to buy what we can, when we can. This will help you prioritize and lessen the chances of forgetting something you really should have.

Cody Lundin is quite a character. He had a rough life as a young man, and did time in prison for selling drugs.

When he came out, he decided to live a self sufficient lifestyle in the Arizona  desert.  The rest is history. One of the two players in "Dual Survival" he was eventually kicked off the show because he couldn't stand the fakery of television any longer.

He runs a survival school in Arizona, and lives in a completely self sustaining home he designed himself. The house has been the subject of just about as many videos and TV shows as he has.

Eccentric he may be, but he knows his stuff. This book is oriented towards outdoor survival.  Since any of us could wind up trying to get along somewhere in the boonies, it's a good read.  Lundin's books are designed to be easy to read, and humorous. They have some great art work in them.

 If I could only have one book, I think this might very well be it.

The book is about as comprehensive as they come. He may a be a hippy at heart, but Lundin is a straight shooter when it comes to survival and a practical man.  My copy of When all Hell Breaks Loose is pretty worn and it's been highlighted to death.  There's plenty here for the professional and the novice.

The practical advice, what's called "actionable information" today, is really useful and covers just about everything. It's "how to do this" type information.  There's some philosophy here too, but primarily this is a sort of mini-encyclopedia of things people need to know when things fall apart.

I don't know how many times I've read this book, but it's alot. And every time I do, I find something else to think about, or take care of.  Everybody who wants to make it through to the other side of a big breakdown ought to have this well in advance.

I wanted to put this book in as an afterthought, more than anything else. Survival Mom is very popular with women in the United States. It's oriented more towards the mechanics of feeding everyone, and keeping everyone healthy, in the aftermath of some big Black Swan event. It's definitely a woman's book, and focused largely on the family.

I haven't covered any of Ragnar Benson's books, because I already did a post on all of those some months back.  I didn't cover medical books, because those are a subject all on their own. Nor did I put any books that are personal narratives or designed to be entertaining in the post.  There are some good ones in both categories and I'll hit them later.  The books I did cover are well worth the cost and I have paper copies of them all, for obvious reasons.


  1. Yep, we have the Rawles books, too. We also have our own survival skills in our heads as we are from an earlier generation where we had to make do with what we had. What we call "primitive" skills now, is what we did when we were kids. We may be old, but we are tough and cunning and hit what we shoot at.

    1. People who have been living out in the hinterland for a long time are generally pretty well up on what needs to be done. I have been very unimpressed with the people from California who moved to the woods from the city, and how they performed during these big fires in California. Over and over, people tell how they waited til the fires were actually burning their houses, then fled without their animals, without their critical documents, without anything but the clothes on their backs. They did not preplanning, no prepositioning, didn't even more their animals out. People that have some common sense and some rural living under their belts did much better. Just buying a house in the woods clearly doesn't make a person any better off than they were living in surburbia.

      There's really no substitute for experience.

  2. I'll see if I can find any of these for my library, thanks for the recommendations.

    1. Kirsty, if they can get you anything try to have them find you the second book by Cody Lundin. It's worth the effort, I promise.

  3. I'll have to look at some of those.

    Seeing as there is a book dedicated to tools: If anyone is looking for a good intro to handtools for woodworking, BTW, I recommend Aldren Watson's "Hand Tools: Their Ways and Workings." He doesn't deal with wood-bodied planes or non-western tools, but is otherwise pretty comprehensive.

    -Grey Fox

    1. Grey Fox, that sounds like something I would like to get a copy of. I'll see if I can find it on line. I have only just started buying power tools as I got older and using hand tools got harder, but I still have my old tools. I can get a lot of hand tools very cheaply up at the flea market in North Carolina.

  4. I always liked Dr. Bruce Clayton's "Life after doomsday". It's a bit dated in some aspects now, but it was influential in getting me on the survival path back in the early 80's.

    1. I know the book, and it's a good one. It's like Mel Tappan's book on survival, old but still full of useful information. I ought to break out my copy and read it over again, it's been some time.

  5. I am curious. Did handing out those books have any effect on people's behavior? I've handed out info like that and the only ones who did anything were the ones who were already pretty squared away.

    I like Cody. One of the things that impressed me is his willingness to eat low on the food chain. Little critters dug out of the mud can provide the calories you need, but unlike something like a wild boar they are lot safer to harvest.

    A lot of these survival guys make a big deal about how they wrassled an alligator into submission. Fine, they are good eating, but they could also mess you up bad. In a real life survival situation the film crew is not going to call in a chopper to haul your mangled butt out.

    1. Well, I think the truth is, it was pretty much a wasted effort. I gave one to every nephew and neice ( I have 8) and one to each sibling, as well as several to Uncles and Aunts. The only one who was really influenced by the book was my middle brother. I'm pretty sure the rest of the family just put the book on the shelf, donated it to the library or threw it away.

      Cody Lundin is quirky but he's "real." I tend to think of him, Les Stroud and Michael Hawk as the people in the field I would trust. I watched the new "Dirty Rotten Survival" premier, and noticed that David Canterbury has been rehabilitated and is back on TV in that show. However, I couldn't figure out what the point of the show was, I'm not sure I'll watch it again.

      I can't imagine ever being out in the bush without a rifle, myself, so I look on the "alligator wresting" type thing in the survival shows as just window dressing to keep people watching. You're right, in real life people aren't going to attack wild boars with wooden spears.

  6. You can still get a paperback copy of the LDS preparedness manual through the LDS AVOW (Another Voice of Warning) folks. They sell them on Amazon:


    You can also download a free PDF copy of this manual on the LDS AVOW webpage, The catch is they want your e-mail to send you other offers, but you can opt out at any time. --Troy

    1. Troy, both of those things are good to know. I'm trying to buy through Barnes and Nobles now but I bet a lot of people who would like to have a copy are saved considerable effort by your information.

      I have lots of email accounts, and they all have different purposes. One of them is just to sign up for email offers from outfits I do business with, I actually like to get those daily notices of what's on sale, etc.

  7. From Lisa@ TwoBearsFarm

    "I am going to check my library for those. I have only read Survival Mom from your list. "

    "Eta: they had the second Lundin book and several of the Rawles so I put in a request. They are all checked out right now but I am sure they will come my way within a few weeks. "

    Lisa, I went to publish your comments, and put the cursor right on delete instead of publish and pushed the button. Then I sat there befuddled for a few seconds. It's like my hand and my brain weren't connected.

    But I was able to pull the comments out of the email, so all is not lost.

    I think you'll like the books. Did you see that Troy said you could download a free copy of the Mormon book in PDF format?

  8. Over the years I have accumulated a wealth of information in book or pamphlet form online, on a wide variety of subjects, including the LDS book. But I think I should start printing out much of it, for should the grid go down, it won't do me much good if I can't access it.

    1. Vicki, Rawles used to advocate printing out important information from the internet and keeping it in loose leaf binders. Today, I think most people have a dedicated laptop or some sort of device similar, and they store the information on CD's. Then all you need is a solar charger for the tablet, etc.

      I will say I tried out a little solar charger and it didn't work well. But I went on the cheap and that was a mistake.

  9. Harry,

    We have a resource library of essential books. James Wesley Rawles, Cody Lundin, books are very much a part of our resource library.

    1. I have my good books in print, Sandy, and some are digital. I read them, and if they are really good, I buy hard copy. Like you and Bulldog Man, I keep a shelf full of books. They may outlast me and someone may need them after I'm not around to tell them what file to look up on a computer.