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Top Ten Survival Books

Updated on July 31, 2013
Linda BookLady profile image

I'm a book blogger, the Book Lady at YouTube, and a novelist and memoir writer.

Want to survive? Is it time to learn how?

Most of us want to survive the uncertainty ahead, and without a doubt, survival books can teach methods to prepare, to deal with harsh conditions, and to emerge victorious over whatever life throws our way.

This begs the question - what is there to survive? Worst scenario - the Yellowstone caldera eruption! Still bad but not quite so awful - economic depression, fire, floods, earthquakes, you name it.

About the image above: Campfire Canoe, by Ervin Molnar - You can buy this art print at

This page was made by Linda Jo Martin, novelist and content writer.

You can connect with me on Google Plus.

Almost every year people lose everything to tornadoes and hurricanes. And they think California is bad because we have an occasional earthquake out here!

The fact is, terrible things happen and we want to be prepared. These survival books will give you the low-down on survival tactics that can serve to keep you and your loved ones alive.

At the end of the top ten list you'll find two bonus books that didn't make the top ten, and one of those is free!

1. SAS Survival Handbook - Survival for any climate in any situation.

This is a newly updated survival manual for campers, outdoor adventurers, and anyone who needs to learn survival skills. You will learn what to eat and how to prepare it - and what to avoid.

There's a section on camp shelters and locations, how to organize your campsite, and what tools you'll need in the wilderness. First aid is covered, and most important, how to avoid fear, how to react in hostile situations, and all the basic survival essentials.

This survival manual is available in paperback format only.

2. How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It - Tactics, techniques, and technologies for uncertain times.

A survivalist expert shares his knowledge of survival tools and skills.

You'll learn about water, food storage, fuel, power options, gardening, livestock, medical supplies and their use, communications, security, investing, bartering, and when to get out of dodge.

If you want your family to be prepared to survive the end of the world as we know it, this book is an excellent investment. Every person (children included) should have this kind of training because we don't know what might happen next.

This book is available in Kindle, paperback, and downloadable audio format.

3. Handbook to Practical Disaster Preparedness for the Family, 2nd Edition

A practical survival manual to prepare for natural or man-made catastrophes.

Included are sections on firearm selection and handling, food storage, radiological emergency preparedness, and disaster preparedness networks. There are copyable worksheets to help you organize as you prepare to survive, whether it be with children, animals, or the elderly. Read this book and you'll know what to do. There are numerous illustrations including photos.

This book is available in paperback or Kindle editions.

4. Holding Your Ground: Preparing for Defense if it All Falls Apart - "If Law Enforcement is no longer there and people are hungry, ugly things can happen."

In a worst-case scenario we may be plunged into extreme societal unrest. We may be forced to defend our families, and must know how to hold our ground. Most of us have never been in that situation and could be easily taken advantage of by more aggressive and savvy, desperate individuals.

This book goes beyond food storage, shelter, and water. It teaches how to train your team and equip yourself for defense. If this sounds outrageous or out of bounds, go read The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. It is fiction, but clearly shows how bad it could get in an end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it scenario.

Holding Your Ground is available in Kindle or paperback versions.

5. Emergency Food Storage & Survival Handbook - Everything you need to know to keep your family safe in a crisis.

The author of this book has nine people to feed regularly, and lectures on food preparation awareness and emergency preparedness.

This book teaches how to plan and store a three month food supply. More than that, it shows you other essentials you should store such as clothing, bedding, first-aid supplies, fuel, and most importantly, water.

In the pages of this book you'll find instructions for creating first aid kits, home pharmacies, and home grocery stores. You'll get ten steps for creating an affordable food storage program.

6. When All Hell Breaks Loose - Stuff you need to survive when disaster strikes.

If all hell breaks loose, you need survival skills to see you through the crisis, wherever you may be.

The book teaches that living through a disaster is 90 percent psychology, 10 percent methodology and gear. You'll find this survival book entertaining and easy to read, but very practical.

Learn how to survive even under stress and while in danger. The book addresses drinking water needs, alternative lighting, food storage, heating and cooling, and much more.

Available as a paperback or in a Kindle edition.

7. The Forager's Harvest - A guide to identifying, harvesting, and preparing edible wild plants.

Familiarity with wild edible plants can save you in a food related emergency. If you don't know what plants in your area are edible, this is a great time to start learning and experimenting with methods for preparing them. If you can make delicious meals out of locally available plants, your worth in your community will be inestimable.

This book is a guide for finding and identifying wild edible plants. You'll learn when to harvest them, how to collect them, and how to prepare them for cooking.

There are color photographs to aid in plant identification, plus a harvest calendar and bibliography.

8. 98.6 Degrees: The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive - "...a nonstop thrill ride, jam-packed with commonsense modern survival skills..."

Cody Lundin, the "Dual Survival" expert (Discovery Channel) explains the essentials of keeping your body at a normal temperature. If your core temperature drops, you've got exposure and are likely to die. Staying warm, healthy, and sane are essential for survival under any stressing conditions.

This book has been called "a destined underground classic" and "a nonstop thrill ride, jam-packed with commonsense modern survival skills for the backcountry, the backyard, or the highway." Does that sound useful and entertaining?

If you want to keep your temperature at 98.6 degrees whether you're lost in the desert or a snowstorm, read this book and learn to save your own life.

Available as a paperback or in a Kindle edition.

9. The Modern Survival Manual - Surviving the economic collapse.

This book has a unique perspective. It is written by a family man who survived the 2001 economic collapse in Argentina. He's put his experience and wisdom into this manual to help people in other countries as they pick up the pieces of their lives and learn new skills after economic collapse.

The book covers family preparation techniques and skills, preparing your food supply, home, and vehicle, preparing your finances, and dealing with power failures. You will learn how to fight to defend yourself using a variety of weaponry including chairs and pens.

Hopefully you won't have to deal with that scenario during a disaster, however your awareness and attitude will be the deciding factors.

Will you be ready when disaster strikes?

This book is available in paperback only.

10. U.S. Air Force Survival Handbook - Expert advice on survivalist skills.

There are more than a thousand black and white illustrations in this book. It is a formal training manual for US Air Force survival training courses. As such it contains the best information possible for pilots shot down in a variety of difficult situations. This is practical advice but you'll find it interesting and easy to read.

Learn about survival in the tropics, the Arctic, at sea, in the desert, and in enemy territory. You'll also read about the psychological effects of torture and imprisonment. Would it help to have this information? If you think so, get this book.

Available in paperback, or in a Kindle edition.

Are you a prepper or a survivalist? - What's the difference? Watch the video to find out.

So which are you? Prepper or survivalist? - ...or both?

Are you a prepper or a survivalist?

See results

Bonus #1 - A free book can download this in Kindle format.

Shelters, Shacks and Shanties, by Daniel Carter Beard - shows and explains how to build a wide variety of survival shelters in the wilderness, from one-night huts to larger, cozy hogans.

Bonus #2 - Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It's Too Late - Being prepared makes the difference between survival and disas

Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It's Too Late
Bug Out: The Complete Plan for Escaping a Catastrophic Disaster Before It's Too Late
Get read... prepare. This tells you how to do it. I'm loading my van with the essentials.

Any book reviews or comments? - Your comments are always welcome.

Submit a Comment
  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Thanks for the recommendations! I really enjoyed The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse.

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    If you had to choose only one or two books, which ones would they be?

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Great list.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Those are some great books. I know my husband has at least 3 of them. He's really into stuff like surviving in the wild (loves camping/hiking in pretty extreme wilderness). We are also preppers so in the event that something really terrible occurs (we mainly focus on severe weather events that wash out roads, disrupt food supply and power etc), it's nice to know I've got this wild man here to help us survive. Thanks for sharing your list â I'm going to show it to my husband to see if there are any more he'd like to read! -Pepper M, Website Owner,

  • Merrci profile image

    Merry Citarella 

    7 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

    Interesting to see some options! I've loved reading fiction versions. Have to try one of these.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Great job covering the bases. I agree that you need to be both survivalist and prepper. They're really just two necessary tools in the kit we all need. Cheers...

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    I have really liked the "dare to prepare" book. Thanks for all of the reviews. I'm going to have to check some of them out!

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Great info on an important topic. With the increase in natural as well as man-made disaster, we all need to enhance our survival skills.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    The first survival book I read was Scouting For Boys by Baden Powell when I was a kid. The idea of strategic location is interesting. No wonder the Scots are going for independence, the southeast of England is sinking below sea level and Scotland is rising. It'll be the place to be in 10,000 years!

  • Fart Pickins profile image

    Fart Pickins 

    7 years ago

    I think it's most everyone's natural instinct to survive. It's everyone's human right to live free and survive. These books are great and I think anyone interested in this subject is normal.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    @healthimage: Pointless? Ever hear of a hurricane or power outage? So you have no home owners or car insurancwe either do you? Preparing doesn't only have to be for the end of the world. Best part, if nothing ever happens, you still have the preps, unlike ANY other insurance. You're blind and naïve.

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Great list. I have about half of these and they're all interesting reads.

  • profile image

    uneasywriter lm 

    7 years ago

    Great subject everyone should know at least a little about!

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Not quite the same but I learned a lot about survival while sailing around the world

    "Ask Me Anything About Sailing Around the World"

  • Resident-Nerd profile image


    8 years ago

    Great list of books in this lens. Thank you

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    I don't have any of these books and probably won't. The idea of prepping for a global disaster seems pretty pointless. Bad enough wanting to try to eek out a miserable living in such a hostile environment, but filling my head with all that stuff before it ever even happens? No thanks!

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Nice Lens

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    I have book number 5 - great information

  • LornsA178 profile image


    8 years ago from USA

    Very informative, I have to look into these books. Thanks!

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    Oh man Im going to have to update my queue in amazon!

    here's my outdated reviews

  • profile image

    buttonhead lm 

    8 years ago

    Great list! It's important to be prepared. I'm definitely going to buy the emergency food sotrange book. Thanks for the info!

  • OzGirl LM profile image

    OzGirl LM 

    9 years ago

    Interesting lens. My son is a "prepper" and coincidentally, he just started a new blog about prepping at - his hope is to give people economical options in prepping.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Nice lens. Today am exploring top lens. Your lens is interesting and informative.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    Great lens! I think that it is so important for everyone to prepare for the next big natural disaster BEFORE it happens. Great collection of books to get people a little more prepared!

  • pyngthyngs profile image


    9 years ago

    Interesting topic. Considering many people think 2012 will be a monumental year, I would imagine survival guides would be very popular purchase.

  • profile image


    9 years ago

    This is a great page, very informative and i'd definitely recommend it. And i've also given you a 'like'

    I'm new to this but i have 2 pages up so i'd appreciate it if you could go onto the link, like and comment, and share the link if you like it. I hope you enjoy reading through my poetry.Thanks I wrote all the poetry myself so feel free to 'like' it if you enjoy the read :)


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