Monday, July 9, 2007

The Post-Apocalyptic Survival Bookshelf

For a while now, I've thought that one of the most valuable things in a post-apocalyptic world would be information. Whatever form an apocalypse takes, there will almost certainly be wholesale death and destruction. Computers will be rendered near worthless by a lack of electricity and advanced electronics. Fragile books will be destroyed by water and fire. Human experts will die, and critical information about agriculture, medicine and science will be lost. One person's death could mean doom for an entire community, if the are the only one that knows how to fix the water pump or make medicine. Combine that with the fact that most people in developed countries no longer know much about hunting, farming, wilderness survival and similar skills, and we've suddenly got a serious survival problem. Well, besides the whole apocalypse thing.

My solution is The Post-Apocalyptic Survival Bookshelf. I intend to gather various books together to form a small library of important information to help survive the apocalypse, thrive in the post-apocalyptic world, and start to rebuild society afterwards. The books will be a valuable physical resource that will outlast your death and can teach others the same important skills. And by knowing what's in the books, you'll have a leg up on anyone else and be a more valuable member of your community even if the books don't survive.

Rules for the bookshelf:
  1. Must be a book. Books may be relatively fragile, but there's really no alternative. Most modern books are meant to last a few years at least. Printouts are too fragile and don't age very well.
  2. Keep the numbers small. Fewer books mean less weight, and it's easier to carry them and protect them. I won't put a number on it, but it probably shouldn't be more than a couple of dozen. If the list gets long, I may bump some.
  3. Survival takes precedence, then thriving, then rebuilding society. That means medicine and wilderness survival guides take precedence over agricultural and tool-building techniques, and those are more important than electronics guides or other advanced topics.
  4. I intend on purchasing my own copies of most of these books so I can give you more detailed information about them. Hopefully each book would also be in print or at least easily available.
I've got a few in mind already that I'll be posting about soon, but please let me know if you've run across something worthy. I'd also like to hear about other suggestions for what you'd like to see this blog talk about.

115 comments:

Anonymous said...

All my professional skills are going to be totally useless in the post-apocalyptic world, unless the key to our survival (or unraveling the past) lies hidden in the anals of film archives.

It's a good thing I've been learning how to can foods, sew, grow things, navigate via compass, build fires and what not. Also, archery?

-Mas

Plant Master Flash said...

Random thought about #3: Given that the majority of the US population does not live in areas that even remotely qualify as "wilderness", it may be more useful to own books about, for example, what sort of urban/suburban weeds you can eat.

Also, a more general thought: Dies the Fire is a novel that makes an effort to answer some of the questions about what sort of skills are needed/useful in a post-apocalyptic world. You might be interested in giving it a read more as food for thought than for actual information.

Abra said...

Merck Veterinary Manual, for the care of one's animals. Also, a tradeable skill. And an older version of the Joy of Cooking, for How To Cook and Preserve Anything.

xcorvis said...

@plant master flash

Good point on the suburban focus, but I'll counter that with the high likelihood that urban centers are going to be destroyed. That, of course, depends on the nature of the apocalypse. I'm planning on fleeing to the countryside. Still, weeds, er food for thought...

@abra:

Veterinary manual, check.

Preserving food supplies through hard time is a critical skill, good idea. Katie has the Joy of Cooking's "All About Canning & Preserves," which is much, much thinner than the full cookbook. Still, it might be nice to have the additional information about food preparation. I'm betting there's a cookbook out there with a real old-fashioned focus, preferably something that tells you how to dress game as well. It might make a canning book redundant.

Dave said...

Hey, my wife and I were just talking about this.

My recolection is that 'mysterious island' by jules verne has a lot of survival stuff in it, how to smelt metal and stuff like that.

And it's a pretty good story so that might be good to have on the book shelf.

I'll keep coming back!

dave

Anonymous said...

i think that archery, fishing(where i live live anyway), and martial arts/ self-defense would be important because i believe you're assuming anarchy. This may happen sooner due to a global oil crisis that will probably come sometime. I will not be caught unaware

Anonymous said...

Sort of like a farmers almanac, except for the end of the world.

Anonymous said...

RE: long term survival guides.
There is a must read book on this subject although it is not a survival guide per say.
One Man’s Wilderness is a fascinating story of a man, Dick Proenneke who left his urban life behind, moved to twin lakes, Alaska and forged a living out of the wilderness. Granted, he had bi-annual deliveries from a float plane but even in a post apocalyptic world, one would never be alone. There would be others, some hostile, some willing to trade and so on.
This is a true story though and could lend a lot of background knowledge to the subject.
For visuals, i am sure that there was also a documentary made of it by PBS or something.

David

Anonymous said...

I don't really have a specific book in mind, perse. However, books with pages made from rag-paper, or perhaps vinyl/nylon, instead of traditional pulp paper would last for a longer period of time in hazardous conditions or just changing weather.

Anonymous said...

I think that the nature of this post apocalypse would need to be determined. I think that if it was a war fueled apocalypse you would either have instantaneous destruction of most population via nuclear, biological, or chemical means / or there is the alternative of erosion of infrastructure due to constant conventional warfare, leaving a large population without ability to sustain its needs. Both worlds would be pretty desperate. In the WMD world staying uncontaminated and finding uncontaminated food would be paramount. And in a world of slow erosion supplies would be fought over fiercely. Also about the comment about urban foods, I am certain that given time nature would retake the suburbs (given there is no fallout) and all manner of flora and fauna would grow and wander the streets. Another type of apocalypse is the potential of natural disaster. Possibly melting ice caps or the yellowstone super-volcano or a comet/meteor/asteroid. In the case of a flood only the highest ground would be good for sustained living and definitely crowded. Fallout conditions would ensue for the super-volcano and ditto for the Near Earth Objects. I should stop writing but i am still full of ideas and questions. My book suggestion is The Road and the militaries latest nuclear/biological/chemical threat manual. I think your shelf should vary according to apocalypse.

xcorvis said...

Re: Bookshelf varying with the apocalypse

I agree that would be more appropriate to the given apocalypse, and some books may not be relevant at all if armageddon happens one way rather than another. But, since you can't choose how the world ends, you can't afford to just have the Nuclear shelf and not the Melting Ice Cap shelf too.

Anonymous said...

It seems as though, in these days of dependance on physical and rhetorical databanks, whether anolog (print and paper), or digital, the tradition of passing on skills and information through word of mouth and interpersonal skill-share has been passed aside. R. Buckminster Fuller once stated that overspecialization has led to the downfall of almost every major extinct society. if you have a skill, teach it to as many as can learn it, and the knowledge will never fade as long as there are people to continue the tradition. Good ideas, everyone else. -JT

Anonymous said...

Hello gentlemen, even as a little kid, I was often cought up in the idea of a post apocalyptic, witch had me thinking in all sorts of ideas. Most just purile day dreaming some real life situations. Though my study has never been overly through may I recomend Max Brooks "the Zombie survival guide"
If you can get past the idea that the book actually was made for comedy, it actually makes a lot of intresting and valid points. That I would not be so quick to discard.
One more thing I have been thinking about When it comes to P.A. life why stock up on certin key items now. That way when the time does come, if not completely prepared, you will at least, be alot better off than all the other fools, who are forced to turn to thievery, murder or worse.
In closing, think think think! Call me nuts but I am constantly thinking of ways to re invint stuff. Hech I even sat down multiple times calculating how much canned food I would eat in a day then times that buy 365, times agian the price per can. Just to see how much I would have to spend to build a one year food supply.

Anonymous said...

I do agree that survival books are important, but I think you should have a couple "good" history, math, and science, books. Even if your not good at for example, advanced math, it will give some one down the rood a starting point to relearn our collective knowledge.

And on the survival part The SAS guide to tracking, ISBN 1-58574-031-4, would be a good book to have.

Also you should have something that tells you how to make gunpowder & maybe other chemicals from scratch.

Anonymous said...

Caveman chemistry FTW

Anonymous said...

For me, I'd say there are 4 books that would be on the shelf. First would be "Henley's Formulas" - a good general all-around book with directions and formulas for a variety of compounds. Second would be a good "physics 200" level book - so that the new society can have a good starting point for re-developing technology. Thirdly would be a college-level calculus textbook, so that it will be possible to understand the Physics Textbook :). Finally, a basic mathematics book, as a foundation for everything. It would progress from arithmetic to algebra.

Kirkland Club said...

Emergency Supplies Checklist

Stocking up now on emergency supplies can add to your safety and comfort during and after an earthquake. Store enough supplies for at least 72 hours.

Download PDF file (137k) for printing.

Essentials

* Water -- 1 gallon per person per day (a week's supply of water is preferable)
* Water purification kit
* First aid kit, freshly stocked
* First aid book
* Food
* Can opener (non-electric)
* Blankets or sleeping bags
* Portable radio, flashlight and spare batteries
* Essential medications
* Extra pair of eyeglasses
* Extra pair of house and car keys
* Fire extinguisher -- A-B-C type
* Food, water and restraint (leash or carrier) for pets
* Cash and change
* Baby supplies: formula, bottle, pacifier, soap and baby powder, clothing, blankets, baby wipes, disposable diapers, canned food and juices.

Sanitation Supplies

* Large plastic trash bags for waste; tarps and rain ponchos
* Large trash cans
* Bar soap and liquid detergent
* Shampoo
* Toothpaste and toothbrushes
* Feminine hygiene supplies
* Toilet paper
* Household bleach

Safety and Comfort

* Sturdy shoes
* Heavy gloves for clearing debris
* Candles and matches
* Light sticks
* Change of clothing
* Knife or razor blades
* Garden hose for siphoning and firefighting
* Tent
* Communication kit: paper, pens, stamps

Cooking

* Plastic knives, forks, spoons
* Paper plates and cups
* Paper towels
* Heavy-duty aluminum foil
* Camping stove for outdoor cooking (caution: before using fire to cook, make sure there are no gas leaks; never use charcoal indoors)

Tools and Supplies

* Axe, shovel, broom
* Adjustable wrench for turning off gas
* Tool kit including a screwdriver, pliers and a hammer
* Coil of 1/2" rope
* Plastic tape, staple gun and sheeting for window replacement
* Bicycle
* City map

Nemo said...

Personally, I've been fooling around as an amateur blacksmith on and off for almost a decade now, and can't help but think that might prove useful. It seems to me that being able to make potash, and through that soap, glass, and fertilizer might be worth knowing. Also, long term, finding a way to preserve the germ theory of disease would likely prove worthwhile.

I've always liked the book 'Earth Abides' by George R Stewart regarding this topic. Seems a reasonable treatment on how things fall apart, and what skills seem useful.

Anonymous said...

'Patriots' by James Wesley Rawles. Not only is there a ton of good survival information, there's also a piece on this very subject. Everybody should read it.

LazyEight said...

Field Dressing and Butchering Deer: Step-by-Step Instructions, from Field to Table by Monte Burch ISBN: 1585743585

This book works well for any wild mammal, the only difference is size.

The Forager's Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants by Samuel Thayer ISBN: 0976626608

There are a lot of native plants out there that are very nutritious but most people don't know of them.

SAS Survival Handbook: How to Survive in the Wild, in Any Climate, on Land or at Sea by John Lofty Wiseman ISBN: 0060578793

Highly recommended by most people in the self-reliance circles.

Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills by Abigail Gehring ISBN: 1602392331

Most people I've known, especially city people, have no concept on how to grow their own food or do self-reliance type tasks for themselves. This book is a good primer on self-reliance.

Anonymous said...

The book Lucifers hammer by Larry Niven pretty much says the same things as this article, almost to the point I would assume the author read it before writing it. In one part it details an intellectual with a massive book collection, and his attempts to pick the books he believed would be necessary to restore civilization. If you want a good booklist, the ones he recommends in the story should be top priority.

Anonymous said...

the kamasutra and a book on childbirth cause of the reduced population after a apocalyse

Anonymous said...

I am able to do the following things.
1.I can grow food crops for human and animals.
2.I can grow food animals.
3.I can hunt.
4.I can trap.
5.I can build shelter.
6.I can extract usefull substances such as medicined from plants.
7.I can distill alcohol.
8.I can brew beer.
9.I can make gunpowder.
10. I can build arms and weapons.
11.I can supervise work crews.
12. I can use dray animals.
13. I can build transportation devices from scrap and surplus.
14.I can kill in defense of those I protect.

Anonymous said...

The SAS Survival Handbook covers the bare basics of everything you'll need to survive on your own.

The Worst-Case Scenario series is written for comedy but has a lot of valuable information.

These two may be thicker than you'd like, but they compact a lot of information into one volume, are easy to understand and give step by step instructions.

Angus York said...

Here's a book for you:

SAS Survival Guide by John Wiseman. It's paperback and it's pocket sized, but in my experience I've not ever come across a more valuable book. There is a full-sized edition that elaborates a bit more, but as far as survival guides go, this one is hard to beat.

http://www.amazon.com/SAS-Survival-Guide-Handbook-Collins/dp/0060849827/ref=pd_lpo_k2_dp_k2a_1_txt?pf_rd_p=304485601&pf_rd_s=lpo-top-stripe-2&pf_rd_t=201&pf_rd_i=0002171856&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=1PMA7SS5ZX67HAB52SVE

Anonymous said...

Their called "Foxfire" and the series covers ever skill set needed. They were published in the 70's I believe and are probably available on Amazon.

Anonymous said...

There is a series of books called Foxfire, numbered about 12 in total. The series is an effort to document the lifestyle, culture, and skills of people in southern Appalachia, a very poor area of the US that is comprised of isolated communities that are largely self sufficient. The books give in highly instructive detail everything needed to survive and thrive post-industrial: making tools and shelter from available materials, identify and select plants for tools, food and medicinals as well as, of course selecting, preparing and protecting foodstuffs against spoilage. A smart reader will even gather the vital insights needed to form a viable culture in such conditions from the stories and recorded accounts of their lives and society. There are even articles on dances and construction details of musical instruments, very important for a culture to form and thrive successfully.

Mike said...

From my research, the Zombies will be the largest issue. You should begin stocking up on ammo and maybe an 18 wheeler fuel tanker truck to serve as a tanker for the convoy (think madmax) and to refill flame throwers we will be using to burn the undead. (Also draw up plans for flamer throwers made from household items) probably those $600 vacuum cleaners they sell will have the parts needed.

JustABill said...

You might want to look into the Foxfire book series. While intended more as a recording of what the oral history of the Appalachians, they would probably serve as excellent how to guides for any number of subjects.

http://www.foxfire.org/

Gertie said...

Everything I learned in Girl Scouts, back in the stone age when they actually made and cooked over fires and slept in tents, instead of cooking over stoves in air conditioned cabins. An Amish cookbook and a book on canning would be great, but you'd also do well learning how to pot meat, raise and butcher hogs and chickens, and dig a latrine. And by-the-by what about the cans and lids needed for this alleged canning?
As far as urban/suburban life goes, without the constant maintenance even the most urban area could be expected to be overgrown and filled with wandering wildlife in a lot less time than you might think. How about seeds and a book on how to grow things organically? You'd have to have the stuff before you could can it. Books on eco building with cob and straw bail would be good choices as well. Experience would be better. And what about solar ovens?

Anonymous said...

When Technology Fails is an excellent all-around survival and green living guide. The SAS Survival Guide for foraging techniques.

Look for older books and manuals, like Townsend Whelan's On Your Own In The Wilderness. Good skills that have been forgotten but don't fit in with our current preservation mindset.

This goes especially for older cookbooks for preserving, jerking, and Dutch Oven cooking. I also have a reprint of an old Civil War-era recipe pamphlet showing how to make things like hard tack and salted pork.

For personal skills, besides being a firearm instructor and reloader, a hunter, fisher, and camper, I am also a leatherworker (learned in Junior high School because of Alas, Babylon), martial artist, and Medieval weapons enthusiast.

Coop said...

I think hunting skills would be one of the most useful skills if the end came without nuclear weapons.. As many have stated, ubarn/suburban areas are most likely to be destroyed first. Almost every state wild life resource officer/department has tons of books on types of game, hunting techniques, tracking information and game identification as well as how to field dress (its not hard.. just gross). Heck, you can even learn a ton in a hunting/fishing safety course (10-12 hours over 2 days, 99% free, highly worth it)

Anonymous said...

Thinking about how a well-prepared person would defend themselves and their skills from those who would do anything to get it, I'm thinking there is a need to protect what you have to offer as well as some skills at negotiating partnerships to rebuild a community that can defend what it intends to preserve and propagate. I'm a grower and I often wonder how I could be a sustainable resource for a community that may have other values around self-preservation that leads to short term decisions that undermine the potential of interlocking partnerships.

Anonymous said...

Whatever the case the best strategy is be one that involved bringing good people together for their collective good and mutual protection. Maybe it is something we should be defining right now instead of waiting for the unknown.

Alex said...

A worthy endeavor, but it has already been done:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxfire_books

Anonymous said...

Fannie Farmer cook book it is designed for wilderness cooking

Anonymous said...

this isn't cheap, but it will be useful

http://www.amazon.com/507-Mechanical-Movements-Henry-Brown/dp/0961808861

Anonymous said...

I have an old Boy Scout Fieldbook, which I wouldn't trade for anything. Has all the survival skills necessary to live off the land pretty much forever.

Anonymous said...

"American Indian Medicine", Vogel. Gives lists of native plants and their traditional uses. You're going to need a good vermifuge and antihelminic after eating that wild game.

Anonymous said...

The Firefox book series is an excellent resource and probably all anyone would ever need to survive. But before you get the opportunity to build a log cabin you'll have to get through the period of collapse after whatever happens: it probably won't be an empty world like Stephen King envisions in "The Stand".

Think of the blond bimbo in high heels and short skirts; how long do you think she'll survive? Do you REALLY want her tagging along with you? Sound cruel to even think that way?

After the 'fall' it's too late to think about how you'll make the compromises and survive. Read a few books first: "Footfall" by Larry Niven and "Lucifer's Hammer" by Larry Niven/ Jerry Pournelle are great ones to get you thinking. Another is "Postman" by David Brin (NOT THE LOUSY MOVIE).

Andrew said...

The Foxfire Books. Thanks, Dad. =)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foxfire_books

Anonymous said...

Check out the Complete Book of Camping byLeonard Miracle.
It is a wonderful survival guide- from setting up a tent to first aid.
Kate

Russel R. said...

I think the most feasible threat as of the moment is the next solar storm. I know this sounds over-the-top, but this storm is expected to happen on 2012, the peak of the solar cycle. When that happens we (the "modern" countries) would be sent back 200-300 years back in time in terms of technology. The most optimistic of recovery forecasts says that it would take at least two years to recover. The pessimists have it at ten years. I have began pouring thought over this matter for a while now and I believe survival can be enhanced by the banding together of people in communities. Less is sadly better. I think nature is trying to impose the whole "survival of the fittest" junk on us humans, and who are we to defy her?

Anonymous said...

As a person who hunts, fishes and grows a decent vegetable garden I would be some-what self sufficient for a while. My thought is more toward the getting larger greenhouses up and functioning. Utilization of empty structures seems viable.

Anonymous said...

re: Your supply list.
Cash/Change? Really? If you assume the urban areas are going to be taken out, the usefulness of money is going to plummet. It may take a small amount of time but between the anarchy and the destroyed cities its going to be much better to have extra supplies for bartering than it is to have money.
Secondly, I see no weapons aside from your axe and knife that could be directly used as such. Again... anarchy. Some people are inevitably going to turn to thieving or worse. Best to have at least a single firearm or, if guns make you uncomfortable, another appropriate tool for defending one's self.
________________

As far as the books go, I do have to comment on an earlier discussion about urban vs. wilderness survival and say that info on urban survival (whatever you can find) will be a must. In the early days of such an event, you're not going to find any extra supplies you end up needing when something inevitably breaks, is lost, is remembered, is stolen... whatever. You're going to have to pass through urban areas, dead or otherwise, and having information on said areas will be a must.

Another thing I'd suggest: Trucker's atlas for the reasons above. Even if most of the roads are leveled, knowing the areas they ran through will allow you to find hopefully accessible routes through given ares, to know how to locate other people if need be (as the average person is going to stick to familiar locales), etc.

Anonymous said...

I suggest stockpiling lots of meds. Antibiotics, especially. Disease and untreated illnesses will kill more than any other threat.

Anonymous said...

http://ferfal.blogspot.com/

it's got to get bad before it gets worse.

Anonymous said...

If you are still working on the book list I highly recommend the 'foxfire series'. You'd be amazed at how much useful post-apocalyptic information it contains, from how to dress game to how to build a log cabin, fire place and much much more. It was out of print for years but I googled it earlier today and it appears to be available once more. Around $200 for the entire 12 book series.

Thralen

Greg said...

Topographic atlas, preferably with watr=er supplies, reliability of water, and salt sources. Other good things would be cities, roads, and types of environments. But a good atlas would be invaluable in this situation.

Anonymous said...

Archery, 2nd to 3rd year college chemistry (just lab equipment knowledge allows for building water still and other useful apparatus) hell if you end up at a tribunal held by talking chimpanzees even a law degree might come in handy

Anonymous said...

I guess I'm more of a pessimist than most. I'd put "The Prince" on that bookshelf. A lot of people like to think martial arts or marksmanship skills will be vital for survival, but truly, ruthlessness is a lot more important than training when it comes to issues of survival where you're using either against other human beings. When really hard pressed, humans can be very ugly creatures. Even if you're unwilling to stoop to the same level, sobering reading about what others will be doing seems vital.

mshuler said...

I think the survival info will be well covered, but what about travel in a post-technology world? Once you travel by foot, horse, or whatever to the edge of dry land, then what? (there may be others out there, and there may be a need to leave your current location..)

Boatbuilding: A Complete Handbook of Wooden Boat Construction
by: Howard Chapelle

Arguably the best text on traditional boat building.

Julien Lynge said...

In addition to all the generalized survival guides above, I would suggest more-localized resources could prove invaluable. Things like:
Stage 1, Survival -
* A topographical map of your area, useful for things like navigating, finding water sources and marking finds (patches of edible plants, animal grazing areas, good sources of firewood, etc.)
* A guide to plant / animal species in your area. Most states have them, and they can be very light or even condensed to a pamphlet. Knowing specifically which berries / mushrooms in your area you can eat, etc., could just save your life
Stage 2, Rebuilding a Community -
* An old Farmer's Almanac or similar from your area. In the short term, the environment may change dramatically, but (depending on the disaster) it should return to normal eventually, and it would be very handy to know when you can expect rain, what temperature and soil are like, and other things you will need to know to start rebuilding agriculture.
* Again, a guide to plant life in your area. I would suggest against saving seeds, because most seeds only last a couple of seasons, even under the best conditions (constant temperature and no moisture), and chances are you're going to kill your first crop or two (I speak from experience). So, when you move from hunting / gathering to agriculture, you're going to have to do what humanity is done by starting with the cultivation of native plants and/or animals.
Stage 3, Rebuilding a Society -
At this point, you should no longer need localized books, as you'll have either figured out how to survive where you were or you will have moved somewhere more fertile.
* First of all, as an engineer, I will tell you right away to skip anything but the most basic books on math (basic algebra and geometry are all you need), mechanical (not electrical) physics, chemistry / metallurgy, and biology / anatomy / medicine. There are two reasons for this: first, it took humanity thousands of years to get the basics of these fields, but only a couple hundred years to get from there to where we are today, so the higher you go, the more the returns diminish; second, with basic algebra / geometry and a knowledge of metallurgy, you can design and build all sorts of machinery up to and including the steam engine. You can get similarly far with basic knowledge in the other fields.
* For making the leap to a post-industrial society, perhaps most useful would be a book on the history of mechanical and civil engineering, especially one with pictures or descriptions of actual technologies. In the history of the world these were the first engineering professions, and it is 100 times easier to emulate someone else's ideas than it is to come up with them yourself.

Interactive said...

http://www.cumberlandbooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=214

I have a 70's era printing of these and they have a ton of useful information and entertainment value in my opinion

Anonymous said...

I'd like to argue that electronics will NOT be completely useless. In fact I believe the ones that know how to generate electricity will have a distinct advantage over those who don't.
Its not that hard to build an alternator or generator and with all the extra copper and iron laying around, it should be pretty easy to do. Also with this new found energy you could power the multitude of devices now laying around doing nothing, including what I think to be the most important, lights.
So I submit that a book or several articles defining how to build electric generators and the simple principles of AC / DC power, voltage, amps, etc be included.

In Fact a whole series of the old 60's Popular Mechanics would be invaluable!

Anonymous said...

I want to argue the fact that electricity will play a huge role in a post-apocalyptic future. The people that know how to Create and Harness electricity will rise above the rest. Think about it, the accumulation of humankind and its recent expantion to ever corner of the world is thanks to electricity. Before electricity we spread, of course, but not at the speed and volume as when electricity became abundant.

I think a book should be dedicated on building simple generators and alternators to harness electricity. Also explaining volts/watts/ohms, etc and how to use them. All the devices that people will not be able to use would be up for grabs and the materials needed to make simple copper wound iron cores would be easily accessible!
Lights, communication methods, machinery and the easing of such a harsh life would make groups that own the technologies far surpass ones that do not.

Also I believe the Popular Mechanics series should also be on that bookshelf. There is TONS of information contained that would definitely help anyone build just about anything needed.

Anonymous said...

Some good food for thought would be How the Irish Saved Civilization, which explains how the Irish, especially Irish monks, not only copied many works of the Roman and pre-Roman world, but reintroduced them back into Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_the_Irish_Saved_Civilization

Anonymous said...

Earth abides is good. Foxfire Very good. "How things Work" might be appropriate.

I believe the #1 skill will be techno and socio adaptability. Lets think just a minute. This apocalypse is most likely disease centered. There will be plenty of useful 'artifacts' lying around. Can you build a quick n dirty PV system ? charge up some Dewalt batteries and assemble structure [yes a Lowe's might be a hi value asset]

Here in rural colorado , we all have the ever present 'boneyard' - and usually a collection of older iron and wheels. The "back to stone agers" will eventually be needed but check out the shelf lives of various plastics , aluminum ,leather and volatiles before you run out and feel you need to throw pots , smith, or tan....

your basic 'job' will be to be Trusted! yes, the Ugly Human will be present, but just a month or so of living entirely alone [you do know that this pandemic will leave you no family, don't you?] and all of us will gravitate towards social groupings. Perhaps the best training might be a month of solo meditation. Then spend time on a remote ranch. Learn how to 'make
do'- a vw microbus turns into a chicken coop, cook with wood stoves, become newly cautious about accidents, see if you can find those trucks that can travel on a rail line, stack enough logs and stone to make a grizzly proof pantry, train a couple of dogs to help, wrench on first motorcycles, then bicycles, be a midwife, set a backfire....

wherever you find yourself in those first years, you must be able to think carefully about the resources around you. The physical challenges are most likely completely unforeseen by we who are writing these words. But if you have trained yourself to be relatively self reliant in your household- If you have deliberately put yourself in uncomfortable situations - if you have learned that you can learn and if you possess the integrity that most others can see, you will give yourself the best chance....

Michael said...

"Earth Abides" definitely has good information. Archery is important, but you might get shot (by a person with a gun) while retrieving game. Bullets, canned goods, and jeans will be around for a long time after an apocalypse.

Anonymous said...

are you guys serious? solo survivalists? ...stock up fools...i will take what you have with my post apocalyptic army from wisconsin. the ability to raise an army is the number one survival skill.

JayPea said...

I see someone already mentioned the FOXFIRE series of books. They are essential. There are detailed instructions in them for everything from killing and butchering meat to gardening to tanning leather to making soap to childbirth to building shelters to animal care and much, much more. This series of books has all the information in one place that you could need to basic survival in a post-apocalyptic world.

Anonymous said...

Whatever books you choose, don't forget to pack an EXTRA PAIR OF READING GLASSES! Don't forget the TWILIGHT ZONE!

Anonymous said...

I 4th or 5th the Foxfire series. It's available through Amazon, or at Books-A-Million or B&N. Book One includes everything from how to build a log cabin to slaughtering and preserving meat to making soap. And there are at least 12 of them. The articles are mostly written by high school students and extention agents, so they are relatively easy to understand.

Anonymous said...

As already suggested, the Foxfire series of books are excellent. I would also suggest an Army or Marine survival manual. I am a long-time subscriber to "Backwoods Home" magazine from http://www.backwoodshome.com. The publishers have a number of survival booklets on living "off-the-grid" written by people who already do so. Their site has numerous links to other sites for supplies, plant i.d., medicine,first aid, equipment,firearm safety, dried food, water purification, how-to articles on many areas of survival, & advice on other aspects of self-sufficient living. Highly recommend the site & most of the links they show. Surviving alone is one thing, but you would stand a better chance with a small group of people you can trust to do their share of helping with chores, guard duty, and being willing to put forth the extra work that is required for this type of living. Firearms, ammo and knowing how to use them would be an absolute necessity, even if you don't like them. Some folks would be too lazy, too militant or too desperate to obtain food and other supplies on their own and you would have to protect your food & supplies. A small group could do this much better than an individual, unless you live in a very remote area. Many who do not have the necessary skills to survive on their own would try to take what they want by force. You might not want to think about such things as the violence that would surely come, sooner or later, but you must be ready for it if you want to survive. Not all people would be nice or willing to trade.

Richard N said...

Does anybody have the recipe for Soylent Green?

Anonymous said...

I'd learn how to manufacture toilet paper. I'm sure that on any budget, people would be willing to trade me what they've got, for a good wipe.

Anonymous said...

Army Fields manuals:
FM 3-25.26 Map Reading and Land Navigation (for the land nav)
FM 5-103 Survivability
FM 20-3 Camouflage, Concealment, And Decoys
FM 21-16 Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) Procedures
FM 31-70 Basic Cold Weather Manual
FM 31-71 Northern Operations
FM 90-3 Desert Operations
FM 90-5 Jungle Operations
FM 90-13
MCWP 3-17.1 River-Crossing Operations
US Army Special Forces Medical Handbook, ST 31-91B
Radiation Health Protection Manual
Handling Procedures for Equipment Contaminated with Depleted Uranium or Radioactive Commodities, US Army Pamphlet 700-48
Preventive Medicine Services, Army Field Manual 4-02.17
Division and Brigade Surgeon's Handbook, Army Field Manual 4-02.21
Survival Manual FM 21-76

idioskosmos said...

My mom was a child of the 60's and very interested in survivalism. When I was growing up, she would feed me all sorts of strange plants growing in the wild. Eventually she wrote a book called "A Taste of Nature" which includes recipes for how to cook wild plants. Some of the stuff even tastes good!

Anonymous said...

The New Renaissance

The Book of the Damned

Both By Daniel Quinn

j said...

sneaky uses for everyday things.
if you can find a garbage dump or something some of those items would be very useful.
http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbnInquiry.asp?r=1&ISBN=9780740738593&ourl=Sneaky-Uses-for-Everyday-Things%2FCy-Tymony

Anonymous said...

Improvised Munitions Handbook
Boy Scout Merit Badge books (older ones available on Ebay)

Anonymous said...

Bushcraft: Outdoor Skills & Wilderness Survival by Mors Kochanski

http://www.amazon.com/Bushcraft-Outdoor-Skills-Wilderness-Survival/dp/1551051222#

Anonymous said...

U.S. Army Ranger Handbook, don't think you shouldn't be prepared for conflict.

CJ said...

Boy Scout handbook. knots, fishing, shooting, cooking, you name it.

Anonymous said...

I think that many of you are forgetting about medical needs in the post-apocalyptic era. Finding food and combat training are well and good but you might want to consider that doctors and medics will be few and far between. Try these:

Emergency Care and Transportation of the Sick and Injured ISBN: 0763744069
This one is good for the immediate post-cataclysm as it relies heavily on medical supplies that are still available (ex. IVs, fabricated splints, pharmaceuticals, etc)

Tom Brown's Guide to Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants ISBN: 0425100634
This will be good for individual use and when you have nothing but nature to provide treatment.

SAS Survival Handbook, Revised Edition: For Any Climate, in Any Situation ISBN: 0061733199
This one covers a whole host of subjects that are always useful and has a average First Aid section that tells you how to treat common injuries and illnesses.

But for the true long-haul I'd recommend this:
Gray's Anatomy ISBN: 0760722730
It is still one of the core materials for any new medical practitioner. It doesn't always tell you flat out how to treat a given illness but will give anyone a basic understanding of human anatomy and will keep a lot of medical knowledge from falling out of living memory.

Anonymous said...

I think that many of you are forgetting about medical needs in the post-apocalyptic era. Finding food and combat training are well and good but you might want to consider that doctors and medics will be few and far between. Try these:

Emergency Care and Transportation of the Sick and Injured ISBN: 0763744069
This one is good for the immediate post-cataclysm as it relies heavily on medical supplies that are still available (ex. IVs, fabricated splints, pharmaceuticals, etc)

Tom Brown's Guide to Wild Edible and Medicinal Plants ISBN: 0425100634
This will be good for individual use and when you have nothing but nature to provide treatment.

SAS Survival Handbook, Revised Edition: For Any Climate, in Any Situation ISBN: 0061733199
This one covers a whole host of subjects that are always useful and has a average First Aid section that tells you how to treat common injuries and illnesses.

But for the true long-haul I'd recommend this:
Gray's Anatomy ISBN: 0760722730
It is still one of the core materials for any new medical practitioner. It doesn't always tell you flat out how to treat a given illness but will give anyone a basic understanding of human anatomy and will keep a lot of medical knowledge from falling out of living memory.

Tom said...

This is such a good idea and I'm very glad I stumbled across your blog! I'm not familiar with survival books, but I've heard that there's a book called Dare To Prepare which would be perfect for this. It seems to be a bit scarce or I'd have had it already but apparently it gives information on purifying irradiated water, protecting yourself against different climates etc. Very broad. If you can find it for a reasonable price you've got one hell of an addition to your Bookshelf I reckon. Good luck in surviving them bastard zombies.

Anonymous said...

Root Cellaring by Mike and Nancy Bubel, for all you food preservers out there. You can grow a million carrots but if you don't know how to properly store them you will starve by December. ;)

In my opinion, the ones that survive will be the ones that are already in a small community and know their neighbors. I have positioned myself over the years to what I believe is a safe geographical area. There is abundant water, fuel (wood), game, and defensible locations. My concern atm, is in food production and storage. I have about a dozen books on varying topics from Animal husbandry to making a zipper.

I agree that information must be preserved, and I would suggest that in every community there be at least one expert and 2 apprentices for every occupation (overlapping will occur in some small communities).

Always be open to learning, prepare for the worst, hope for the best!

Abdul Basir said...

It would be a good idea to have a good collection of maps. Maybe you good even highlight certain locations like where you could acquire certain materials to ensure your survival. I think securing fire arms would be a good idea and keeping important medical supply's and medical books handy.

Thomas said...

Actually, I've been outlining a "Post-apocalyptic Survival Guide" for just this purpose. The plan is to discuss everything from basic survival skills to advanced "home made" medicine and engineering while remaining as "apocalypse neutral" as possible. I'll try to incorporate some of the suggestions in the comments here :)

P.S.
I've been considering making the guide a wiki, however that kind of defeats its purpose as a reference when the world's ending.

QB said...

N. Mashiro's "Black Medicine".

"A thorough analysis of the human body's vital points and how to use them to your advantage in combat handgunning and all types of hand-to-hand combat situations. Must reading for military combat specialists, martial artists and those interested in self-defense."

Very small, lightweight book. There are 4 volumes but the 1st would suffice, although The 2nd volume focuses on makeshift weapons and might be even more useful.

christopher said...

I live in Alaska. this is tailored to my exact locale.
1. Training and conditioning of your mind and body. too often we rely on tools and implements to the neglect of ourselves. Often, you can go without A LOT of what you think is needed if you do this.
2. A Samurai sword set and proper training/practice, with plenty of length variations for fighting or utility(in progress). no need to re-invent the wheel here. never runs out of ammo, and will make a great family heirloom.
3. Compound bow/arrows and training/practice.
4. survival/field trauma kit of personal design with rudimentary medicines(penicillin,etc.). state of the art gear, non synthetics like wool. redundancies with essential tools.
5. EVERYTHING written by Tom Brown Jr. books on foraging and wild edibles, preservation, etc. I disagree with a lot of the posters here in romanticizing pathological industrialization. good riddance, i say.
6. woman. healthy natural. one that wont die in childbirth from sedentary lifestyle.
7.The Sacred Mysteries as passed down from the Templars.
thats my bare minimum assuming i have only what i can carry on me, and fast. I still have other knowledge/skills to develop. I will disappear for the scrambling panic when people stop believing the t.v. i can always visit as to not put my habitation at risk.

Anonymous said...

All good suggestions...

Ever heard of Zombie Squad (http://www.zombiehunters.org)?

Tons (and I literally mean TONS) of post PAW survival information, everything you can possibly think of and then some. Huge forum for discussions. Have to join in order to post, but it's free. Can't beat it for free information.

The Nomad said...

As I was reading through these ides I started to notice a common idea that I find rather unnecessary, if it comes to post apocalyptic world guns will only protect you for so long so get something that can continuously protect you and can be easily reloaded or reused learn how to fight with a spear you can make out of wood which could also be used as a hunting tool, as I also saw, rebuilding of society seemed t be pretty hi up there, when it comes down to it everyone's dead to me, it's me and my dog against the world, survival is my main thing so this knowledge of things such as mathematics and statistics are pretty useless.

Tracking and Trapping, very good to have simple skills easily memorized and will be your greatest skill, now learn to skin and dress animals, would be a necessary if your a trapper, leather working would be good to, clothes will wear out eventually, growing your own food is pretty easy and anyone can do it, so right there are your basic needs for food. Now there is the Nomadic option, and the Stationery option to survival, I personally prefer the nomadic style moving every week-month now with that style you are going to learn to live with only eating the plants you find or if you run into a trader, so canning is good if you are going to be a trader, now I have made a list of everything I would need to survive alone all is light weight and be carried in a hiking pack including a tent, a sleeping bag, and some tools, such as knifes, traps, and a hatchet. https://www.campmor.com has some great stuff, but no hunting gear, so you need to get your bows somewhere else, for all your gear it would cost about 2-3 thousand dollars for the best of the best.

I also suggest you live alone and get a dog as a protector and a companion, it will give you someone to talk to and will make a great hunter if trained well.

Now there are no books that can tell you what you need to do, it will tell you how to do things but its still up to you to find plants and catch the animals before worrying how to skin and the medical abilities of certain plants.

So in my opinion your better off learning and memorizing your basics rather than hauling tons of books round...

xcorvis said...

@The Nomad: That's exactly the problem and why I decided to start working on the Bookshelf. If everyone thought like you did and put personal survival above everything else, there'd be no civilization at all, only nomads and hunter-gatherers. The whole point of the Bookshelf is to skip a few hundred years of the new Dark Age and give humanity a leg up on their next civilization.

If you're not into that, it's fine, but you might change how you feel if you have a family and kids some day.

Anonymous said...

I like this idea but have noticed that a few people seem to be going off-topic a bit. Unless the whole world becomes a hostile environment (like Earth surface temp of +200F) people will survive. They may not have the creature comforts that we enjoy now but they will be alive. Having said that I would argue that "Survival Handbooks" wouldn't really contribute much to the person already surviving. From what the OP said this could be a cache of books for use just after the apocalypse or a thousand years after. As such, I would go for a set of "primer" books such as a dictionary along with books that are used to teach children the alphabet and numbers. Preferably ones with pictures so they can relate the letter "A" to the phonetic sound of "Apple" and the number "3" to three dots or lines. Follow those up with grammar books and basic mathematics and you've got a good start. Just try to think of "what books do children need for them to learn the things we already know?". The spoken word is likely to survive but he written word is harder to keep. It can disappear in a single generation. Without these primer books the rest of the cache is just fancy toilet paper to them. A second point to consider is how to store the books. When I put some of my books in storage or transport I heat seal them in heavy gauge plastic bags that are air tight and water proof. I've managed to keep some rare books in perfect condition for two decades and counting by doing that. For long, long term storage and security I would seal the books in a waterproof plastic bag with a ton of desiccants (little silica gel packets you find in new shoes or some electronics packaging) to keep out humidity. Put that into a hard plastic container like a Rubbermaid tub with lid. Put all that into a metal container like a 55 gallon drum and fill all of the dead space with wax. The wax will give the whole cache a massive chance of surviving if it gets caught in a fire. Seal the metal container with some silicon glue to make it as water proof as possible and then put as many coats of sealing paint on it to protect the metal from oxidation. It sounds a bit extreme (and it really is) but water and excessive heat are the enemy here and this setup would keep the books viable for an indefinite time. Sorry for the long post.

Anonymous said...

Preparedness Now by Anton Edwards

Anonymous said...

Google "Tom Brown" he has alot of great books on wilderness survival everything from traps and building hunting tools to making clothing from skins and herbal medicine type stuff.

MADxMAC said...

I love your blog and its theme in general. The idea of a bookshelf is great but what happens if you have to move (earthquake, floods, agry mob.. of zombies). I am also making a book collection but at the same time I am compiling material that I can print, lamentate and make portable. Who knows if you will have to bug out. Information about navigation, survival techniques, maps (road and topographical) basic first aid.. etc.

oldterrier said...

Have you thought about keeping ferrets and some purse nets for catching rabbits? They are easy to keep and you can feed them on scraps from the rabbits you catch.

Anonymous said...

Paperback books are a last resort. You are in the urban world, think not only like a wilderness survivalist but also with urban ingenuity. Download books on your laptop, get a safe waterproof shock absorber cover for it, as well as a modified solar charger you can take with you anywhere. Sure laptops are delicate creatures, but the wealth of information you could have in one 5 pound laptop is equivalent to 10000 fiveMB books. Even without the internet, thousands of maps, tomes of encyclopedias, and games will be able to ease your mind and stop the your waning sanity as the possible last one alive. As a backup take with you 1-2 usb keys that serve doubly as a compass/magnifying glass. Surely you'll pass a ruined computer store while trekking through a post-apocalyptic Earth(should yours fall to rust or another harmful element).

Of course, should you damage your solar charger well, then you're screwed, unless you have intimate knowledge of building another one by heart, which you should.

Those of lesser mind can just carry their 4 books in waterproof ziplocs and hope the pages don't rip or mould to quickly, lest it should only be used as tinder.

Anonymous said...

A great book to read is called "outer dark" and "The road" both of these books are by Cormac McCarthy. Swiss Family Robinson and anything by bear grylls is also good.

Anonymous said...

to know what to know to survive your situation you will need to consider how the apocalypse came about, where you live, and how long after the apocalypse it is. i say this last one because there are a lot of stages of societal decay. for instance if you are in the one month zone you will have to deal with a lot more immediate effects then in the five year zone where the focus will be sustained survival. i'm gonna write a book about all this crap one of these days

Anonymous said...

I guess im set for any apocaliptic event. I knowhow to hunt, fish. I also know advance first aid "thank you U.S Army".

Anonymous said...

Food for thought...literally. In anticipation of any long term emrgency situation people will head to the grocery store fighting over the limited non-perishable foodstuffs. Meanwhile almost every community, including urban ones you just have to look for them, has a feed store or it's equivalent where for near nothing you can purchase 50 lb. bags of whole corn (usually the yellow dent variety, not tasty but nutritious),rolled oats (oat meal), rolled and whole wheat, etc. The whole kernel varities will also usually germinate. The vegetable seeds these establishments carry are also usually the best suited for the locale they are in. Don't waste your time with the little packets. you might grow enough for a picnic with those. As far as books go I agree the Merck manual is very informative, the only downside is it's weight. It's a fairly large one. The Farmer's Almanac is still in print and also handy, in addition it is compact and lightweight. Hope someone finds this helpful.

Anonymous said...

I agree with what a lot of people have already said.
For survival books you should go straight to the source, the experts.. SAS, Foreign Legion or any other Special Forces have very thorough guides. Ray Mears, Bear Grylls have plenty to teach.

I personally will be taking a collection of spiritual texts.. the bible, the bhagavad gita, the vedas, the tripitaka. I do not plan on teaching religion but, when the time comes, someone will have to preach spirituality.

By the way, very important to train physically starting now, or no amount of survival books will help. The basics of survival is being in top shape.

Jasmine in her garden said...

Thanks dave for the book ref

having lived through crisis and been to the brink of self destruction...I wouldn,t want to live in such a disparaging place without my bible! I thinks text on teology and and its branches text would be vital!!!

also I have to argue that the quality of life factor when you are in chaotic frightening and stressfull situation is a valid life concern anything to take your mind off your situation can be valuable to not only your psychi but your health and make the diference in facing your days you family and the quest to "REBUILD" a task most find ovewhelming I think along with your persons personalsurvival supply a book or two to bring peace is crucial and can give a much needed peace and distraction
I find that adventure novels are easy for most adults and children to take interest in
dont forget that a child needs peace and hapiness to

the encyclopedia of country living has a plethera of wierd usefuls things from renduring fat to make soap - burying the dead- animal husbandry- very informative but bulky.

lets hope this is all just sillyu paranoia :)

Patterson said...

I was homeless in the olympic mountains between the age of 15 and 18 and off and on till now and am definately able to survive on my own. However, I now have a 2 year old son and was worried about conveying my knowledge to him so I started buying books for him. Many children books are FANTASTIC for general knowledge. Fun with Nature and More Fun with Nature have a lot of uses for plants and shows different types of animals and their habbits. Also, the Dangerous Book for Boys is a must have. I'm picking up How to Build and Furnish a Log Cabin and Country Wisdom and Know-how. Also I might point out that books of this nature are definately going to be used as currency. After I have everything memorized I'm gonna trade my books for cows and horses :D

Chris said...

I disagree with your thoughts that electronic storage is useless. I can fit a library of information on one solid state hard drive and I can power my reading device with solar, wind, stirling engine, chemical and even people power, all very portable, easily found and quite hardy.
I'll be the guy on shortwave giving lectures on survival from my electronic sources assuming I make it of course :)

Lord Magnus said...

Electronic storage is a bad idea, a massive solar flare will render it's nmos architecture damaged and useless, as would a nuclear strike. Books are good, the best would be to take the time to read, and compile notes for yourself of what you cannot remember how to do.
US army special forces medical handbook, and us army survival manual, also the FOXFIRE book series will be useful after communities/villages start to form, show you how to make candles, soap, tan leather, make fireplaces and chimney that work well.

derek said...

I have a book that I purchased a few years agoit has a lot of usefull info on basic survival technices its a survival book called "the ultimate guide to u.s. army survival skills, tactics, and technics" has info on weapons, tools, first aid, shelters, traps,rescue,mountaineering and even close range combat. Also try the pocket survival guide.

Anonymous said...

I love this topic! A few books I keep in my house are a complete plant guide for my area (includes edibles, a mountaineering textbook (includes details on knots, mountian rescues, portable food, fuel and shelter), boating guide (knots, sailing etc) first aid and lifeguarding guides, a hand built cabin guide, several different language books, maps and atlases, and disaster response textbook. I also picked up a real gem called the Alaskan Camp Cookbook. It details how to dress and cookup a wide array of north american wild animals.

Dutch said...

Hi, got a really good book for you, always take it with me on hikes, and it even came with me on my tour to Iraq. Thats how good this book is. It's the "Firld Guide to Wilderness Medicine" the authors are Paul S. Auerbach, Howard J. Donner, and Eric A Weiss. This book has all kinds of great information. Everything from fish hook injuries, to Avalanche saftey and rescue, and everything in between.

FootePath said...

Two things no one ever mentions that we will need is the compound you add to old gasoline to renew its octane. That plus cases of tribiotic ointment.
There is a series of older books that start with 500 Things to Make. Follow ons are 300 and 400. They show diagrams from the U of Oklahoma archives of farming and simple living items. Invaluable.

Chris said...

The earth is fairly protected from solar flares by its magnetic field. Temporary disruption to services can be expected and satelites could be rendered useless. EMP effects from atomic blasts are a problem but a plethora of devices would be unaffected or not within range of EMP if any of us survive. I still think CD ROM at the very least is a better storage device than a book and that the surviving fittest will be those with the ability to use technology including access to the massive amount of information currenlty stored in digital format. Yes tested by history skills will be valuable but the person with tech/science skills will be more so.

Concerned Pharmacist said...

3 good books-lightweight and full of useful information
1. Fundementals Skills in Surgery (Nealon & Nealon; ISBN:0-7216-6460-1)
2. Ditch Medicine (Hugh Coffee; ISBN 978-1-58160-390-3)
3. The Little Black Book of Emergency Medicine (Steven E. Diaz, ISBN 978-0-7637-3456-5)
I have read everyone's entries with great interest. Thank you for your suggestions.

Anonymous said...

I'm afraid I don't have time to read all the 100+ comments right now, but I have an idea. If we're going to assume that these will be books future society will be built with, they will have to last for quite a long time. Therefore I suggest adding some kind of book maintenance guide, even if only a couple-page printout.

Branching off that idea, we could have some sort of folder with printouts of certain topics that can be explained briefly (under 10 pages), but are not included in the actual books. The book maintenance guide could go into this folder.

Sorry if someone else suggested these ideas first, but I seriously don't have the time to read trough all these comments.

Anonymous said...

The Ashley Book of Knots.
Clifford W. Ashley.
ISBN 0-385-04025-3

The Timber Framing Book
Stewart Elliott
ISBN-13: 9780911469325
ISBN: 091146932X

The Art of The Stonemason
Ian Cramb
ISBN-10: 0911469273
ISBN-13: 978-0911469271

Just to name a few. I also second the SAS Survival Guide.
Learn Multiple ways to start a fire.
Learn multiple ways to purify water.
Books on agriculture, hunting/fishing.

Reverance Pavane said...

"The Rubber Bible" (The CRC Handbook of Chemistry and Physics) - You'll still need the ability to make use of what it contains, but it contains almost all the reference data that you need to make use of your chemistry, physics, and engineering skills. But it's mainly for the recovery phase, so vacuum seal it and hide a copy in one or more easily relocatable but hidden caches.

The turn of the 19th Century handbooks and almanacs. They have lots of valuable information (for example how to smelt iron). Anything post-1950 assumes civilisation and an existing infrastructure. Many survivalist handbooks have cribbed from these. How and when to plant, etc. [Also important to remember that much commercial grain stock is now sterile, in that you can't use it to replenish your planting stock which you are now expected to buy from the corporate interests that control agriculture.]

"To Serve Man" (A cookbook for the most convenient source of protein around...)

Anonymous said...

My objective is to survive long enough to return to what's left of civilisation and get whatever I damn well want!

After about two weeks and when the slaughter stops I will be relatively safe. Survival then depends upon defence,vigilance and stealth. Assualting so called secure "compounds" will be the order of the day. There will be some tough bastards floating around!

Resources will still be there to get by. Getting it will be a chore...

Anonymous said...

It is surprising how "High Tech" the items im my new bug out bag are!
Specialty steels, plastics, sophisticated manufacturing techniques,synthetic fabrics and other exotic materials...

All our distant Ancestors had was a sharp stick and two rocks to knock together!

Anonymous said...

Two books I can add here: "The US Air Force Survival Manual" and "When Things Go Boom" Brian Howard.

If you read "A Tour of The Prairies" Washington Irving, Irving observes young Indian males mounting horses with a few items and riding off to spend several days out in the wilds.

I would give anything to know what those things were! A blanket and a rifle to be sure. Canteen. Knife. Matches. What else?

Anonymous said...

In the movie "Star Wars" The Rebels used a variety of things from their environment. Granted they were masters of matter and energy, the point is that they were able to not only survive and fight but they ultimatley prevailed.

We live in a high tech world too. The resources we can use are all about us...

Anonymous said...

The chances of surviving incidents such as Yellowstone or the Super Volcanos of the Sunda Strait are slim.

An Impact of a large object from space would also leave little of value.

There is ample archaeological evidence revealing some horrific things in the past...

Some life and Humans suvived it. Here we are.

The chances are it won't be you. You can still leave records and traces of what you were and what you did.

Maybe what survivors there are will be the most important...

Peter Wells said...

Your best bet is to get a basic kindle and a solar charger that way when the power grid does go down you will be able to charge the kindle and you can have many books in one small device so you can use that saved space for extra supplies.

One down side to this is if the apocalypse is caused by a massive EMP and it fries all electronic devices.

To add a book I would add the anarchist cookbook as you never know what kind of devices you will need to protect your self from other people.