Best Preparedness Books

I don't know about you, but I love to read both for education and entertainment.

I asked several hundred people for their choice on the best emergency preparedness books, and with their help, I came up with this list.

Preparedness books for education

Preparedness and survival

  • The Holy BIBLE
    Also know as a life manual, or Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth

  • It’s a Disaster! by Bill and Janet Liebsch
    This book helps families and businesses become aware, prepared, and develop a plan for most emergencies and disasters.

  • Prepping for Women: Addressing the Monthly Needs of the Female Prepper, by Tracy Murphy
    This book prepares women in a male dominated arena.

  • SAS Survival Handbook- Third Edition, by John ‘Lofty’ Wiseman
    The ultimate guide to surviving anywhere and a classic outdoor manual that addresses every type of disaster scenario.

  • How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It, by James Wesley Rawles
    A comprehensive guide to surviving the apocalypse.

  • Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide, by Jim Cobb
    A step-by-step survivalist guide.

  • Survival Theory: A Preparedness Guide, by Johnathan Hollerman
    How to survive the end of the world on a budget. This book has advice for preparing for long-term disasters.

  • Bushcraft 101: A Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival, by Dave Canterbury
    The ultimate resource for experiencing the backcountry.

  • Advanced Bushcraft: An Expert Field Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival, by Dave Canterbury
    How to survive in the backcountry with little or no equipment.

  • A Year Without the Grocery Store, by Karen Morris
    A step-by-step guide to acquiring, organizing, and cooking food storage.

  • Camping and Survival: The Ultimate Outdoors Book, by Paul Tawrell
    This book helps you acquire and sharpen skills to safely enjoy the outdoors.
  • The Foxfire Book Series, by Eliot Wigginton and his students
    A highly recommended collection of family and survivalist teachings as well as information on the traditional folk culture of the Southern Appalachians. 

  • How to Stay Alive in the Woods: A Complete Guide to Food, Shelter and Self-Preservation Anywhere, by Bradford Anger
    A practical, readable, and potentially indispensable manual for anyone venturing into the great outdoors.

  • Survival Wisdom & Know-How: Everything You Need to Know to Subsist in the Wilderness, by the Editors of Stackpole Books
    The ultimate all-in-one survival guide filled with information on every aspect of outdoor life and adventure.

  • The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse, by Fernando “Ferfal” Aguirre
    This book is based on first-hand experience of the 2001 economic collapse in Argentina.

  • Street Survival Skills, by Fernando Aguirre
    A book that focuses on the practical side of preparedness, awareness, home and street security.

  • The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource, by Daisy Luther
    The all-encompassing guide to supplying life-saving water after a disaster.

    First aid, medicine, and health

    • Bushcraft First Aid: A Field Guide to Wilderness Emergency Care, by Dave Canterbury
      A go-to first aid resource for anyone headed into the woods.

    • Where There is No Doctor: A Village Health Care Handbook, by David Werner
      A healthcare manual based on the experiences of David Werner in western Mexico.

    • Natural Healing Wisdom & Know-How: Useful Practices, Recipes, and Formulas for a Lifetime of Health, by Amy Rost
      The complete home reference for every practice on natural and alternative health and healing.

    • The Family Emergency Handbook, by Dr. Marcus L. Martin
      This book provides suggestions for simple first-aid treatments.

    • The International Medical Guide for Ships- Third Edition, by the World Health Organization
      This book shows designated first-aid providers how to diagnose, treat, and prevent the heath problems of seafarers on board ship, however the knowledge presented throughout the book can be used in other circumstances as well.

    • The Lost Book of Herbal Remedies: The Healing Power of Plant Medicine, by Nicole Apelian, Ph.D and Claude Davis
      This book teaches you how to make your own health concoctions at home in order to treat common ailments and strengthen your immune system and general wellbeing.

    • Herbal Antivirals: Natural Remedies for Emerging and Resistant Viral Infections, by Stephen Harrod Buhner
      This book teaches you how to use herbs safely and effectively to prevent and fight off a wide range of viral infections.

    Homesteading and self-sufficiency

    • Self-sufficiency: Second Edition, by Abigail Gehring
      A complete guide to baking, carpentry, crafts, organic gardening, preserving your harvest, raising animals, and more!

    • The Beginner’s Guide to Preserving Food at Home, by Janet Chadwick
      An introduction to the world of preserving food, with step-by-step instructions and easy-to-follow recipes.

    • Back to Basics- Third Edition: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills, by Abigail Gehring
      A full color guide to learning basic living skills and rediscovering the pleasures and challenges of a healthier, greener, and more self-sufficient lifestyle in the 21st century.

    • New Fix-It-Yourself Manual, by Reader’s Digest
      A book filled with troubleshooting charts and diagrams which clearly explain how to fix almost any household problem.

    • Complete Fix-It Yourself Manual, by Time-Life Books
      A reference for homeowners on appliance and home-electronics repairs.

    • The Bushcraft Field Guide to Trapping, Gathering, and Cooking in the Wild, by Dave Canterbury
      How to pack, trap, and prepare food for your treks and wilderness adventures.

    • Hunting and Gathering Survival Manual: 221 Primitive and Wilderness Survival Skills, by Tim MacWelch
      This book teaches you the amazing range of methods for catching and cooking your prey, whether you’re using modern weapons, snares, or your hands.

    • Dutch Oven & Cast Iron Cooking, by Peg Couch
      The ultimate guide to indoor and outdoor cooking.

    • How to Eat in The Woods: A Complete Guide to Foraging, Trapping, Fishing, and Finding Sustenance in the Wild, by Bradford Angier
      A comprehensive and practical guide to staying alive and living off the land.

    • Country Wisdom & Know-How: Everything You Need to Know to Live Off the Land, by the Editors of Storey Publishing’s Country Wisdom Bulletins
      This is a collection of information on topics of country and self-sustained living.

    • Garden Wisdom & Know-How: Everything You Need to Know to Plant, Grow, and Harvest, by the Editors of Rodale Books and Judy Pray
      This book contains hundreds of illustrations and step-by-step projects, gardening resources, and essential information on countless plant species.

    • The Encyclopedia of Country Living: Tenth Edition, by Carla Emery
      A manual for living off the land and doing it yourself.

    • When Technology Fails- Second Edition, by Matthew Stein
      A manual for self-reliance, sustainability, and surviving long-term emergencies.

    • Mother Earth News Almanac: A Guide Through the Seasons, by Mother Earth News
      This almanac contains instructions for everything from harnessing solar energy to sustainable gardening to learning how to keep bees.

    • How to Be Your Own Veterinarian: A How-To Guide for the Horseman, by Ruth B. James
      A reference guide with specific information on what to look out for and what to do when your horse is ill or injured.

    Preparedness books for entertainment


    • The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History, by John M. Barry
      This is the definitive account of the 1918 Flu Pandemic.

    • I Survived (The Collection), by Lauren Tarshis
      Each book in this series tells a terrifying and thrilling story from history, through the eyes of a kid who lived to tell the tale. This series is suitable for ages 7 and up.

    • Into The Wild, by Jon Krakauer
      This is the true story of Christopher McCandless and his solo journey into the depths of the Alaskan wilderness.

    • One Man’s Wilderness: An Alaskan Odyssey, by Sam Keith and Richard Louis Proenneke
      This is a memoir from the journals of Richard Proenneke and his knowledge, experiences, and explorations while living a self-sufficient lifestyle in the idyllic wilderness of Alaska.

    • The Unthinkable: Who Survives when Disaster Strikes and Why, by Amanda Ripley
      A discovery of how human beings react to danger based on research from brain scientists, trauma psychologists, and other disaster experts.

    • The Great Fire, by Jim Murphy
      The story about the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. This book is suitable for ages 9+.

    • Isaac’s Storm: A Man, a Time, and the Deadliest Hurricane in History, by Erik Larson
      This book follows the events immediately preceding, during, and after the 1900 Galveston hurricane in a non-fiction, novelistic style.

    • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand
      This book is the biography of World War II hero Louis Zamperini, a former Olympic track star who survived a plane crash, spent 47 days drifting on a raft at sea, and survived two and a half years as a prisoner of war in three Japanese POW camps.

    • Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers
      This is the story of a family’s struggle and resilience after Hurricane Katrina.


    • The Road, by Cormac McCarthy
      A post-apocalyptic novel about a father and son’s fight to survive.

    • My Side of the Mountain, by Jean Craighead George
      The story of a boy attempting to live on his own in the Catskill Mountains of New York who learns about courage, independence, and the need for companionship. This book is suitable for ages 9 and up.

    • The Enemies Trilogy Book Series, by Matthew Bracken
      Bleeding-edge dystopian thrillers for readers who are tired of politically-correct fiction.

    • Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen
      The story of a teenage boy who becomes stranded in the Canadian wilderness and must learn how to stay alive using the few things he has left: this clothes and a hatchet. This book is suitable for ages 9 and up.

    • 299 Days (Book Series), by Glen Tate
      This is the story of a lawyer, father, and husband who wakes up to the fragility of modern society and embarks on a personal journey that introduces him to a world of self-reliance and liberation.

    • Apocalypsis (The Series), by Elle Casey
      This is a dystopian and post-apocalyptic novel written in a series of four books that should be read in order (Kahayatle, Warpaint, Exodus, and Haven). This book series is suitable for ages 15 and up.

    • Until The End of the World (Book Series), by Sarah Lyons Fleming
      This is the story of Cassie, a girl living in New York at the time when a virus is causing people to become ill. Her and her friends must get to her deceased parents’ home where their survival supplies are stored, while trying to escape zombies.

    • The Last Survivors (Book Series), by Susan Beth Pfeffer
      This book series details the aftermath of an asteroid hitting the moon and bringing it closer to Earth, which in turn causes climate changes and other problems. All of this is revealed through the eyes of a young teenager. This book is suitable for ages 16 and up.

    • Lost in the Barrens, by Farley Mowat
      This memorable tale of adventure is based on the knowledge of the ways of the wilderness and the implacable northern elements. This book is suitable for ages 8 and up.

    • Tunnel in the Sky, by Robert A. Heinlein
      This is the story of a group of students that are sent on a survival test to an uninhibited planet, and who quickly realize they are stranded there. This book is suitable for ages 10 and up.

    • One Second After, One Year After, The Final Day (Book Series), by William R. Forshtchen
      In one second, the United States is plunged into darkness as an Electro Magnetic Pulse wipes out all electricity. This book series explores the aftermath of this event which has thrown the country into chaos.

    • Alas, Babylon, by Pat Frank
      A nuclear event ravages the United States and all its civilization overnight, except only one small town is spared. This book tells the story of the people of that town who join together to overcome the challenges they face.

    • The Last Tribe, by Brad Manuel
      This is the story of a fourteen year old boy who is one of the few remaining survivors of a global pandemic in his search of his four brothers.

    • Tomorrow When the War Began, by John Marsden
      This novel details a high-intensity invasion and occupation of Australia by a foreign power.

    • Going Home: A Novel (The Survivalist Series), by A. American
      This apocalyptic tale begins with the collapse of a power grid and a prepper’s determination to get home.

    • Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse, by James Wesley Rawles
      This is a thrilling narrative depicting fictional characters using authentic survivalist techniques to endure the collapse of the American civilization.

    Next up: Recovering from disasters and where to get help

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