I’m going to skip the “Why we Prep” section this week because I decided to get a jump on the Christmas gift-giving thing. Normally I buy my presents on Christmas Eve (or within a day or two one side or the other). However I realize others aren’t as daring as I am, so this week I’m listing a whole bunch of great book ideas for the new (and even not-so-new) preppers on your gift list.
If you search the Internet, you’ll find practically every prepper site has a list of the “must have” Ten Most Important Books for the prepper. Most of the lists on the ad-farm prepper pages look like they were cut and pasted from someone else’s list. Some of those standard books are indeed very good, but some are pretty pointless for most folks into self-sufficiency.
As an example, I own and like reading every one of the (insert elite military unit here) survival/evade/attack/infiltrate books. But that’s because I’m a Guy, and reading about how to make improvised explosives out of shoe polish and gummy bears is cool.
But for most people, knowing how to grow a garden with a limited water supply and being able to preserve the fruits of your labor is of far greater utility.
Is prepping the right thing for to do for Christians? Or should we just be trusting in the Lord? Learn about that balance in “Be Thou Prepared” by Carl Gallups – “Equipping the Church for Persecution and Times of Trouble.”
So below is a bunch of books I recommend you consider for the library of you prepper friends, and maybe for your own book shelf as well. These are not “The Most Important” prepper books (well, except for the first one on the list). These are all great books, but “most important” is subjective. All I can say is every one of these books is already in my library, either as a physical copy or as an e-book, so I won’t be using someone else’s list to make suggestions for books I haven’t read. And in specific situations, these are the books I reference frequently. Your opinions may vary.
So let’s begin.
- The Bible by God
A highly recommended book by a controversial author. Probably the most well-thumbed tome in my library, with the most impressive guarantee ever: if you heed its instructions, even though you die, you will live.
- The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery
The big kahuna of self-sufficiency. If you don’t own a copy (or a friend doesn’t), make sure you put this under the tree. This is one book on every “Top Ten” book list out there. Deservedly.
- Cheaper and Better: Homemade Alternatives to Storebought Goods by Nancy Birnes
This book is practically on the kitchen counter at all times here at the compound. Want homemade instructions for “409” cleaner or Irish crème? It’s in there. Over 300 recipes or formulas to make your life easier.
There’s a whole series of Firefox books created in the 1960s and 70s as a high school class project. The students went out and interviewed a bunch of old-timers on how they did things old-school. Thanks be to God for these kids. A whole lot of incredible knowledge might well have been lost without them. I think books 1 through 4 are the best, but the whole set of 14-plus are well worth the purchase. Each of them is a great evening read by the kitchen lantern.
McLene Favorite Survival Books
- On Your Own in the Wilderness by Townsend Whelen and Bradford Angier
Okay, anything by Bradford Angier is worth reading, especially when he co-authored pieces with his mentor, Col. Whelen. I probably have a dozen or more books by the two of them; and although some might consider them dated, they’re exactly what you’ll want if the lights go out. Get hold of everything you can from Angier and/or Whelen. They were preppers long before prepper was a word.
- How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It by James Wesley, Rawles
A fantastic, easy-to-read book by the nation’s preeminent prepper (and a good friend of mine). Morals, food preservation, self-defense, medicine, water … it’s all there. A must-have for the prepper library.
- Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse by James Wesley, Rawles
Same author as above. Really, if you don’t already own this book, you should just turn in your prepper card. It’s a fictional thriller that is packed with real-world instruction and advice. And it’s a part of a great series. Lots of wonderful entertainment and learning ahead.
The Domestic Arts
Your great-grandma owed it, your grandma owned it, your mama still owns it. You going to sass them? First published in 1930, it quickly became the Depression-era standby for preparing good, cheap food. Some 19 editions since then, it’s still the American middle-class standard. Measurements, substitutions, decent gravy. Get someone you love a copy.
Check out some options in the WND Superstore preparedness department. New products of all kinds being added regularly for all your prepper needs – from informational books, movies to shovels, water purifiers, and food from soup to nuts!
- Putting Food By by Ruth Hertzberg, Janet Greene, Beatrice Vaughan
Probably the best overall food preservation book out there. It has no illustrations, though, so you have to read it. The lavishly illustrated Ball Blue Book Guide To Preserving is probably more popular for canning, but doesn’t really cover the other ways of saving food (like dehydrating) in as much detail. Put them together for a great stocking stuffer combo.
Richly illustrated and full of the minutia of sewing magic. A favorite with the distaff side of the McLene compound. (I, myself, do most of my sewing with a leather punch and waxed cording, so I’ll take her word for it and be glad, because otherwise I’d be wearing clothing made with a leather punch and waxed cording.)
My gardener tells me that this is a great book, a classic on organic gardening; and by following its sage (heh ) advice, you really can grow lots of veggies without the need to plow, cultivate or weed. I’m all for that. Wish I could do the same with wheat.
- Seed Sowing and Saving: Step-by-Step Techniques for Collecting and Growing More Than 100 Vegetables, Flowers, and Herbs by Carole B. Turner
This classic addresses the best ways to collect heirloom seeds from a pretty complete set of plant life. It does a great job of explaining seed storage and shelf life, and provides a lot of germination tips. Since growing a crop for survival must be repeatable, this book is an absolute prepper necessity. My gardener swears by it.
Another classic. Some folks will opt for The Merck Veterinary Manual, but that’s more of a professional text for vets. The “Veterinary Guide” is a hands-on book for the non-medically oriented farmer/rancher/prepper.
- The Ultimate Guide to Home Butchering: How to Prepare Any Animal or Bird for the Table or Freezer by Monte Burch
A great book that doesn’t skip the first step in butchering: killing the animal. Lots of good instruction, but a bit short on illustration, which is why I’d pair it with:
- Home Butchering Handbook: A Living Free Guide (Living Free Guides) by Jamie Waldron and Angela England
Full of photographs demonstrating each step in the butchering process, this book makes it as easy as possible to take a carcass and turn it into cuts.
- Handy Farm Devices and How to Make Them by Rolfe Cobleigh
I love these kinds of books: Real-world examples of ways to create tools for farm (and compound) use. I’ve built a number of items from the instructions found in this book. I’ve also made my own devices from modifications of some of the suggestions I found here. Plus, if you’re a maker like me, it’s just fun to read.
What? A boy’s book? Well, let me tell you: they don’t make boys like they used to. Real tepees, aero-driven ice-boats, dinghy construction and designing, and building electric engines are just a few of the projects found in the Boy Mechanic series. I have Books One, Two and Three. Read them and weep for what boys have become in our brave new world.
- Building Construction Illustrated by Francis Ching
If you have to build a building – any building – you want this book. It’s absolutely loaded with drawings and detailed views of stick-built construction, as well as bearing load tables, wiring and plumbing instructions, and more besides. I love this book.
- The Last Whole Earth Catalog by Stewart Brand (editor)
I probably got my copy in 1975. Steward Brand, the editor of the LWEC, was apparently of two minds. He was certain of the eminent destruction of the Earth, so he assembled his own written time capsule, either for the use of whatever survivors remained, or as a human tribute for visiting aliens. Either way, if you can get past the Chakra diagrams and the geodetic domes, you’ll find a lot of thought-provoking concepts for earth structures and alternative living spaces. Plus it’s a retro-cool coffee table book.
- The Prepared Family Guide to Uncommon Diseases by Enola Gay, compiled by Maid Elizabeth, Grace Tome, Maurice Masar MD
I came across this little gem a while ago. It was put together by a fairly well-known prepper family to cover diagnosing and treating some pretty serious medical conditions in situations where a doctor isn’t likely to be available. The name is a bit of a misnomer, since these diseases aren’t all that uncommon in third-world countries (diseases like cholera, pneumonia, dysentery, smallpox, tuberculosis and many more – including treating starvation). If you think the time may come when America may lose its standing, you need this book.
- Where There Is No Doctor by David Werner and Carol Thuman
The best book out there for the village healer. Lots of illustrations and low-tech treatment concepts. It should be on the medical bookshelf of every serious prepper.
- Where There Is No Dentist by Murray Dickson
The first half of the book is basically about brushing your teeth. Don’t let that put you off. Later you get the skinny of tooth extraction, wiring a broken jaw, cleaning teeth and all the other things that can keep someone healthy in a dental sense. Never forget, an infected tooth cavity can kill you.
There are only about a million books on guns. I figure there are at least a thousand different titles per every gun owner. Most are specific to the (take your pick) type/manufacturer/model/caliber/production date. So I’m pretty leery about making many recommendations for gun books. However, there are a couple of books I recommend that should be in every shooters library. [BULLETS]
- Boston’s Gun Bible by Boston T. Party
A gestalt book on guns. A review of the characteristics of all manners of rifles, shotguns, handguns, ammunition as well as reviews of applicable gun laws. The “Gun Bible” is infrequently updated, so it draws the ire of gun nuts because the brand-new gun model they bought yesterday isn’t covered by the update from six years ago. However, the “Gun Bible” fits really well with the McLene model of gun-acquisition. This book is lauded by a lot of big names in the prepper world – and rightly so.
- Guerrilla Gunsmithing: Quick And Dirty Methods For Fixing Firearms In Desperate Times by Ragnar Benson
I’m a long-time Ragnar Benson fan. And this is a great book … assuming you actually read the title. It is not a gunsmithing book. Its sole purpose is to get your firearm back to firing when your bullet absolutely positively must get there on time. Ragnar will show you how to do it in his clear no-nonsense way. If you read the reviews, you’ll find a lot of people don’t actually understand the point of the book. (But I know you will.)
Well that’s enough for today. I’m worn out and I know my WND editor will be after he gets though coding all this stuff.
So get shopping … and get prepared.