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Recommended Survival Books

There are many Survival Books,and most of these books contain a great deal of similar information. They often cover many of the same main topics (e.g., food, shelter, navigation, etc). However, some books actually only provide limited amounts of practical information and merely “touch” on a topic briefly before moving on to another topic. Needless to say, these survival books are not very helpful to the reader and not what you want.  Other books go into more detail (sometimes including pictures or drawings to improve the explanation) and are usually far more helpful.

But, I have not found a single survival book that contains everything that you would want/need to know about “survival”, and I doubt that one exists.

Since there is no single survival “bible” (so to speak), I personally have accumulated a small number of survival books that I feel provide me with the information that I will need to survive. I am providing my list of survival books below (with a very brief review of each) and recommend each of these books for your consideration. All of these books can be purchased through Amazon.com.

As I said before, there are many different survival books in print, and Amazon.com provides a very large selection of survival books. Unless you happen to come across a book you are looking for at a half price book store, usually ordering the survival book online (e.g., ordering through Amazon.com) will provide you with the best price.

I “Highly Recommend” all of the books below.

How to Stay Alive in the Woods: A Complete Guide to Food, Shelter and Self-Preservation Anywhere by Bradford Angier

This 300+ page book covers a number of different survival topics (e.g., sustenance, warmth, orientation, safety) and is filled with good information including an (in    color) Edible Vegetation Identification Guide. Written in an easy to read, straightforward way, and the information provided is very practical!



SAS Survival Handbook (For Any Climate, In Any Situation) by John “Lofty” Wiseman

This 500+ page survival book is one of the best that I have read. It is loaded with detailed information on a large number of survival topics. In particular, I think the Signalling, Traps and Trapping, First Aid (including Natural Medicines) and (in color) edible and poisonous plants, fungi, and trees sections are excellent.




National Geographic Complete Survival Manual by Michael S. Sweeney

A well organized 300+ page book that is easy to use. Loaded with very good “Tips” and “How Tos”. Note: Be sure to first read the “How To Use This Book” section at the front of the book. It will make your reading easier. In addition, don’t overlook the Appendix at the end of the book which contains a lot of useful information.




The Complete Tracker (The Tracks, Signs, and Habits of North American Wildlife) by Len McDougall


One of the better animal tracking books that I have found. Easy to read; about 285 pages. The animal track drawings and discussions on the habits of different animals are the most helpful sections for me.



Tom Brown’s Field Guide (Wilderness Survival) by Tom Brown, Jr.

An excellent 250+ page wilderness survival book that devotes most of its attention to plants and animals. Contains very detailed and helpful information. The first chapter on “Attitude” is a must read for surviving and is an important aspect almost always overlooked in survival books. The book provides a chart and information on one hundred edible plants. Excellent section but would be better if the plants were shown in color. The book covers some very basic tools and crafts that you will not find in other books.



Survival Wisdom & Know-How (Everything You Need to Know to Subsist in the Wilderness) by Stackpole Books

A very detailed 480 page survival book covering a wide range of survival topics. The book contains numerous drawings and provides information that you will not find in a lot of books. Definitely one of the survival books you want to have. The two downsides to the book are that the book is completely in black and white (no color except for the cover of the book) and it is a physically large book (10 1/2″ X 13 1/2″).



Map, Compass, and Campfire (A Handbook for the Outdoorsman) by Donald E. Ratliff

This book is only about 60 pages long but contains well written information on maps, using a compass, and dealing with an emergency. A very thin booklet that is easy to carry in a backpack.


The Complete Walker by Colin Fletcher

You would not normally think of this book as a “survival book” but it provides a lot of good to know information and so I have added it to my suggested survival book list. This book is sometimes referred to as “The Hiker’s Bible” and will probably provide you with more information on hiking that you will ever want to know. But the information it provides is very detailed and very good. I have the Complete Walker III edition (over 650 pages) but I’m sure the latest edition (Complete Walker IV – 864 pages) is just as good or better.



Putting Food By (Fifth Edition) by Janet Greene, Ruth Hertzberg, and Beatrice Vaughan


This  is an excellent book for the layman on canning, preserving, and freezing food – – –  jellies, fish, pickles, you name it.    It is easy to read, presents the information in a very straight-forward and understandable manner, and pretty much covers from A to Z the basics of canning, preserving, and freezing foods.   I personally have the Fourth Edition which is 420 pages.  There is a Fifth Edition (464 pages) of this book which I have not seen but I assume it contains everything that was in the Fourth Edition plus additional helpful information.  If you need to know how to preserve food or just want to have a book on preserving and canning in case you should need to preserve food in the future, this book is a great one to select.

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