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Best Survival Books to Add to Your Preparedness Library

What you learn by reading survival books can teach you to live after a collapse or major disaster or even save your life. Not everyone has the time to learn everything they need to survive, but books can teach you gardening, canning, dehydrating, hunting and camping, as well as how to identify edible and medicinal wild plants, and how to survive in the wilderness. The time to acquire these books and build your preparedness library is now, before the poo hits the fan.

The first book you should acquire is the SAS Survival Handbook, perhaps one of the best books on survival to include in your bug out bag or backpack. It contains information on how to build a fire, how to build a wilderness survival shelter, how to build an animal trap and even basic first aid.

Books by Experts

You’re not likely to find one book that will give you all the answers to your questions and once you’ve read one book you will realize just how much more there is to learn. Here are some good books to add to your preparedness library.

  • Square Foot Gardening
  • Rodele’s Garden Answers
  • The Backyard Homestead by Carleen Madigan
  • Back to Basics
  • Seed Starters Handbook
  • Healing with Herbs - Penelope Cody

You don’t have to buy most of these books brand new. In fact, you would be surprised at how well you can build a survival preparedness library by shopping at thrift stores, flea markets and garage sales. Check through those stacks of used books, often selling for $1 or less, for books on:

  • First aid
  • Home remedies
  • Health Care
  • Field Surgery
  • Animal and bird identification
  • Old-time skills
  • Gardening
  • Camping
  • Wilderness survival
  • Construction
  • Raising animals
  • Animal husbandry
  • Pregnancy and childbirth
  • Homeschool textbooks

Survival Fiction

Not all of the best survival books are non-fiction and written as a how-to. Instead they are fiction stories about life during and after an apocalyptic event. Just because these are fiction, you will find that sometimes the best information can be found in fiction novels about survival. These writers have done their research, or even have the experience and training to share their knowledge in an easy to read manner.

You can find fiction books that teach you how to survive:

  • An economic collapse
  • Urban survival tactics
  • Natural disasters
  • Anarchy or breakdown of law and order
  • Outdoor survival in different weather and geographical locations
  • A nuclear, biological, chemical or other type of attack

Some of recommended titles include:

Alas Babylon by Pat Frank – Set in the 1950′s, this was one of the first novels to deal with survival after a nuclear war.

Patriots by James Wesley Rawles – One of the best books on survival that deals with conditions resulting from an economic collapse and the following anarchy

One Second After by William R. Forstchen – An illuminating look at what could happen in small-town America when all electrical power is cut off following an EMP.

Wolf and Iron by Gordon Dickson – Following a total breakdown of law and order, followed by a massive die off of the population, a young man heads across country to find a distant relative. Instead he finds himself, a wolf as a companion, a wife and learns blacksmithing, a craft vital to their survival

The End of the Age by Pat Robertson – For a different look at a Biblical explanation for what could happen in the future

PAW Fiction

Found mostly online, the term PAW fiction includes a large number of short stories and even full-length ebooks about surviving and living in a “post-apocalyptic world”. The nice thing is that most of these stories are free to download and will provide not only hours of reading, but give you an education in many aspects of survival in a wide range of disaster scenarios. The most prolific of these authors are:

  • Jerry D Young
  • Fleataxi
  • Tired Old Man

So whether you prefer to read a book, by holding the book in your hand or like the convenience of an ereader, you can build a preparedness library for very little money, but that could provide the information you will need to survive.

Medical Book Stores

Books are still a primary source of knowledge, even with the advent of the Internet and other methods of research. Books in all subjects are being released in revised editions to keep up with the changes and newer research being done in various fields. One such field that requires continuous knowledge is the field of medicine.

There are stores that specialize in medical books and stock the latest editions of all medical books when they are released. Such stores are the ones to stock the books that are written for medical schools or colleges. Libraries throughout the country also have a good collection of medical books that can be used as a reference right at the library. Some are not even loaned out of the library. However, students, professors and practicing doctors can use these books to refer to a particular disease or make notes about some related topics.

Online bookstores have a regularly updated stock of the latest editions of books that provide the latest information on the advancements made in the field of medicine. The Internet can definitely be used to buy medical books from online stores, as they can sometimes be found at a much lower price. Online stores such as have an exhaustive books section, and medical books can be ordered online with just a few clicks of the mouse. Some of the online stores also provide used books that can be used just for reference or bought by those who cannot afford to buy new books that are usually priced very high.

Regular book stores that house medical books also have sales and discounts on the medical books, especially at the beginning of a semester. Students and professors, not to mention colleges, can take advantage of discounts at that time. Also, medical books, when purchased in bulk from wholesale shops, can be relatively cheaper. This can be a good deal for libraries that need to house more than just one or two copies of the same book.

One advantage of the regular book stores is that they take orders even for books that have yet to be released. Also, a salesperson can help find the required book at the store, with minimum effort on the customer’s part. However, browsing through a number of stores for a rare book can sometimes be exhausting. In such situations, the World Wide Web can prove to be a boon, as it makes searching a lot easier. Whatever might be the method of getting hold of a book, the toughest part lies in mastering what lies inside that book!

Online Book Searches Courtesy of Google and Microsoft

Our two Internet biggies, Google and Microsoft, are duking it out in the book-search arena, with Microsoft’s new Live Search Books tool competing with Google’s more established Book Search .

In December 2006, Microsoft launched Live Search Books, which is still in beta testing. At launch, Live Search Books included content from the British Library, the University of Colorado and the University of Toronto, with other additions planned for later. Microsoft does not include copyright-protected materials within its data. All books are either in the public domain, or the publisher has given permission to include specific content. In time, Microsoft intends to incorporate book contents within its regular search engine.

Google’s Book Search is a component of the highly controversial Library Project–in which the multibillion-dollar corporation intends to digitize the world’s books, all in the name of public good, of course. The Association of American Publishers and the Author’s Guild object strongly to this plan, as does anyone else who sees a problem with one corporation controlling the world’s written information. Amid much debate and discussion of our admittedly murky copyright laws, Google eventually stated it would make only versions of public domain books online, while serving only “snippets” of copyrighted text. The debate continues.

Legal minds will sort this out as time passes. In the meantime, let’s see what the two Book Search tools have to offer the everyday user.

Microsoft Book Search

A visit to the Microsoft tool proves fruitful. Taking lessons from the Great Google, Microsoft has provided a clear, simple-to-use site with little to distract us.

To test it out, I tried to remember an exact quote from a book. I came up with, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times,” written by a fellow named Dickens. Running the search without quotes produced a number of unrelated results, but when I added quotes, sure enough, A Tale of Two Cities turned up immediately. Since the book is in the public domain, you can download the entire 498-page book in PDF format. What you’re doing to do with a 498-page PDF file is another topic.

Let’s see what we get with something that isn’t in the public domain. Fishing Steven King’s new offering, Lisey’s Story , out of the pile under my bed, I entered the first line of the book, “To the public eye, the spouses of well-known writers are all but invisible.” Nothing. Nada. Entering the title of the first chapter had similar results. Entering simply “Lisey” turned up various hits, but none pertaining to King’s new book.

Moving on, I tried searching for the first line of Joe Vitale’s Hypnotic Marketing . This time I got a hit. The book showed up, and by signing into one of my Microsoft accounts, I was able to search through the book, using key terms. But here I encountered something interesting. The publisher has decreed that only 58 pages of the book can be accessed. Although I didn’t scroll through 58 pages to see what would happen when I reached zero, I have faith that I would not have accessed any additional pages.

I like this feature. True, a search of an online library catalogue will turn up some information about the book in question, but it usually doesn’t allow you to peruse a number of pages in those books. This is great for those times when you can’t remember whether you’ve actually read a book, or just read a lot about a book. That happens to me a lot.

Next, I tried a keyword search to see what would turn up by topic. “Law of attraction” turned up plenty of hits–some pertaining to the Law of Attraction, and others related to various other subjects.

But what about those times when you remember the topic or a key term from a book, but you can’t remember the name of the book it appeared in? Can Live Book Search help? I searched for the term “Kunte Kinte,” hoping to discover the title of the best-selling book that had described Kinte’s life. I remembered the author and the storyline, but darned if I could remember the title of the book. Bingo! The very first hit was for another book that mentioned Kunte Kinte in the blurb, and referenced the TV mini-series, Roots . I remembered the book was also named Roots , but it did not turn up among Microsoft’s hits.

Google Book Search

Moving on, I decided to duplicate my efforts with Google Book Search. I found the same easy-to-use, uncluttered interface that Google is known for. However, Google also provides Advanced Book Search and Book Search Help -features lacking at Microsoft’s site. An FAQ page, also missing at Microsoft’s site, explains that Google gets its content from participating libraries (listed), and from individual publishers that make their books, or a specified number of pages, available.

My search for the first lines from the public domain book A Tale of Two Cities showed much the same results as Microsoft served. The book appears early in the list of hits, and is available as a downloadable PDF file.

I searched for Lisey’s Story next. This time, I had a hit, but the book isn’t searchable. You can click through to various reviews, search for it at a library, purchase it from a number of online booksellers, or purchase it as an audio file from a company using a sponsored link.

Next, I tried the first line from Hypnotic Marketing : “It’s time to awaken, you are getting sleepier . . . sleepier . . ..” Nothing. The search asked me if I misspelled anything. Next, I ran a search for the title. The book’s not listed, although I did get a few hits for other books written by Joe Vitale, along with a large selection of sponsored links.

Searching for the Law of Attraction, with and without quotes, turned up a few good hits. Google outperformed Microsoft by showing the more pertinent links near the top. As expected, the searchable content varied from book to book, depending on how many pages the author or publisher had authorized.

My search for “Kunte Kinte” turned up 101 references, making it easy to discover that the book title is Roots . I didn’t look through the entire 10 pages, but it doesn’t appear that Google has a Roots listing, either.

So, which is better? My personal vote goes to Microsoft’s search tool, but in actual practice, searchers will probably have to switch back and forth between the two to find specific information. It’s good to have two options instead of one.