Sunday, February 13, 2011

Recommended Books and Your Survival Library

Today it is often possible to find much information online in a quick and easy way. However, much of the information available on the net does not have the in-depth of an ordinary book. Having a physical collection of books can be a resource both as an everyday reference source and an advantage during a long lasting blackout or during a communication interruption. Books are a great resource to learn new knowledge and gain new perspectives. Buying books can be costly so don’t forget to use your local library if you have one available, buying books second hand may be another alternative.

Survival Handbooks
So what books could you start with? As your first book I would recommend that you get “The SAS Survival Handbook” by John “Lofty” Wiseman. This is one of the best survival handbooks that have ever been written and contains everything from advice for equipment, surviving in different types of terrain, navigation, first aid and medical advice, different types of natural disasters and many other fields. When you read the book for the first time write down the most important thing you read in a notebook. This book is also available in pocket size and can be an interesting alternative for a Bug Out Bag, however I recommend that you read the whole book and try to learn the skills that is described in the book instead. Wiseman has also written two other handbooks that can be interesting: “The SAS Urban Survival Handbook” and “The SAS Self Defense Handbook”. Wiseman has also started a Survival School called the “Trueways Survival School”.
• "The SAS Self-Defense Handbook" - John Wiseman
• "The SAS Survival Handbook" - John Wiseman
• "The SAS Urban Survival Handbook" - John Wiseman

There is also a number of other survival Handbooks on the market. The American author and survival expert Tom Brown has written a number of handbooks like: “Tom Browns Field Guide: City and Suburban Survival”, “Tom Browns Field Guide: Wilderness Survival”, “Way of the Scout” and “The Science and Art of Tracking”. Brown also has a survival school called The Tracker School if you would like learn from him first hand.
• “Tom Browns Field Guide: City and Suburban Survival” - Tom Brown
• “Tom Browns Field Guide: Wilderness Survival” – Tom Brown
• “Way of the Scout” – Tom Brown
• “The Science and Art of Tracking” – Tom Brown

In most countries there is also Survival Handbooks that is produced by the national military; these handbooks often contain very useful advice for your local climate and context. One example is the US Army Survival Manual: FM 21-76. This handbook can be downloaded for free from the Survivalist Boards.

First Aid
The book “The Wilderness First Responder” is an excellent handbook and reference for how to handle different types of medical emergencies during wilderness setting or setting when professional assistance may not be available. The book is a great reference but when it comes to first aid it is very important to train these skills on a regular basis, I suggest that you take First Aid and CPR courses as often as you, once per five years as an absolute minimum.
• "Wilderness First Responder: How to Recognize, Treat and Prevent Emergencies in the Backcountry" - Buck Tilton

The Collapse of Civilizations
• “Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed” - Jared Diamond. Diamond can be seen in the National Geographic Documentary “2210: The Collapse” and in the TED talk “Why Societies Collapse
• "Guns, Germs and Steel" - Jared Diamond
• “The Collapse of Complex Societies” – Joseph Tainter
• “Reinventing Collapse: The Soviet Example and American Prospects” - Dmitry Orlov

Natural Disasters
"Natural Disasters" by Patrick L. Abbott is one of the best books on the subjects that describe most types of Natural Disasters with illustrations and historical examples.

Intelligence Analysis
Intelligence Analysis may not be a direct subject for survival but is however an important subject when it gives an understanding for the problems that different types of Intelligence Agencies like the Central Intelligence Agency faces.
• “National Intelligence Systems” - Gregory F. Treverton & Wilhelm Agrell
• “Analyzing Intelligence: Origins, Obstacles, and Innovations” – Roger Z. George and James B. Bruce
• “Introduction to Private and Public Intelligence: The Swedish School of Competitive Intelligence” – Klaus Solberg Solein
• “Psychology of Intelligence Analysis” - Richard J. Heuer, Jr. This book can be read for free on the CIA homepage.

• “The Psychology of Risk” – Glynis M Breakwell
• “Survival Psychology” – John Leach
• “Deep Survival” – Laurence Gonzales
• “The Lucifer Effect” – Philip Zimbardo

Crisis Management
• “Key Readings in Crisis Management: Systems and structures for prevention and recovery” - Denis Smith and Domenic Elliot
• “The Politics of Crisis Management: Public Leadership under Pressure” - Arjen Boin, Pault Hart, Eric Stern and Bengt Sundelius
• “At Risk: Natural Hazards, People's Vulnerability and Disasters” - Ben Wisner, Piers M. Blaikie and Terry Cannon

War, Conflict and International Relations
• “Understanding International Conflict” – Joseph S. Nye
• “New and Old Wars” - Mary Kaldor
• “Shake hands with the Devil: The failure of humanity in Rwanda” - Romeo Dallaire
• “Corporate Warriors” – Peter S Singer

Root Causes of Terrorism: Myths, Reality and ways Forward" – ed Tore Bjorgo
My Life is a Weapon: A Modern Story of Suicide Bombing” – Christoph Reuter
Terrorism versus Democracy: The Liberal State Response” – Paul Wilkinson

Europol also follow the trend of terrorism and every year makes a report of the situation called EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT). These reports can be viewed and read for free online:
TE-SAT 2010
TE-SAT 2009
TE-SAT 2008

Peak Oil
• “Confronting Collapse: The Crisis of Energy and Money in a Post Peak Oil World” - Michael Ruppert
• “The Long Emergency: Surviving the Converging Catastrophes of the 21st Century” – James Howard Kunstler.
• “Beyond Oil: The view from Hubbert’s Peak” – Kenneth S. Deffeyes
• “Why Your World is About To Get A Whole Lot Smaller” – Jeff Rubin
• “The Party’s Over” – Richard Heinberg
• “Peak Everything” – Richard Heinberg
• “The Limits to Growth: 30 Year Update” – Donella H. Meadows, Dennis Meadows and Jorgen Randers
• "Eating Fossil Fuels: Oil, Food and the Coming Crisis in Agriculture" - Dale Allen Pheiffer

"Getting to Yes: Negotiating Without Giving In" - Roger Fisher, William Ury & Bruce Patton

Fictional Books
• “One Second After” – William R. Forstchen
• “Patriots: A Novel about Survival in the Coming Collapse” – James Wesley Rawles

Other Books

• “Emergency” - Neil Strauss
• “The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable” - Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Other parts of Your Library
[ ] Inventory list of what equipment you have available and the location of this equipment. Lists for water and food storage may also be a good addition. Write down in your calendar when you should rotate your water.
[ ] Pens
[ ] Paper
[ ] Light
[ ] Notebooks (I recommend the notebooks from Rite-In-The-Rain and Moleskine)
[ ] Phonebook with addresses, phone numbers and birthdays to your friends and family
[ ] Your local phonebook
[ ] Diary
[ ] Calendar
[ ] Photographs of your family members
[ ] Passports and ID
[ ] Vaccination cards
[ ] Birth certificate
[ ] Insurance papers
[ ] Paper versions of Risk Assessments made by local organizations

[ ] City
[ ] Local
[ ] Road Maps
[ ] Regional
[ ] Country
[ ] World
[ ] Sea charts

Translation and Communication
During some situations you might encounter people that do not speak the same language that you do, for these times it can be good to have some kind of tool for communication. The Kwikpoint is a chart designed for communication during travel and other situations that can be used for communicating if you do not know the language that the other person speaks. The Kwikpoints also come in specialized versions for military personnel, first responder and other medical personnel, law enforcement and travel. However if you go to a country where you don’t speak the language, try to learn a few phrases and basic words before you go.
[ ] Dictionaries
[ ] Kwikpoint


  1. Det var en riktig bra lista, har faktiskt inte läst SAS Urban Survival, beställde den idag från Bokus. Tack!

  2. I would also list the Boy Scout Fieldbook (not handbook)- it has all the basic how-to for necessity to life skills for the not so physically, mentally or knowledgeble "prepper".