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Here at Truth Survival, we believe that knowledge is an essential key to survival. Now, there is no shortage of great books on the topic of emergency preparedness and survival. We'll look at some of the best survival books that we feel are pretty much classics in the field. (In another article, we'll look at books that are more about homesteading and off-grid living.)
Anyway, like I said, these 10 books are just the tip of the iceberg, but they garner some of the best reviews on Amazon, and the authors themselves are quite well-known in prepper and survival education. Let's dive in!
Our Top 10 Picks
Ratings & Price Check
The SAS Survival Handbook
When All Hell Breaks Loose
The Prepper’s Pocket Guide
The Ultimate Guide to U.S. Army Survival Skills, Tactics, and Techniques
Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide
SAS Urban Survival Handbook
100 Deadly Skills
Living Ready Pocket Manual – First Aid
The Survival Medicine Handbook
How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It
The SAS Survival Handbook is a highly recommended resource for anyone looking for a true classic. John "Lofty” Wiseman (author) is an ex-SAS (British Special Air Service) survival expert who is a true authority figure in the survival industry. I like the book because it contains both expert and novice information. Wiseman was part of the SAS for 26 years. Throughout this time, he became an expert at his craft. Here are some of the things he talks about in his book:
- How to Survive at Sea (Chapter 9)
- Urban Survival (Chapter 10)
- How to Acquire Food (Chapter 4)
- Basic First Aid (Chapter 8)
And much more! I really like the fact that John dedicates entire chapters to his topics. This allows you to build your knowledge deeply. You can buy this book via Kindle, but I’d recommend buying the paperback version. It’s definitely one of the best survival books that you’ll want to keep in your collection forever!
No matter where you live, every family needs a copy of When All Hell Breaks Loose: Stuff You Need to Survive. It’s filled with useful information (no “fluff”). Author Cody Lundin knows his stuff too, and is the founder of the well-known and highly regarded Aboriginal Living Skills School (ALLS) that is based in Prescott, Arizona.
This book will teach you the skills needed to survive at home, at the office, or in your care. What I like most about this book is that it’s not a boring instructional manual for how to survive. Instead, it entertains while informing at the same time. According to this book, survival is 10% gear/skills and 90% psychology.
I've heard that old saying myself, and I have to agree. This book will teach you how to maintain your stress and anxiety during a survival situation. It will also teach you things about basic hygiene skills as well as first aid. This book gets high marks on Amazon. Check it out for yourself!
While this isn't an earth-shattering volume written by one of the leaders in survival techniques, The Prepper’s Pocket Guide does, nonetheless, cover a number of basics in an easy-to-understand fashion (even beginners won’t have any difficulty applying them). Author Bernie Carr does have emergency preparedness experience, and given her ability to write simply on technical matters is a plus.
In short, catastrophe is something you can’t predict. But you can always be prepared. That’s what The Prepper’s Pocket Guide is all about. It’s one of the best survival books in the prepping niche. The advice is spread out across 101 practical DIY tips. This makes it the perfect reference guide to have in your collection. The book currently has 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon, and reviewers find this a dependable resource.
The Ultimate Guide to U.S. Army Survival Skills, Tactics, and Techniques is an “all-in-one” solution to your survival needs. The fact that this is no-fluff Army stuff got my attention. It was also chosen as one of the Best History Books of 2018 by Amazon's Book Editor, Chris Schluep.
It will teach you how to survive just about any dangerous situation. Every single page is packed with information. In short, it’s one of the best survival books you can own. In it, you’ll learn about:
- First Aid
- Nuclear Attack Survival
- Biological Attack Survival
- Chemical Attack Survival
- Physical/Mental Fitness
- Hot/Cold Climate Survival
- How to Find Food and Water
The book is filled with hundreds of illustrations, graphs, and references. It’s knowledge that every survivalist needs.
The Prepper’s Long-Term Survival Guide will provide you with step-by-step DIY projects that will prepare you and your family for any life-threatening situation. You’ll learn how to prepare for earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters. You’ll also learn how to stay safe if society collapses due to a pandemic (pandemics are incredibly difficult to survive if you don’t know what you’re doing).
Another reason why it’s one of the best survival books is because it goes in-depth about off-grid living. If nothing returns back to normal for several weeks, you’ll be glad that you purchased this book. Learn about water collection, hygiene, hunting, foraging, medical treatments, and techniques for fortifying your home.
The book is well-rated on Amazon and is suitable for both beginner and expert preppers. Definitely add this one to your collection!
For urban environments, the SAS Urban Survival Handbook is one of the best survival books you can buy. If the title sounds familiar, it should. It's also written by John "Lofty" Wisement, the same author that wrote The SAS Survival Handbook.
The difference, of course, is that this one talks about how to survive in an urban setting. Believe it or not, surviving in an urban environment can be harder than surviving in the wilderness. Why? Because PEOPLE can actually be your biggest threat during a crisis. And guess what? If you live in a city, then you’re going to be surrounded by them.
That’s why you need a book like this one. Wiseman will teach you how to stay safe after earthquakes, terror attacks, and other common threats. He also talks about tsunamis, muggings, and travel. While we don't advocate being paranoid about every single thing that lurks around every street corner, it is still a good idea to educate yourself on the realities that exist in urban areas. The more you prepare, the safer you’ll be. With Wiseman as the author, you can't go wrong.
In today’s increasingly dangerous world, you need to be prepared. From mass shootings to terrorist attacks, life-threatening situations are everywhere. The author of 100 Deadly Skills, Clint Emerson, is a former Navy SEAL. Needless to say, he knows his stuff. In case you didn’t know, Navy SEALS go through hell and back before going into the field. So it’s safe to say that he has a lot of knowledge to offer that you couldn’t get from many other books.
100 Deadly Skills will give you solid evasion tactics, self-defense techniques, and other cool stuff. There’s even a section about how to trick facial recognition software! Learn how to build an improvised Taser and even escape from a locked trunk. The book is filled with illustrations and simple-to-follow instructions. No list of best survival books would be complete without mentioning this one.
When SHTF, there won’t be any doctors to help the injured. You’ll need to help yourself. That’s why I recommend buying a copy of the Living Ready Pocket Manual – First Aid. It will provide you with ways to treat hypothermia, dehydration, heatstroke, frostbite, cuts, burns, gunshots, bites, rashes, broken bones, and even anaphylaxis.
In short, it has it all. This pocket-sized book will also teach you how to properly pack a first aid kit. Medical emergencies are always unpredictable, so having a book like this can go a long way towards saving you and your family’s life. It’s one of the best survival books on first aid by far.
While on the subject of first aid, I want to introduce another book that will teach you how to deal with medical emergencies- The Survival Medicine Handbook. This book will teach you how to deal with more than 100 different kinds of medical issues. Here’s a sneak peak of some of the medical emergencies you’ll be able to treat:
- Altitude Sickness
- Food Poisoning
- Poison Ivy
- Radiation Sickness
And much more! There’s also a section that shows you how to treat animal and insect bites. It’s a tough choice between this book and Living Ready Pocket Manual – First Aid. They are both some of the best survival books on medicine, so whichever one you choose will be fine.
It was the title that first grabbed me: How to Survive the End of the World as We Know it... This is by far one of the best survival books of all time. Written by James Wesley Rawles, the founder of SurvivalBlog.com, it’s packed with useful information. Not only does it contain awesome information, but it’s also very entertaining to read. It’s not just an instruction manual- James actually tells you why you need to be doing what you’re doing. This helps give you a deeper level of understanding about survival as a whole.
You’ll learn about food scavenging tactics, filtering rainwater, and other techniques to protect you and your family. As I write this, the book has more than 870 reviews on Amazon, and 4.4 out of 5 stars. Considering James’ reputation, and the positive reviews on Amazon, you can buy it with confidence.
Best Survival Books – Bottom Line
If you have extra money, try to buy as many of these books as possible. Trust me when I say that they’ll go a long way towards keeping you safe. The last thing you want is for a crisis to happen and you be completely unprepared. Remember, nobody ever thinks it can happen to them, until it does. I’m sure the victims of 911 or the 2011 earthquake in Japan didn’t think it would happen to them either. These are some of the best survival books out there, so go out and buy them!