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3 Types of Survival Books You Should Read and Why

There are a million and one survival books out there and they all claim to teach you how to become Jeremiah Johnson over night. It’s hard to figure out who to trust and what kind of survival books you should read. Here are 3 types of survival books you should read and why:

1. Military Manuals

Military ManualI don’t know about you, but I don’t trust the United States government any further than I can throw it. That said, I will still read Military Manuals for survival information. Why? Well because you know it’s battle tested. The amount of research and testing that goes into creating military manuals is huge.

While a Military Manual certainly isn’t the end all be all for survival situations, at least I know what I am getting. I would rather have clear concise and actionable information from a military manual than get edible plant information and hunting tips from Joe Survival Guy.

WTSHTF it might not be the most brilliant, the easiest, or the quickest – but it probably won’t kill you. (That can’t be said for a lot of “survival books”

2. Books by Survivalists

What? I just told you half the so called survival books out there are worthless. Well yea they are, but there are good ones too (One good book on Emergency Preparedness is “Making The Best of Basics” by James Talmage Stevens). You should read books by other survivalists but only if you know them. I don’t mean you have to be on a first name basis, just know of them. Know their reputation. What are their credentials that might lend to survival knowledge? Do they have a website or blog on which they write useful and intelligent articles? Has another survivalist that you trust recommended the book to you?

I have found that a good rule of thumb is avoid any so called survival book that Barnes and Noble will put on a display just to draw your attention to the title. The SHTF Ultimate Survivors Guide to Zombie Killing and the Armageddon. You know the kind of books I am talking about.

You should read plenty of survival books  by other survivalists, but always keep an open mind and know that just because they wrote a book doesn’t mean they are the ultimate survival expert.

Books We’ve Reviewed:

Back to Basics: How to Learn and Enjoy Traditional American Skills

The Survival Handbook: Essential Skills for Outdoor Adventure – By Colin Towell

Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life – By Neil Strauss

When All Hell Breaks Loose – Stuff You Need to Survive When Disaster Strikes – By Cody Lundin

Hawke’s Green Beret Survival Manual – By Mykel Hawke

Modern Survival Manual – Surviving the Economic Collapse – Fernando Aguirre

Will to Live – Les Stroud

3. Fiction

The Road - Cormac McCarthyThis may sound counter-intuitive to many people. Why should you read fiction to learn about survival? I think reading end-of-the-world fiction books is a great survival resource for expanding your mind. Reading books like The Road (which I highly recommend by the way) can be extremely useful for giving you a broader perspective on a survival situation.

Good fiction writers can create the most amazing scenarios and situations that you can imagine yourself in. Sure, the actual survival skills used by the characters are often questionable at best, but it is a great way for you to play the “what would I do?” scenarios.

It’s ok if you can think of a thousand better ways to use what is available in the story, or wonder why the main characters aren’t using their heads at all. It gets you thinking and gets you planning outside of your normal thought processes, and maybe even introduces you to a new end-of-the-world scenario you had never considered before.

So keep some good military manuals in your bug out bag for straight skills, read other survivalists for gear ideas and tips, and read fiction to expand your survivalist mindset.

*I assure you that any books mentioned on this site I have read myself, and I will give you my honest opinion about them.

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