Survival Reading

We like to read, and the books we like to read are the kind we can learn from, even if they are novels. For the past few years we have read many novels that fall into the collapse, apocalyptic, survival, self-sufficiency genre. Even though these books are fiction, we find in each of them something that broadens our view and/or points out some facet of living without the benefits of our current civilization, that we can incorporate into our scheme of future living. We also have many, many reference books that we use as the need arises. But this article will focus on books that help us prepare for the collapse of society that we see coming. They are presented roughly in the order in which we discovered and read them.

  • James Howard Kunstler is the author of The Long Emergency and World Made By Hand.  We first read The Long Emergency which is not a novel, but a basic outline of

    what happens as the oil supply continues to gradually diminish. This book was one of the first that helped us to begin to formulate our plans for a future without electricity or modern conveniences. Kunstler puts together years of research from respected scientists and engineers in the petroleum field. Some of the data at this particular time, is five or six years old. But the concept that oil is going to, or has peaked, is real. His novel World Made By Hand is centered around an upstate New York community. This little town exhibits the effects of how life will be when the gears grind to a halt. He also has a few other books following World Made By Hand that are the same general theme and with some of the same characters. We enjoyed his books. They have an adult theme.

  • William R. Forstchen is the author of One Second After. It was one of the first collapse type books that we read, maybe not the first, but one of them. It’s basic concept is that there is a collapse that is the after effects of an EMP, electromagnetic pulse, which is the results of an explosion from a high level

    nuclear device that disables most, if not all, electronic components. EMP scenarios are easy to define, one second everything is good, one second after, things are not. I guess it being one of our first, I enjoyed it the most. It’s story line was based on a small community, what they needed to do to survive and how they did it. It’s good reading. It’s written on a higher quality level than a lot of the mass produced spin offs that occurred afterwards. It is an adult book, though. But then, I guess all of these books that we are getting ready to talk about are adult books with adult themes. 

  • James Wesley Rawles is the author of How to Survive the End of The World As We Know It which we would

    recommend that everyone have on their shelf. It is not a novel, but it is a well defined list of items that you will need to survive the end of the world as we know it. We have given this book as a gift many times. It is an excellent reference manual. To the best of my knowledge, Patriots is the first in his series of novels that supports this same general theme. He has published three or four good novels, well worth the read, about different scenarios where a handful of individuals try to get home or to their retreat. Again, well worth the read. Like the others mentioned above, his books are adult themed, but there is no language or sexual references. Jim Rawles is also the author of the highly successful SurvialBlog.

  • Laura Ingalls Wilder is the author of the Little House on the Prairie series. Her books are a collection of experiences about life as she and her family experienced. Most folks will remember the TV series named Little House on the Prairie. Her

    books are fun and easy to read, with multiple experiences about how her family survived, sometimes in extremely harsh and hostile conditions. You can learn a lot from these books, and you can also read these to your children, grandchildren and husband. These books can be read and enjoyed by even the youngest reader. I would recommend this set of books be on every homestead’s bookshelf. These books are not apocalyptic, they’re about life’s experiences that occurred during her life growing up. There is a chance many of us will experience these same conditions again. Appropriate for any age level.

  • Cormac McCarthy is the author of The Road. Most folks will think of The Road as a video, and it is, and it is a very good video, too. It is one of the few we have watched in the last six years. But if you like the video, read the book. This book is

    about collapse and how a father and son deal with day to day hardships. This is not a bright, sunshiny type novel or video for that matter. It deals with some of the darker sides of life, that, as a general rule, most of us don’t like to think about. I’m not talking about the devil or zombies, here. Just things that the human being is capable of doing to another. This book is unquestionably adult themed, as is the video. But, if you have the time, I would recommend you read it. It is very well written, but it deals with some very dark subjects.


  •  A. American is the author of Going Home and three more books in this series, and maybe more to come. The main character is traveling on business and is stranded away from home. This first book, Going Home, is about the encounters he

    has in his endeavors to get home. He meets some very interesting people along the way, and some of these characters carry through into his other books. These are easy to read, they are all adult themed. But his books are about how he, his family and friends survive. Having said that, we found his books to be some of the most realistic of the collapse type series that we have read. The reason the main character is walking home is because of an EMP. One second good, everything after that, not.

  • Glen Tate is the author of the 299 Days series. His series of books are based on how he, his family, friends and community survive a collapse. This collapse is not sudden and abrupt. He

    can see the changes occurring in society and the books discuss his preparations to deal with the collapse he sees coming. His is a very realistic type series also. His biggest issue is his wife who is not on board to the idea at all. We found this to be an easy read, enjoyable. It deals a lot with community, and I hope he comes out with more in his series. These books are adult themed. If you have the time, I would recommend this reading series.

  • Colonel Oliver North is the author of a series of books, including his newest book, Counterfeit Lies, which is the first one we read, but not the first in this series. He had a series of books before this, which we are reading now. As you can imagine, his books are military based, dealing with conflicts around the world. If

    you don’t remember Colonel Oliver North, but the name sounds familiar, he was the non-fiction character in the Iran-Contra affair during the Reagan administration. We are finding his books to be very enjoyable, highly interesting, and the excitement just never seems to stop coming. His books are not based on collapse, or survivalism, or preparedness. But his novels certainly provide you with food for thought about what could happen in our world at a moments notice. I’m surprised, but he is a very good writer. His books for the most part are adult themed, dealing with military type situations. If this is your forte, they are well worth the read. Not surprisingly, he writes with a feeling of authority and knowledge. This series is the first we have read entirely as ebooks on a Kindle.

  • Thomas A. Lewis is the author of Brace for Impact, Surviving

    the Crash of the Industrial Age. We found this book thanks to an email from one of our readers. So far we have only read the introduction, but it appears to be a promising read. This book is not a novel, but based on the author’s experiences over many years.

There are some other books we have read along the way that we just can’t recommend. Sometimes it’s hard to pick out a new author. You can’t help but wonder if it will be just another shoot em’ up zombie thriller, or something you can walk away from pondering. We hope you enjoy some of the titles we have recommended. If you have read some books and you think the audience here would enjoy them, please give the title, author and a brief description. We are always looking for new books to read.

Take care.

Frank and Fern

9 thoughts on “Survival Reading

  1. I recommend reading “the worst hard time” by timothy egan. Its about growing up during the depression in the dust bowl. Those folks truly earned the title “hardy”.Holly

  2. We have not read Alas Babylon, so we will have to add it to our reading list. Thank you both for the recommendation. Fiona, I didn't know about the cookbook either. I will have to take a look at it.Thank you both for sharing.Fern

  3. I love Alas Babylon and read it at least once a year. I've even taught it in high school literature class.

  4. Thanks for the list of books. I would like to add this one to the suggested list for reading.\”The four Blood Moons\” by John Hagee. An excellent book that helps to understand much of what is going on today.

  5. Excellent reading….as teachers you must have read Pat Frank's \”Alas Babylon\” I really enjoy it and have read one copy to rags….Ralph got me a new copy as the pages were falling out of the old one. It is not as graphic as modern writing [written in the late 50's] but gives us hope. It was written when Sputnik was going overhead and people lived in fear of The Russian…. the bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were still fresh in the minds of the population not as now distant memories. It is well worth reading.Did you know there is a\”Little House on The Prairie\” Cookbook? Compiled by Barbara M Walker it has over 100 recipes from \”Half Pint's\” childhood.

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