SAN JUAN ISLAND, Wash. – Gaye Levy has one of the best survival websites in the business. Full of information, but not tinfoil hat conspiracies, Backdoor Survival focuses on offering readers “prepping with optimism” and it shows.
For the past few years, she has taken her love of prepping and reading, and joined them together for what she calls the “Prepper Book Festival.”
Now in its 13th edition, Levy offers a wide array of books, both fiction and nonfiction, with a succinct description of each. Here is the article, with the book listings and descriptions, by Gaye.
As recently as last week, someone mentioned he hated the term “prepping.” To him, “prepper” was a fancy word for survivalist. Prepper or survivalist is not an argument I want to engage in. By my own definition, prepping is simply short for preparing, and a prepper is someone who prepares.
The real question is this: What are you preparing for? This is something you should be asking yourself and revisiting from time to time as circumstances change. Simply put, the specifics of why you prepare are highly individualized and can depend upon on where you live, your family situation, economic and political factors, and your view of the world.
This may seem to be an odd introduction to the newest Prepper Book Festival but I deem it appropriate as we turn the corner in becoming more mainstream. We are a preppers and we are a large and diverse community. The knowledge we seek is as diverse as we are, and so, with these book festivals, I attempt to bring together a collection of survival books that will satisfy our varying needs and interests.
I do have some biases. For example, it is my opinion that the need for another generalized book on prepping has waned. Instead, preppers are seeking books dedicated to a single topic, whether it be surivival medicine, creating an urban farm, harnessing the power of the sun, or something else. And what about fiction? More and more I am getting requests for higher quality fiction and especially fiction written from a woman’s point of view.
Today I am thrilled to launch Prepper Book Festival #13. In typical Backdoor Survival book festival tradition, each book will be featured in coming months along with an author interview or book excerpt, as well as a multiple book giveaway. There will also be a thought-provoking giveaway question where you, the readers, are challenged to think about your own preps and your own mindset when it comes to survival.
Here, for your discernment, is a description of the books that made the cut. I hope that one of these books will soon make it into your own personal survival library.
Non Fiction Books
Do you long for simpler days? Do you wish you had the time to offer your family home-grown meals? Does your heart cry for a quiet place in this fast-paced world?
Blogger and homesteader Melissa K. Norris inspires with practical and easy methods to help you cook from scratch, garden, preserve your own food, and see God’s fingerprints in your everyday busy life. You’ll learn how to
- Plan, plant, and harvest for eating and preserving
- Troubleshoot common gardening problems with natural solutions
- Improve your family’s health with natural cooking and cleaning methods
Whether you live in the middle of the asphalt jungle or on the side of a mountain, you can experience the pioneer lifestyle and start your own homesteading journey. Because when you surround yourself with things made from the hand of God, you can’t help but see Him.
By Melissa K Norris
Food, water, and shelter are very important to survival. But you must also be ready to protect what is yours, because if somebody stronger, better prepared, and better equipped takes it all away, you will die. Your family will die. The only way to protect them is with firearms.
Prepper Guns takes a careful look at each category of firearms, ammo, sights, and accessories. Other topics include gun care and maintenance, as well as some simple gunsmithing and reloading to keep firearms repaired and ammo on hand. Finally, Prepper Guns has training suggestions and drills, plus a look at the psychology of survival, using the expertise of some of the top people in the world in these fields.
If you are worried that bad things are coming and are trying to prepare, this book is the most important piece of gear you can buy. Because if you can’t protect your family, your food and your home, nothing else really matters.
By Bryce M Towsley
Should a national disaster occur, how will you respond? What will occur when critical societal services cease to function? As a prepper, you will likely be ready to hole up and live off of your stored supplies, at least for a while. But what do you do during that time? What are your next steps? And how do you defend yourself against others who have not prepared for such a disaster?
After the Crash covers all the situations that you may face when the lack of governmental infrastructure leads to social upheaval and chaos. Since most of the population is unprepared for a disaster of any kind, this book gives both the trained and untrained prepper valuable information needed to have any chance of survival in a world where organized government assistance may not be available.
Offering battle-proven advice, Steve Mattoon explores what it takes to survive alone versus in groups, each approach presenting its own advantages and challenges. Discover how best to defend yourself, what to use, and how to most effectively use the tools you have at your disposal. Whether you find yourself in a rural area or an urban jungle, After the Crash will prove an essential addition to any prepper’s bug-out bag.
By Steve Mattoon
When disaster strikes and no doctors are available, you’ll have to rely on your own medical knowledge to survive. Prepper’s Survival Medicine Handbook goes beyond basic first aid to teach you military-tested methods for treating life-threatening medical conditions, including:
• Gunshot wounds
• Radiation exposure
• Broken bones
• Ruptured arteries
• Severed limbs
• Poisonous snakebites
• Anaphylactic shock
The author, an emergency responder, details step-by-step treatment for everything from hypothermia and heat stroke to seizures and cardiac emergencies. Using information from actual military field manuals, this book provides everything you need to keep you and your loved ones safe when there’s nowhere else to turn.
By Scott Finazzo
Most of us understand the value of eating and buying local. Taking back our food, goods, and services from multinational corporations and sourcing them from small growers, producers, artisans, and entrepreneurs benefits our families, our environment, and our communities.
This innovative guide demonstrates that by harnessing multifaceted whole plants, we can rely on homegrown or regionally produced herbs rather than importing exotics and non-natives. Based on the small apothecary model, author Dawn Combs explains how to:
- Maximize the benefits of homegrown first aid, from increased freshness, potency, and effectiveness to community resilience and local economic growth
- Make home herbal healthcare less intimidating and more attainable, by focusing on twenty herbs to effectively treat most common injuries and ailments
- Implement a local medicine culture safely and sustainably, while protecting and respecting wild plant populations
Many herbals overwhelm their readers, presenting a list of hundreds of herbs, each with a different purpose. Heal Local empowers readers by showing that you don’t need to know everything about every herb on the planet to create a complete home apothecary.
By Dawn Combs
There are twenty million acres of lawns in North America. In their current form, these unproductive expanses of grass represent a significant financial and environmental cost. However, viewed through a different lens, they can also be seen as a tremendous source of opportunity. Access to land is a major barrier for many people who want to enter the agricultural sector, and urban and suburban yards have huge potential for would-be farmers wanting to become part of this growing movement.
The Urban Farmer is a comprehensive, hands-on, practical manual to help you learn the techniques and business strategies you need to make a good living growing high-yield, high-value crops right in your own backyard (or someone else’s). Major benefits include:
Low capital investment and overhead costs. Reduced need for expensive infrastructure. Easy access to markets.
Growing food in the city means that fresh crops may travel only a few blocks from field to table, making this innovative approach the next logical step in the local food movement.
By Curtis Stone
Written for the layman, this is the fully revised and updated guide for individuals and businesses interested in generating their own electricity using the Sun. Practical and accessible, it provides a basic understanding of electricity, wiring, and solar energy, and guides the reader through site assessment and determining the type of system needed, providing a solid understanding of grid-tied and off-grid systems, along with important guidelines on installation.
Power from the Sun (2nd Edition) discusses types of PVs and PV systems, and includes comprehensive information on recent changes and improvements in PV modules, charge controllers, inverters, batteries, generators, and net metering policies. It offers an excellent overview of the many options available, allowing the reader to make the best choices for their individual situation during the design, installation, and operation of a solar electric system.
The definitive guide for homeowners, business owners, installers, architects, and just about anyone interested in lowering energy bills while achieving greater energy independence.
By Dan Chiras
Aquaponics is a revolutionary system for growing plants by fertilizing them with the waste water from fish in a sustainable closed system. A combination of aquaculture and hydroponics, aquaponic gardening is an amazingly productive way to grow organic vegetables, greens, herbs, and fruits, while providing the added benefits of fresh fish as a safe, healthy source of protein.
On a larger scale, it is a key solution to mitigating food insecurity, climate change, groundwater pollution, and the impacts of overfishing on our oceans.Aquaponic Gardening is the definitive do-it-yourself home manual, focused on giving you all the tools you need to create your own aquaponic system and enjoy healthy, safe, fresh, and delicious food all year round.
Aquaponics systems are completely organic. They are four to six times more productive and use ninety percent less water than conventional gardens. Other advantages include no weeds, fewer pests, and no watering, fertilizing, bending, digging, or heavy lifting—in fact, there really is no downside!
By Sylvia Bernstein
When catastrophe strikes and modern technologies fail, rope work skills will become as essential for survival as they were for centuries past. The variety of knots taught in this book are guaranteed to hold against even the toughest forces, ensuring that an emergency doesn’t turn into a disaster. When your life, home, and property are hanging by a thread, these powerful knots are too strong to break:
• Create sturdy shelter with a HARNESS BEND
• Preserve sacks of grain with a BAG KNOT
• Move fallen trees with a BOWLINE
• Transport injured persons with a MUNTER HITCH
• Secure your home against intruders with a ZEPPELIN BEND
Prepper’s Guide to Knots features clear, step-by-step instructions on tying each knot. It also provides information on selecting the right type of rope, the history of rope work and the specific benefits of each knot.
By Scott Finazzo
Incredibly strong, spectacular in its colors and amazingly versatile, paracord is the ideal material for crafting stylish and functional items. Using easy-to-follow, step-by-step photos, this full-color guide shows how to master dozens of projects, including:
• Braids for fun bracelets and watchbands
• Weaves for one-of-a-kind leashes and luggage straps
• Wraps for tough knife and flashlight handles
• Knots for decorative lanyards and clasps
• Bars for handy ropes and keychains
By Chad Poole
This book is a complete, step by step guide to preparing yourself and your commumnityu to aid first responders during a disaster situation.
Nothing brings out the best in neighbors more than facing a catastrophe together. But don’t wait till the disaster is upon you. This book shows how you can work together today to protect the lives and homes of all the families in your neighborhood tomorrow. With guidance on how you can take a leadership role, this helpful handbook details everything your community needs to be fully prepared for any natural disaster.
• Creating event-specific disaster kits for yourself and your family
• Learning about basic fire safety and fire fighting
• Establishing triage centers in the event that first responders can’t reach you
• Stabilizing disaster victims through need-to-know first aid
• Creating your own neighborhood emergency response team to keep your neighborhood safe and save lives should the worst occur
By Scott Finazzo
If you had to deal with an injury or illness in a disaster, would you know what to do? The Survival Medicine Handbook is a 670 page detailed guide for those who want to be medically prepared for any disaster where help is NOT on the way. This book is written by Joe Alton, M.D. and Amy Alton, A.R.N.P., the premiere medical preparedness professionals from the top ten survival website www.doomandbloom.net.
The expanded third edition of the 3 category Amazon bestseller (Survival Skills, Disaster Relief, Safety/First Aid) is geared to enable the non-medical professional to deal with all the likely issues they will encounter in catastrophic short or long-term scenarios. The third (2016) edition of The Survival Medicine Handbook is not your standard first aid book: Unlike other so-called “survival” medical books, it assumes that a disaster, natural or man-made, has removed all access to hospitals or doctors for the foreseeable future; you, the average person, are now the highest medical resource left to your family.
The Survival Medicine Handbook will give you the tools, in plain English, to competently handle injuries and illness for any situation that leaves you as the end of the line with regards to your family’s medical well-being.
By Joe Alton, MD
You can survive up to three weeks without food, but only three days without water! When catastrophe strikes, having enough water can spell the difference between life and death. The Prepper’s Water Survival Guide offers a step-by-step plan with straightforward information you can easily follow. Thanks to this book’s laser-focus on water, you’ll quickly learn how to:
•Store fresh water
•Purify water from lakes & rivers
•Dig a well for groundwater
In addition to harvesting water, you’ll gain the tools to keep large stores untainted for long periods of time, test the water you collect for dangerous toxins, and treat water-related illnesses that are commonly contracted during a disaster.
By Daisy Luther
The year is 2078. The former United States of America is a bleak and fading memory for the few citizens of New America. Nearly five years after his wife was taken to a birthing camp by Secans, New America’s mercenaries, John Bradford is left to raise his two children alone in an increasingly dangerous and desolate world.
Tagged by nanotechnology, their every move is tracked, limiting their ability to do anything not permitted by the new regime. When his daughter is chosen, Secans arrive to take her to a birthing camp. John swears if he doesn’t let her go, they will all be killed. She reminds him of the promise he made to their mother, that he would do whatever it took to protect them.
Struggling between his promise and the real consequences of any action, the decision is made for John when his son brandishes a shotgun and kills one of the Secans. With no time to think, John grabs his children and goes on the run, but it is only a matter of time before the Secans find them and kill them. John has no choice but to return to his secret past, the only place where he knows he has a chance – The Circuit, an underground fight-to-the-death competition run by a ruthless mobster.
This is John’s fight, and it is one he cannot afford to lose.
By Mark Bacci
Without Land is book number two in The Changing Earth Series. The lone survivor from Sacramento, Erika, is a tenacious woman, mother and wife. After her grueling journey of survival during The Day After Disaster, she thought America would let freedom reign forever but nine years after the Great Quake, the reaction by the American Government was quite different.
Citizens still in possession of viable land found themselves farming and fulfilling many obligations for the citizens left alive. Many more people were left landless and instead of allowing them to roam in packs, the government rounded them up and housed them in refugee camps. The government quickly enacted new policies to maintain order. Only landowning citizens were allowed the right to vote on these new policies. The refugee families were signed up to an adoption program.
The landowners were given the right to pick and choose individuals and families to house on their property. This way the refugees could provide manual labor for the farms due to the shortage of oil to fuel machinery. The final blow to the hearts of refugees was the introduction of the “infertility” law which stated that any landless refugees would be rendered infertile after the age of thirteen. It was voted on and passed to maintain population levels in this world desperately trying to recover.
By Sara Hathaway
A massacre along the Rio Grande draws Bishop and his SAINT team to the border with Mexico. Their investigation soon reveals a local conflict that challenges the Texan’s moral compass while testing the Alliance’s commitment to individual freedoms.
Butter finds himself at the center of the dilemma, torn between a woman who desperately needs his help and the loyalty he feels toward Bishop and the team. Lured by a girl who has captured his heart, Butter becomes a pawn in a high stakes political game in which he is accused of murder and sentenced to death.
Bishop and Terri must find a way to save their friend without pulling the Alliance into a conflict it cannot win.
By Joe Nobody
Allexa Smeth has believed in being prepared ever since she got caught up in a grocery store mob hours before a big snow storm in Detroit. Many years later she’s living a quiet and peaceful life in a remote region of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and still preparing. This serves her well when a horrendous natural disaster rocks the entire country and brings all shipping to a halt, leaving many without food and other necessary supplies.
In her small town of Moose Creek, Allexa serves as the little needed emergency manager, but is called on when many start to feel the effects of the food and gas shortage and they don’t know where else to turn. The nearby county seat is overwhelmed and leaves Allexa to handle the problems that arise on her own.
As the winter progresses, more and more issues come up for Allexa to deal with, some of a very personal nature. Her son turns to her for help in caring for his autistic child when his wife goes missing. She then learns to prioritize and she learns she can’t save everyone.
By Deborah Moore
From Book 1: Meet Grant Matson: lawyer, father, suburbanite husband who awakens to the fragility of modern society and embarks on a personal journey that introduces him to a world of self-reliance and liberation.
299 Days: The Preparation, the first book in the 299 Days series, depicts the inner struggles Grant must face as he exists in a social system he recognizes as unsustainable and on the verge of collapse, but one in which he has built his life around. What begins as a return to his roots, self-sufficiency and independence, becomes a full blown move to prepare for what may come. Engaging, insightful and a bit suspenseful, follow Grant’s transition from a self-perceived “sheeple” to a full-blown “prepper.” Will his fears come true? Is he an extremist? What if nothing happens? What if something does?
By Glen Tate
The Final Word
I am continually amazed at the dedicated authors that continue to publish titles that serve our preparedness community. It is not easy to compete with the sweat shops that are prolific in producing junk eBooks that crowd the space on Amazon.
For this latest round of books, I did a bit of outreach to ensure that the selections were not a waste of your time or mine. That said, I had to kiss a few frogs along the way but I am sure you will agree, this is a great selection with something for everyone.
Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!