Sixteen Must Have Books for Preppers

pic of survival booksEvery week I receive at least one email from a reader asking me for my list of must have survival books, so to make it easier for me (and readers asking that question), I’m going to write my list of must have books that every prepper should have and refer readers to it when I’m asked for my recommended list…

This list is made up of the top sixteen survival related books on the market today, and the ones that I feel are a must have for every preppers survival library. These top sixteen (hand-picked by me) survival books, make up a complete survival library, that covers just about everything that you could ever need to know about prepping and survival.

I know what you’re thinking… well get on with it already, tell me the sixteen must have books for preppers… So without further ado here are the ten must have books that every real prepper must own.

Sixteen must have books for preppers

  1. LDS Preparedness Manual – This One is Awesome and is my number one recommendation – get it!
  2. Gardening When It Counts: Growing Food in Hard Times
  3. Mini Farming: Self-Sufficiency on 1/4 Acre
  4. Barnyard in Your Backyard: A Beginner’s Guide to Raising Chickens, Ducks, Geese, Rabbits, Goats, Sheep, and Cattle
  5. Basic Butchering of Livestock and Game
  6. Keeping the Harvest: Preserving Your Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs
  7. Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving
  8. Where There Is No Doctor
  9. Where There Is No Dentist
  10. The American Red Cross First Aid and Safety Handbook
  11. Cookin’ with Home Storage
  12. The Secure Home
  13. Affordable Security: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Protecting Your Home, Business, and Automobile
  14. Holding Your Ground
  15. Light Infantry Tactics: For Small Teams
  16. The Survival Group Handbook: How to Plan, Organize and Lead People For a Short or Long Term Survival Situation
About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Happy Camper says:

    The bible has many great stories, starting in the first chapter of Genesis about preparing. Joseph had to prepare for seven years of famine. But great list, I have got about five of those downloaded on my iPad. Needless to say I should print off the essential pages of the books, but my iPad can be charged directly from a 7w solar panel I have for iPad and iPhone.

  2. patientmomma says:

    I have the first 11 on the list and just ordered Holding Your Ground via your Amazon link.

  3. I started number 16 yesterday. Love it so far. Has truly opened my eyes to things I had not “wanted” to consider. I now think if someone is “too busy” to answer an e-mail or help me plan, I cannot trust them be responsible with limited food supplies ( or our lives ).

  4. You can download the 500 page LDS Preparedness Manual at this site . All you have to do is give a valid email address.

  5. #14 link goes to #13.

  6. Most of these books are available free online. Here’s a link to the first book.

  7. 7. Ball Blue Book Online Edition

    • Nebraska Woman says:

      Bam Bam: I have this Red Cross book and practiced it on my neighbor’s kids, my dog, and my mom. It is a lifesaver! One of the best books I own.
      I also love cookbooks that teach you how to cook without modern foods.

  8. Bam – Bam what are you trying to do stab M.D. in the back here so he does not get any commissions from But apparently he doesn’t care because he is posting your links to free downloads of the books on his list. Most of the books you list have been stolen from the authors and reposted… Not cool from you or M.D. for letting you post these links.

    • Kim,

      Not everyone can afford to buy these books. I am sure M.D. would rather people get prepared than send a dollar his way. Some of these books are not in the public domain and so have to be purchased. I for one like to read through the first few chapters of a book before I buy it.

    • KIM:

      I will say that there is A LOT of books that can be had for little or no money in .PDF format. I have well over 1,000. )That’s why I also have a way to read them and copies in a Faraday cage.)

      Before I start generalizing about “stealing” them I’d check it out first.

    • Bam Bam, I have 70% of the listed books but I really appreciate your list. My printer is going to be busy! Thank you.

  9. Last count was 117 print books and 18 DVD’s. I have no idea how many PDF files there are, but I have 16 binders of material that is printed out.

    • JP,

      How do you organize it all?

      • I have a spread sheet than I keep the titles, size, type, cost, etc on. I have a page for each type/category of books.

        The above list does not include fiction or Kindle books.

        • Hunker-Down says:

          We have about half as many binders, and the organization is ‘un’ 🙂

          As in unorganized. What do you do with an article that should be filed in three different sections?
          A relational database would be nice but they don’t run without batteries and the point of printing is to have access to the information when there is no internet or electricity.

  10. Chuck Findlay says:

    I also have numerous books, CD’s DVD’s, Word files and PDF files.
    I know this is going to seem old to many here, but I still use a Palm Pilot and there are numerous free database programs for the Palm format. I use them to track all the prepping things I do, including a list of prepping media.

    • Chuck,
      I have some vision issues and can no longer use my Palm Pilot; although I still have one that works, and if I had better vision, would still be using it today, because it’s basically a good tool.
      I have a mess of DVD’s; but, they are all commercial for firearms, land navigation, butchering, etc.
      The bulk of my non-print library is contained on several hard drives (as backups) and amounts to almost 100 GB and 70,000+ pdf, mp3, and video files. Organization is still an ongoing process; but, I have them in directories of broad categories, and then additional directories with finer categories, etc. Some people fear not being able to read computer based files after TSHTF; however, the thing with basic video, audio, and pdf files is that even my 12 year old Windows XP laptop will still work with them; so, as long as power is available, then the collection is available. Older machine scan be purchased for a song and will do the job even in a grid down situation if a small amount of off-grid power is available.

  11. Exile1981 says:

    Have 11 of the 16; the ones I don’t have I do have other books covering those topics. I have a few more medical books including a set of midwife books, several black smithing books etc.

    • I also pick up books on practical skills such as plumbing, electrical fix-it, small solar set ups, knitting, etc., quilting, and how to build type books. I like reference books on a wide variety of topic. My DD has a who library of reference books she picks up at the Salvation Army. Almost all of her books are used or cost very little.

  12. The Encylopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery covers most everything. Everyone should have one that’s trying to be self sustaining.The Foxfire series is also helpful.

  13. I don’t have half of these; although I suspect my 200+ book collection covers most of the topics; but, that still means some potential new purchases. I’ve been doing this for 40+ years and you’re never really done, LOL.

    Note that Where There Is No Doctor and Where There Is No Dentist along with some others, are available in numerous formats, including pdf from Hesperian Health Guides (

    The LDS Preparedness Manual is also downloadable as a free pdf from It’s a great resource.

    I’m also surprised that I didn’t see 31 Days to Survival and Dirt Cheap Survival Retreat. What gives MD?

  14. I have a friend I’m encouraging to prep. She is deeply concerned about food insecurity but says she has no room to plant a garden. Can anyone recommend a book about container/patio/apt gardening? Thanks!

  15. Years ago I had numerous books from JI Rodale aka Organic Gardening Magazine. I don’t know what happened to some of them but still have Stocking Up. Putting Food By was another that was very good,but I haven;t seen it in years. It helps a lot in keeping the larder full.

  16. If you want to get more into processing food, check out this website. It has reference material for just about everything.

  17. MrSatyre says:

    How about a DIY opthalmology book? As someone with abysmal vision, I always worry about being stuck without spare glasses or contacts.

  18. It’s a good list & I’ll look for some of them.
    Like others I have a mix of home improvement, gardening, and “prepper books”

    One I’d suggest is The Prepper’s Cookbook by Tess Pennington it gives great recipes and ideas for using up those canned good people stock up on. I try recipes out randomly and make lists of keepers so I know to keep those ingredients on hand.

    For people just starting out, I’d suggest M.D’s books along with Tess’s book.

    • Chuck Findlay says:

      The Prepper’s Cookbook by Tess Pennington is a very good book. I bought it about a year ago and have been experimenting making things from it.

  19. HEADS UP: The Public Health Agency of Canada lists the following as primary sources of infection. “Accidental parenteral inoculation, respiratory exposure to infectious aerosols and droplets, and/or direct contact with broken skin or mucous membranes.”

  20. Canyonman says:

    Purchased and currently reading “Into The Primitive” by Dale Martin, because M.D. recommended it here.

    Be advised, though, that this book will make your head hurt, based on the number of times I’ve slapped myself in the noggin and exclaimed, “I should’ve thought of that!!”

  21. Boy Scout Handbook and/or Field Guide.

  22. HEADS UP, EVERYONE. Since Bam Bam is posting on this thread, just wanted everyone to know that new ebola cases have exploded over the past 5 days, up 345%. Deaths are up 58% during this same period. Possible spread to Morocco and the Philipines, according to Ebola Watch USA.

    • Lets not forget that NYC has a case of while Ebloa, and stupid people brought 2 cases into Atlanta. Also the woman dead at the London Airport. Its a bad time to have open borders.

      • I have no doubt that government officials around the world are covering this up. Gupta on CNN actually confirmed this–he said six people at the hospital in NYC were tested for Ebola.

    • I just got home from work and checked the news. There are eight new suspected cases in Nigeria. Seven workers returning from Sierra Leone to Philippines are showing symptoms. A man from Guinea is hospitalized in Valencia, Spain showing symptoms. A Liberian citizen has died in Morocco. I haven’t had any confirmation of the suspected case in Brazil.

      Department of Defense has established an Ebola task force.

      • There is also a suspected case in Saudi Arabia. The man traveled from Sierra Leone and is in critical condition.

    • I just got home from work and checked the news. There are eight new suspected cases in Nigeria. Seven workers returning from Sierra Leone to Philippines are showing symptoms. A man from Guinea is hospitalized in Valencia, Spain showing symptoms. A Liberian citizen has died in Morocco. I haven’t had any confirmation of the suspected case in Brazil.

  23. axelsteve says:

    I think the bible is a good start. You will gain much wisdom not just information. It will give you direction and a reason to go forward with life.

    • mom of three says:

      Thank you the Bible, is a great book. I don’t understand the negative thumbs, down. If it’s not your cup a tea move on to the next post.

  24. Great books, I have ten of them, so far. Some I won’t get, like the gardening books, because I already have so many good ones, Eliot Coleman- Four Season Harvest, The New Organic Grower, Four Season Farm, John Jeavons- How To Grow More Vegetables… . I would also put the Bible at the top of the list.

  25. Here’s a map of the confirmed and suspected cases of Ebola this week.!d=

  26. L.A. Mike says:

    Anybody got any links or info to #13 “Affordable Security: A Do-It-Yourself Guide to Protecting Your Home, Business, and Automobile”? The Amazon prices are nucking futs. I found a possible PDF download for $40, Paypal accepted, but I’m nervous to try it:


  27. Here is a site with a massive library of free PDF formatted books to download, individually or as a whole collection. Survival manuals, natural disasters, prepping, etc.

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