Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Reference Books, Videos Etc...

Just a quick overview, done from memory, for your quick consideration.  These are books that deal with skills and/or are references for consultation.  Worth having, or evaluating from your library.  If out of print, maybe you find a way to save a copy for your later perusal, when all "copyright infringement" worries have gone away. 

Best Survival Fiction:   Pournelle & Niven's Lucifer's Hammer.  Have never read a better account that covers all the aspects that might be experienced.  Not like they go into great depth on "what to get" but the mindset of a population that has reason to prepare and the impact of that population in acquisition mode, relocation mode, and coping modes that morph into violence are all discussed very thoroughly.  Unless you are really motivated to read the Astronomical aspects of that plot that make all action necessary, it is pretty easy to skip through the early 1/3, find the Hot Fudge Tuesday chapter, backtrack a bit to find how "prepping" affected the Greater LA area for snapping-up available goods, then get on with how all characters coped after the comet calves and basically ends modern 20th century life in coastal cities of America and parts of Europe.  Fast, compelling reading.  Might bring you some aspects of the equation you never considered.

Best DVD TV series fiction:  Jericho the CBS series w/Skeet Lee.  Excellent in many respects.  As if there aren't conspiracies afoot in actual day-to-day America.  Tell me Halliburton isn't Jennings & Rawl.  Great cast, Great plots, lots of continuing tension and not totally a relationship soap opera.

Best DVD series for primitive living & skill coverage:  Ron Hood's body of work.  All of it.  Rest In Peace, Ron.  Great videos filmed on location and even in South American Amazon Jungle.   Worth a watch for sure, maybe go in on a complete set w/several families so all can see firsthand how making fire with bowdrill, flint & steel and cave-cooking are done.   The Hoods website, at one time offered pretty good package price on complete set purchases.  Maybe your library needs a set?

Most comprehensive and amazing volume of work:  Kurt Saxon w/o doubt for his compiled 4 volume sets of THE SURVIVOR, Poor Man's James Bond, and Grandpa's Book Of Chemistry.  On digital media these days.  See  Hope you are still out there in Arkansas, Kurt; and doing well.

Best Specific Survival Book:  Nuclear War Survival Skills by Cresson Kearny of Oak Ridge Natl Laboratory (free download at  If you buy the book, you get actual template to make a homemade radiation meter.   Worth having a hard-copy!

Best overall preparedness book:   Life After Doomsday by Bruce Clayton phd.

Best discussion on Firearms for survivalist purposes:   Mel Tappan's  Survival Guns.  Also worth reading are the 3 volumes of his Personal Survival newsletter and Tappan On Survival.   Runner up:  Jeff Cooper's To Ride, Shoot Straight, & Tell The Truth.

We've used homeopathy for years.  Kent's Repertory is The Standard Reference, along with The Materia Medica.  Lots of value in Herbalism and Naturopathy.  Can also personally endorse The Macrobiotic Diet and underlying theory of eating right to enable your body to heal itself.  Many great cookbooks relating to Macrobiotics.  Most of the foodstuffs are Basics and capable of longterm storage.  Hard to find any non-GMO Soybeans, but I guess they're out there.  Check your library for Macro literature.  Earl Mindell's Vitamin Bible and Jethro Kloss' Back To Eden are excellent.

Merck Manual, PDR if you're into allopathy or expect to have access to pharmaceuticals. Gray's Anatomy or a more detailed medical school volume on anatomy.  If you live in a city with a medical school, might check their bookshop for texts on medical knowledge and diagnosis.  I found a copy of Emergency Battlefield Surgery at a resale many years ago.  Also Medicine For Mountaineering is pretty well-done book for back-country healing and also deals with altitude problems, hypothermia, exposure.  Of course, Where There Is No Doctor/Dentist are two great references to have.  Almost forgot Red Cross First Aid.  Might want to take a CPR class or see if your locale offers entry level EMT instruction classes.   Wonder if Red Cross Lifeguard and Swimmer classes are still offered?

Camping and hiking, my favorite book is Colin Fletcher's The Complete Walker.  Also his The Man Who Walked Through Time is very interesting read on a solo backpacking trip across the rim of the Grand Canyon.  Be Expert With Map & Compass by Bjorn Kellstrom is the great orienterring book and now on video.  Need to have some 1:250,000 inch format maps and a decent compass and know how to read, orient and travel by the map.  Ron Hood's work already mentioned.  REI and Campmoor catalogs/websites always worth a look.

The first 100 issues of The Mother Earth News are worth buying or getting on DVD.  Might want to look at Dave Duffy's Backwoods Home compendiums.  Woodsmoke is a primitive living series that was forerunner to Ron Hood's work, very basic and insightful.  Hard to beat The Buckskinner volumes for examination of skills and gear common to early mountainmen and blackpowder, primitive weapons.  Foxfire Series books are very interesting and maybe useful.  Any back issues of Roedale's Gardening worth owning.

Firearms References:
Brownell's Catalog is superb for its compendium of specialty tools.  Website for its parts and diagram listings.  Roy Dunlapp's Gunsmithing book is a fine one.  Gun Digest's Series on Firearms Dissembly are excellent.  For Loading Manuals, Sierra Bullets is The Standard for precision loading and quality.  Barnes' manual has some information others don't.  Hornady and Lee manuals are also Very Good.  Frank Barnes' Cartridges Of The World is a very good reference.  Probably want to have loading tool company catalogs for parts info.

Repair and Tool References:  Yep, you need em.  Orig shop manuals for your vehicles and motorized or driven eqpt, or a Haines  or Chilton at least. 

Cookbooks:  For sure!  Macrobiotics cookbooks to show how to make most of whole grains and beans as protein sources w/o meat or seafood.  Frances Lappe' Diet For A Small Planet and Esther Dickey's Passport To Survival are classics.  Hard to imagine life w/o The Joy Of Cooking or any of the other standards.  Lots of specialty and game cooking books.  Would be great to have an in-depth how-to for animal butchering.  Need to know how to grow sprouts.

Gardening:  Rodale books are great, Lots of articles on gardening books in TMEN over the years.  French Intensive and Raised Bed gardening offer great potential to small-space gardeners.  Hydroponics is a useful concept if you have the sunlight or growlights.  Would also look into all the drip irrigation and mulching references can find if you are in a hot clime.  Really NEED a protected growing environment in light of Fukushima and all the nuclear sabre-rattling going on.

Probably have forgotten a few categories.   Did a column on Short Wave radio earlier.  Probably want all the frequency lists and an ARRL book or two.  Bob Grove of Monitoring Times has many references.  A current copy of MT will have lots of frequency and time listings.

Got a Bible?  King James Version reads very well, but I like Shakeseare too!

Literature:  All you want.  Hard to beat resale shops for recreational and paperback books.  Buy a bunch and trade them among your neighbors.

Got children or grand kids?  Don't forget used textbooks or lay-in some homeschooling curriculum.  Much is self-paced and requires no immediate supervision.  Infants and toddlers will grow-up; don't let them grow up dumb...

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