Over on a little blog called “In Case Of Apocalype” they are running a little feature on what books you should have with you in case everything goes kaflouie, or in my scenario the sun fries all the circuits.
I thought I’d try to pull his multiple threads together into a list for us here:
Merck Veterinary Manual – for taking care of the livestock
Merck Manual – my suggestion, overlooked there
Joy of Cooking
How to Cook and Preserve Anything
SAS guide to tracking, ISBN 1-58574-031-4
Field Dressing and Butchering Deer: Step-by-Step Instructions, from Field to Table by Monte Burch ISBN: 1585743585
The Forager’s Harvest: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants by Samuel Thayer ISBN: 0976626608
SAS Survival Handbook: How to Survive in the Wild, in Any Climate, on Land or at Sea by John Lofty Wiseman ISBN: 0060578793
Back to Basics: A Complete Guide to Traditional Skills by Abigail Gehring ISBN: 1602392331
There is a series of books called Foxfire, numbered about 12 in total. The series is an effort to document the lifestyle, culture, and skills of people in southern Appalachia, a very poor area of the US that is comprised of isolated communities that are largely self sufficient. The books give in highly instructive detail everything needed to survive and thrive post-industrial: making tools and shelter from available materials, identify and select plants for tools, food and medicinals as well as, of course selecting, preparing and protecting foodstuffs against spoilage. A smart reader will even gather the vital insights needed to form a viable culture in such conditions from the stories and recorded accounts of their lives and society. There are even articles on dances and construction details of musical instruments, very important for a culture to form and thrive successfully. (Anonymous)
When Technology Fails
Townsend Whelan’s On Your Own In The Wilderness
Mechanical Movements – http://www.amazon.com/507-Mechanical-Movements-Henry-Brown/dp/0961808861
Boy Scout/Girl Scout Fieldbook
“American Indian Medicine”, Vogel. Gives lists of native plants and their traditional uses. You’re going to need a good vermifuge and antihelminic after eating that wild game.
Complete Book of Camping byLeonard Miracle.
It is a wonderful survival guide- from setting up a tent to first aid.
Boatbuilding: A Complete Handbook of Wooden Boat Construction by: Howard Chapelle
A topographical map of your area, useful for things like navigating, finding water sources and marking finds (patches of edible plants, animal grazing areas, good sources of firewood, etc.)
A guide to plant / animal species in your area. Most states have them, and they can be very light or even condensed to a pamphlet. Knowing specifically which berries / mushrooms in your area you can eat, etc., could just save your life
An old Farmer’s Almanac or similar from your area. In the short term, the environment may change dramatically, but (depending on the disaster) it should return to normal eventually, and it would be very handy to know when you can expect rain, what temperature and soil are like, and other things you will need to know to start rebuilding agriculture.
Again, a guide to plant life in your area. I would suggest against saving seeds, because most seeds only last a couple of seasons, even under the best conditions (constant temperature and no moisture), and chances are you’re going to kill your first crop or two (I speak from experience). So, when you move from hunting / gathering to agriculture, you’re going to have to do what humanity is done by starting with the cultivation of native plants and/or animals.
Basic books on math (basic algebra and geometry are all you need), mechanical (not electrical) physics, chemistry / metallurgy, and biology / anatomy / medicine. There are two reasons for this: first, it took humanity thousands of years to get the basics of these fields, but only a couple hundred years to get from there to where we are today, so the higher you go, the more the returns diminish; second, with basic algebra / geometry and a knowledge of metallurgy, you can design and build all sorts of machinery up to and including the steam engine. You can get similarly far with basic knowledge in the other fields.
For making the leap to a post-industrial society, perhaps most useful would be a book on the history of mechanical and civil engineering, especially one with pictures or descriptions of actual technologies. In the history of the world these were the first engineering professions, and it is 100 times easier to emulate someone else’s ideas than it is to come up with them yourself.
How Things Work
Army Field Manuals on a variety of topics
Bushcraft: Outdoor Skills & Wilderness Survival by Mors Kochanski
And for the kids:
Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things
Again, none of these are my ideas. and I’d like to hear yours.
This list is the essentials. What are we missing?
Extra reading glasses. Lots of them…