The most recommended books on survivalism

Who picked these books? Meet our 33 experts.

33 authors created a book list connected to survivalism, and here are their favorite survivalism books.
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What type of survivalism book?


Total War

By Jerry Ahern,

Book cover of Total War

Justin Oldham Author Of Haven's Legacy

From the list on action-oriented post-apocalyptic stories.

Who am I?

My firsthand experience of the Cold War influenced my taste in reading and entertainment from an early age. I’ve spent my entire adult life collecting books and movies that showcase adventure and adversity in situations where combinations of war and climate change have brought about the end of life as we knew it. All those influences have inspired me to make my own contributions to this form of literature.

Justin's book list on action-oriented post-apocalyptic stories

Why did Justin love this book?

As a teenager, I was captivated by this fast-moving romp that didn’t pull any punches. With so many knockdown, drag-out action sequences, I couldn’t help wanting more. The author infused epic storylines with moments of heart-breaking humanity in a dark and dangerous world. This novel made me appreciate storytelling on a grand scale. Even now, it’s still a fun read. 

By Jerry Ahern,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Total War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is NUMBER ONE in the Survivalist series featuring the hero, John Thomas Rourke: The story of the ultimate war, the final nuclear holocaust and the unrelenting quest of John Thomas Rourke as he begins his search across war-ravaged America, following every haunting clue, however fragmentary, to locate his missing family.

Book cover of Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse: First Aid Kit Building and Mini Med School for Preppers

Steven J. Kirsh Author Of Parenting in the Zombie Apocalypse: The Psychology of Raising Children in a Time of Horror

From the list on surviving a zombie apocalypse.

Who am I?

Like many of my generation, my formal introduction to the zombie genre started with George A. Romero's Night of the Living Dead. Stories of the zombie apocalypse, and the arterial sprays, dismemberments, and eviscerations that accompanied it, have fascinated me ever since. But, I'm also a psychology professor. Although I was initially captivated by the carnage of the undead, I quickly found that the mindsets of the survivors were equally fascinating. More than anything, I love seeing how fictional worlds represent real-world psychological concepts.

Steven's book list on surviving a zombie apocalypse

Why did Steven love this book?

When the dead roam, this book will function as a med-school, first responder, and training physician all rolled into one. That's a good thing, for medical professionals will be at ground zero for the zombie apocalypse. And most won't survive the first few days of the dead, as preserving life will seem more paramount than preserving death. And by the time staff figure out that both are equally important, it will be too late. Nevertheless, those who survive the apocalypse's initial stages will eventually need medical care. Even a minor wound could prove deadly if poorly cleaned. I found the information and practical advice in the book fascinating and potentially helpful under dire circumstances.

By Ryan Chamberlin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THIS IS YOUR BOOK OF SECRETS The one ensuring your survival! If you've been afraid of what's coming, rest easy, those days are over! By cutting the extra and expanding the essential, we've combined the most important sections from our Survival Medicine series, The Prepper Pages, & created this Mini Med School - just for preppers. An apocalypse is inevitable, because the term "Zombie Apocalypse" is a metaphor for expecting the unexpected. By covering hundreds of conditions known to occur frequently in disasters, this book is going to leave you confident with the way you'll react in medical emergencies. It's…


By Deon Meyer, K.L. Seefers (translator),

Book cover of Fever

Tony Park Author Of Blood Trail

From the list on to read on an African safari.

Who am I?

I'm an Australian who fell in love with Africa in my 30s. I've now written 20 thrillers set in Africa and several non-fiction biographies. My wife and I have travelled extensively on the continent and now spend at least half our lives in Africa, and the remainder in Australia. I'm passionate about Africa's people, wildlife, and fragile natural environment. While my books focus on some of the continent's problems – especially the illegal trade in wildlife – I'm a sucker for a happy ending and find no shortage of positive, inspirational people on my travels who serve as the inspiration for the good guys and girls in my stories. 

Tony's book list on to read on an African safari

Why did Tony love this book?

South African author Deon Meyer is, in my opinion, the best crime writer in the world. Most of his books are detective stories set in Cape Town, but Fever was a radical departure for him. As an author, I know how important it is for me to keep myself engaged and interested in my writing and not become stale. Deon shook up his readership with this tale of a fictional pandemic (written before Covid 19) and its impact on South Africa. Brilliant and scary and top marks to Deon for leaping out of his comfort zone.

By Deon Meyer, K.L. Seefers (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fever as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'UK readers, you have a nice surprise coming. No, not Brexit, FEVER, by Deon Meyer. Reminiscent of THE STAND and THE PASSAGE. Great stuff' STEPHEN KING

'An epic read that
has a dystopian feel and makes
you ask the question: What if?' SUN

I want to tell you about my Father's murder.

I want to tell you who killed him and why.

This is the story of my life.

And the story of your life and your world too, as you will see.

Nico Storm and his father drive across a desolate South Africa, constantly alert for feral dogs, motorcycle…

Prep For Doom

By ER Arroyo, Laura Albins, Amy Bartelloni, Brea Behn, Casey L. Bond, TK Carter, Kate Corcino, Harlow C. Fallon, Kelsey D. Garmendia, Caroline A. Gill, DelSheree Gladden, John Gregory Hancock, Casey Hays, Kate L. Mary, Jon Messenger, Monica Enderle Pierce, Cameo Renae, Hilary Thompson, Yvonne Ventresca, Megan White

Book cover of Prep For Doom

Yvonne Ventresca Author Of Pandemic

From the list on on pandemics published pre-COVID.

Who am I?

I'm the author of short stories and novels including my young adult debut, Pandemic, which continues to be a timely read about surviving a widespread deadly virus. After the H1N1 pandemic of 2009 (commonly called Swine Flu), I was fascinated with the idea of a global illness that could be much, much worse. I researched historical diseases, interviewed public health officials, and the idea for my novel was born. Written and published before COVID-19, some of the details are eerily predictive of coronavirus. Pandemic won SCBWI’s Crystal Kite Award the year after its publication, and a June 2022 reissue of the original novel includes updated resources and backmatter.

Yvonne's book list on on pandemics published pre-COVID

Why did Yvonne love this book?

This collection of short stories by twenty different authors explores how a fictional deadly disease affects a range of people, from scientists to government officials to everyday teens. (My contribution is chapter 13, “Escape to Orange Blossom.”) What I especially enjoyed about this anthology is the way that the characters from one story might appear in another. Using a single incident to drive the plot, the collaborative nature sets this collection apart.

By ER Arroyo, Laura Albins, Amy Bartelloni, Brea Behn, Casey L. Bond, TK Carter, Kate Corcino, Harlow C. Fallon, Kelsey D. Garmendia, Caroline A. Gill, DelSheree Gladden, John Gregory Hancock, Casey Hays, Kate L. Mary, Jon Messenger, Monica Enderle Pierce, Cameo Renae, Hilary Thompson, Yvonne Ventresca, Megan White

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Prep For Doom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the imaginations of twenty authors of dystopian and post-apocalyptic fiction comes PREP FOR DOOM - an integrated collection of short stories that tell the tale of a single catastrophe as experienced by many characters, some of whom will cross paths.

What begins with a seemingly innocuous traffic accident soon spirals into a global pandemic. The release of Airborne Viral Hemorrhagic Fever upon New York City’s unsuspecting populace brings bloody suffering within hours, death within a day, and spreads worldwide within a month.

An online community called Prep For Doom has risen to the top of a recent doomsday preparation…

Farnham's Freehold

By Robert A. Heinlein,

Book cover of Farnham's Freehold

Justin Oldham Author Of Search for Haven

From the list on post-apocalyptic showcasing humanity’s drive to survive.

Who am I?

I am a lifelong fan of all things post-apocalyptic. Books, movies, television, games – I have enjoyed all of it. I knew I wanted to write post-apocalyptic fiction before I was ten years old. I had to wait almost three decades before life gave me the opportunity to do it. I’ve always been fascinated by the many different ways people can survive these kinds of catastrophes. As dark and visceral as the genre can sometimes be, I will always look for the elements of hope.

Justin's book list on post-apocalyptic showcasing humanity’s drive to survive

Why did Justin love this book?

I read this novel decades before I ever heard the term “prepper.” I particularly enjoyed the survival elements of the story. I can’t help noticing that the plot holds up, even today. The idea that someone could predict that war was coming from simply paying attention to the news and things going on around them fostered my own interest in keeping up with current events. Ultimately, the story is all about making the best of a bad situation. Even today, I still enjoy the inherent optimism of that sentiment.

By Robert A. Heinlein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Farnham's Freehold as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Book by Heinlein, Robert A.

438 Days

By Jonathan Franklin,

Book cover of 438 Days: An Extraordinary True Story of Survival at Sea

Martin Bodek Author Of Zaidy's War: Four Armies, Three Continents, Two Brothers. One Man's Impossible Story of Endurance

From Martin's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Goal-achiever Ultra marathoner Voracious reader Semi-pro scrabbler Dad jokester

Martin's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Martin love this book?

I'm a sucker for survival stories, but I'm a durn fool for expertly written survival stories. The truth is, he had me at 438, and the rest could have been downhill coasting.

This fine writer, though, did not rest on laurels. He did what a story like this required: great reporting despite language barriers, detailed professional psychological/survivalist commentary at correctly curated junctures, evidence backing up the story, a detailed map of the unreal journey, and the mental state of the protagonist throughout and after.

The story is also strongly linear, which gives it forward momentum, which is key for a story like this, because you need to move forward to survive, and not look back and dwell on the past. This is a great story in great hands.

By Jonathan Franklin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked 438 Days as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The incredible true survival story of one man's record-breaking fourteen months lost at sea.

On 17th November, 2012, Salvador Alvarenga left the coast of Mexico for a two-day fishing trip. A vicious storm killed his engine and the current dragged his boat out to sea. The storm picked up and carried him West, deeper into the heart of the Pacific Ocean. Alvarenga would not touch solid ground again for fourteen months. When he was washed ashore on January 30th, 2014, he had drifted over 9,000 miles.

Three dozen cruise ships and container vessels passed nearby. Not one stopped for the…


By C. J. Box,

Book cover of Winterkill

Cam Torrens Author Of Stable: Someone is Taking Them...

From the list on suspense about veterans solving problems as civilians.

Who am I?

When I retired from the service, I wanted to be done with big decisions and just focus on family. I’d had enough war-zone drama. I’m drawn to stories where the veteran finds he/she just can’t do that. My protagonist in my debut, Stable deals with this. He’s overcome so much…the loss of his son, the loss of an aircrew, and years of depression. Now that he’s “back,” he just wants to lead a normal life. I wanted to show you can pull the veteran from the battlefield, but it’s hard to quell his or her desire to continue to serve—and the inherent conflict of service before self or family remains.

Cam's book list on suspense about veterans solving problems as civilians

Why did Cam love this book?

This is the third installment of CJ Box series featuring Wyoming Game Warden Joe Pickett. But it’s the first book in which Box introduces Nate Romanowski, a former special tactics officer in the US Air Force.

While Box’s protagonist Pickett is portrayed as straight-laced, and a rule-follower, Romanowski sees the world as black and white—he will break the law in a heartbeat to see justice done. The series masterfully uses this dichotomy of worldviews to create tension in Winterkill and the rest of the series. 

In Winterkill, bad actors portray themselves as enlightened survivalists while supposedly good federal agents use questionable means to try and extract a suspected murderer from the survivalist group. A child is involved, and it’s up to Pickett and Romanowski to prevent mayhem. If they can agree on how to do it.

By C. J. Box,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Winterkill as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Award-winning writer C. J. Box returns with a vengeance in this thrilling new novel featuring Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett.

It's an hour away from darkness with a bitter winter storm raging when Joe Pickett finds himself deep in the forest edging Battle Mountain, shotgun in his left hand, his truck's steering wheel handcuffed to his right-and Lamar Gardiner's arrow-riddled corpse splayed against the tree in front of him.

Lamar's murder and the sudden onslaught of the snowstorm warns: Get off the mountain. But Joe knows this episode is far from over. Somewhere in the dense timber, a killer draws…

The Survival Handbook

By Colin Towell,

Book cover of The Survival Handbook: Essential Skills for Outdoor Adventure

Juan Pablo Quiñonez Author Of Thrive: Long-Term Wilderness Survival Guide

From the list on survival for staying alive in the wild.

Who am I?

I am a survival expert and outdoor professional with over ten years of experience in outdoor recreation and survival. Recently, I became the winner of Season 9 of the survival TV series Alone after surviving for 78 days with just ten items in the unforgiving wilderness of Labrador. I have lived for six months in the boreal forest with my fiancée, foraging to complement our meager rations, and I have also spent one hundred days foraging in solitude during the Canadian winter. Currently I’m building an off-grid homestead that I hope one day will turn into an off-grid community.

Juan's book list on survival for staying alive in the wild

Why did Juan love this book?

This book contains the topics you would expect inside a survival manual, such as navigation, fire, shelter, food, water, and so on.

What I really like about it are the colourful, realistic illustrations, and the easily digestible layout of the information. It covers a very wide range of topics related to wilderness survival and overall it provides a well-balanced approach. It comes in multiple editions and some formats are more suitable as field books than others.

It is a solid book that I would recommend to anyone wanting a classic-style survival manual to use as reference at home or in the field.

By Colin Towell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Survival Handbook as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From planning an expedition, to packing essential kits, to discovering what to do on a trail, The Survival Handbook is an invaluable tool when you're in the great outdoors.

Among a myriad of outdoor skills, it teaches readers how to make shelters, find water, and spot, catch, and cook wild food. And if there's an emergency, it shows which essential first-aid techniques to use when, how to mount a rescue, and even how to get yourself found. Now in Paperback!

How to Survive Everything

By Ewan Morrison,

Book cover of How to Survive Everything

Olga Wojtas Author Of Miss Blaine's Prefect and the Vampire Menace

From the list on featuring feisty Scotswomen.

Who am I?

Proud to drop the F-bomb—I’m an unrepentant feminist. I grew up during the heady days of the Sixties and Seventies when books played a major part in raising our consciousness. I’m remembering the wonderful Virago Press championing women’s voices, and writers such as Marilyn French, Angela Carter, Maya Angelou, and Maxine Hong Kingston. I’m not keen on books where women are helpless victims or ciphers while men get to do all the exciting stuff. And since real life can be quite grim enough (I was a journalist for over thirty years and remain a news junkie), I’m increasingly attracted by writing that includes a dollop of humour. 

Olga's book list on featuring feisty Scotswomen

Why did Olga love this book?

I’m full of admiration for this book. Morrison is a fifty-something bloke, but this narrative is told in the first person by a teenage girl, Haley, and the voice is totally perfect: opinionated, funny, sulky, naïve. The novel’s full of dark humour, and a real page-turner. Haley is kidnapped by her father to join a group of apocalyptic pandemic survivalists. Are they barking mad or the only people clear-sighted enough to see the danger the world is in from Virus X? You’ll veer from one viewpoint to the other throughout. You’ll also learn how to use a crossbow and what to put in your survival pack. (Warning: I could only read the bit about amputation through my fingers.) 

By Ewan Morrison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked How to Survive Everything as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"One of the most provocative, intelligent and original novelists working in Britain today." Irvine Welsh. My dad taught us to be prepared for whatever was coming. He said we should know the facts about how long we could survive without food, water or fresh air, and to remember that we couldn't live at all without hope. It was better, he said, to be ahead of the game. Better to be ten years too early than one minute too late. That's why he did what he did, on that morning ... Inspired by her father's advance planning and her own ingenuity…

Rules of Conflict

By Jack Hunt,

Book cover of Rules of Conflict

Michael Krozer Author Of Looking Through Mirrors

From the list on action oriented books that make you think.

Who am I?

I write in the speculative fiction genre where an overwhelming event, seemingly beyond the control of the main characters, underpins what happens to those characters. Exploring scenarios about how society would change as a result of cyber controlled multiple personality overlays, for example, is a great opportunity for considered thought. I believe that a mind without a question is dead. As a writer, I imbue my characters with this philosophy and then set them free to navigate the vast plane of destiny for themselves.

Michael's book list on action oriented books that make you think

Why did Michael love this book?

This book is relevant today. Our country is going through the turmoil of distress caused by the breakdown of civil order and the looming scarcity of basic necessities like energy, food, and water. The scenario here is about the intersection of several groups of people and how well they prepared for surviving the first several days of a catastrophic event. There is good survival preparation information embedded in the text that can be augmented by the many real survivalist organizations. In crafting the story, the author does the same thing I do…layering useful, real-world information into the fictional narrative. Another real-world question is considered here. If there were no police, National Guard, FEMA, or aid groups, what would you be able to do for you and your family? The message in this book leaves us hopeful. 

By Jack Hunt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Rules of Conflict as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

His survival rules kept them alive when the power went out.

Five days ago, Tyler and two strangers battled roving gangs and survived a perilous journey home to Montana after an electromagnetic pulse crippled the country. His brother, Corey fought off inmates to save the community of Whitefish from being destroyed. Now, as the town falls apart in the aftermath, the survivors must deal with conflict, looters and defend their family from local danger.

How far would you go to protect those you love?

Trouble is brewing in the small mountain town of Whitefish, Montana as old rivals seek vengeance,…


By Cory Doctorow,

Book cover of Radicalized: Four Tales of Our Present Moment

Ben Berman Ghan Author Of What We See in the Smoke

From the list on science fiction short story collections.

Who am I?

Hi! My name is Ben Berman Ghan, and I’m the author of the short story collection What We See in the Smoke and the novella Visitation Seeds. I’ve spent pretty much every day of my life since 2015 thinking about short fiction, writing it, or editing it. In many ways, the traditions and strengths of the genre of SF are owed to the short fiction writers and the magazines that have published them over the years — magazines that I keep on reading to this day. There is something electric to me about the short story, the concentrated fervor of an SF writer having to concentrate all that imagination and emotion into something tight and sharp. 

Ben's book list on science fiction short story collections

Why did Ben love this book?

What shall we do, when at last the intricate oppressions, we have built for ourselves are pushed plainly into view? Cory Doctorow’s collection of novellas bills itself not fictions of tomorrow, but stories of our present moment. Immigration, police brutality, tech monopoly, online radicalization, all bubble sharply and brilliantly to the surface here, in a world that, frankly, doesn’t seem that far from ours. What will you do, when your toaster tells you that the bread you bought is not a compatible product? Cory Doctorow might tell you. You might not like the answer very much. Either way, with stellar writing and keen insight, Radicalized is the best kind of political fiction, unapologetic, and empathic.

By Cory Doctorow,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Radicalized as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

If you want a better future tomorrow, you're going to have to fight for it today.

Here are four urgent stories from author and activist Cory Doctorow, four social, technological and economic visions of the world today and its near - all too near - future.

'Unauthorized Bread' is a tale of immigration, toxic economic stratification and a young woman's perilously illegal quest to fix a broken toaster.

In 'Model Minority' a superhero finds himself way out his depth when he confronts the corruption of the police and justice system.

'Radicalized' is the story of a desperate husband, a darknet…

Our Endless Numbered Days

By Claire Fuller,

Book cover of Our Endless Numbered Days

Kristin Fields Author Of A Frenzy of Sparks

From the list on dysfunctional fiction families to love.

Who am I?

The title of this post is a little misleading – when I say dysfunctional, I mean trauma has left these characters emotionally unavailable despite their love for one another, and searching for answers. When I was eleven, my grandfather was diagnosed with lung cancer on Thanksgiving and passed away in early February. In those eight weeks, my family unraveled. Relationships changed. Others disappeared. It was my first real loss. It was final and far-reaching. I believe this is why I write adult fiction in young voices about trauma. Emotional family journeys of love, loss, healing, forging ahead in unimaginable circumstances, are powerful reminders of why “survival is insufficient” and the brilliance of the human spirit.

Kristin's book list on dysfunctional fiction families to love

Why did Kristin love this book?

Peggy is eight years old when her survivalist father takes her from her London home and moves her into a remote cabin in the woods and tells her the outside world has been destroyed. They can’t go back. 

If you know anything about my novels, it’s that I absolutely love writing adult fiction from the perspective of young adults. People often ask me why I don’t write YA if I enjoy that age for narrators: it’s because I love coming-of-age stories and the emotional spectrum of children learning to understand the nuances of adult life.  

This book nailed it for me: Mental illness, nature, and relationships to the natural world, a young narrator. I’ve read it twice and it broke my heart both times.

By Claire Fuller,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Our Endless Numbered Days as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


'Fuller handles the tension masterfully in this grown-up thriller of a fairytale, full of clues, questions and intrigue.' - The Times

'Extraordinary...From the opening sentence it is gripping' - Sunday Times

1976: Peggy Hillcoat is eight. She spends her summer camping with her father, playing her beloved record of The Railway Children and listening to her mother's grand piano, but her pretty life is about to change.

Her survivalist father, who has been stockpiling provisions for the end which is surely coming soon, takes her from London to a cabin in a remote…


By Tara Westover,

Book cover of Educated: A Memoir

John Turiano Author Of Past Paradox

From John's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Hiker and camper Reader Curious skeptic Dog lover World War II enthusiast

John's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did John love this book?

What is the importance of an education in freeing your mind from the shackles of oppression? In this poignant memoir, the author describes her close ties to family and how those ties repressed her freedom to observe and interpret the world around her.

Born in a male-dominated hierarchy and controlled by strong religious beliefs, it was dictated to her what to do and believe. When she tried to think for herself, her relationships with family members became toxic. A weaker mind would have succumbed to the pressure and accepted the situation. However, an incredible urge to learn and grow moved Tara to seek an education from those outside her community.

Educated is an uplifting story of personal growth and strength that I will carry with me for a long time.

By Tara Westover,

Why should I read it?

17 authors picked Educated as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?



'One of the best books I have ever read . . . unbelievably moving' Elizabeth Day
'An extraordinary story, beautifully told' Louise O'Neill
'A memoir to stand alongside the classics . . . compelling and joyous' Sunday Times

Tara Westover grew up preparing for the end of the world. She was never put in school, never taken to the doctor. She did not even have a birth certificate…

I Am Still Alive

By Kate Alice Marshall,

Book cover of I Am Still Alive

Holly Green Author Of In the Same Boat

From the list on contemporary YA survival stories.

Who am I?

When I was eleven, I picked up a book about a girl and a boy who get lost on a backpacking trip in the Sierra Nevada. It’s the first book I can remember reading over and over and over again. I wanted to be in that tent and in that forest figuring out how to survive. Since then, I’ve been hooked on books about people facing grueling physical challenges, surviving in the wilderness, and finding out what they’re made of. They’re urgent and compelling and the stakes are high, and I’ll never stop loving the thrill of reading about people being pushed to their physical and mental limits.

Holly's book list on contemporary YA survival stories

Why did Holly love this book?

This book is tense! Jess is alone in the Canadian wilderness, still injured from the car accident that killed her mom, and now her dad has been murdered and his cabin burned down. Jess must figure out how to survive in the cold with no shelter and no way out when nobody knows where she is. This is part survival story and part thriller. Jess is driven by her desire to survive as much as her desire for revenge. The survival aspect here is enough to keep you reading, but I also loved trying to piece together the mystery of why her dad was killed. 

By Kate Alice Marshall,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked I Am Still Alive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jess is stranded in the woods. She has few supplies and only her dog for company. Her survival skills are limited, and she has disabilities that make physical labor a challenge. And winter is on its way. How did she get here?

Alternating between the past and the present, this tightly-paced novel tells the story of a girl who survived a car crash that killed her mother, then was pulled from foster care and sent to live with her estranged survivalist father in the remote Canadian wilderness. Jess was just beginning to get to know her dad when a secret…

Book cover of The Essential Skills of Wilderness Survival: A Guide to Shelter, Water, Fire, Food, Navigation, and Survival Kits

Jessica Carew Kraft Author Of Why We Need to Be Wild: One Woman's Quest for Ancient Human Answers to 21st Century Problems

From the list on surviving the collapse of civilization.

Who am I?

I am a writer, an anthropologist, and a mother. I spent five years researching ancient human survival skills and learning from modern wilderness survival experts about how to live the original Homo sapiens lifestyle. I became deeply invested in the importance of these skills amidst climate change and digital transformation because they connect us to our evolutionary heritage and safeguard our species’ survival into the future if and when our civilization collapses (as all past civilizations have done!) I find hope in being prepared for the possible demise of our industrial system, embracing the opportunities that arise instead of trying to preserve it at all costs. 

Jessica's book list on surviving the collapse of civilization

Why did Jessica love this book?

This is the book you want on your shelf if you plan to escape to the woods when SHTF (sh** hits the fan).

You can learn easy shelters to build, various friction-fire methods, cooking methods for campfire meals, and how to fashion just about any basic tool or useful item from wild materials, including weapons. You’ll also get acquainted with basic wilderness medicine and what the real threats are when you’re living outside full time.

But the true key to making this book useful is to really do and make the stuff. You can read all you want about the best knot for securing the poles of your tipi, but you won’t really get it until you try it (17 times). 

Black Helicopters

By Blythe Woolston,

Book cover of Black Helicopters

Amanda West Lewis Author Of Focus. Click. Wind.

From the list on making you a teenage radical.

Who am I?

I'm fascinated by the potential of teenagers. The teen years are full of passion and energy. It's a time of seeing injustice and recognizing inequality. For some young people, it becomes imperative to make the world a better place. My maternal grandparents joined the Communist Party when they were teenagers. They were deeply committed to making the world a better place, but it was a commitment that affected all of their decisions. They were saving the world—what happened with their children was of little consequence. Therefore the books on my list reflect my interest in teenage radicals, as well as the fate of children who grow up under a system of radical beliefs.

Amanda's book list on making you a teenage radical

Why did Amanda love this book?

Black Helicopters is a terrifying book.

A fast-paced thriller, it takes you inside a radical survivalist cult from the perspective of the children who are growing up there. We’re immediately in a world that has its own rules. We’re reminded that children and young people know only what we tell them, and they do not question their parent’s choices easily. 

When a family is attacked, children will do anything to defend their world. Black Helicopters turns everything upside down in terms of your expectations and understanding, and makes you live inside a world under siege. It challenges all of your preconceptions and beliefs.

By Blythe Woolston,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Black Helicopters as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A powerful psychological thriller told from the point of view of a teenage suicide bomber. Full of suspense, this is a chilling and thought-provoking portrait of a girl raised to be a killer. Valley is wearing the bomb vest and the clock is ticking.

Reminiscent of V for Vendetta and Survivor by Chuck Palahnick, this white-knuckle psychological thriller by Blythe Woolston is a "provocative insight into the mindset of those who see modern government as an unnecessary evil" (Publishers Weekly starred review). A must-read for fans of conspiracy theory dramas and thought-provoking speculative fiction.

In a remote part of the…

Rogue Male

By Geoffrey Household,

Book cover of Rogue Male

Helen Falconer Author Of Primrose Hill

From the list on for teenagers to pass around their friends.

Who am I?

Well, apart from having once been a teenager myself, I’ve also raised four teenagers and I know what they like to read, and in return, they’ve all helped me write my own books. I have a pretty eclectic attitude to stories as you can probably tell from the below list. I don't expect anyone to share my opinions, but I'd never introduce a reader to anything that’s just written to make money. 

Helen's book list on for teenagers to pass around their friends

Why did Helen love this book?

This was my father’s favourite book, and the teenage me agreed. It’s the greatest prolonged chase story ever written. An English tourist takes a pot shot at Hitler and is hunted all the way to the West Country in England, where he digs himself into the bank of an unused country lane, cornered like a fox. I lived in Devon at the time, and knew those huge high banks along the sides of ancient tree-covered lanes, and I and the village kids built ourselves exactly the same sort of hideaway, dug into a bank in the woods and invisible from above.

By Geoffrey Household,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Rogue Male as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THE classic thriller of the 20th century - 'Simply the best escape and pursuit story yet written' [THE TIMES] - with an introduction by Robert Macfarlane

An Englishman plans to assassinate the dictator of a European country. But he is foiled at the last moment and falls into the hands of ruthless and inventive torturers. They devise for him an ingenious and diplomatic death but, for once, they bungle the job and he escapes.

But England provides no safety from his pursuers - and the Rogue Male must strip away all the trappings of status and civilization as the hunter…

The Death of Grass

By John Christopher,

Book cover of The Death of Grass

Patricia Duncker Author Of Sophie and the Sibyl: A Victorian Romance

From Patricia's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Novelist Academic Crazy cat lady Opera fanatic Deep reader

Patricia's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Why did Patricia love this book?

My friend read a critical book arguing that John Christopher’s apocalypse novel had been forgotten. Not by me, she said. “I read it in 1972, and I can remember every word - the terror of the tale and how everything collapses so rapidly.” I immediately ordered The Death of Grass and discovered an uncannily contemporary Penguin Classic, published in 1956 and more frightening than Lord of the Flies.

In this ecological apocalypse, the virus that kills all Leersia Oryzoides - grass, rice, wheat, oats, barley, and rye - originates in China. The earth dies slowly, famine looms, and civil society breaks down in three days. Two families escape from London, seeking safety in a northern hidden valley. I read the book in two sittings, thrilled, breathless, terrified. 

By John Christopher,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Death of Grass as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A thought experiment in future-shock survivalism' Robert MacFarlane

'Gripping ... of all science fiction's apocalypses, this is one of the most haunting' Financial Times


A post-apocalyptic vision of the world pushed to the brink by famine, John Christopher's science fiction masterpiece The Death of Grass includes an introduction by Robert MacFarlane in Penguin Modern Classics.

At first the virus wiping out grass and crops is of little concern to John Custance. It has decimated Asia, causing mass starvation and riots, but Europe is safe and a counter-virus is expected any day. Except, it turns…