10 books directly related to survivalism 📚

All 10 survivalism books as recommended by authors and experts. Updated weekly.


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

Book cover of Fever

Why 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.

How to Survive Everything

By Ewan Morrison,

Book cover of How to Survive Everything

Why 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.) 

Educated: A Memoir

By Tara Westover,

Book cover of Educated: A Memoir

Why this book?

Our circumstances were very different, but I feel a real kinship to her description of a childhood with oppressive/overwhelming parents and the ways in which they attempted to constrict and cripple her future simply by imposing their own world view as a matter of course on their children. Her need to break from them to find herself also echoes my own need to do the same, which I did at the same age, leaving home to go to college, in my case to work my way through college on my own despite coming from an affluent background. But as I write in my own book, living with my parents was crazy making, and my steps to assert reality simply grew over time until by late adolescence they became irresistable.

Our Endless Numbered Days

By Claire Fuller,

Book cover of Our Endless Numbered Days

Why 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.

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

By Ryan Chamberlin,

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

Why 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.

Rogue Male

By Geoffrey Household,

Book cover of Rogue Male

Why 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.

Until the End of the World

By Sarah Lyons Fleming,

Book cover of Until the End of the World

Why this book?

Sarah Lyons Fleming has an almost supernatural ability to create human tension amongst powerfully real characters. In her four book series she creates a tremendous amount of terror and melancholy amongst her troupe of friends as they travel through unending hordes of the dead. Sarah’s series crosses seasons and years, bringing in the effects of weather, and the environment, and expands the terror of the monsters into a blood-soaked boomerang that Keeps. Coming. Back.

Radicalized: Four Tales of Our Present Moment

By Cory Doctorow,

Book cover of Radicalized: Four Tales of Our Present Moment

Why 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.

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

Why 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.

Rules of Conflict: A Post-Apocalyptic EMP Survival Thriller

By Jack Hunt,

Book cover of Rules of Conflict: A Post-Apocalyptic EMP Survival Thriller

Why 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.