Abraham Lincoln read books by the light of a wood burning fire. Thomas Jefferson had a massive library of books that later became the heart of the Library of Congress. It isn’t a stretch to say that the United States has been driven by both highly literate leaders, and a drive to extend literacy to the entire population. Today, we are blessed with incredibly cheap and attainable books, libraries, and a wealth of free books in digital format. Access to humanity’s collected knowledge has never been easier to get.
But not all books are created equal, and they, of course, cover a wide range of topics, and what one person finds valuable in a book, another might not. Sitting on your off-grid homestead, or even on your comfy urban couch, you probably still are wondering if there are good books for the prepper, ones that fortify the mind, and transmit knowledge that is important to somebody seeking self-sufficiency today. Well, good reader, there are, and here are my five favorites.
1. Walden And Civil Disobedience
This is a two for one package deal by famed early American philosopher Henry David Thoreau. Now you are probably sitting here going “What does this have to do with prepping?” and the answer is very simple, this book preps your mind.
The most important tool any prepper has is their mind, and that mind must be constantly exercised and developed to grow and expand. A strong mind counts for more than all the tools and cans of beans in the world, and Thoreau helps with that.
As an added bonus, it is a useful guide for common medicinal herbs, edible plants, and emergency shelter construction in different environments, plus advice on securing clean water, trapping small game, fire construction, and even evasion in a hostile setting.
When you factor in advice on how to mentally deal with a survival situation, you’ve got a rock-solid book that gets the job done, and is a fast, ready reference for the off gridder or prepper. In fact, this book is constantly copied and plagiarized in many survival guides and how to articles. Why waste time with those when you can have the original source material?
3. Edible Wild Plants
A lot of plant guides have mediocre line drawings or equally useless black and white photos. While these might work fine for somebody who already knows what they are looking at, nothing beats a good colored photo, and this book features hundreds of color photos of edible plants that can be found throughout North America.
If you are going off the grid, or just want a survival edge, learning the local edible plants is an important skill to have. At the very least, being able to go out and pick your own salad from plants growing around you is a fun thing, and under difficult circumstances, being able to forage food could be a literal lifesaver.
Edible Wild Plants is a handy guide to keep in your emergency kit, bugout bag, and of course on your bookshelf at home. Anybody who interacts with the outdoors, or who is planning to, should carefully study this book and become familiar with the plants around them.
Obviously, a prepper can find much value in a book detailing edible wild plants, and the detailed color photos are a must have. This book is so easy to use, even children can start mastering the art of identifying and harvesting edible wild plants using it. If it isn’t already on your prepper bookshelf, it should be.