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By April 13, 2012 Read More →

Keeping A Well Prepared Library

In the novel “One Second After”, by William Forstchen, an attack from an unknown enemy cripples the United States of America.  In the story, an unidentified country attacks America with a high level nuclear EMP attack.  The story reveals the struggles of a small North Carolina town to survive.  America is sent back to the technology of the1860’s with all form of electronic devices destroyed and the electric grid rendered useless by the scientific principle know as the Compton Effect.  This effect fries all non-protected electronic equipment with computer chips. Everything from refrigerators to calculators, anything that has micro-circuitry would be rendered useless.

Most people use search engines to gather information, encyclopedias are a relic from the past.

That Kindle you may have?  Useless.

What is the answer?  Books.  Old fashioned printed books.

Knowledge is power, and books hold are the key to that power.  At one time books were so expensive and rare that common people did not even see one in their lifetime.  No single person can know everything, so we have a way of storing information without the need of electronic devices.  The threat of disaster is real, it may or may not happen, but if it does – books are going to be worth their weight in gold.  But what kind of books do we need to have?

If we go through my library you will find:

Rodale’s Ultimate Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening (thanks to my daughter for this book). This book has everything you need to know about how to grow anything green without chemicals and how to control pests naturally. This practical book is perfect for the prepper.

Another reference book that I have is the Complete Guide To Symptoms, Illness, and Surgery by H. Winter Griffith, M.D. This book is packed with self diagnoses. It may well save your life.

Putting Food By, written by Janet Green, Ruth Hertzberg, and Beatrice Vaughan is one of my favorites.  This is a book that deals with preserving food the old fashioned way.. This delightful book is packed with ways to preserve food.  Written in an unpretentious manor, it is easy to understand and is jam packed with simple, understandable recipes.

Another favorite, which I have read more than a few times is the U.S. Army Survival Handbook- Department of the Army by SGT. First Class Matt Larsen, this book is a must have.  Everything you need and should know is in this book. The Sargent talks about the will to live, survival planning, survival medicine, making weapons and tools, and a host of other vital information.

I have numerous game cookbooks (Geraldine Steindler is excellent), soup cookbooks, cooking outdoor cookbooks, identifying edible plants and animal books.
I must have at least fifty how to books and not one of them relies on electric power.

Of course, my personal favorite book is the Good Book. Adding books to your prepper library should not be difficult nor expensive. Garage sales, gun shows, rummage sales, library sales, and flea markets are a great way to obtain books.

What books would you recommend?  What is your favorite book?  If you could have one book, what would it be?  Drop me a line with your favorite prepper title for a future column.








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26 Comments on "Keeping A Well Prepared Library"

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  1. BigKlavey says:

    Foxfire series

  2. Chris Watson says:

    Foxfire is a must-have for sustainability and spiritual health, IMO. NO culture in American has a better prepper, homesteader, or survivalist tradition than my own scots-irish southern Appalachian culture. In the 70’s a northwest Georgia high school teacher was concerned that this way of life was disappearing so he started a school newspaper called Foxfire. His students interviewed people from NW GA and SW NC and gathered stories and how-to on gardening, canning, folklore, log hewing, instrument making, hunting, basketweaving, mountain music, religion, everything. Later the articles were printed into anthologies. I grew up reading my father’s books and I kinda “borrowed” them as an adult and never returned them lol.

    • Thomas Kemmett says:

      Thank you very much. Although I live in northern Ohio, I hunt deer down in the hills of southern Ohio, the start of Appalachia. This intrigues me and I will check into it.

  3. Stephanie says:

    I agree. My grandmother (who grew up during the Great Depression and was a true prepper!) had the Foxfire series when I was growing up (along with the Farmer’s Almanac) and I would read them voraciously after church every Sunday. Very interesting and informative.

  4. Janice Maund says:

    Thank you for the practical suggestions for my home library…reading “One Second After” was a real wake-up call…and a particularly good read.

    • Thomas Kemmett says:

      Thanks for reading!

    • Lisa says:

      I read One Second After also. This book was a real eye opener. I looked around my home and realized…maybe we could make 72 hours then what. I have since thensome started looking into canning, books on gardening, ect. sometime ithink the old ways maybe the best ways. We as a Americans have become lazy and look for the easy way to do everything. My oldest daughter is more of a computer nut but of late and after this book she has started to change her outlook and has atleast started to plan alittle and prepare .

  5. While I have many books, I still think there are reasons why something like a Kindle would prove useful, especially if you have a way to recharge it via a car charger or even a basic solar setup. Don’t discount technology so fast!

    • Thomas Kemmett says:

      With respect, you miss the point, I am not dismissing tech, I am stressing the point on how much we as a society depend on it, for everything. Tech toys are wonderful, now. The point is your Kindle would be useless after an EMP attack. The delicate circuits would fry to a melted crisp due to the Compton effect. Please reread the first half of the story. A solar storm in 1859 caused havoc on the telegraph system and thousands of miles of wire had to be replaced! This was with a primitive system, just think what that would do to your delicate Kindle. Do yourself a favor and buy some back-up books. Thank you for reading and responding.

    • Preston says:


      There is areason they call it a “kindle”. That is because they are “burning” books by the thousands by making them digitally “friendly” for you to buy and also by “burning” the books that they don’t want you to read; (Fahrenheit 451, Soylent Green, etc.)

      STOP “buying” those books!!! You are only contributing to the degeneration of society by NOT purchasing a real paper book that cannot be deleted or erased. And the sad fact is that most public libraries have already switched over to at least 20% digital e-books. Very shortly there will not be ANY tangible printed books available!! That means that “they” can alter or delete them at their whim. Don’t you get it?

    • Preston says:

      There is a reason it is called a “kindle”– it is because it is actually burning books and deleting them from our archives! Stop using that mass-media brainwashing device and actually purchase a real, tangible book before it is too late! Already, almost 20% of most books have been shredded in most public libraries in favor of digital formats like the “kindle”. That simply means that they can alter or delete anything that they don’t want you to read. And that is exactly what they want. How many kids (or even adults) have you seen with iPad earphones in their ears while shopping? And they just walk around all day long like that? They obviously don’t read books. But you and I do, and up until just 3 years ago all of us used to. Obama wants all of us dumbed down and to rewrite history and delete it to his liking. Real books provide real proof in writing of history. With the “kindle”, we can now erase and delete and rewrite anything.

    • Steve says:

      if you had a solar charger for the kindle you could use it for a long time and with 3gb’s your kindle would hold a hell of a lot of books. I have about 30 books on my kindle covering everything from how to make a water wheel to how to preserve food the natural way

    • Because of my research/blogging, I have a decent size survival “library” consisting of both fiction/non-fiction works. To keep costs down, I’ve been downloading survival fiction via Kindle. Good ideas/info found in these books are noted/followed-up on right away- just in case the books can’t be accessed in the future. Survival non-fiction is always hard-copy, if possible.

  6. Steve says:

    This is one of the best books I have ever read. Not only is it a good read but it surely makes you think about what would happen if we ever lost our power grid.

    Before reading it I never thought about the effects a lack of power would have and how it would impact everything. The author does a great job of anticipating issues that would arise should such a scenario come true. Things like what would happen to type 1 diabetics after they ran out of insulin etc.

    • Thomas Kemmett says:

      You are absolutely right about the Kindle. It will, and does hold an enormous amount of information, but so will your computer. And that is the point. What I’m trying to say is that your Kindle will not work if it is exposed to a Compton Effect for 1/10 of a second. It will be useless, along with your computer, car, and generator; a pile of melted scrap, burnt junk. Anything with a CPU will be killed. Coins in your pocket will heat up. If you want to buy a second one, protect it in a metal box (Faraday cage) and keep it there as a back up that would work, after the effect has taken place. This is not about the value of a Kindle, it is about the back up of books when your Kindle is junk. Your post is exactly what I was writing about, the dependence on electronics. Thanks for writing.

    • Steve says:


      Although I get your point that going digital isn’t where we should have ever gone but you can’t close pandoras box once it is open. If I were to have physical copies of all the books that I have on my kindle I’d have to have a pack mule to take them with me. Had computers not become what they are today we’d be in a lot better place as a society as we put to much of our lives in the hands of computers but that ships’ already sailed. So I think a kindle will be fine. I have a faraday cage built at home that my kindle and laptop go in. Keeping my kindle charged with a solar charger would be easy and last months, my laptop would take forever to charge and last hours. So the kindle wins.

    • Thomas Kemmett says:

      With all due respect, you still miss the point. What happens if you are using your Kindle and a EMP occurs? This is not about the Kindle or any other machine. It is about having a small library of books, perhaps 10 to 20 books to save your life. If it does you can use your Kindle as a paper weight. Thanks again.

    • Steve says:

      Thomas, the point is understood. Should there be an EMP the kindle would die if unprotected say through a faraday cage. But lets be realistic. If an EMP takes down the grid we are going to be living in the late 1800’s again. If you had the hundred books I have on my kindle in paper versions are you going to tote them with you? You’ll be WAY more concerned about roving marauders, lack of food and water than your paper books. I happen to have a simple faraday cage and more often than not my kindle is in there when not in use. If it’s out when the emp happens I am shit out of luck but I truly know that will be the least of my worries.

  7. Thomas Kemmett says:

    I agree.

  8. Robert Smith says:

    I read it, great book, must read.

  9. Steve says:

    This is definitely a good read, so is Survivors and Patriots both by James Wesley Rawles. They are very similar and really make you think more about what’s going on in the world and how it might play out if things got worse. One Second After is a bit more of an easy read than the other two but in the end just about as good! Two Thumbs up to One Second After


    One second after is a great book, but another excellent prepper book is The Encyclopedia of Country Living by Carla Emery….it tells how to do everything from skinning a possum to growing and threshing your own wheat to turn into flour , cooking , gardening , recipes, rasiing animals, etc.

  11. Robert says:

    One second after was very good and should be required reading!  I just started reading Patriots.  If you liked One second after, you have to read Lights Out! by david crawford.  

  12. Banatu says:

    Another vote for the Foxfire series. The whole thing.

    My neighbor and I read the whole series when we were 11 or so and became quite accomplished trackers, trappers and fort/shelter builders, among other things. We often outdid even veteran hunters three times our age, and this was in Alaska where hunting is serious business. The books are easy to understand, practical, and effective.

    Even having already read them once and remembering a lot of it, if I could only have one book with me in a SHTF scenario I’d choose Foxfire over every other book on the planet combined, hands down.

  13. AnotherSteve says:

    I would highly recommend anything by the Hamilton twins. They run and have three books out between them – The Selfsufficient-ish Bible, Grow your Food For Free and Booze for Free. They are from England but the info translates quite well. Not heard of the Firefox series – what’s a good one to start with?