Assembling a Survival Library, by Jim E.

I know that I would be preaching to the choir telling SurvivalBlog readers to have a well-stocked survival library but I just can’t help my self.  I’ve read most of the archives and I must admit I was unable to find exactly what I was thinking about in terms of building and maintaining a survival library.  Everyone that is even a casual reader of this blog knows that knowledge is far superior to having a lot of neat toys and gizmos. The truth is, knowledge is king when it comes to survival, and knowledge can only be obtained in basically three ways: trial and error (experience), other people (apprenticeship) and from books (study). 

When it comes to the area of survival, experience is the worst way of learning something because life is usually on the line.  The next best way of learning about survival is to know someone that is an expert, as of yet I don’t know any experts personally.  So that leaves finding information that has been written down and learning from it.  Books have been historically recognized as one of the most influential tools in teaching people and because of this they have also been recognized as one of the most dangerous.  Throughout history evil dictators, evil organizations and cults have taken great pains to prevent people from reading “dangerous” books.  Books contain ideas and ideas are dangerous.  The survival library that I am suggesting will focus on three different but equally important areas; Skills, entertainment and ideology.  I’m going to look at each one of these areas separately.

Skills—this is the first place a survivalist should have invested in concerning survival skills.  Books that cover things like survival in the wild were the first on my shelf because it’s interesting (and the show ‘man vs. wild’ might have had something to do with it).  When I started I bought every book on the subject.  I now consider myself an expert on starting a fire with two sticks (and a lighter), building a expedient shelter and finding north using my watch (which I don’t own).  I noticed though that after a while I was very heavy in survival situation books which I never used because the only out doors I saw was from my front door to the car.  I then discovered the exciting world of prepping.  I have started to buy books on all sorts of skills that could be used in TEOTWAWKI, things like gardening and animal husbandry were educational and will be very valuable one day.  There are many areas that are more than just survival but they are going to be useful for the rebuilding of society.  Just to make it easier I’ll make a list other things that I have started to or will be added to my library.

  • Soap making
  • Shoe making
  • Candle making
  • Wood gas conversions for vehicles
  • Manual machine design and construction
  • Paper making
  • Retreat construction
  • Weapons smithing
  • Blacksmithing
  • Cheese making
  • Beer and wine making
  • Canning and drying food
  • Making antibiotics (I own it and I don’t understand it…but someone will)

You get the idea that to rebuild society we will need skills to do this.  It’s sad that we have lost the ability to do certain things that were once done.  For instance did you know that in the middle ages they could make stained glass windows with such pretty colors, and they can’t be duplicated today?  The ability has been lost.  Of course who cares about some stupid pretty glass but what if some of the skills that we have today are forever lost?  We could be heralded as a truly wise man if we had the forethought to preserve these skills in writing for future generations!   

The next area of importance is the area of entertainment.  While we give this a cursory head nod, it is not really an important issue, if we look at what is written in SurvivalBlog.  Just stop and think about how entertainment oriented our society has become then this area will take on new meaning and importance.  Our highest paid people in America tend to be actors, sports stars and cartoon characters, which should show what importance this area has on American life.  While a book is not the same as a movie it is very close.  The movie is by far and above less valuable than a good book.  You’ve heard that the book was better than the movie?  That’s because the movie represents something less.  The theater that we have in our mind is better than any special effects or actors skill.  Some of the greatest books ever written were mainly written for entertainment purposes.  I personally have a printed copy of The SurvivalBlog Bookshelf list with extra books mentioned in the blog and I am feverishly working on buying all of them, the list is over 12 pages long double column.  Entertainment will be something that people will need even if they don’t realize it.  The ability to leave our current situation, and take a mental odyssey to never-never-land, Narnia or the Land of Oz is so very important!  Especially in a situation where normal sucks, such a TEOTWAWKI or our favorite sports team looses, whichever. 

The final and most important aspect of a good library is that it offers ideology.  What I’m saying is that history is full of examples of books that have influenced all of society.  For example look at the changes the Bible has brought about; Vikings used to raid, rape and pillage until some of the women they brought back home taught them the truths found in the Bible, and their whole society changed.  They no longer went on raiding parties but started churches.  If you ever have the chance to read about the Sabine women it’s very interesting. 

A less positive example is Adolf Hitler’s book Mein Kampf (My Struggle).  This book inspired an entire nation to rally around this young idealist and then to try and expand (growing room) eastward all the while killing six million Jews.  Ideas are the most important thing that can be preserved, more than food, guns and gear combined.  Ideas are what build every great society and also what has destroyed every great society.  America is a prime example of a people that had an idea and used to form a more perfect union.  Of course new ideas have come in and destroyed the once industrious nation into a nation of beggars.  Socialism is nothing more than an idea that when implemented ends in starvation. 

What we have here is an opportunity to shape the society after the end of the world into a society that will be strong based on ideals that have been proven to work.  Ideas like the Christian work ethic (Robinson Crusoe, The Swiss Family Robinson, Little House on the Prairie), charity (A Tale of Two Cities, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ ), Sacrifice (The Chronicles of Narnia, Captains Courageous).  The list goes on and on.  The fact is that most of the great influential novels of our history were written from a Christian point of view.  Of course we don’t know that because we don’t read the books anymore.  There are many people that think that the book ‘Ben Hur’ is about a chariot race and this shows that ignorance of the American people but it’s also our greatest opportunity.  We can influence how people think and subsequently how they will act.  It’s too great of an opportunity to pass up.  So go out and find the books that have influenced western civilization and buy them, one day they will be useful for the information, entertainment and most importantly of all, the mind changing ideas they contain.