JWR’s Recommendations of the Week:

Here are JWR’s Recommendations of the Week for various media and tools of interest to SurvivalBlog readers. The focus is usually on emergency communications gear, bug out bag gear, books and movies–often with a tie-in to disaster preparedness, and links to “how to” self-sufficiency videos. There are also links to sources for both storage food and storage containers. You will also note an emphasis on history books and historical movies. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This week, in the last Recommendations column of the calendar year, the focus is on key resources that you may need in an grid-up economic depression, or even in a grid-down “worst case”.


The Knowledge: How to Rebuild Civilization in the Aftermath of a Cataclysm

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I’ve mentioned this crucial reference twice before: Pocket Ref 4th Edition

The Mother Earth News Archive CD Vol. 1 (Issues 1-60)

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Encyclopedia Britannica Ultimate Reference Suite 2007 DVD-ROM (Win/Mac)

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73 Magazine Amateur Radio Today — All 519 Issues CD-ROM

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These were recently mentioned in a SurvivalBlog article on Get Home Bags: Datrex Emergency Survival 2400 Calorie Food Ration Bar (Pack of 4), 48 Bars

Make a Suggestion

Want to suggest Recommendations of your own? Then please send them to JWR. (Either via e-mail of via our Contact form.) Thanks!


  1. I can’t recommend enough the ‘Pocket Ref’. It is a wealth of information and on my list of top 25 ‘Survival books’. and FYI, there are two sizes; the pocket size (duh) and a larger, standard book size (which I do not own but have on my wish list). I do keep a ‘pocket magnifier’ in my copy of the pocket size just because I’m old and need bifocals…lol

    Re; the Estwing Splitting Maul, anything made by Estwing is a product of the highest quality. I have several hammers, axes and hatchets by them. I expect each of these products (that are made in USA) to last my lifetime and then my grandchilds.

    Re: Chapman Screwdriver set. I’ve had one of these for 30 years, it’s in my ‘Range Box’ which is what I throw in the truck when traveling or going to the range (it’s basically, a compact gunsmithing kit for cleaning and repairs.). The tips are sturdy and with proper use and care, have not bent or stripped out. The ratchet is still good and strong too.

  2. About: The ARRL Ham Radio License Manual – Spiral Bound. = People are never too old to receive the Ham Radio License. A Ham Radio will allow people to contact family members outside regular communication channels. … With current technology it’s extremely difficult to ~>impossible to monitor, track and record Ham Radio messages.

    Nellie Ohr [the Russian Collusion/Delusion ~ Steele Dossier.] is the better-half to Bruce Genesoke Ohr a United States Department of Justice official. She decided at the age of 55 years to obtain a Ham Radio License: KM4UDZ Ha~Amateur.

    SurvivalBlog has a lot of information about Ham Radio Equipment. Watch the dates, as one type is no longer acceptable for sale in the USA. There’s still quality equipment for sale at low prices; read the articles on SurvivalBlog. …. Ham Radio can still be used when the ‘grid’ goes down. = A Ham Radio is a good source for emergency information.

    1. > With current technology it’s extremely difficult to ~>impossible to monitor, track and record Ham Radio messages.

      Are you referring to the government or to individuals? You may wish to clarify. Hams monitor radio traffic constantly and it is very simple to record. I suspect you are referring to a certain government agency which is known for hooving up all mobile and land line conversations.

      Merry Christmas!

      1. Jake must be right. What I know about Ham Radio is what I have read; very casual reading, mostly about Nellie Ohr recently.

        If SurvivalBlog will let me copy this article, it seems to be a and ~>conjecture as to Ohr’s activities.

        1. Nellie Ham Radio
        There is a lot of buzz abt Nellie Ohr’s Ham radio license & her uses for it.

        May 23rd, 2016, just as the dossier project was kicking into gear, (Steele was only hired in June), Nellie Ohr, at ripe old age of give-or-take 55, got a Technician radio license.
        2. There’s a bunch of curious things abt Ohr getting an amateur radio license so late in her career.
        ~Nellie Ohr’s professional profile does not show her to be the techie type
        3. ~Nellie Ohr doesn’t possess any hacker, computer, or engineering skills
        (which is what typically motivates ppl to get an Amateur Radio license)
        4. ~Nellie Ohr doesn’t belong to any ARRL radio club in the Fairfax area
        5. ~The radio clubs in Nellie Ohr’s registration area have NO records of administering the exam (Ham Radio exams are typically administered by local ARRL club).

        6. ~Nellie Ohr’s call sign, KM4UDZ, shows NO public activity which is odd, bc new Hams are typically very chatty & can’t stay off the air when they first get their license.
        7. As can be seen in Image 35, her technician rating is the lowest class of amateur radio license and has limited privileges with regard to the available frequencies and transmitter power output.
        8. So 4all of the ‘conspiracy theorists’ out there that belv that Nellie Ohr was engaged in OSS style night transmissions from a secret compartment in a barn to her controller in Moscow: ….she wasn’t.
        ~The radio class limits only give her a line of sight range of 5-10 miles
        9. In ‘repeater mode’, she cld push the range to 20-200 miles.
        If you don’t think that a 10-mile range is sufficient, think again.
        Its likely that Ohr’s rationale for using a Ham radio was a substitution for a cell & landline phns in order to communicate w/person(s) nearby.

        10. As you can see from the map below, even with a 7.5 mile radius Nellie Ohr was well within the range of the ENTIRE downtown Washington D.C. area.
        [Map of Washington DC area]
        11. We know Nellie was THE dossier’s liaison 2agencies
        It’s not unlikely sm1 versed in SIGINT tld her she had 2use a Hamradio bc if ‘the project’ wnt south
        1st line of invstigtn wld b
        subpoena all cell&phn rcrds/analyze/thn compare2completely re-construct her operational network.

        12. We know Nellie’s husband, Bruce Ohr, was the Department of Justice’s contact for Steele & Fusion GPS and in fact held mtgs w/both abt the dossier.
        13. We also know that Bruce Ohr HEADED a task force code named ‘Cassandra’ & ‘Operation Fast & Furious’ that among other things utilized cell phn tracking technology to identify money laundering, drugs, and weapon smuggling.
        14. So, it makes sense that Bruce Ohr was EXTREMELY aware of the need for electronic surveillance ‘countermeasures’

        But what abt tracing his wife Nellie Ohr’s Ham call sign during transmission, wouldn’t that eliminate her radio anonymity?
        15. In theory, yes, but in practice, it can be circumvented.
        This problem cld’v bn solved with devices like the Harris XG-75P/100P. Encrypted radio transmissions can be used to obscure the identity of the sender/receiver of the message.
        16. For example, un-encrypted HSMM uses a ping packet containing the station call sign to identify the station, similar to how a 2-meter repeater periodically announces its call sign.
        17. But if HSMM is operated using WEP encryption (avl as a plug-in) those packets wld b obscured &the call sign of station licensee cld NOT b recvd by anyone without the keys.

        So, in addition to the encrypted voice ..the identity of the sender call signs wld also be hidden.
        [Copied from] Buster Hyde USMC/Ret ~ threadreaderapp(dot)com.

          1. Jake, I >wasn’t trolling. … Ham Radio is an ‘independent/stand alone’ broadcasting and receiving system. … The Nellie Ohr information contains >conjecture.
            God Bless America; as we don’t Waterboard people like Nellie Ohr to answer questions about her Ham Radio License and maybe >usage.

            Survivalblog has a lot of information about amateur Ham Radios.

    2. It appears that she used her amateur radio to communicate information from the Steele Dossier as a means to circumnavigate government surveillance. It also appears that those communications were ‘collected’ by a particular 3 letter US agency as part of their normal operations, and were able to be located and evaluated at some future date.

  3. Re: Books- The Knowledge and Pocket Reference

    I have both book and I highly Recommend both!! I actually have 3 copies of the Pocket Reference book. I keep one in my truck, one in my barn workshop and the other floats around, my Work bag, vest pocket, etc. wish they had an app!!

    The book the Knowledge is a great read. It explain a lot about how “things” were devolved or made over the years and how we can do the same now to rebuild society after a TEOTWAWKI. Most isn’t too technical, of course that depends upon your own current knowledge. I didn’t find the chemistry hard at all but the stuff on electricity was a little more challenging. To me it was enjoyable in that it was like reading a history book.

    1. Absolutely! Also, there is the Mechanical Engineer’s Handbook (Lionel Marks) which is right up there with Machinery’s Handbook. I am thankful for those resources!

  4. For those who interested in a Chapman set. I recommend the Wadsworth Falls tool kits. They are a bit on the pricey side but are well worth the cost. A former employer provided them and we found them to be worth every penny. I subsequently bought one on my own and use it more then the Chapman set that I have had for years. I also recommend for more delicate and smaller tasks the Wiha 75965 Master Tech 65 piece set (also pricey but worth it).

  5. The Pocket Reference will be worth an ounce of gold after the grid goes down and you can’t google all that information anymore. So lay in a few extra copies for bartering. 🙂

    I also have the Civil Engineer’s Handbook which has 2,200 pages of the most incredible info you can imagine in a single book. Everything from surveying, timber, and sewage, to masonry, concrete, meteorology, and steam engineering, plus a whole lot more. Even though mine is from 1942, most of the important info doesn’t change and I was still able to calculate my solar panel efficiency for each day of the year using the astronomical, geometry, and longitude information. With the older editions, you also get a Smyth-sewn binding which is going to last forever. They’re too expensive to buy new ($200+) but you see them used or at auctions from time to time.

  6. Pocket Ref: I would also add Ugly’s Electrical Reference Book. We just call it the Ugly book. There are several Ugly books available at Amazon. As far as Electrical goes, if you need to know, get Ugly.

  7. For rebuilding civilization from the heart out, I recommend The Gift of the Magi. You can find it in any collection of O. Henry short stories.

    My sweet spouse gave me a large format version, illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger and published by Simon and Schuster in 1982. Lovely.

    We read it to each other at Christmastime and this old jarhead usually sheds more than a few tears.

    Carry on

  8. I won’t be buying any more Craftsman tools. They aren’t what they used to be. Most recent purchase was a set of Craftsman bits. I used a torx bit to install a micro red dot on a hand gun and the bit completely twisted before getting to the recommended torque.

    I have a pretty new socket set and the 1/2″ driver broke the first time I used it. Lowes now carries and handles the replacements and my local Lowes had hardly any Craftsman tools but luckily had the replacement I need. I won’t be counting on it lasting though.

  9. “The Knowledge: rebuilding civilization” offers very little knowledge. It’s thoughts on the problems you might face trying to rebuild civilization. Again, it has a use for planning, but the title is a bit misleading. I still find a bigger help for me is books made at the turn of the twentieth century. Early mechanical engineering saw huge leaps leading up to the era of the Great Depression and then again leading into WW2. Just the opinion of an old man that got to witness great engineering innovations.

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