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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Building a Survival Library

As I started to lay this post out in my mind I realized that it will likely be a two or more part post. There is so much to say when it comes to building a post SHTF library. If you add to that a list of books the post could go on and on.
     I started building my survival/preparedness library back in the 1970s. Some of you old-timers like me may remember the Survivalist Expo that took place in Jackson, Michigan back in the 70s. Toolman and I attended. There was a lot of info and a couple of 20 year-olds were slightly out of place, but not totally. We picked up copies of most of Kurt Saxon’s books and a lot of handouts.
    We traded the books back and forth for a while trying to make ourselves more survival ready. I was lucky in that my folks, being Depression era children, embraced a lot of the survival ideals and we already had stored food and the farm was fairly close to being self-sufficient back then. When Carter got in office we did a lot of things to prepare for long term survival. Dad and I both bought a same make and model auto, a Toyota station wagon, so we could keep one running from parts of the other. Toolman’s family lived in town and they were still pretty self-sufficient.
    We made a lot of “mistakes” back then. The Ruger Ranch rifle, Mini 14 was very popular and touted as a great survival rifle. We bought a pair of them and after shooting one of them for an hour we sold them just as fast as we could. We felt our big accomplishment was buying 30 thousand rounds of Blazer .22 ammo and one hundred rounds for each of the other rifles we owned. Our plan was to hunt deer for meat. Yeah, like that would have worked out well during TEOTWAWKI.
     Another thing that Toolman and I did for our joint survival library was buy every issue of Mother Earth News we could find. We have over 80 issues out of the first one hundred. (On a personal note, the issues past one hundred and twenty are not worth having.) I still feel that those old MEN are worth having. We have a few doubles of early issues and our plan was to trade or sell those for the ones we are missing.
     Sometime in the early 1980s I discovered American Survival Guide. I bought every issue I could find and was able to find some older issues a different guns shows and flea markets. I have four large boxes of ASG and value them highly. While they do get a rap for having a lot of “product reviews” that are nothing more than three page ads they do have a lot of info that is still useful. One thing I did was go through a stack and photocopy out the articles that I felt were the most useful. I put all of them together in a binder and have a “survival bible” I can refer to when needed. ASG is another great tool to have in a survival library.
     Other magazines that can prove very useful in rough times are outdoor magazines. Outdoor Life, Field and Stream, Sports Afield, Fur-Fish-Game, and Michigan Out-of-Doors to name a few. I occasionally get a special in the mail that lets me subscribe to one or the other for ten bucks a year. For a dollar an issue I will do it. After I have gone through the issue I cut out any article I think is useful for the survival bible. Tap’s Tips usually have something good. I have the February OD in front of me right now. In this issue there is a one page article on beating hypothermia, a section on predator hunting, and a two page article on water purification. Using a little broader thinking you can take an article on camouflage for deer or predator hunting and apply it to what you might do to stay hidden during a SHTF event. An article on the best late summer or ice fishing spots just might help you put food on the table after an event.
    Another great magazine for preppers is one called Backwoodsman. (Full discloser, I write for them under my real name.) Backwoods Homes is trying to fill the void left by ASG when they went out of business. A new comer on the market is Complete Survivalist. Back Home as some good Homesteading tips from time to time.
    I love magazines. I usually hit a Borders or Barnes and Noble twice a month and check out all the latest issues. You can go broke buying all the issues that are out there so I get very selective. Also, my wife works for a large library system that gets a lot of magazines. If I need a copy of one I will have her bring it home. Use your library for all it is worth.
Next week part two on building a library.

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