My Favorite Homestead Books
My favorite books on homesteading, preparedness, and self-sufficiency.
I speak frequently about the concept of seeking out “real education”, or in other words, the education that the education system rarely provides. In most cases, the best way to do this is through in-person learning with a qualified mentor, but there is still an important place for books. The titles listed below are the best survival books and guides that I have read. The ideas and instruction that have shaped my journey to escape modern American life, and become self sufficient.
(if interested, you can also find a lot of really good prepper and survival books in PDF form for free online with a little looking.)
(Expand Each Title Below To See Reviews and Videos)
Biographies and Autobiographies
Modern Homesteading (Wranglerstar)
Although I have been a subscriber of the Wranglerstar channel for a few years, there’s a lot of their story that I haven’t been familiar with. So I was really excited to dig in and hear about it.
What I found is that this book takes you behind the scenes of their YouTube channel, and gives you a really honest look at their journey–decision points, struggles, and the realities of life (i.e….money!), and the inspiration that life on your own terms is possible. While it may take significant amounts of work and heartache, it’s not out of reach.
The Wranglerstar Book Reviewed
THE MESSAGE: Anyone can homestead. Even if you live in the city, have a 9-5 job, are low on funds, or haven’t grown up with a tremendous amount of “hands-on” skill, there is still a version of homesteading that fits your situation. Find what that is, create it, and live it.
THE SUMMARY: The new Wranglerstar book gives readers a really “up close and personal” look at exactly what their family went through in their journey towards self-sufficient homesteading. As you read it, you will quickly find that they are not shy about point out their failures, their wasted time and money, or any of their other faults and shortcomings.
The book takes you through the journey of: their individual childhoods, adolescence, working years, the story of how they met/dated/married, their newlywed urban life, decision to homestead, and the transition to get there.
At the end of each chapter, there are also a few pages of what they call “Wisdom From the Journey”, as well as explanations of practical, hands-on skills. This makes for a nice balance between narrative and How-To.
MY FAVORITE PARTS: I really loved how Mrs. Wranglerstar was the primary narrator of the book, since we typically see and hear more from Cody on the YouTube channel. As a fairly new dad myself, I loved the details about their son Jack, and the efforts that they have gone through to involve him on their homestead. I liked how they shared all the details of getting their land–what a saga!!
WHO IT ISN’T FOR: People that can’t handle references to God or spirituality. The Wranglerstar family is a faith-filled, Christian family. This journey, has really been a journey of their faith. Through their journey, they have paradoxically found that the more they relied on God, the more “self-reliant” they became. I really enjoy this element to their story, but if this is upsetting to you, it’s not the book for you.
Big thanks to the entire Wranglerstar fam and their publishers for all their hard work on this one!here:
Get your copy of Modern Homesteading: Rediscovering the American Dream here.
Better Off is the story of an academic east coast couple that decides to go without electricity for a year.
To do this, they relocate to an Anabaptist community they refer to as the “Minimites” (like the Amish or Mennonites but more hardcore in their rejection of progress). There they live and work the land, forgoing conveniences like:
- running water
- electric lights
- air conditioning
- raising crops
- handling livestock
- preserving food via canning and drying
- simple construction
Beginning with his 5 major “aha” moments and continuing forward, it chronicles his experiences with emergency medicine, firearms training, tracking animals, learning to shelter, HAM radios, CERT, The Sovereign Society, becoming a second citizen, triage of mass disasters, stashing emergency caches, urban escape, and much more.
Here’s a smattering:
- His selection for survival firearms
- Hanging out with TEOTWAWKI freaks on 12/31/99 to usher in y2k.
- Conversations with Tom Brown, Kurt Saxon, and some of the fathers of survival
- Setting up his emergency compound in a foreign country
- Stashing caches on islands off the coast of California
- E&E classes with On Point Tactical
- Real emergency calls after joining CERT (including one massive train wreck)
In short, it’s all about how to become Jason Bourne.
While Emergency isn’t necessarily aiming to be a step-by-step recipe for becoming invincible, there are plenty of self-sufficiency “how-to’s” scattered throughout. And while I honestly did find every single page enjoyable (there are 414, not counting the credits), allow me to share with you 4 specific reasons that I fell in love:
1) Treasonous Honesty–As shameful as it is, prior to reading this book, I had no clue of just how many liberties the Federal Government had taken away from the American people over the last decade (That’s not really treason I guess…according to this book we have the 54th freest press in the world, so we probably still have some freedom of speech right?). This book gives an account of some of the more notable. Things like:
- The PATRIOT act-which allows the government to wiretap and search records of citizens without a warrant
- The post 9/11 “No-fly” list-which eventually grew to be over a million people
- The arrest and detainment of over 1200 people after 9/11 without a charge
- The creation of the Homeland Security department and it’s outsourcing of domestic intelligence to private contractors in order to circumvent spying laws.
2) How to become a second citizen–Another phenomenon that I was equally bewildered by prior to reading this book, is that of second citizenship. After reading however, I became aware that many U.S. citizens are exploring and/or acting on the opportunity to become second citizens of another country. This book details exactly how becoming a second citizen can lend tax and travel incentives, which countries are the most viable options for U.S. citizens, and Neil’s own efforts to gain dual citizenship.
3) The Illustrations–Ever wanted to learn how to turn a credit card into a knife that isn’t picked up by metal detectors, or how to break out of flexi-cuffs? Just follow the illustrated instructions throughout the book and you can learn both. Informative and downright entertaining, there are a total of 13 DIY comics to help you on your way. Additionally, there are a couple hundred photos scattered throughout the book (showing Neil’s firearms, bug out vehicles, solar stills, certifications, etc). Call me a kid, but I still love a good picture book.
4) Resources Galore–Throughout the book, Neil references tons (and I mean TONS) of different training programs, contacts, and books that help him along his path. Tracker school, gun training, medical certifications, and all kinds of different books that he’s read. These provide an invaluable resource to those of us on a similar path (My very next book was because of his mention).
One thing I will say, is that if Neil really did do everything that he says he did in this book (and I think he did), the guy has some seriously deep pockets. Plane tickets everywhere, gun purchases, training upon training (many of which are over $1000), flying lessons, and so much more. Maybe he’s just got an awesome agent that got him everything comped for mentions in the book–who knows. I’ll be honest, it made me feel a little like a poor kid looking longingly at the Christmas storefront, but hey, it was still incredible to hear about either way.
Love it. Hate it. Or do whatever you want. I could probably keep rambling on until you’re bored to tears, but I’ll just keep it short and end by saying that this book truly is the most enjoyable and eye-opening book I’ve read since 2007. Take that for what it’s worth. And if you do pick it up, I’d love to hear your favorite part.
Pick up Emergency at Amazon here.
Off The Grid Homes
Although I used it as my in-flight reading for this trip, it’s essentially a coffee table book for preppers–tons of pictures, and light on copy.
It explores the solutions that 6 homes across the globe used to achieve the off-grid goals of alternative energy, water collection, and sustainable architectural design.
What it is:
- full of good pictures
- a rolodex of good consultants and contractors to help with your project (in the appendix)
- inspiration for your own off grid project
What it isn’t:
- a DIY manual
- written to be conversational (i.e. they went out of their way to use big words and vague fluff phrases)
I have to say that my favorite parts of the book are the “break out” sections in each chapter, which teach in greater detail the principles behind each off grid technology. In addition to these, there are also info pages at the end of each chapter, recapping the materials and technologies used for each house.
Prepper's Home Defense
REALLY good book!
It covers several topics related to security that a prepper would want to be aware of, including things like:
- Operation security
- Perimeter defense
- Structure hardening
- Hand to hand combat
- Guard dogs
- Safe rooms
- Hidden storage
- MUCH more!
In particular, I really liked:
- The organization-Sections, chapters and sub-sections. You guys know I love my organization!
- The “realness”-Even though this book is written for long-term, post-apocalyptic security, you’re not going to get a bunch of Red Dawn fantasies blown up your skirt. It’s a nuts and bolts look at where the average prepper will get the most ROI (Return On Investment) on their money.
- Detail sections written by expert guests-Every few pages, there are little breakout boxes separated from the text with a little more detail on the topic at hand. These are written by guest authors with considerable background in their field, and go through some of the finer points for those who want it. I read every single one.
I really enjoyed this book, and it will be one that I go back through often. I score it a 94/100!
Snag your own copy here and let me know what you think!
Bug Out Vehicles And Shelters
Wanted to take a few minutes and share my thoughts for you in a video book review.
Big thanks to Scott Williams and the folks at Ulysses Press for their work on this! You can check out more of Scott’s books and regular updates on his blog Bug-Out Survival.
Order Bug Out Vehicles and Shelters here.