Thursday, July 9, 2020

Sources of Downloadable Books Useful to Survivalists/Preppers

[Update (10/27/2020) - I am no longer updating this post, but have moved this material to a specific page (link here) that I will be updating over time].

I recently posted a link to a Zombie Squad forum entry where people had posted links to various sites collecting books and other documents useful to preppers and survivalists. However, the forum post was from 2012 which necessarily means that many of the links are dead--not all, but many. So, I thought I would recommend some sites that have libraries of materials:

First of all, those of you that visit my blog via a mobile device may not know it, but I have a page of "Useful Links" with links to various blogs and web sites for prepping/survivalism, disaster preparation, firearms and self-defense, outdoors, etc. I keep it up to date as best as I can, but please let me know if there is some site or blog missing from the list that you think should be added, of if you find a dead link.

Now, turning to some on-line libraries...
  • Probably the best organized and inclusive of subjects relevant to prepping, survival and rebuilding civilization is the library maintained by Survival UK. The resources on agriculture is particularly impressive, including files on how to construct about any farm building or structure you would ever need; this should be of particularly interesting for those whose focus is rebuilding civilization.
These two--Survival UK and Pole Shift--are probably your best resources for compiling information specifically on the the topic of homesteading, prepping, and rebuilding civilization. However, there are other sites that have smaller libraries and may have books that aren't in the larger libraries:
  • Survival Library has a growing collection of text books and treatises from the 19th and early 20th Century on basic education as well as various crafts, trades, and science. If you want to learn how to build a buggy or coach, small boats, make shoes, etc., this is the place to go. Check back regularly on this site because the site editor is constantly adding to the collection.
For the firearms aficionado here are a few useful resources:
  • Sportsman's Vintage Press also has a small library of classic or vintage books on firearms you can real on-line (in HTML format) for free (with the option to purchase copies).
  • has their "Resistance Library" which is compendium of articles on firearms, ammunition, and topics related to gun rights.
There are several sites that have first aid and medical guides intended for austere environments. Of course the big one for preppers is the Hesperian Foundation which has published the "Where There is No Doctor" and similar books, most of which can be downloaded in PDF format for free. The UK Maritime and Coastguard Agency has medical reference books for ships and ship's captains

Some people have collected information on old plans for building machines and equipment. One of these is "Plans for Everything." More specialized is this archive of books on looms.

More generally, I would point you to these sites:
  • The Eye (as in all-seeing eye) is a large repository of books and other media on many subjects and topics. If you click on the "Files" selection in the main menu, it will take you to a list of directories. It is not well organized, so using this site will require some exploration on your part. However, from the basic list of directories, the primary ones that would probably interest most preppers/survivalists are the "Books", "Strategic Intelligence Network", and "Murder Cube" subdirectories. But, again, there is a lot to explore in each of the foregoing. For instance, there are whole libraries of medical, engineering, and programming textbooks, military manuals, survival and prepping books, etc., in the subdirectories I've listed. Not all of the material is safe for work (or home), so be careful of what you are clicking on.
  • Another resource is EPDF which, as it name implies, is a collection of electronically scanned books (most in PDF but occasionally in other formats). This is not arranged where you can easily browse topics, but you have to make searches and hope that your search brings in the book(s) in which you are interested. Nevertheless, it is a valuable resource and can be used to fill in blanks that the The Eye or the Internet Archive may have.
  • is another general collection that is not very well sorted. Most of the resources here seem to be for the computer geek or hacker, but there are other topics. Again, this has subdirectories and will take some exploring to find what you want. One that preppers and survivalists might find particular useful, however, is a directory called "Tutorials-2" which includes information on surviving, weapons, etc.
  • Project Gutenburg is a collection of public-domain books which, for that reason, are generally old. The books have been scanned and are in various formats, but that does not mean that the formatting is very good. I generally get books in the MOBI format to use on a Kindle, but unless it is a novel--e.g., if there are footnotes or whatnot--the formatting is generally atrocious. 
  • Somewhat similar to Project Gutenburg, but only offering PDF downloads, is Forgotten Books.
  • Although this may be too specialized for most readers, I will mention that Cornell University offers arXiv, which is a free distribution service and an open-access archive for 1,729,943 scholarly articles in the fields of physics, mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology, quantitative finance, statistics, electrical engineering and systems science, and economics.
  • While this may be of more use to the home schooler rather than someone focusing on prepping, Open Culture is a good resource for online courses, music, and ebooks.
Finally, Amazon offers a multitude of free to download Kindle books, which selection is always changing. Free Read Feed is a great site for searching and sorting through the selection of free books on Kindle.

Of course, you need to be able to read all of these. There are two products I would mention in particular. First is Calibre, which is a free-to-download e-book management program. What makes it useful is that it can read many different formats of e-books and can convert between different formats as long as there is no encryption, as well as allowing you to organize files into useful libraries. One thing I like with this is that it easily can convert TXT files into MOBI or other formats that you can use on a electronic book reader, such as a Kindle. Second, and more basic, is SumatraPDF which also allows you to view all sorts of e-book formats.

Update (7/22/2020) - Some Additional Items: Since the information above refers to some very general libraries or collections, I thought I would periodically post more specific links to a collection, library, or specific titles that would be of interest to the prepper/survivalist. I will post these links below as I have time or come across new items, so check back periodically. I will also post these as separate posts at the same time for those that are following my blog so those people will know what is new. First, though, I feel I must make this disclaimer: I'm not the author of any of the documents or things in the collection and/or libraries linked to herein, above or below, and cannot vouch for their accuracy or completeness--use them at your own risk. I am not responsible for the posting or offering of any of the documents or things in the collections and/or libraries and have no control over whether they are posted or taken down.

1.   Here is a library/collection of materials loosely on the topic of "Guerrilla Warfare".

2.   A library with the title "Medical". It contains an extensive selection of medical texts, as well as some videos and ISO files of certain materials that came on CD- or DVD-ROMs.

3.   An ebook with the title Maker's Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse. This book includes projects on such things as generating electricity, alarms, surveillance, and communications, using things such as scrap or scavenged electrical and electronic parts, the Raspberry Pi, and Arduino. It also covers the basic tools and skills you will need to complete the projects. It is available to download from The-Eye in: PDFMobiEPub.

4.   Light Infantry Tactics for Small Teams by Christopher E. Larsen (66 Mb PDF). I purchased a copy of this book and reviewed it years ago. Good overview for small team tactics, and also including camouflage, using hand signals for communication, and radio communications.

5.   One of the key needs, if you are to work on your firearms, is to know not only how to field strip a firearm, but how to go about disassembling and reassembling the firearms beyond the basic field strip. For instance, replacement of parts of a trigger mechanism, certain feeding mechanisms, replacing a firing pin, etc., require that the firearm be broken down beyond that needed for general cleaning and maintenance. Often, such assembly and disassembly have to follow a certain sequence of steps, or there may be certain "tricks" to the process--things that cannot necessarily be discerned from inspecting the firearm or consulting an exploded diagram of the firearm. So, starting in the early 1980s, Gun Digest began publishing a series of books that described the assembly/disassembly process for the benefit of gunsmiths and hobbyists, which each book focusing on a particular class or type of firearm. Obviously, these books cannot include all firearms, makes and models. But often you can find examples of a firearm close enough to what you have that, even if not the exact model, is close enough to give you guidance. Gun Digest has updated these books over the years, and some are into their 4th, 5th, or even 6th editions. In fact, I would point out that Gun Digest is currently, at the time of this writing (7/22/2020), offering a sale on the whole current collection (in PDF format) for $84.99.

      But if you are only needing the information for one particular project, even that cost may seem too much, and perhaps your local library does not have the books in its collection. There are older editions that you can sometimes find on the Internet that have been scanned and made available. Some of these are as follows:
The current series has added a new volume on antique firearms, and the "Law Enforcement Weapons" has been renamed "Tactical Weapons". I was able to find a downloadable PDF copy of the volume on Tactical Weapons (Third Edition), which appears to be the latest version. It includes a variety of handguns, shotguns, rifles and carbines, and submachine guns that would fall into the "tactical," "defensive" or "combat" variety.

6.   Although in our current focus on civil unrest and pandemic, nuclear war may seem to be a low probability risk, it is nevertheless it poses a great deal of harm should it occur; and, therefore, it may be worthwhile to be familiar with the survival literature on the topic. Accordingly, I would direct your attention to the following collection, "You Will Survive Doomsday & Nuclear Fallout pack" at The Eye.

      And a few miscellaneous books that caught my eye:
  • Radio Monitoring: The How-To Guide (PDF) by T.J. “Skip” Arey. This appears to be a book from the late 1990s or early 2000s. It runs nearly 350 pages.
  • Survival Guns (PDF) by Mel Tappan. This book dates back to the mid-1980s, so it is obviously dated as to the specific recommendations. Nevertheless, it is an interesting read. And although I don't agree with Tappan's philosophy that you need dozens of different firearms to cover your needs, his reasoning as to various choices may also be of interest.
  • The Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency (PDF) by John Seymour. Similar to the book Back to Basics, this is an overview of a wide-range of topics relating to homesteading and self-sufficiency. 
  • Wilderness Evasion (PDF) by Michael Chesbro. A look at caching and escape and evasion techniques.
  • The Ultimate Sniper (PDF) by John L. Plaster. This is a large book at 580 pages. The copyright dates are 1993 and 2006, and I note that it includes a section on sniping in Iraq, so I assume that the book was updated between the two dates.
7.       This entry's topic is small unit tactics for the survivalist and prepper. Before doing so, however, I want to add this caveat that James Wesley Rawles appended to an article on small unit tactics:
           Learning military tactics could indeed prove crucial, depending on the severity of WTSHTF. However, keep in mind that standard military doctrine is far more aggressive and risky than would be appropriate for most foreseeable situations faced by survivalists. Keep in mind that military tactics are geared toward offensively, boldly, and rapidly taking and then holding ground, while at the same time incurring “acceptable losses.” It also assumes that advanced medical care is available rapidly via helicopter Medevac. Modern military organizations also have the advantage of helmets and Interceptor Body Armor (IBA) being available for every soldier. Your mileage may vary substantially. (As a survivalist, your tactical concerns will more likely be primarily defensive, less hurried, and with a premium placed on minimizing casualties.)
            Also, keep in mind that unless you are sitting on a stockpile of a lifetime supply of ammunition, then the typical military “suppressive fire” doctrine will probably be either out of the question, or curtailed substantially.
             I recommend modifying military tactics to suit your particular circumstances. Typically, this would mean operating with less speed, greater stealth, and an emphasis on camouflage. Also, depending on circumstances, it would also mean conservation of precious ammunition and pyrotechnics.
              Under current U.S. Army doctrine, there is just one Squad Designated Marksman (SDM) per squad. But for TEOTWAWKI, I would advocate having as many as three per squad, especially in open terrain. That will increase your standoff distance and hence minimize friendly casualties. I would also recommend having every member of your patrol wear full ghillie suits in all but the hottest weather.
                  The bottom line: When you are out patrolling with members of your own family, then the concept of “acceptable losses” takes on a whole new meaning.
            And now, for some e-books:
            This next one is not related to retreat defense, but I though you might find interesting anyway:
            8.       Some books and articles on combat using melee weapons:
            • Put 'Em Down, Take 'Em Out! (PDF) by Don Pentecost. This book purports to be the author's compilation of knife fighting skills and techniques learned in Folsom Prison. 
            • "Fighting With A Tomahawk" (PDF) by Lynn C. Thompson. This article was apparently published in the Fall 1999 Cold Steel Special Projects catalog. 
            • Official Kubotan Techniques (PDF) by Takayuki Kubota and John G. Peters, Jr.
            • Cold Steel (PDF) by John Styers. This PDF is not a straight up photographic or scanned copy of the book, but appears to have been made from an HTML file with the photographs added. I have a hard copy of the actual book, but I have not made a comparison to see if this PDF has all the text and photographs in the actual book. That said, just scrolling through the PDF it appears to be a complete version of the book. The author, John Styers, put this book together to address deficiencies in hand-to-hand combat as taught to troops during WWII. Thus, it offers simple but effective techniques of unarmed combat, using a knife (employing a proper saber grip), bayonet, and stick fighting. I would definitely recommend this book.
            • Combat Conditioning Manual: Jiu Jitsu Defense, Bayonet Defense, Club Defense (PDF) by R.E. Hanley. This 1943 book was a compilation of techniques being taught to U.S. Marines, and intended as a type of textbook for them to review between classes. This book is from the EPDF.PUB site, so unlike other sights where clicking on the link starts the process of download, this one takes you to a page at the website where you have to click a button to download the document, which begins a 30-second countdown. At the end of the countdown you will be presented with a reCaptcha pop-up to confirm that you are, indeed, not a robot. Sometimes you just have to click the checkbox, but at other times you may be asked to select a number of pictures or boxes within a picture that meet some criteria (for instance, click on all the pictures or boxes showing bicycles), after which the download will proceed.
            • Kill Or Get Killed (PDF) by Rex Applegate. Largely focused on bare hand combat, it also includes disarming and use of the stick and knife, and covers Applegate's point shooting techniques
            • Combat Use Of The Double-Edged Fighting Knife (PDF) by Rex Applegate.
            • Knife Handling for Self-Defense (PDF) by George B. Wallace.
            • Combat Knife Throwing: A New Approach to Knife Throwing and Knife Fighting (PDF) by Ralph Thorn.
            • Knife Throwing Guide (PDF) by Gil Hibben.
            • The Advanced Balisong Manual (PDF) by Jeff Imada.
            • The Art of Weapons: Armed and Unarmed Self-Defense (PDF) by Marc Tedeschi. A compilation of techniques taken from Eastern martial art systems for using and defense against various hand weapons.
            • Close Combat (PDF). This is the 1999 Marine Corps manual (MCRP 3-02B).
            • Modern Arnis: The Filipino Art of Stick Fighting (PDF) (DJVU) by Remy Presas.
            • Fundamentals of Modern Police Impact Weapons (PDF) by Massad F. Ayoob. Although the focus on police batons, there is discussion of other police weapons such as saps and billy clubs, the Yawara stick, sap gloves and palm saps, and the nunchaku, as well as improvised use of flashlights.
            • Stick Fighting: Techniques of Self-Defense (PDF) by Masaaki Hatsumi and Quintin Chambers.
            • Fencing Steps to Success (PDF) by Elaine Cheris. A basic book on modern sport foil fencing.
            • Foil Fencing: The Techniques and Tactics of Modern Foil Fencing (PDF) by John Edward Smith.
            • Flexible Weapons (PDF) by John Sanchez. A look at Medieval flails, chain maces, steel whips, etc.
            • Medieval Swordsmanship: Illustrated Methods and Techniques (PDF) (DJVU) by John Clements. Also briefly discusses pole-arms.
            • Renaissance Swordsmanship: The Illustrated Book Of Rapiers And Cut And Thrust Swords And Their Use (PDF) by John Clements.
            • Practice Drills for Japanese Swordsmanship (DJVU) by Nicklaus Suino.
            • Japanese Sword Fighting: Secrets of the Samurai (PDF) by Masaaki Hatsumi.
            • Shinkage-Ryu Sword Techniques: Traditional Japanese Martial Arts (Vol. 1) (PDF) by Tadashige Watanabe.
            • Spike and Chain Japanese Fighting Arts (PDF) by Charles V. Gruzanski.
            And for when you get injured, you can download this PDF of Combat Sports Medicine by Ramin Kordi,  Nicola Maffulli, Randall R. Wroble and W. Angus.

            9.     Some books on explosives and munitions. While some may wonder at the relevance of explosives to prepping, the fact is that explosives play an important role in an industrialized society, such as for demolition, mining, excavation, and other specialized tasks. Even fire and rescue work may require breaching explosives to provide quick access through a ship's hull or a wall, or explosives may be used to blow out a fire at an oil or gas well. The author of the book, The Knowledge, discusses explosives and how necessary they would be to restarting civilization. In a post-apocalypse setting, you may not have ready access to commercially manufactured explosives and have to manufacture your own. Of course, explosives and blasting operations pose special dangers to health and safety. Some books and articles I came across recently in no particular order: 
            • Explosives (6th Ed.) by Rudolf Meyer, Josef K√∂hler, Axel Homburg (PDF).
            • The Preparatory Manual of Explosives by Jared Ledgard (DJVU).
            • Organic Chemistry of Explosives by Jai Prakash Agrawal and Robert Hodgson (PDF).
            • The Chemistry of Powder and Explosives by Tenney L. Davis (PDF).
            • Explosives Engineering by Paul W. Cooper (PDF).
            • Engineering Rock Blasting Operations by Sushil Bhandari (PDF).
            • Rock Blasting & Overbreak Control by Calvin J. Konya and Edward J. Walter (PDF).
            • Blasting in Ground Excavations and Mines by B. Singh, P. Pal Roy, R. B. Singh, and A. Bagchi (PDF).
            • Rotary Drilling and Blasting in Large Surface Mines by Balchandra V. Gokhale (PDF).
            • Explosives and Blasting Procedures Manual by Richard A. Dick, Larry R. Fletcher and Dennis V. D'Andrea (PDF).
            • Seabee Quarry Blasting Operations and Safety Manual by Department of the Army (PDF).
            • Rock Blasting Terms and Symbols: A Dictionary of Symbols and Terms in Rock Blasting and Related Areas like Drilling, Mining and Rock Mechanics edited by Agne Rustan (PDF).
            • High Explosives and Propellants by S. Fordham (2nd Ed.) (PDF).
            • High Energy Materials: Propellants, Explosives and Pyrotechnics by Jai Prakash Agrawal (PDF).
            • Propellants and Explosives: Thermochemical Aspects of Combustion by Naminosuke Kubota (1st Edition PDF) (2nd Edition PDF).
            • Explosives, Propellants and Pyrotechnics (Brassey's World Military Technology) by A. Bailey and S. G. Murray (PDF).
            • TM 31-210 Improvised Munitions (PDF).
            • Explosives - The Anarchist Arsenal (Improvised Incendiary & Explosives Techniques) by David Harber (PDF).
            • The Anarchist Arsenal: Improvised Incendiary & Explosives Techniques by David Harber (PDF).
            • Advanced Anarchist Arsenal: Recipes For Improvised Incendiaries And Explosives by David Harber (PDF).
            • Improvised Munitions Black Book Vol. 1 by Desert Publications (PDF).
            • Black Book Companion: State-Of-The-Art Improvised Munitions by Paladin Press (PDF).
            • Big Bang: Improvised PETN And Mercury Fulminate by John Galt (PDF).
            • Improvised Land Mines: Employment And Destructive Capabilities by David Harber (PDF).
            • Incendiaries Advanced Improvised Explosives by Seymour Lecker (PDF).
            • Home Workshop Explosives by Uncle Fester (PDF).
            • Kitchen improvised fertilizer explosives by  Tim Lewis (PDF).
            • Better Living Through Plastic Explosives by Gartner Zsuzsi (EPUB) (MOBI) (FB2).
            • Scientific Principles Of Improvised Warfare And Home Defense (Explosives) by T. Tobiason (PDF).
            • FMX: The Revised Black Book: A Guide To Field-Manufactured Explosives by William Wallace (PDF).
            • Improvised Shape Charges by Desert Publications (PDF).
            Note: Some of the preceding are serious textbooks or treatises, while others are of more dubious sources. Use at your own risk

            Some books on the detection of explosives:
            • Aspects of Explosives Detection by Maurice Marshall and Jimmie C. Oxley (PDF).
            • Counterterrorist Detection Techniques of Explosives by Jehuda Yinon (PDF).
            • Explosives and Chemical Weapons Identification James B. Crippin (PDF). 
            • Trace Chemical Sensing of Explosives edited by Ronald L. Woodfin (PDF). 
            • Detection of Liquid Explosives and Flammable Agents in Connection with Terrorism (NATO Science for Peace and Security Series B: Physics and Biophysics) edited by Hiltmar Schubert and Andrey Kuznetsov (PDF).
            • Detection and Disposal of Improvised Explosives (NATO Science for Peace and Security Series B: Physics and Biophysics) edited by Hiltmar Schubert and Andrey Kuznetsov (PDF).
            And should you be injured, here is some additional reading material to give to your doctor:
            10.    Today's selection is Ed Lovette's book, The Snubby Revolver (177 pages), revised edition. This book is out of print, and looking at Amazon, I see pricing starting at $63 for a used copy, and $145 for a new copy, although I am informed that he will soon be releasing an updated version. Lovette's background is in special forces and the CIA (as a paramilitary officer). Based on what he says in the book, I take it that he has trained CIA field officers as well as law enforcement as to weapons for extreme close quarters (ECQ) combat. He sees the snub-nosed revolver as the best handgun for an up-close gun fight. The book discusses his reasoning for selecting the revolver over a semi-auto, advice and recommendations as to loads, sights, grips, holsters, reloading the weapon, tactics, and more.

            11.     Today's selection is Bill Jordan's classic, No Second Place Winner (114 pages). This book, apparently first published in 1965, is more of interest for the historian than the modern shooter. It was written before the era of the modern shooting techniques, demonstrating, for instance, techniques for drawing and shooting from the hip. Chapter one really shows that the book is from a different era because it approves of the use of the "throw down" gun to make sure that the officer is found to have been justified in shooting a suspect, even in the case of mistaken identity.

            12.     This post is a little different than my prior posts. In this case, someone with SCP Survival reached out to me about an HTML e-book titled "The Ultimate Survival Food List For a Family of 4". I've glanced through it and it looks pretty good. I'm particularly pleased by the philosophy that you should be (i) stocking up on things that you will actually eat, and (ii) learning how to actually cook and eat the things that you stockpile. Too many times, especially with long term storage, people will stock up on the basic 5 foodstuffs, including hundreds of pounds of wheat, with no plans to consume it unless there is an emergency, and then not really having any idea how to process and use it for food (other than simply grinding it up into flour and cooking it in their non-functioning electric or gas oven). To give you an idea of what is in the book, here is the Table of Contents:
            1. In a Hurry? Want this Post in Downloadable Checklist form?
            2. Quick and Easy Meals
            3. Grains and Starches
            4. Proteins
            5. Soups
            6. Fruits
            7. Vegetables
            8. Sauces, Oils, and Condiments
            9. Shelf Stable Dairy
            10. Snacks and Luxuries
            11. Juices and Other Beverages
            12. Bulk Staples
            13. Freeze Dried Emergency Foods
            14. Baking Ingredients
            15. Vitamins and Supplements
            16. Animal and Pet Food Storage
            17. Criteria for Choosing Your Survival Food
            18. Survival Food Storage and Preservation Supplies
            19. Frequently Asked Questions
            20. Ready to Get Going?

            If you are disappointed that there aren't any PDFs to download, they have you covered there with their "Free Survival PDFs, Manuals, and Downloads".

            13.     Some resources for learning American Sign Language (ASL):


            1. Infogalactic is Wikipedia with the lefty bias being removed.

              1. I would heartily recommend Infogalactic as a day-to-day resource, but I've never seen instructions or a method allowing you to download the database to use off-line.