Winter Book Festival and Giveaway: Doctor Prepper and Making the Best of Basics

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books library (Custom)Today I share the next author interview in the Backdoor Survival Winter Book Festival.  Doctor Prepper, James Talmadge Stevens and the author of Making the Best of Basics – Family Preparedness Handbook shares his answers to my questions and is also providing one of my readers with a free copy of his classic book on prepping and one I return to over and over again.

Before we begin, I would like to announce the two winners of last week’s giveaway of two new books by Max Velocity.  “CK” has won a copy of Rapid Fire!: Tactics for High Threat, Protection and Combat Operations and “John” has won a copy of Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises.

Here is what CK had to say:

I would like rapid fire. We own guns but new drills and perspectives are always good to learn.

And here is what John had to say:

As I set here at the computer each morning drinking my pot of joe, I look at many survival websites. I may read many web post for many days to find one that has something new to make me ponder. Some post makes me laugh at someone’s gullibility, but I think these fiction books would boggle my mind at things I hadn’t thought of. This has to be my next line of preparedness.

I have the mind set that there will be “War Lords” when the crap hits. Very few web post have even touched on this proposition. I feel these fictional books will have to give insight to War Lords.

Congratulations! I have contacted you by email with instructions for claiming your prize.  Be sure to check out the details of this week’s giveaway below.

making the best of basics book

Sitting on the porch and reading from “Making the Best of Basics”


Tell me about Making the Best of Basics – Family Preparedness Handbook. What is it about?

Making the Best of Basics––Family Preparedness Handbook is the all-time, best-selling ever volume about how families can prepare for the uncertain future. It is about the basics of preparedness—not a book about fear. It helps people organize their preparedness planning by going through the charts and tables, and filling in the blanks with information. This helps each user to customize their planning and execution.

What type of research did you have to do while writing Making the Best of Basics––Family Preparedness Handbook?

Not a lot of research was made–I’ve lived the preparedness lifestyle since I was born on a farm––it was our way of life!

How long did it take to write?

The original version took less than four months! There’s a long story about how it came to be written.

Every book, fiction and non-fiction, includes a message. What message do you hope my readers will take with them after reading Making the Best of Basics––Family Preparedness Handbook?

The major message is that everyone can be prepared or become better prepared, if they but apply themselves to the tasks.

Can you tell us a little bit more about yourself?

I’m a 74-year old guy with lots of experiences in the preparedness industry, and am one of the oldest remaining elder statesmen (or stateswomen!) in the business!

Do you have plans for another book?

What is the point of writing another about preparedness? Over 800,000 people have purchased Basics!

Also, there are so many people of the current generation writing so many tomes about what they understand (in many cases, don’t understand!) to be the emphasis of preparedness in the current generation. There are so many WAGs and pretenders that it’s a waste of time to try to teach people who are so abundantly blessed with talents, skills, and opportunities to borrow information without any experience against which to judge the validity of what they take.

There are a few people who are genuinely having real experiences, and report them capably.

Is there anything else you would like to share with my readers?

Everyone can become prepared—it’s a matter of priorities… What’s it worth to be able to take care of yourself in a manner to which you want to maintain, regardless of the external conditions about you and your family?

I’m sure you now understand why no one interviews me–though I’ve interviewed hundreds of practitioners, professional, qualified experts, and even a few pretenders…

I’m not an expert—unfortunately and I’m sure I’ve forgotten much of what I once knew. But I persist, trying to create infrastructure for the word to get out. PRN (Preparedness Radio Network) is now approaching 12,000 downloads daily. It has persisted in spite of competition, criticism, and efforts of others to steal it from us. Whatever, right is right, and we sail on!

That’s about it–I’m not a great writer, but the essence of the information gives you a base for further insights into the rather short history of latter-day preparedness.


owl reading bookA printed copy of James (Doctor Prepper’s) book, Making the Best of Basics – Family Preparedness Handbook has been reserved for one lucky reader.  This is a fabulous opportunity to get a copy of this classic book on prepping absolutely free.

All you need to do to win is reply below in the comments area with a prepping question for me to answer in a future article.

The deadline is 6:00 AM Pacific next Friday. A winner will be selected next Friday at random using tools on the website.  (Note: Due to my upcoming travels, there may be a delay in selecting and announcing the winner but absolutely, a winner will be selected.)


Over the past few years, I have come to know James and to respect his honesty and integrity when it comes to family preparedness.  He is genuine and sincere and I know that you will find his book useful.

Not only that, I look forward to your comments so that in the coming months I can write about topics important to you.  After all, sharing common interests and skills is what prepping is all about.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!


If you have not done so already, please be sure to like Backdoor Survival on Facebook to be updated every time there is an awesome new article, news byte, or free survival, prepping or homesteading book on Amazon.

In addition, when you sign up to receive email updates you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-book The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

Spotlight Item:  Making the Best of Basics – Family Preparedness Handbook has been the all-time best-selling volume in the preparedness industry for almost 4 decades. The newly revised 13th edition includes more up to date information than ever before – plus there is now a CD-Rom version that is cram-packed with even more useful preparedness information.making the best of basics

Bargain Bin: Listed below are all of the books in the Backdoor Survival Winter Reading List. There are both fiction and non-fiction titles and a bit of something for everyone. Also, some of these books are Kindle e-books but you do not need a Kindle to read Kindle e-books. Simply download the free Kindle app from the Amazon site and you are good to go.

The Backdoor Survival Winter Reading List – Non-Fiction

The Prepper Next Door: A Practical Guide For Disaster And Emergency Planning (Author Charlie Palmer)

Rapid Fire!: Tactics for High Threat, Protection and Combat Operations (Author Max Velocity)

Lanterns, Lamps and Candles (Author Ron Brown)

An Operations Manual For Humankind – The Complete Compendium Of Natural Health: (Author: Paul Patrick Robinson)

Understanding the Use of Handguns for Self-Defense (Author David Nash)

Where There Is No Doctor (Authors David Werner, Jane Maxwell, Carol Thuman)

Making the Best of Basics – Family Preparedness Handbook: (Author James Talmadge Stevens)

How to Live on $10,000 a Year – Or Less – Newly Revised for 2013 (Author George Ure)

Barbed Wire, Barricades, and Bunkers: The Free Citizen’s Guide to Fortifying the Home Retreat (Author F.J. Bohan)

The Prepper’s Pantry: Building and Thriving with Food Storage (Author Anne Lang)

The Truth About Simple Unhooked Living (Author Estar Holmes)

The Backdoor Survival Winter Reading List – Fiction

Preppers Road March (Author Ron Foster)

BUG OUT! Preppers on the move! (Author Ron Foster)

The Light In The Lake: The Survival Lake Retreat (Author Ron Foster)

Patriot Dawn: The Resistance Rises: (Author Max Velocity)

Holding Their Own: A Story of Survival (Author Joe Nobody)

Shop the Emergency Essentials Monthly Specials: The monthly specials at Emergency Essentials feature discounts of up to 35% off sometimes a bit more.

4fruitcomboAs you know, I eat a lot of fruit (usually three whole fruits a night as a bedtime snack) and in a SHTF situation, fruits will be something I will really miss.   And for quite some time I have been promoting the purchase of fruit and veggie combos as a good way to get started on storing freeze dried foods for emergency purposes.  I especially have liked the Freeze-Dried Fruit Favorites Combo from Emergency Essentials.

After doing some real time taste tests, I have to admit that the products from Food Insurance are another good option.  For the very best in fruit items – for snacking right out of the can or as part of your daily meal plan, check out the Food Insurance Four Fruit Combo that includes strawberries, bananas, peaches and pineapple chunks.  The pineapple chunks are to die for!

Of course I still can recommend the  Freeze-Dried Fruit Favorites Combo from Emergency Essentials as another good option.  Their selection includes Apple Dices, Bananas, Peaches, Pineapple Dices, Blueberries and Strawberries. Not to be left out, there are veggies too. The deluxe supply of Freeze Dried Vegetables includes 18 #10 tins of the following veggies in various quantities: Broccoli, Cauliflower, Sweet Corn, Green Beans, Green Peppers, Green Peas, Mushrooms, Potato Dices, Spinach, and White Onions.

Like this and want more?

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11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life: This little book will provide you with the motivation to get started or stay on track with a self-reliant life. 11 Steps to Living a Strategic Life, co-authored with my long time pal, George Ure (, and can purchased from Amazon.

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As a matter of fact, all of the packages you see available at are available at my party and at better prices too!



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23 Responses to “Winter Book Festival and Giveaway: Doctor Prepper and Making the Best of Basics”

  1. i some times get over whelmed at all of the prepping sites. can you suggest a simple prepper site for your evryday simple christian family? we enjoy reading your web site but it seems like we spend to much time searching all the sites.

  2. How to protect our preps when my husband has a give-it-away attitude to anyone who might need or want it., who are not prepping. This excludes family, of course.

  3. This book would be a wonderful addition to my library. I would love to see an article on different non electrical kitchen small appliances and how each of them compare for quality and ease of use. I know there are several websites out there but they read more like ads than comparisons and I trust your site to give the down and dirty. Thanks and keep up the good work.

  4. I think this book would make a wonderful gift for all of my children, who all who have young families, but are of the mindset that “all is well”. I am really concerned about them and keep trying to steer them towards preparedness (without beating them over the heads). I agree with Kristine Philpot…an article about non-electrical kitchen appliances would be wonderful. I personally am still confused as to what to do with wheat. How to I process whole grain wheat into something edible? I would love to see an article or two detailing what to do with it. As always, thanks for a great column!

  5. Like a couple of the previous posters, I think reviews of small non-electric kitchen appliances would be great!

  6. My husband has five 10 gallon buckets that were sealed correctly in 1999, they consist of. Pinto beans, cornmeal, flour and rice. Without opening them, how can I tell if they are still good and how much longer will they last?

  7. I only stated prepping a few months ago, so I apologize if this topic has recently been covered. Most of the information I read indicates that paper money will likely be worthless and it is suggested to invest in gold and/or silver. Which do you feel would be a better choice gold or silver? And in what form would it be best to have, bars, coins or jewelry?

  8. Would love to have a copy of this book! Thanks for sharing the information

  9. Has anyone else done dry canning for beans, flour, etc.? There was an article in Countryside Journal a while back that gave instructions. It is an interesting way to do smaller amounts.

    • My friend oven-canned a dozen wide-mouth quart jars with grains and beans according to instructions she found online. It was easy and totally successful in that the seals for all the jars “popped”, which is the sign that all the air is gone. She then lined up the jars on shelves behind books in a bookcase. Oven canning radically extends the shelf-life of grains, beans, and pasta. We both intend to fill our bookcases with these jars behind the books. My friend considers these jars as a food cashe that doesn’t need to be rotated and may save the day in case of looting or home invasion. We both keep some food on open shelves and other food hidden as well as possible.

  10. Something I rarely see mentioned in prepper sites are tiny houses, microliving, or cabins as a place to live, rather than a place to escape to should TSHTF. We are currently microliving in a converted storage building while we build our permanent home, which makes for unique situations for storage, “togetherness”, even heating/cooling is different when you have such small spaces. I long for my new house to be completed, but I also will miss the closeness we have as a family living together in a small space. You learn through trial and error the things a few generations ago would’ve laughed to have to “teach” someone about. LOL! (Think Laura on Little House). Learning to do without the big kitchen, privacy, even finding new strategies for storage is something I think others will have to learn to deal with post SHTF, whether it’s moving to the cabin in the woods or having multiple families move in with you.

  11. I would love to win a copy of this book.I belive it would be very useful to me and my son. Even if I don’t win a copy of it ,I’m going check it out. Thanks for all the great info you post. It means a lot to me and my son.wish I could help you out more than just reading ,maybe one day I ll be caught up enough on my preps,that I can send a little donation to help your website. You put out so much great info.Thanks agin

  12. Have you begun cooking with your long-term storage food yet? I have been buying monthly for 1 1/2 yrs, but have not started to use any of it. My concern is that when the shtf I won’t know how to use what I am storing up. It kind of scares me.

  13. This looks like a great book. I’m just starting to prep. Can you suggest items to have to treat water and what to use for water storage. Right now I just buy bottled water at Costco and try to have 2-3 cases on hand….but it doesn’t seem like enough.

  14. I would like to see an article on shelf life of food that is dehydrated at home. This would be a great book to help me get started on prepping.

  15. This book has been on my wish list for a while. I would like to see you write about keeping your preps hidden when your family is large and always in and out of the house. My storage is limited (dry, anyway!) and I have wracked my brain to find less obvious ways to stash stuff. Thanks for your articles–I keep learning.

  16. What is the best way to store water? I want to get started, but as of yet I have only a couple of cases of commercially bottled water. As I understand it, that means of water storage is for short term storage only. Should I but barrels? Buckets? Bladders? Bricks? I’m very confused and a bit overwhelmed at the shear amount of water needed for a family of five and a dog, for hydration, cooking, bathing, hygiene, etc.Help! Where to start? Thank you – and fingers crossed that I’m the lucky winner of this book!

  17. I am a 60 yr old woman living on disability and I care for my disabled brother. What would be the best way to prepare for the 2 of us? I do have the support of close family but I struggle with what order I should proceed. I believe I have enough food and meds for 6 months,and I know water will be a concern, but now what? We are prepping for a family of 14 but with so much to do what is the best way? We can’t all be going in different directions and expect to reach a good ending. Can you help?

  18. Dear Gaye, I would be extremely interested in this Prepping bible, as a classic that was written prior to our current societal unrest. I want to be sure I’m taking care of the basics and the details that take prepping to the next level. My question to you is: How to establish neighborhood ties so that when the SHTF protective groups can be quickly formed? I do not really know anyone in my neighborhood. People keep to themselves. Yet I live in redneck country (and proud of it) and I know there would be a huge base of weaponry and skill if only there were a way for people to make contract.

  19. Last week you had an “open mic” response to enter the contest. my question comes from my entry. here is what i wrote then.

    (((Either book sounds interesting. As a mid term prep (about 13 yrs) i am at the stage of fine tuning. Learning the skills my parents and grand parents used as i was growing up. If and or when things go wrong becomming self sufficient will be hard work but doable.

    The hard part i believe will be security or keeping what you have stored or made for your self in the aftermath. Guns and tactical training alone will not be enough, even if you are with a small group. With few exceptions there will always be a better armed and better traqined group out there, conceivably using high tech equipment. This is where my road block comes into view. Unlike the movies, a macho attitude will not win the day against a superior force or a sniper 3 or 400 yards or further away. Currently i only have part of a plan for my delema, but i will keep working on it untill i have come up with the best possible strategy for my property, area and possible threat level.)))

    so my question from this is pretty obvious. What is the best way to protect your group when out numbered, out trained and out gunned?

    Currently I have spent time looking at the property from the intruders point of view, access, cover points and the like. booby traps of different types can be set up easily including, but not limited to, fire, spring loaded devices, powder charges and so on. ways of comming up behind the intruder(s) are in the works. angled camouflaged high points are also in the works.

    I do believe that dialog to avoid confrontation in the first place is the best, but i may be “asked” for more that i could give.

    Thanks for any help, another point to remember is the more we think we know the more we have left to learn.

    Bill B

  20. It is not my first time to pay a visit this website, i
    am browsing this web site dailly and obtain pleasant information from here all the time.

  21. I would like to see more ideas about prepping for small children.

  22. I would love to win the book to pick up new ideas from it. The more I read the more I find that I need to do. Thanks for all of your help in preparing.


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