Prepper Book Festival #12: The Best Books to Help You Prepare, Stay Healthy and Be Happy

Avatar Gaye Levy  |  Updated: July 3, 2019
Prepper Book Festival #12: The Best Books to Help You Prepare, Stay Healthy and Be Happy

After a short break, it is time to get our mojo in gear for an all-new Prepper Book Festival.  This is #12 and it is, without question, another eclectic mix of books covering a lot of topics.

This did not happen by accident.  Since the beginning, Backdoor Survival Book Festivals have brought you some of the newest and the best titles available to educate you about preparedness and survival.  That being said, it was time to get away from generalist books and focus also on staying healthy and being happy.

Who can argue with that?

Prepper Book Festival 12 | Backdoor Survival

Before we get started, for those of you new to the concept of a book festival, let me give you the basics and answer the question, “What the heck is a prepper book festival?”.

What Is A Prepper Book Festival?

Backdoor Survival Prepper Book Festivals are a showcase of some of the best books and authors in the survival, preparedness, and self-reliance niche. The way Book Festivals work is that more-or-less once a week, I feature mini-reviews and book giveaways coupled with exclusive, one on one author interviews.

To enter each book giveaway, I ask what I hope to be a thought-provoking  question and request that you provide an answer in the comments section of the article.  I have been told that many readers are more interested in the answers to the questions themselves than the book.  I very much applaud that because to be honest, learning from each other is how we will move forward and prevail during these uncertain times.

Just so you know,  I typically provide a way to make multiple giveaway entries so you will want to watch for those bonus opportunities.  Many of these bonus opportunities involve social media.  If you already like Backdoor Survival on Facebook, or follow on Pinterest or Twitter, you basically have some free entries coming.  Email subscribers (don’t worry, that is also free) also get an extra entry that is worth multiple points.

Winners of the book giveaways are selected at random and the winning book is sent out directly by the author or the publisher. The winners have 48 hours to claim their prize or an alternate is selected.  You snooze, you lose.  Many times there are multiple winners, therefore increasing your chance of winning.

Now that you know how it works, let’s get started.  Here is the list of the BDS Prepper Book Festival #12 books and their descriptions.

2016 Prepper Book Festival #12

The Borrowed World: A Novel of Post-Apocalyptic Collapse

In a night of devastating terror, ISIS operatives have unleashed a coordinated attack on America’s infrastructure. Life as we know it in America grinds to a halt as the electrical grid collapses, communication networks are damaged, critical bridges and dams are destroyed, and major fuel refineries go up in massive fiery clouds.

When the government responds by immediately halting fuel sales to the public, Jim Powell finds himself in a terrifying predicament – trapped five hundred miles from home with a group of coworkers. With thousands of trapped travelers and scarce law enforcement, the miles between Jim and his family become a brutal gauntlet where the rules of civilized society no longer apply. As Jim puts his years of preparation and planning to the test, he is forced to ask himself if he has what it takes to make it home.

Does he have the strength — the brutality — required to meet this new world toe-to-toe?

by Franklin Horton

Bonus:  The author is also including Ashes Of The Unspeakable and Legion of Despair in the giveaway.  These are books two and three of The Borrowed World Series.

The Winter Fortress: The Epic Mission to Sabotage Hitler’s Atomic Bomb

It’s 1942 and the Nazis are racing to be the first to build a weapon unlike any known before. They have the physicists, they have the uranium, and now all their plans depend on amassing a single ingredient: heavy water, which is produced in Norway’s Vemork, the lone plant in all the world that makes this rare substance. Under threat of death, Vemork’s engineers push production into overdrive.

For the Allies, the plant must be destroyed. But how would they reach the castle fortress set on a precipitous gorge in one of the coldest, most inhospitable places on Earth?

Based on a trove of top secret documents and never-before-seen diaries and letters of the saboteurs, The Winter Fortress is an arresting chronicle of a brilliant scientist, a band of spies on skies, perilous survival in the wild, sacrifice for one’s country, Gestapo manhunts, soul-crushing setbacks, and a last-minute operation that would end any chance Hitler could obtain the atomic bomb—and alter the course of the war.

by Neal Bascomb

5 Gallon Bucket Book: DIY Projects, Hacks, and Upcycles

Why just reuse a bucket when you can reinvent it?

Five-gallon buckets are ubiquitous and cheap (indeed, they are often free). But did you know they can also be hacked, hot-rodded, reengineered, and upcycled to create dozens of useful DIY projects for homeowners, gardeners, small-scale farmers, and preppers? 5-Gallon Bucket Book contains 60+ ideas that put these humble and hard-working mainstays to work past their prime and keep them out of landfills. Simple step-by-step instructions, as well as parts lists and images of the completed projects, make sure you will have fun and love the results of your work.

Projects include perfect additions to your yard and garden, tools to care for your animals, useful innovations, handy home helpers, and even family-oriented designs! They range from simple things such as chicken feeders to much more complex projects (small room air conditioner, anyone?).

For anyone who doesn’t already have fifteen of them cluttering up the garage, 5-Gallon Bucket Book also offers advice on where to get cheap and free buckets and how to tell if a bucket is safe to use for food.

by Chris Peterson

Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, and Cooking

This complete guide will get you growing, harvesting, using, and healing with herbs — the world’s oldest and most effective natural medicines.

Popular health writer Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook profiles thirty-one common and easy-to-grow (or readily available) herbs, sharing scientific discoveries about their usefulness and offering more than one hundred easy ways to use them in delicious recipes, healing teas, and soothing body treatments. You’ll discover ways to delight body and mind as you incorporate Mother Nature’s medicines into daily life, where they nurture and protect.

by Michelle Schoffro Cook PhD

DIY Solar Projects: How to Put the Sun to Work in Your Home

Advances in solar technology have made many DIY-friendly products available to consumers. These include solar water heaters, solar battery charging stations, solar powered lights, photovoltaic shingles that provide supplementary electricity, solar heat pumps, and solar panel kits that generate primary home electrical service.

Among the step-by-step projects in this book is a solar water heating system you can build and install yourself for under $1000; simple thermosyphon solar heat collectors for barns and outbuildings; or “heat grabbers” that you can fabricate for $50 in materials and position below a south-facing window to provide auxiliary winter heat.

by Eric Smith

Mason Jar Nation: The Jars that Changed America and 50 Clever Ways to Use Them Today

Learn how to make more than 50 Mason jar projects, including luminaries, planters, and upcycled art, in this eagerly anticipated book for DIYers!

Mason Jar Nation begins by exploring the Mason jar’s impact on America since its 1858 patent. Prior to the jar’s invention, settlers had no reliable and safe way to store food for the winter, which required them to travel great lengths in difficult conditions and obtain expensive canned goods in order to survive. With its hermetically sealable two-piece lid and thick glass sides, the Mason jar changed the way mid-nineteenth century Americans fed their families.

Although the popularity of the jars ebbed significantly from the 1950s until the turn of the century, interest in them has exploded in the past few years. Ball, the biggest brand name in Mason jars today, has seen its sales double since 2001. Younger generations, including Millenials, have adopted the iconic jars as emblems of a more sustainable time. The humble Mason jar has been “discovered” as a versatile and beautiful material for creating craft items such as chandeliers, luminaries, planters, containers, and upcycled art.

The second half of Mason Jar Nation features over 50 of these adaptations, shown with clear photography, all designed and photographed by author JoAnn Moser, the “DIY Maven.”

Readers who appreciate American cultural history, making fun and affordable crafts, and Mason jars themselves will love this new book and its tall, narrow shape that’s based on the proportions of the classic Mason jar.

by JoAnn Moser

Mother Earth News Almanac: A Guide Through the Seasons

Mother Earth News Almanac is back and is refreshed and ready for the next generation of self-sufficient makers and DIYers.

The 1970s classic has been out of print for years. Now, updated for today’s readers and back in print, its information is as useful as ever. It contains instructions and illustrations for everything from harnessing solar energy to cultivating a sustainable garden to learning how to keep bees. Simply put, Mother Earth News Almanac is designed to empower readers to be self-sufficient.

You will find that the Mother Earth News Almanac is a seasonal guide with subject matter that every passionate DIYer, homesteader, or environmentally aware reader can appreciate. There are recipes, money-saving tips, and homesteading techniques such as illustrated directions for tying a timber hitch, cat’s-paw, sheepshank, and other knots; folk medicine treatments and preventatives; tips on raising chickens and keeping bees; plans for building three kinds of kites; complete instructions for fast and easy compost; and much, much more!

The simple life doesn’t have to be hard–not when you have this timeless almanac.

by Mother Earth News

A Prepper’s Cookbook: Twenty Years of Cooking in the Woods

In a disaster, having food isn’t enough – you also have to know what to do with it.

Deborah D. Moore has been a Prepper for most of her life, long before the term was popular. She believes in being prepared to winter in during the long cold months that she has to endure on the the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. An entire room of her small home is devoted to food and supply storage. Since her house is small it’s easy to heat with the wood cook stove that at the same time gives her a means of cooking and baking her food supplies.

Featuring over 100 recipes, author Deborah D. Moore will take you on a fun, step by step journey to recreate the same meals she makes every day on her wood stove using only what she has stored in her pantry.

By:  Deborah D. Moore

The Complete Guide to US Junk Silver Coins (2nd edition)

“Junk silver” is a term to describe U.S. dimes, quarters, and half dollars that were minted in 1964 and earlier, as well as various other U.S. coins, because they are composed of between 35% and 90% silver, while newer and current coins are composed of the much cheaper base metals copper and nickel.

This comprehensive book covers everything you need to know about U.S. junk silver coins, from the history of how and why the Government made the switch away from silver, to the many benefits of holding junk silver today. In addition, you’ll learn crucial information including: how wear and condition affect the silver content of coins, how to detect counterfeits, how to buy and sell junk silver coins wisely, and much, much more.

The 2nd edition has new and updated material throughout the book, as well as several new chapters, including information on Canadian junk silver coins, and U.S. base metal coinage.

by Brian Smith

When There Is No FEMA: Survival for Normal People in Very Abnormal Times

This 500+ page book – 3+ years in the making – was written by the author as the reference he would want if his own family’s life depended on it. You could fill an entire bookshelf with survival books, or you could simply obtain “When There is No FEMA” and have a single, textbook-quality reference that provides detailed information on virtually every aspect of modern-day disaster preparedness. Described by one of the foremost survivalists in the world as “encyclopedic”, WTINF covers all the bases.

Where the typical survival book might simply recommend that you “raise chickens for eggs”, WTINF goes into deep detail about all aspects of raising chickens and other small livestock. Rather than simply suggesting you grow vegetables, WTINF covers growing seasons, fertilization and irrigation, how, when and what to plant, how deeply to plant the seeds and how far to space them.

Beyond that, this definitive work provides similar detailed information on water treatment and storage, sanitation, quarantine, food processing, foraging, hunting, trapping and fishing, fuel and energy, nutrition, first aid, weapons and home defense, defensive tactics, disaster planning, disaster communications, organizing entire survival communities and a host of other vital topics.

If you are concerned that the volatile and dangerous world in which we live today may find its way to your own doorstep then this is the book that was written for you!

by Richard Bryant

Coloring Flower Mandala Postcards: 20 Hand-Drawn Designs for Mindful Relaxation

Relax, focus, reach a higher state of mindfulness and express your creativity coloring these intricate floral mandalas. When finished, tear out your new works of art and share them with friends and family, or hang them as colorful wall art!

These postcards offer you a garden of inspiring blooms, including:

• Orchids
• Roses
• Gardenias
• Vines
• Lilies
• Sunflowers
• Lotuses
• Marigolds
• Poppies
• Tulips

Attain focus, clarity and peace while creating colorful, mail-ready postcards perfect for sharing with friends and family!

by Wendy Piersall

Gaye’s Note:  If this book does not make you happy, you are hopeless!

The Zika Virus Handbook

NY Times bestselling author Joseph Alton, MD provides a doctor’s perspective to the Zika Virus in his newest book.

Zika virus is an infectious disease that has reached pandemic status after crossing the Atlantic. The World Health Organization expects up to four million cases in this hemisphere and researchers have linked Zika to birth deformities in newborns and significant neurological disease. Written in plain English, “The Zika Virus Handbook” explains all you need to know about the epidemic in a calm, no-nonsense fashion.

The book gives a solid plan of action for Zika protection that can be easily followed in a concise guide. All this from a physician that has decades of experience as an obstetrician, and who is a well-known writer on medical preparedness.

The book also outlines other pandemic diseases, past and present, and discusses way to control the Aedes mosquito, which transmits the disease through its bite. Like many pandemic diseases, many controversial theories abound about why Zika has become a threat, and you’ll find these and commentary on their plausibility in “The Zika Virus Handbook”.

by Joe Alton, MD

The Survival Doctor’s Complete Handbook

It’s the worst snowstorm you can remember. The ice-covered streets are abandoned. You hear a boom in the distance, and your computer screen goes blank. Darkness. A crash and another bang from inside the house. In the hallway, your husband sits on the floor, soaked in blood. You dial 911, and all you get is a busy signal. Would you know what to do next?

The Survival Doctor’s Complete Handbook will teach you just what you need to know to take care of yourself and your loved ones in the event you aren’t able to get professional medical help right away. Encompassing but going well beyond immediate first aid, the book covers:

  • How to put a dislocated joint back into place
  • How to prevent hypothermia when your heat has gone out
  • What to do for asthma when you don’t have your inhaler
  • Whether you can really drink your own urine if you run out of water
  • What to feed your toddler if he has a fever and you have no medicine
  • And much more

Featuring more than 100 illustrations, along with quick quizzes and real-life examples, The Survival Doctor’s Complete Handbook will take you step by step through the essentials of medical care during a crisis. Whatever your situation and your health needs, this handbook is your must-have medical resource.

by James Hubbard MD

Book 8: Alcohol Mantle Lamps (The Non-Electric Lighting Series)

This is Book 8 in The Non-Electric Lighting Series. The series as a whole is aimed at people who want to survive whatever Mother Nature throws at us – blizzards, blackouts, or Carrington events.

Unfortunately, when we get to “alcohol lamps,” the term conjures up a vision of a lab-type lamp with a small wick and almost invisible flame. Alcohol MANTLE lamps, the subject of this book, are a different animal altogether. Lanterns that use mantles produce light on par with electric light bulbs.

As a lamp fuel, alcohol has some advantages over petroleum-based fuels.

For one thing, alcohol does not degrade in storage. For another, alcohol produces less carbon monoxide than a petroleum-based fuel (ANY petroleum-based fuel) making it a better choice for indoor use. Third, in an emergency situation, alcohol (as lamp fuel) can supply a solution that most people are not aware even exists. You can pick up some rubbing alcohol while they are searching for propane cylinders. (Although you do need the appropriate lantern, of course. You cannot just dump alcohol in your Coleman and burn it.)

Lastly, alcohol is perhaps the ultimate survival fuel. In Europe, World War Two saw many restrictions on petroleum products. So farmers made what was essentially high-proof moonshine and burned it in their lanterns.

This information in this book is something you should have tucked away for future reference. Are you interested in prepping? This is prepping.

by Ron Brown

Bonus:  The giveaway will be for all eight books in the Non-Electric Lighting Series

Preppers Armed Defense

A comprehensive guide to gun options as well as non-lethal and homemade alternatives needed for neutralizing attackers after a catastrophic collapse

A massive disaster strikes. Civilization breaks down and with it goes the thin blue line of police protection. Days or even weeks pass before the National Guard arrives to protect law-abiding citizens. In the mean time, it’s every man, woman, and family for themselves. Having self-sufficient means for protecting your family at this critical moment is essential. Thankfully, Prepper’s Armed Defense details exactly how to achieve this high level of life-saving readiness.

Far more than a gun guide, Prepper’s Armed Defense is the most comprehensive, no-holds-barred guide to all type of weapons, including knives and other edged weapons; non-lethal weapons like pepper spray, tasers and stun guns; plus last-minute improvised weapons made from common household items.

Among the weapons covered:

Brass knuckles
Blackjack and sap
Monkey fist slingshots
Clubs and batons
Tonka and other martial arts weapons

The legalities of self-defense are also discussed as not all encounters will take place after a societal collapse. From the proper way to relate the information to a police dispatcher to when you should call an attorney, the focus is on ensuring you don’t end up behind bars for protecting your loved ones.

Prepper’s Armed Defense is your guide to inflicting the maximum amount of damage to those who would harm you and your family.

by Jim Cobb

The Final Word

Two month’s ago, as I was putting this together, I started to think “who needs another book covering preparedness basics?”  Along those lines I was thinking it was time to pack the book festival concept away and begin anew with something fresh.  As luck would have it, I reached out to some of my friends in the publishing world who convinced me to keep going and offered up some new titles for consideration.

Armed with author, publisher, and reader suggestions, I was able to cobble together one of the best prepper book collections yet, with enough diversity to keep you interested not only in the books themselves, but with what the authors have to say about their work and their personal preparedness efforts.

Over the next few months, I hope I can come up with some thought-provoking giveaway questions that will challenge and inspire you to take your preps to the next level.  If you have a question you would like answered by your fellow preppers, be sure to let me know.  The next step is up to you.

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

PS – And the HAPPY part? Every stressed-out prepper needs a fanciful coloring book!

If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to email updates.  When you do, you will receive a free, downloadable copy of my e-Book, The Emergency Food Buyer’s Guide.

You can also vote for Backdoor Survival daily at Top Prepper Websites!


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15 Responses to “Prepper Book Festival #12: The Best Books to Help You Prepare, Stay Healthy and Be Happy”

  1. Great choice, unfortunately most available for North AMerican citizens …
    I am planning to release befor e next fall an e-book( or pdf) collecting tips about respiratory protection.
    The idea of sharing about Respiratory protection (outside the strictly professional/industrial field) is born from my experience of how unclear and often wrong are the infos shared among most websites, videos and comments.

    While today more and more often people can be caught in unpredictable events requiring protective devices, particularly travellers can be exposed, but not only.

    Rather than writing a blog which asks for a lot of daily time, I am planning to sell a pdf /e book within the next months. “Personal Respiratory Protection : what you should know, what you should get”.

    Since a few years I have collected many informations, from my professional field (healthcare), as well as from a lot of reading, seeing and collecting infos.

    I hope it could be a useful reading for preppers (or indeed non-preppers)

    All my best and go on with your excellent work here.

    Anita RN nurse (Europe)

    The scheduled summary of the book could be something like this:



    Types of Respirators

    What we can learn from the past

    How to use your respirator Donning – Doffing, breathing and talking, drinking, and importance of training

    Self made masks and respirators




    Numerous pictures,

    How to leaflets

    A sheet for hazards with the following entries :

    Event/Frequence/Location/Length/external worsening factors/personal worsening factors/Toxical effects/Non-respiratory extra hazards/Minimal Personal Protection/Recommanded Personal Protection

    List of hazards as volcano/smog/smoke from wildfires/smoke from fire/chemical leakage/chemical fire/infection/terrorism/dust storm/pesticide/pollen/mold/tear gas, …

    Links to free videos available on line (with a commentary: useful – wrong) as there are a lot of videos that everyone can watch – and so get good or bad references,

    Training quizz (wrong – good),

    Papers and documentation free but not always so easy to find on the web

    List of respirators,

  2. I get sidetracked and caught up in work, kids activities and life in general that I forget to put in the time for my prepping. How do you manage all of it and still teach your kids, learn yourself and not beat yourself up for not doing everything you wanted?

  3. I’m really interested in the alcohol mantle lamp, city law prohibits storing gas and kerosene. Alcohol is a stock up item I use regularly.

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