Perry’s Book Shelf

019402656_Books And Candle

This list comprises many, though not nearly all of the books I own or have read, but is most of what I’ve read in the last couple of years (2013). I will over time add a few more notes, and of course add books as I read them, to the top of the list.  Most of the books have links to internet for more info or purchase, just hover over the title to click the link.

Shelters, Shacks, and Shanties

  • Daniel C Beard
  • The Author covers all the styles of shelters. Lean to’s, fallen tree shelters, hogans, ti pi, caches, tree houses, sod house, and all the way to a log cabin. He even shows lock and latch making, hinges for doors. Rich in ideas.

The Ultimate Hang – An Illustrated Guide to Hammock Camping

  • Derek Hansen
  • Everyone camping with hammock or considering it should read this book. Hansen has included all the essential information and illustrated the book with hundreds of clear and detailed drawings. He talks history, how to hang a hammock, many accessories, tips and hints. Hansen also covers cold weather hammock use.

Camping in the Old Style

  • David Wescott
  • All about camping in the early days 1900’s. Details about Tents, Fire, Cooking, the whole works, excellent guide

Utah Indian Stories

  • Milton R Hunter
  • Studies of the Indian way of life and interaction with coming of the white man

Jim Bridger

  • J Cecil Alder
  • Vetted stories of Jim Bridger’s life, many details

US Army Survival Manual

  • Army
  • 1999 revision

Sufferings in Africa

  • Captain James Riley
  • Story of shipwreck of North Africa coast, slavery and rescue, era about 1815. The things Capt Riley went through are unbelievable, it is hard to imagine a person could go through all that he did.

Swimming to Antarctica

  • Lynne Cox
  • Excellent book on perseverance, also into effects of cold water and conditioning

AMC Guide to Winter Camping

  • Stephen Gorman
  • Guide to travel camping

Snowshoeing: A Trailside Guide

  • Larry Olmstead
  • All about snowshoeing, 1997 update

Advanced Outdoor Navigation

  • Greg Davenport
  • Ancient and modern techniques includes some GPS


  • Richard Graves
  • Serious guide to survival, many concepts not generally taught elsewhere. Book favors survival in the southern hemisphere. Cooking ideas you’ve never heard before. Dangerous trap set ups.

Peterson’s Rocky Mountain Wildflowers

  • Craighead
  • Wild flowers with notes on edibles

Peterson’s Edible Wild Plants

  • Peterson
  • Edible plants of eastern and central US

The Outdoors Almanac

  • McDougal
  • Broad guide, good ideas, well done

Citizen Emergency Response Team

  • CERT manual for all types of emergencies and disasters

The Complete Wilderness Training Manual

  • Hugh McManners
  • Good overview with lots of pictures

Basic Wilderness Survival Skills

  • Bradford Angier
  • Very complete, good ideas and experience

Participating in Nature

  • Thomas J Elpel
  • Living with nature

How to Think Like a Survivor

  • Tom Watson
  • Great overall guide by a 20 year veteran of Kenai, AK SAR

Peterson’s Medicinal Plants and Herbs

  • Foster and Hobbs
  • Nice layout and photos, excellent description of uses

Ethno-botany of the Gosiute Indians of Utah

  • Ralph V Chamberlin
  • VERY detailed information on these particular Indians life, plants, medicine, shelter etc.

Mountain Survivors Guide

  • Rory Storm
  • Mountain, mountaineering, safety, shelter

Climbing and Exploring Utah’s Mt Timpanogas

  • Michael Kelsey
  • History of exploration and use of the mountain, trails

Crazy for the Storm

  • Norman Olestad
  • Story of his surviving a plane crash that killed his dad, lots of history of his life before the crash

Miracle in the Andes

  • Nando Parrado
  • Story of Extreme Survival after a plane crash high in the Andes Mountains. Difficult choice of eating parts of the bodies of the dead to survive. Surrounded by even higher mountains all around and no plant or animal life around the crash site. 70 mile trek to get rescued.

Rowing to Latitude

  • Jill Fredston
  • Details of years of rowing in the waters of the arctic, Greenland, Canada, Alaska. Dealing with bears all the time, along with the cold and wet, very interesting book.

The Sense of Survival

  • J Allan South
  • Catastrophic event preparation, storage, hunting. Nuclear, EMP, earthquake, etc.

The Igloo

  • Charlotte and David Yue
  • A youth reader book that nevertheless has much information not commonly found elsewhere


  • Lauren Hillenbrand
  • Story of Olympic runner, trapped in World War II who crashes and is held prisoner of war for most of the war. A story of survival on the water, and even greater surviving extreme torture, deprivation, and hardest of all, repairing the mental damage and becoming whole again

The Survivors Club

  • Ben Sherwood
  • Documentation of survivors of all kinds of accidents, disasters, and such with a look at why some survive and some don’t and how to join that elite “survivors club”

98.6 The Art of Keeping Your Ass Alive

  • Cody Lundin
  • Excellent guide on how to keep your body’s core temperature on track. Survival taught here is all about core temperature. Cody details much of how the body works and how to use this to your advantage. All the other so called survival stuff is worthless if core temp cannot be maintained.

One Second After

  • William R Forstchen
  • Using his extensive knowledge on the subject Mr. Forstchen writes a story in a style called Faction. After an EMP nothing electronic works anymore. Everyone must learn to adapt to the new lifestyle.

Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse

  • James Wesley Rawles
  • The famous story of true prepping with all the details you could want

Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the end of the world

  • Joan Druett
  • What these guys went through is incredible, possibly the best survival story I have ever read!! A bonus is that the book also tells a companion survival story on the same island at virtually the same time with vastly different results. The combination of these two stories demonstrates how vastly different an outcome can be in the same type of circumstances. This book is invaluable to anyone interested in learning to survive. Not so much the details of how to start a fire per se, but the more important thing, the mental how to.


  • Les Stroud
  • What can I say about this book, it’s Les Stroud? This is Les’ own take on survival, based on the way he learned it, by doing over the years. A number of things are detailed like few others have done.

Adrift: Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea

  • Steven Callahan
  • This book is incredibly detailed in the events that happened, turning a normal trip for Steven into a literal nightmare. The key points I got out of the book is 1) Never, never, never ever give up 2) Try again, try again, try again, try again, try again. Read the book you’ll be amazed at how this guy survives.

Whole Hikers Handbook

  • William Kemsley
  • An older book from my younger days, while gear may change the basic principles involved remain the same over time. An encyclopedia on hiking.

Backpacker’s Digest

  • C R Learn
  • The author tells how to plan your trip, select a camp spot, choosing gear, prepping for emergencies and much more

Camper’s Bible

  • Riviere
  • The concepts in the book apply today, also a fun look back at equipment in the 1960’s

A Slender Thread

  • Stephen Venables
  • A gripping story of Mr. Venables climb in the Himalayas and a desperate rescue in the toughest of circumstances, hanging at the end of a rope.

Arctic Survival Book

  • David Owingayak
  • Written by an Inuit from northern Canada. Not a lot of details but interesting. I got it some years ago while belonging to a group interested in the authentic way of life of the Inuit, the book was listed and I bought it. I don’t think there is any book that I have not gained something by reading it.

The Complete Walker

  • Colin Fletcher
  • When it comes to walking or hiking it is all in here. Again like the Whole Hiker’s Handbook, this is an older book and while gear itself has changed the art of walking and hiking has not, the principles and values are still there. The goodness one feels is always there.

Lost At Sea

  • Patrick Dillon
  • The tragic story of commercial fishing in the dangerous Bering Sea. Patrick, a journalist digs deeply to find the answers when suddenly two ships are lost without a trace. Very interesting investigation, detailing the lives and dangers in this sort of work, while trying to figure out what went wrong.

Conquest of the North and South Poles

  • Owen
  • This is a classic from my younger days in the old style of reporting the dramatic and dangerous expeditions of men to conquer the desolate poles of the planet.

Ice Island: The Story of Antarctica

  • Frank Xavier Ross
  • Over the years I have read many books about the Antarctic and the Arctic. I am fascinated by the physical features as well as the exploration, the difficulties and the discoveries. This book captures many of those interests.


  • Mors Kochanski
  • Mors was asked to do a book on survival in the Northern Boreal Forests of Canada that would be like Richard Graves book of the same name. Mors does just that. He is meticulous in his detail of just how to do things and teaching what is truly important and what is not. If you read any survival book at all, you must read this one, it is essential.

Stay Alive

  • John D McCann
  • John and his wife have spent their lives involved with survival training and gear. John looks at the important aspects involved in “Staying Alive” in every condition and details his advice, not only his philosophy but a thorough review of current gear.


  • Frank Worsley
  • The story of an Expedition to Antarctica, a two year quest, of their ship the Endurance becoming locked and crushed in the ice and of their long journey of 18 months over ice and freezing seas to rescue. The amazing thing, not a soul of the 25 was lost, astounding even in today’s world. The expedition leader, the famous Sir Ernest Shackleton was determined that not one of his men’s lives would be lost. Shackleton’s spirit, determination, his organizational skills, the social environment he creates and maintains make the voyage a success even though all was lost. Absolutely a must read.

BSA 1911 Handbook for boys

  • BSA
  • It is very interesting reading how boy scouts were trained during this time period, vastly different from today. There are many valuable insights that are lost in today’s curriculum, that still offer great value. Our society has changed and much of what used to be taught is no longer viewed as acceptable. Many of the things from that era would now be environmentally abhorrent. It should be noted that it was taught to be responsible and respectful of nature, it’s just that the window of acceptable behaviors is very much smaller now days. Much valuable information in this book for any survivalist.

A Field Guide to Animal Tracks

  • Olaus Murie
  • I have a copy of his original book, very detailed information based on his extensive work, along with his wife. Modern versions have cataloged the tracks by grouping animals according to their evolution which should make it easier.

Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Trees

  • Elbert L Little
  • First off, I love the field guides and this one on trees is very nice. It is organized to identify trees by many different methods, bark, leaves, blossoms, growth habit. The color plates are very helpful as well

Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Birds

  • Bull and Farrand
  • Although I’m not much of a bird watcher, I would like to be some day. This guide is helpful in determining what it is you see and a little bit about the bird itself. With this book a person could learn a little at a time to identify many birds and make life outdoors a bit more interesting.

Hey I’m Alive

  • Helen Klayben
  • One of the best survival stories I have read. An unlikely newbie to Alaska from NY and a pilot who works in the northern oil fields and flies home to California on his time off. The pilot looking for a passenger to help pay the fuel connects with Helen who is looking for an adventure. The plane crashes and they are left injured in the winter with no more to survive on than a college student takes with him on the bus to class. Forty nine days in the bitter cold with nothing but melted snow for food. Great story, one of my favorites. There is even a TV movie of it from 1975 on YouTube.

**Next is a series of 12 excellent pocket guides by Mors Kochanski**

Two Kilogram Survival Kit Field Manual

  • Mors Kochanski
  • Mors is famous for having tested in every detail all the things he does. His survival kit is the collection to have, it’s not fancy, not a bunch of big name brand gizmo’s, but an odd and highly effective collection of valuable items.

Basic Wilderness Survival in Cold Lacking Snow

  • Mors Kochanski
  • Mors here recognizes the differences inherent in the cold when there is little or no snow to use as a tool against the cold, vs deep snow, which is another guide J

When You Meet a Black Bear

  • Mors Kochanski
  • Having spent so many years in the northern bush Mors experience comes into play not with supposed advice but tried and true tips.

Basic Weather Knowledge

  • Mors Kochanski
  • Why is weather important in survival? Just like in everyday life one of the things we all do every day is check out what the weather is and what is supposed to happen soon. It is helpful in planning what sheltering needs might be, also in planning activities. In another vein, mentally it can be a boost to us.

21 Native Wild Edible Plants

  • Mors Kochanski
  • The plants listed are those common in Mors environment in the northern boreal forests, which makes sense, each of us needs to know the plants around where we normally are active. Many of these plants are pretty widespread, and for some there are varieties in many other places.

Basic Wilderness Survival in Deep Snow

  • Mors Kochanski
  • As mentioned earlier in his booklet on “Cold Lacking Snow” this one is specific in how to use snow to one’s advantage in living in the cold. A valuable resource.

Tools of Survival and Survival Training

  • Mors Kochanski
  • Once again Mors takes on what in the survival world is perhaps the largest market for goods, tools and gear, and makes it all simple and effective. Cutting away at all the supposed “must have” items, he tells simply what is needed and how to effectively use it.

Knife Sharpening

  • Mors Kochanski
  • You haven’t sharpened a knife until you’ve done it like Mors. It is time consuming but perfect, perhaps the reason he doesn’t lend his tools is because of how much time it takes to get them just right and in the hands of the inexperienced they are damaged so quickly.

The Inuit Snow House

  • Mors Kochanski
  • Mors covers the essentials of the Inuit (Eskimo) snow shelter. Learn to do it right by reading his notes and then do what he does, practice, practice, practice.

The Northern Night Sky

  • Mors Kochanski
  • Knowing the stars allows a person to navigate and know where they are. Another effect of this knowledge is it is soothing to gaze at the sky at night and wonder about things, looking at the stars gives an opportunity to relax and put aside temporarily concerns of the day.

Wilderness Steam Bath

  • Mors Kochanski
  • The steam bath is both cleansing and refreshing, and to many also spiritual. When living in the outdoors take advantage of many of the true organic pleasures of life.

Survival Kit Ideas

  • Mors Kochanski
  • This booklet is a broader expanse of items than the “Two Kilogram Survival Kit” up higher on the list. While the 2K kit booklet deals just with what is in that kit, this one talks of concepts and ideas that a person can use to customize their own kit.

Top Seven Knots and the Use of the Windlass

  • Mors Kochanski
  • Mors seven most useful knots and how to make a windlass

**Back to More Regular Books Now**

We Die Alone: A WWII Epic of Escape and Endurance

  • David Howarth, intro by Stephen Ambrose
  • This is the story of Jan Baalsrud and his part as a group of commandos sent back to native Norway to work against the occupying German forces.  The mission was a failure all but Jan lost their lives, many due to betrayal by fellow Norwiegans out of fear of reprisal. What Jan does and that he even survives still amazes me, I did not know a person could endure such as he does. Also a tribute to those who discreetly help him at the very real peril of the lives of them and their families. Excellent book.

Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival

  • Mitchell Zuckoff
  • A plane crashes is remote jungles of Boreo during WWII, it comes to rest in a valley area, not on any map. The area is full of natives oblivious to the outside world, living their own strange sort of existence. With no roads in and so much dense jungle, if they can be found, how on earth can they possibly be rescued, the answer, unheard of.

Edible Wild Plants

  • John Kallas Ph.D
  • John goes in depth to wild plants, choosing to identify the most common and do it in a detailed fashion so even the uneducated can come to know these valuable plants and how to use them. Many pictures.

Woodcraft and Camping

  • “Nessmuk” George Washington Sears
  • Written in the old times when Nessmuk as he was called, viewed city life as corrupt, sickly and vile, and people needed to become “Outers” or those who would take time to get away to the great outdoors, cleanse the lungs of the putrid city air, and the mind from Closter phobic clutter of the day. He presents to the reader an exciting outdoor experience and tips on everything from packing to fishing. He details his camp set up and inventive conveniences. He talks of what he calls “the gospel of relaxation.” Written in his own unique style, it makes for enjoyable reading that will put a smile on your face.

Cody Lundin’s Outdoor Survival Kit

  • Cody Lundin
  • I will freely admit that at first I didn’t want to read a Cody book, just casual observations had put me in a place not to accept his teaching. I wound up getting his book “98.6…” and was pleasantly surprised. His knowledge and presentation was humorous at times but sincere and serious. The same is true in this book, Cody does not have to go with the popular ideas or gear, he tests everything out and what works and what he likes is what gets kept, everything else to the shxxpile, haha. Excellent book. He makes a point of making things hard to lose, bright, flashy.

Native American Survival Skills

  • Ben F Hunt
  • Based entirely on American Indian ways and culture, Ben runs the gamut, making rawhide, knives and sheaths, sandals, various pieces of clothing, along with designs and decorations, Tepees, fires, music, baskets, ladles, snowshoes, sleds, etc. Note there are a lot of culture themes in the book, perhaps more than survival itself, but it’s all good. In long term survival a person needs some games to play, some music of some sort, these social things are really what makes surviving worth the effort.

Alone in the Wilderness

  • Joseph Knowles
  • The author challenges himself to the ultimate in survival and at the end of the road removes all his clothing and dashes off into the woods to survive alone and with nothing for a period of two months. The book follows his progress as he learns to adapt and survive. Interesting reading, it begs the question of each reader, could they do the same?


  • E H Kreps
  • A superior guide to old style camping and gear, how to make it, how to do it. A great book to read.

Wilderness Survival Handbook

  • Michael Pewtherer
  • One of the best books on survival in the outdoors, like most authors he covers all the bases, unlike most authors he gives detail they leave out, many times it’s that detail that is essential to make the ideas work properly. Pewtherer saves us part of the learning curve by his thorough descriptions. To illustrate the point he takes a bit of time instructing in proper methodology of how to defecate in the woods, it may seem funny to some, but I’ve had to learn many things on my own, sometimes an uncomfortable situation.

Outdoor Survival Skills

  • Larry Dean Olson
  • Possibly the first survival skills book I ever read. Larry writes from a great deal of actual experience in learning himself and in training others. He takes you back to starting with nothing and making it all from there. Foraging for food, primitive hunting skills. Everyone should read this book.

Be Expert with Map and Compass

  • Bjorn Kjellstrom
  • One of the best books on Map and Compass. Got this one a long time ago. Used to utilize it for teaching scouts. Instructs on how to navigate with just a map, or just a compass also, good solid instructions. New versions have info on GPS.

Roughing it Easy

  • Dian Thomas
  • When my kids were young this book came along with tons of fun ideas for camp, many practical and inexpensive ideas as well. If you want an adventure camping get this book and try it out.

Roughing it Easy II

  • Dian Thomas
  • The sequel to the above book, much more of the same. If you are tired of doing the same old things out camping year after year get this book and do something new!!

Nutrition in Action

  • Ethel Austin Martin
  • I studied this book way back in the late ’70s’ good foundation knowledge about basic food and nutrition. No longer generally available as far as I can tell, but listed as it was helpful to me in the formative years.

Nutrition and Physical Fitness

  • Bogert, Briggs and Calloway
  • Another book I studied years ago when most of my camping was in the winter, and below zero. This covered the relationship of nutrition and good health especially in stressful situations.

Bushcraft Tips and Tools

  • Tony Nester
  • Tony does a great job of covering the subject in a simple straightforward manner. He draws on his lifelong experience of being in the wilderness, both his own learning and his teaching. He talks about things not mentioned in a lot of books, such as the Cowboy Bed Roll, Air Rifles, Sanitation, Sling Shot, Canvas Wall Tent, Poncho with Wool Blanket.
  • The book is not long, but is packed with good information and example stories.

Survival Gear You Can Live With

  • Tony Nester
  • I have read lots of books dealing with survival kits and gear, many being very wordy and all inclusive, some examining most of the items on the market, Tony in his usual style is to the point, he quickly and effectively details what in his experience he likes. He does a basic kit and a more extensive one. He mentions each item with a paragraph of info on each. He wraps things up with some stories.
  • This book is about an hour read, well worth it.


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