FM 21-76 U.S. Army Survival Manual
This military classic is so thorough in its coverage of nearly every situation one might encounter, that it's a bit overwhelming at first. It uses survival as an acronym, with the S symbolizing a need to size up your situation, surroundings, condition and equipment. The U tells you to use your senses. The R reminds you to remember where you are. The V advises you to vanquish fear and panic. The I encourages you to improvise. The V prompts you to value life. The A tells you to act like the locals. And the L instructs you to learn the basics. The topics in FM 21-76 range from survival psychology to medicine, shelter, fire, environments, hazards, food and water, navigation and signaling, escape and evasion and man-made threats. Although "Equipped To Survive" gives it three stars, on survivalist forums it's a popular choice.
SAS Survival Guide
John Wiseman of Britain's elite Special Air Service first published this guide in 1986. He was an SAS survival instructor, and the tactics he taught them were proven in exercises and operations throughout the world. Wiseman's book is well-organized into sections that deal with survival essentials (including water), climate and terrain, food, camp craft, reading signs, traveling, sea survival, rescue, health and disaster strategies. The SAS Survival Guide packs a lot of information into a compact size and it's an excellent value at under $10. "Equipped To Survive" gives it a solid four stars.
Tom Brown's Field Guide (Wilderness Survival)
Tom Brown Jr. is an accomplished tracker and woodsman who founded one of the largest wilderness survival schools in America. He learned his skills from Stalking Wolf, one of the last surviving Apache scouts. Apache scouts were the elite warriors among the Indian tribes and their remarkable skills and abilities made them legends. Tom Brown Jr. brings a unique perspective to wilderness survival, and the knowledge he shares has been proven by native Americans over hundreds of years. He thoroughly covers the survival essentials, but his tips on tracking animals and making the best use of resources are invaluable. This field guide earns a four-star rating from "Equipped To Survive."
The Art Of Shen Ku
The Art Of Shen Ku earns its place in this group by dealing with a wider range of topics than all the others. Not only is it a survival guide, it's a life handbook. It's called "the ultimate travelers guide of this planet," and its atlas-size 256 pages are packed with information and detailed illustrations. Whatever your interest, whether it's assembling a survival kit, building a shelter, hunting game, self defense, gardening, cooking, navigation, child rearing, coping with natural disasters, alternative medicine, exercise or even making your own clothes, this book has you covered. It also includes a detailed index that makes everything easy to find.
One Acre & Security
Bradford Angier's timeless classic on country living is an exhaustive guide to self-reliance. It isn't concerned with short-term survival but on the skills you need to live off the land. Bradford Angier earned the nickname "Mr. Outdoors" as a prominent voice of the back-to-the-earth movement in the 1960s and '70s. In One Acre & Security, he covers everything you need to know about setting up a homestead in the country, from building a cabin, to gardening, raising livestock, hunting and fishing, bee keeping, foraging and selling your produce. This is self-sufficiency at its best.