On books: The "end of the world" library

greenspun.com : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Stan Faryna asked a question about what I was reading. In a few spare moments, I tried to create a small end of the world library. Please feel free suggest additions, deletions or quibble with my reviews. If you need sources on where to purchase the books, just ask.


The Encyclopedia of Country Living, Carla Emery **** If you want to practice country living (or prepare for Y2K) and can afford one book, this is it.

"Five Acres and Independence," Maurice Kains ** A solid guide for practical, small-scale farming.

"The Good Life," Scott & Helen Nearing ** Ill pass on the socialist rhetoric, but theres plenty of good self reliance information along the way.

"The New Way Things Work," David Macauly **** This book is hard to put down. A delight.

"How to Grow More Vegetables," John Jeavons ** A primer on the biodynamic method of gardening in clear prose.

"Where There is No Doctor," David Werner * No review.

U.S. Army Survival Manual, FM 21-76 *** Uncle Sams guide to stayin alive.


"Robinson Crusoe," Daniel Defoe *** The original Y2K survivor.

"The Portable Thoreau," edited works of Henry David Thoreau **** Readable, enjoyable, calming.

"Follow the River," James Alexander Thom *** A great story about the human spirit.

"Deliverance," James Dickey **** Classic that just made B&N top 100 of century list.

"Alas, Babylon," Pat Frank ** Dated read about post-nuclear war life in central Florida.

"Lucifers Hammer," Larry Niven &Jerry Pournelle *** Far better than the recent asteroid/comet disaster movies.

"The Stand," Stephen King *** I found myself enjoying this dark, complex book.

"Survive the Savage Sea," Dougal Robertson *** A sea-going version of Follow the River.

"Lord of the Flies," William Golding ** If you only read this book because you had to, try it again.

"Death in the Long Grass," Peter Capstick **** Not Ortega y Gassett, but very good hunting stories.

I know I missed many classics of adventure and survival, not to mention a very slim reference section.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 21, 1999


Decker, you are a closet doomer, or a confused polly. Either way, equally sad.

P.S. loved "Lord Of The Flies". Shows what can happen when society misfires.

-- Still (Still@trying.com), May 21, 1999.

Thanks, Decker, I wasn't familiar with some of those.

Sheeze, some people around here sure do hold a grudge.

-- Shimrod (Shimrod@lycosmail.com), May 21, 1999.

Just a couple more for the list.........

"Swan Song", Robert R. McCammon. Excellent book!
"Warday : And the Journey Onward", Whitley Strieber, James Kunetka. Out of print, but if you can find a used copy, well worth the trouble.
"On The Beach", Nevil Shute
"The Postman", David Brin. Much better then the piece of crap Costner movie.

-- bookworm (wiggle@worm..com), May 21, 1999.

Also recommend the Endymion series (4 books) by Dan Simmons.

And a slightly different list, for those with batteries, I'd like to start with Montana by Frank Zappa.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), May 21, 1999.

Shimrod, i am a "fan" of Mr. "regards" Decker. I appreciate his views and opinions.

I especially appreciate his views of what we may face if this turns into a shooting type of thing. Most people reading postings on this forum do not have a clue as to what it would be like under those conditions."They" need to read and understand what Mr. Decker is saying. What Mr. Decker is saying is that most of them would not survive a "10" scenario. That includes people like Andy, Cory, etc.

Best that we all hope it does not get bad. If it does, people will be facing people like me and Mr Decker. I just hope I don't have to face off with Mr. Decker. :-)


-- Still (Still@trying.com), May 21, 1999.

Thanks for the responses. Didn't really care for "The Postman" (book or film) or "On The Beach."

I grew up in rural Montana. For me, the small public library in town was better than King Solomon's Mines. I read everything on the shelves and developed what looks to be a lifelong habit.

There are some decent books in the genre of "apocalyptic fiction." And enjoying an afternoon read of "Lucifer's Hammer" does not make me a "doomer." (laughter)

The "reference" books I mention are just handy to have around. I keep little fiction in my library--they roll in and out like the tide. Reference tomes, though, are worth collecting. In fact, someone mentioned "The Pocket Reference" on an earlier thread. It's a small, black book packed dense with information. Another recommendation is the "The Millenium Whole Earth Catalog." You'll find many good resources listed within.


-- Mr. Decker (kcdecker@worldnet.att.net), May 21, 1999.

Mr Decker:

The Postman was one of Brin's weaker efforts. You may enjoy his 'Uplift' series better.

-- Flint (flintc@mindspring.com), May 21, 1999.

Thanks for the list. Mr. Decker and other bookies for the lists.

Continuing the Good Life by Helen and Scott Nearing is good too. It shows you how much people can accomplish when they are past the prime of life and have to move to a new location. Lots of good practical advice, especially for people living in cold areas.

The Last Ship by David Brinkley, a great story about a nuclear bomb and the only survivors are a ship and a submarine. They have to eventually get off the ship and make a garden, among other things.

A Gift Upon the Shore by M.K. Wren is my favorite. Also nuclear explosion. A great story about two women making it alone, contending first with road warriors, demanding work, lonliness, and finally dealing with a fundamentalist group into control and penance. One of the interesting things they do is try and save as many books as they can for future generations.

Follow the River is by far the best of the bunch, because it's based on a real woman's life. You will never forget it.

In Search of the Simple Life by David Shi, covers everyone that has ever chosen the simple life from Puritans to Ecologists. This is a keeper.


Malevile by Robert Merle (I think). He wrote Day of the Dolphin. The setting is France and another nulear disaster. Somewhat dated, but how the few remaining survivors handles work, religion, disputes and dealing with other surviving groups.

-- gilda (jess@listbot.com), May 21, 1999.

"Into the Forest", by Jean Hegland

-- Jim Morris (prism@bevcomm.net), May 21, 1999.

I also have a couple of suggestions:

Boy Scout Field Manual

a good boat repair manual (for your type boat)

a good manual on growing mushrooms

-- Mad Monk (madmonk@hawaiian.net), May 21, 1999.

And the best combination survival/end of the world book?

The Bible.

-- Bonnie Camp (bonniec@mail.odyssey.net), May 21, 1999.

The Bible,

the Book of Common Prayer

Rodale's All-New Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening and Farming.

The Organic Gardener's Handbook of Natural Insect and Disease Control, Ellis and Bradley (eds).

Handy Farm Devices and How to Make Them, Rolfe Cobleigh

How to Build and Furnish a Log Cabin, W. Ben Hunt

Tom Brown's Field Guide to Wilderness Survival, Tom Brown Jr & Brandt Morgan.

Live Off the Land in City and Country, Ragnar Benson with Devon Christensen

Trapping North American Furbearers, S. Stanley Hawbaker

Nuclear War Survival Skills, Cresson H. Kearny

Frugal Squirrel's entire collection of CD-ROMs which include every pertinent military manual available.

Kurt Saxon's CD-ROM containing all volumes of The Poor Man's James Bond, Poor Man's Armorer, etc.


-- Arlin H. Adams (ahadams@ix.netcom.com), May 21, 1999.

Hmmmmm.....been a long time since I read Lucifer's Hammer. Carla's Encyclopedia (a treasured early edition gifted from an elderly friend) is always by my bed and 5 Acres' pages are turned now and then. Did I miss something or does nobody else find Aldou (sp?) Huxley's "Brave New World" fascinating? I recall the point when the water finally stops pouring from the taps.....

Loved "The Stand" especially the unabridged version. Read "On the Beach".....didn't enjoy it as much as "No Runway".

I am interested in reading several of the books you all listed today.....thanks for sharing the ideas.


-- Kristi (securx@Succeed.Net), May 21, 1999.

Hey thanks again!

Several of you mentioned "Follow the River" and it jiggled an old memory of reading it as a teenager and I LOVED it! Will have to hunt down an old copy.....

-- Kristi (securx@Succeed.Net), May 21, 1999.

I think the book choices so far have spoken volumes about the likelyhood of most here making it out the other side - I'd say your chances of long-term survival are nil, for the most part. Lots of fiction, but no books on machinery (apart from Decker's "Way Things Work"), or machining, or building-using a forge, or metallurgy. Nothing on electronics or chemistry.

Do you want to rebuild, or are you planning on just ekeing out a marginal existence forever?

-- . (.@...), May 22, 1999.

Hi --

I work as part of a team - not solo. Already have electronics person, mechanical engineering person, and so on. Team/neighborhood/ community efforts have a much higher chance of pulling it out and rebuilding than do individuals...just better odds, you know?


-- Arlin H. Adams (ahadams@ix.netcom.com), May 22, 1999.

The FoxFire books (1 thru 10). Full of how-to-do-it's needed to live off-grid.

No Blade of Grass, by John Christopher. O.p. Available used through Advanced Book Exchange

Year of the Quiet Sun, by Wilson Tucker. Available at amazon.

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), May 22, 1999.

Mr. Decker,

Your list is interesting. Looks like there are quite a few books that I would like to add to my library (which is still in boxes more than a year after our move). With all these excellent recommendations (by you and the others) on "smart living" and survival, I would like to recommend an entirely different breed of books that may offer insight into things that will be overlooked in their haste to live smartly.

Below is just a few recommendations...

Easy Reading

Mortimer Alder and Charles Van Duren, How to read a book. It seems to me most people these days don't really know how to read a good book.

Jacques Maritain, Person and the Common Good. This puts silly social contract essays to shame and will help you gain clarity regarding the nature of the relationship between a government and those governed.

Ralph Abernathy, And the Walls Came Tumbing Down. Read this book and steel yourself against the temptations of a tyranny and other evils.

Difficult Reading

Aristotle, The Nichomachean Ethic. A better book on human behavior and action than the bad feed taught in the various psychology departments.

Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica (5 vols), translated by the English Dominican Province): an answer for more than a thousand often unanswered (or hastily answered) questions on human life and living.

Claes G. Ryn, Democracy and Ethical Life: A Philosophy of Politics and Community. Important things to be considered if you will be a leader.

-- Stan Faryna (info@giglobal.com), May 22, 1999.

An excellent book I found at Barnes and Noble, which would be very helpful if you had to leave the city quickly, is How to Survive on Land and Sea, by Frank C. Craighead, Jr. and John J. Craighead; revised by Ray E. Smith and D. Shiras Jarvis.

This would be the book to add to a bug-out bag.

-- Kevin (mixesmusic@worldnet.att.net), May 22, 1999.

"Crash Helmets - Theory, Design and Application To Automobile Safety" by M. Aroon

"Pomposity - Theory and Practice" by R. Egards-laughing

"Bad Advice To Live By - The Millennium Edition" by K. Now-nothing

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), May 22, 1999.

One of the best "collapse of civilization" books I ever read was Power Play, by Kenneth Cameron. It is about the power grid going down in the Northeastern U.S.

Very plausible scenarios of daily encounters, cause and effect, etc. It is every bit as good as Alas, Babylon or Lucifer's Hammer. I have no idea why it did'nt sell as well as the other two doomsday "classics".

-- Darrell Taylor (dtaylor@answers2000.com), May 22, 1999.

Dear "@", (if you even glance back this far)

Your point is understood but I don't think you should underestimate the value of the "fantasy" books listed here - they force people to imagine scenarios, but most of all gives us hope. Personally I am a junkie for gargage sale finds of technical books, foreign language lesson books, old medical/veterinary texts, etc. My husband teases me but I won't ever give up. By the way, have your read "Farenheit 454"?

Thanks for the prod,


-- Kristi (securx@Succeed.Net), May 22, 1999.

I like Gene Logsdon a lot, especially his "The Contrary Farmer", "The Contrary Farmer's Invitation to Gardening", and "Homesteading". I have an interlibrary loan call out for his "Practical Skills" which is supposed to be very good too.

I agree with everyone on "Follow the River." I was disappointed with "Lucifer's Hammer."

Gotta go plant some blueberries.

-- David Palm (djpalm64@yahoo.com), May 22, 1999.

Well as an avid book nut let me add a couple

Survival in the 21st century Author Viktoras Kulvinskas http://www.clark.net/pub/mdclingm/veg-raw/kulvinskas-interview.html

For the Cold

Lost in the Barrens - Farley Mowat

The Woodburners Encyclopedia - Vermont Crossroads Press

Harrowsmith Sourcebook - James Lawrence

Call of the wild - Jack London (any book from Jack London)

Doomer books

Revelations - divine author

Worlds in Collision - Imanuall Velikofscy (SP?)

-- Brian (imager@home.com), May 22, 1999.

Kristi, Farenheit 451, yes, superb, let's all hope we never need to burn books for warmth :)

-- Andy (2000EOD@prodigy.net), May 22, 1999.

Add Way Things Work #1 if you can find it, as it will give you a better start at rebuilding, if such is to be our lot.


-- Chuck, a night driver (rienzoo@en.com), May 22, 1999.

More books to grow by:

EASY READING Up from Slavery, Booker T. Washington. Born a slave, the founder of the Tuskeegee Insitute and the national black business man's league, he recounts his life with an emphasis on education, industriousness and self-reliance.

The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis. An enjoyable feast of the thinking of temptors and the means of temptation.

The Everlasting Man, G. K. Chesterton. for Gilbert Chesterton, a truth is a truth... and no comment on a truth can ever stop a truth from remaining a truth.

DIFFICULT READING Gabriel Marcel's Perspectives on the Broken World, Gabriel Marcel and Katharine Rose Hanley. For a better understanding of one's self and life.

Love and Responsibility, Karol Wojtyla and H.T. Willetts (Translator). For a better understanding of human relationship.

The Complete Works of William Shakespeare, William Shakespeare. You can't live by TVP alone!

-- Stan Faryna (info@giglobal.com), May 23, 1999.

My library includes a healthy dose of Ayn Rand, for this thread "Atlas Shrugged" would be appropriate. I, too, have been borrowing books on interlibrary loan (not just to read but also to see if they are worth purchasing!) and finally received "How to Live Without Electricity---and Like It" by Anita Evangelista. So far at 1/3 through it appears to be fairly practical and full of good information. I might not need to buy it after I read. Thank goodness for interlibrary loan, I live in SC and this came from AZ!


-- Lisa P. (lkvp@awod.com), June 08, 1999.


Anita contributes here from time to time. You can thank her by purchasing the book - if you feel it has contributed positively to your life now &/or in the future.

And thanks for bumping this thread to the top. Guess I'll have to contribute my list now...though most of my choices are already listed.

-- Bingo1 (howe9@pop.shentel.net), June 08, 1999.

great list, people, thanx!

if you want fiction that covers ethics, integrity, and adapting to fast-changing (not always in your favor) circumstances, there are too many by Robert A. Heinlein to list. Tunnel in the Sky, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, a couple of my favorites.

-- Cowardly Lion (cl0001@hotmail.com), June 09, 1999.

One more Heinlein short story from "The Menace from Earth" ,'The Year of the Jackpot', gets so close to our current situation, failing water, solar flares/sun spots, nuclear weapons, computers, and it was copywritten in 1952!

-- Roger (pecosrog@earthlink.net), June 27, 1999.

I think I have figured out what my marketable "skill" will be if TSHTF next year. Traveling librarian. I have several thousand books - and love to read. My two recommendations to this distinguished list?

The Thomas Covenant Series and the entire Dune Saga.

-- justme (finally@home.com), June 27, 1999.

Edible Wild Plants by Lee Allen Peterson ISBN 0-395-31870-x paperback

-- && (&&@&&.&), June 27, 1999.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ