I just read FM 21-76 for the first time and now I understand why it is considered a classic among survival books. After 40 years, the United States Military still uses it because the lessons inside are timeless. This book will teach you how to build makeshift shelters, procure food and water, cook a meal, identify edible and poisonous plants, avoid dangerous animals, treat wounds and illness, navigate with the sun and stars, make weapons and equipment, and much more.

The FM 21-76  was originally printed by the Department of the Army to train soldiers to survive in any type of climate or terrain, especially when trapped behind enemy lines. Although it is more geared toward wilderness survival, most of the lessons are just as applicable in an urban survival situation. The drawings are in black and white, but they are clear and there are plenty of them. If you’re looking to add some survival books to your library, this should be a top priority. Here’s a look at the table of contents:

  • Chapter 1 – Introduction
  • Chapter 2 – Psychology of Survival
  • Chapter 3 – Survival Planning and Kits
  • Chapter 4 – Basic Survival Medicine
  • Chapter 5 – Shelters
  • Chapter 6 – Water Procurement
  • Chapter 7 – Firecraft
  • Chapter 8 – Food Procurement
  • Chapter 9 – Survival Use of Plants
  • Chapter 10 – Poisonous Plants
  • Chapter 11 – Dangerous Animals
  • Chapter 12 – Field-Expedient Weapons and Tools
  • Chapter 13 – Desert Survival
  • Chapter 14 – Tropical Survival
  • Chapter 15 – Cold Weather Survival
  • Chapter 16 – Sea Survival
  • Chapter 17 – Expedient Water Crossings
  • Chapter 18 – Field-Expedient Direction Finding
  • Chapter 19 – Signaling Techniques
  • Chapter 20 – Survival Movement in Hostile Areas
  • Chapter 21 – Camouflage
  • Chapter 22 – Contact With People
  • Chapter 23 – Survival in Man-Made Hazards

As you can see, a lot is covered and there is not a single bit of fluff, so an incredible amount of information is packed into just over 200 pages. It is also the best value for your money. There are some newer editions that cost more, but it’s all the same information so I recommend getting an older one. You can find them for just a few dollars at amazon.com. Or you can just visit the eBooks Page and get the PDF. It’s under the Official Manuals category.

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One Year Urban Survival Plan