250+ Books That Will Help Rebuild Civilization

250+ Books That Will Help Rebuild Civilization By Anonymous 411 – The Organic Prepper

TDC Note – The author of this article, Anonymous 411, is a fan of The Walking Dead. In episode 12/Season 8, there is a small group that show up at the main camp with a book filled with the plans how to rebuild society.

In any world-wide disaster that causes civilization to collapse, it is possible that 90% of the world’s population will die. It will be hard to rebuild civilization because most of those will be older people, many of whom will have been educated in and have many years of experience in useful subjects such as

  • engineering
  • medicine
  • farming
  • construction
  • mechanics
  • oil industry
  • electrical generation and transmission
  • manufacturing
  • rail and shipping transportation
  • operating machine tools

And that’s just to name a few.

With all that knowledge and experience lost, it will be impossible to restart civilization where we were before the disaster struck. Most facilities powering life as we know it, such as oil refineries, power plants, hospitals, factories, etc. may be damaged beyond use or even totally destroyed.

Hopefully, the assemblage of knowledge presented in these articles will help civilization fall only as far as the late 1800s or early 1900s. The alternative is back to the dark ages, or worse. The point is that many or most of our tools and machines will likely have to be recreated from scratch.

I’ve never seen any articles that look beyond just surviving a TEOTWAWKI (The End Of The World As We Know It) event. I have read only one book on the subject. This article provides a collection of information that could otherwise be lost forever.

Where are you and what is your life like if you survive that magic first year?

What if you are one of the 10% of humankind left? How far will your lifestyle have fallen in historical terms?

Most of the industrially skilled folks will be either be scratching the dirt to eat or be dead. It’s very unlikely you could pull together enough skilled people to restart an existing oil refinery, and even if you did where would you bring the crude oil from? The same goes for electric power plants and the fuel for them. With no fuel for internal combustion engines and power plants, how far will the technological base for humankind fall?

Water wheels and later steam engines powered the Industrial Revolution. Water wheels wouldn’t be too difficult to build if you have a book containing the mathematics of water wheel efficiency. An electric motor turned backward will generate electricity, or so I’ve read, and you could connect that to a water wheel. But you better get a book on that to make it work correctly. How do you make a steam engine relief valve or pressure gauge so your boiler doesn’t explode destroying your engine and killing the operators? I don’t know. Do you?

So we must preserve this knowledge ahead of time.

Now, while that knowledge is still available. See Part 2 of this series for the means to safely store PDFs and other electronic files. This knowledge breaks down into three major groups.

Natural Resources

Where are the mines and reserves of minerals such as iron, copper, aluminum and many, many more? How do you refine that into an industrially usable product? Where are the petroleum and natural gas wells? How do you safely harvest these energy products?

Then, there are trees for lumber, paper, and more products. Cutting lumber is easy enough if you have the right tools. Making paper is more complex.

Preppers pretty well have food crops and medicinal herbs covered and domesticated animals too if domesticated animals aren’t near extinct after that terrible first year of starvation of the masses. There are also non-food plants such and cotton and many more.

Preservation of Existing Knowledge

Modern knowledge that must be preserved breaks down into six broad categories:

  1. The Basics: Reading, writing, history, etc. A complete set of homeschooling books will be needed here. Our children as yet unborn must learn the basics, from elementary school through high school, or they won’t understand the advanced material below.
  2. Science:  Particularly the physical sciences such as chemistry, physics, and many more.
  3. Mathematics:  All types of mathematics, not just the basics.
  4. Engineering: There are many fields of engineering including chemical, civil, electrical, industrial, mechanical, mining and more.
  5. Medicine: Yes, the advanced diagnostics machines of today will be gone, but humankind will still need medical professionals and medicines.
  6. Machines: Generating electricity, petroleum refining, communications, transportation, etc. All of these machines must be rebuilt unless we want to live in the dark ages.

The History of Technology

If we are indeed forced to rebuild much from scratch, we must save the knowledge of how to build metal machines with the technology of the industrial revolution. I have 140 books, in PDF form, that describe how to make basic parts like threaded metal screws, bolts, nuts and much more. But nothing on how to make the machine tools to make these parts. Nothing on the design, including detailed construction drawings, construction techniques, operator’s manuals and repair manuals for screw making machines. This only scratches the surface.

Google, Microsoft, and others have copied millions of old books on which the copyright has expired, copyrighted material prior to 1923, and non-copyrighted material into PDF files. Many of these old books can be downloaded for free at archive.org. Others are available at Google books and other sites.

Are all of the required books necessary to recreate the manufacturing technology at the start of the Industrial Revolution (circa 1760) and since out there now? If so, I haven’t found them, yet. Or, have the super-rich at Google, Microsoft, Facebook and the other “robber barons” of the modern age hidden away all the most important books for their own use?

In all honesty, it may be that construction plans and drawings on machine tools and many other machines were never published because that was considered proprietary material at the time and was discarded when the machines became obsolete. In this case, old machines will have to be found and reverse engineered for the purpose of developing plans, specifications, and drawings to reproduce each machine. This applies to far more than just machine tools. How do you build a horse-drawn wagon, agricultural machinery, a steam engine, and tens of thousands of other machines?

I do know that I can’t find, collect and disseminate all of this knowledge alone. It’s just too big of a project for one person, or even a small handful of people. There needs to be a non-profit entity founded, with donations, volunteer workers, paid staff, offices, a library of physical books purchased, books on PDF found and downloaded some of which should be printed out, warehouse space, reverse engineering facilities and the drawings created and manuals written for old machines plus machine shops of old and modern tools to recreate the old machines. I’ve given this a lot of thought and will share these thoughts and some of the books and materials I have collected to date in this and the remaining three parts of this series.

Part 7 of this series will be about how to gather existing knowledge. Basically, search Wikipedia for the basic articles on the six categories listed above, download the PDF of each related page and check the footnotes for industry standard reference books that can be purchased. Textbooks, workbooks, and lab manuals will also be needed on each subject. The cost of buying these books will be beyond everyday people. Hence, the need for a non-profit entity and donations. I will present a partial list of subjects with links to the top Wikipedia articles on the subjects.

Part 8 of this series will discuss ideas and some links on gathering the history of technology.

Part 9 of this series will discuss some ideas on restoring civilization using the stored material and ideas on organizing and operating a non-profit entity to gather and disseminate this knowledge.


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Please feel free to share any information from this site in part or in full, leaving all links intact, giving credit to the author and including a link to this website and the following bio. Daisy Luther is a single mom who lives in a small village in the mountains of Northern California, where she homeschools her youngest daughter and raises veggies, chickens, and a motley assortment of dogs and cats. She is a best-selling author who has written several books, including The Organic Canner, The Pantry Primer: A Prepper's Guide to Whole Food on a Half-Price Budget, and The Prepper's Water Survival Guide: Harvest, Treat, and Store Your Most Vital Resource. Daisy is a prolific blogger who has been widely republished throughout alternative media. On her website, The Organic Prepper, Daisy uses her background in alternative journalism to provide a unique perspective on health, self-reliance, personal liberty, and preparedness. You can follow her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter