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Survival Bookshelf: Making the Best of Basics, Family Preparedness Handbook Version 12.5

“Basics… is the decoder ring to help those who want to protect their family from the effects of emergencies and disasters – whether natural, people-caused, or personal. We live in a great country. We can still choose what we want out of life. I have faith that it will continue for my children and hope it will always be so for their children!” -James Talmage Stevens


With more than 800,000 print copies sold, Making the Best of Basics is sometimes called “The Consumer’s Guide to the Preparedness Industry.” First published in 1974, the thick handbook contains ten sections and twenty-nine chapters (listed below.) In a recent conversation, Mr. Stevens told me that his book is about “butter rather than guns,” meaning that he chose to focus on building a prepared pantry, medicine cabinet, library, and household convenient store, allowing other resources to speak to the topic of firearms. I especially appreciate the detailed Tables in the front section of the book, that include: Table of Recipes and Directions, and; Table of Charts, Illustrations, Worksheets, Quick-Lists, Quick-Plans, and Quick Guides. The charts, references, and step-by-step how-to documents are too numerous to mention. Among my favorites are: Chapter 6, which describe the creation of a Family Preparedness Notebook; Chapter 7, on In-Home Storage; and Chapter 27, “Creating a Preparedness Library.”

Making the Best of Basics

Making the Best of Basics is a must for any Survival Bookshelf, even for those who have been practicing survival and preparedness for many years. A glance at the Table of Contents below indicates the “Why’s and How’s” of this fantastic resource.

Section I – A Preparedness Lifestyle

Chapter 1: The Wake-Up Call

Chapter 2: The Time to Prepare is Now!

Chapter 3: Preparedness Lifestyle

Chapter 4: The Path to Family Preparedness

Section II – Starting Your Preparedness Lifestyle

Chapter 5: 72-Hr. E/PAK – Emergency Preparedness Action Kit

Chapter 6: Getting Your Household in Order – Family Preparedness Household Notebook

Section III – Setting Up Your In-Home Convenience Store

Chapter 7: In-Home Storage – A Basic Strategy for Family Preparedness

Chapter 8: In-Home Convenience Store

Chapter 9: Managing Long-Term Storage – Basics of Storage Problems and Solutions

Section IV – Beginning Basics

Chapter 10: Water – the Absolute Basic

Chapter 11: Basics of Dairy Products from Powdered Milk

Chapter 12: Basic Sprouting Guide – Healthy Kitchen Gardening

Chapter 13: Basics of Honey Use

Section V – Wheat Basics 

Chapter 14: Wheat – The Basic Grain

Chapter 15: Basics of Whole-Wheat Flour Cookery

Chapter 16: Basics of “WheatMeat Cookery”

Chapter 17: Basics of Sourdough Cookery

Chapter 18: Basics of White Flour Cookery

Chapter 19: Basics of Triticale Flour Cookery

Section VI – Back to Basics

Chapter 20: Basics of In-Home Drying – Dehyrdrating Fruits and Vegetables

Chapter 21: Basics of Preparing Game Meats, Fish, and Fowl

Chapter 22: Energy and Fuels Storage

Section VII – Basics of Preparedness Self-Health

Chapter 23: Basics of Supplementation – Vitamins, Minerals, & Herbs

Chapter 24: Basics of Battling Stress – How to Reduce Stress and Pain

Chapter 25: Basics of Essential Oils

Chapter 26: Basics of Genetic Engineering

Section VIII – Basics Library

Chapter 27: Creating a Preparedness Library

Section IX – Creating a Precious Metals Strategy

Chapter 28: Acquiring Gold & Silver

Section X – Collapse Medicine Strategy

Chapter 29: Basics of Medical Survival

SurvivalNation recommends the addition of this encyclopedia to every preparedness stash. For those interested, James “Dr. Prepper” Stevens’ handbook can be purchased here, with more  information to be found at





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Video: Long Term Food Storage with Mylar Bags and a Vacuum Sealer