Chapter 5 – Reference Books

Good medical reference books are vital. The following is a list in two parts. First are books I think are a really solid starting point for a survival medicine library and then a selection of other useful medical books with varying strengths and weaknesses. What you prefer is to a great extent personal opinion. Most can be obtained from any university book shop, Paladin Press or from There are titles and authors for all books, but only ISBN’s and approximate prices (US$) for some.

5.1 Must Haves

  1. Where There is No Doctor. By Werner. Hesperian Foundation 1992 $17 If you buy no other medical book, you must have this one. This is the must-have of survival medicine; it WILL save lives. Although slanted to the third world (= TEOTW…. environment ?) and the tropics, it contains the essential basics of all aspects of medicine.
  2. A good medical dictionary.
  3. An Anatomy and Physiology reference.
  4. Where There is No Dentist. By Dickson. Hesperian Foundation 1983, $9 The only book of its kind. Very good. Dental care is a very under-estimated survival problem.
  5. An emergency medicine reference
  6. A drug reference guide
    • In USA – Physicians Desk reference
    • In UK – British National Formulary
    • In Aust – PIMS
    • In NZ – New Ethicals catalogue
  7. Ditch Medicine. Coffee. Paladin press. $25 Vital for basic emergency surgical procedures and a stepping stone into more advanced stuff
  8. A Herbal/Medicinal Plant guide to your area. The basis of most of the modern drugs is in plants and large numbers have potent medicinal properties. Also local indigenous peoples often have books about their traditional medicine. You need to be careful separating out what’s useful and what’s not, but it may be very valuable in a major long term event.A good starting point :

5.2 General Books

(* = my recommendations)