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A bookish gift guide for the rich survivalist on your list.

The uncertain state of the world has people diving for security, from the paranoid few who are stashing gold in their backyards to the “preppers” with basements full of dehydrated food, water filtration systems, and ammunition.

While we’ve offered up some reading suggestions for doomsday preppers in the past, that’s not exactly the target audience for this particular gift guide.

No, this list is for that one weird uncle who seems like he should always be wearing a monocle and pith helmet and who has a hall of hunting trophies. This list is for your cousin who is surprisingly adept at throwing axes and who brews his own beer.

This gift guide is for the Ernest Hemingway in your life. It should help you find the perfect gift for someone both rugged yet appreciative of the finer things.

Image of book that opens to reveal a hidden compartment with shot glass, penknife, jagermeister, and other handy tools.
“Non-book, containing essential survival tools,” listed by Antiquariaat Schierenberg

Secret Book Stash (Germany, ca 1938-50)


Listed by Antiquariaat Schierenberg

Non-book, containing essential survival tools. Inside is a compass in a wooden box, an Austrian stainless steel Imco Triplex windproof lighter, a vintage French Laguiole folded knife, an octagonal glass, and a small, full bottle with leather cover and bronze vignette with mother-of-pearl inlay mounted, and an original bottle cap with an early Jägermeister logo.

I’m not sure that Jagermeister and shot glasses are essential survival tools, but I’m willing to debate the issue. Besides, what better to bring to the apocalypse than a bit of class?

Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail by Theodore Roosevelt


Listed by Raptis Rare Books

New York: The Century Company, 1899. Early printing of Roosevelt’s fascinating account of the West. Original cloth, profusely illustrated by Frederick Remington. A detailed, wide-ranging look at life in western America by the future president from his ranch on Little Missouri, covering the range, the ranch, the round-up, and much more.

Teddy Roosevelt was a hunter and rancher before he was the President of the United States from 1901 to 1909.

Illustrated Japanese manuscript book of hunting and shooting scenes


Listed by James Cummins Bookseller

Japan, 1611. 42 finely painted panels on high-quality paper, all bordered in gold, accordion folds, measuring 21,510 x 245 mm in length. This manuscript was prepared for hunters of the samurai class as an aid to marksmanship.

Simply a gorgeous, impressive, and unique piece of art relating to the history of firearms.

Horse Racing: La Course de Chevaux


Listed by Donald Heald Rare Books

London: Edward Orme, 1807. Aquatint engraving by Samuel Howitt – a fine image from ‘Orme’s Collection of British Field Sports’: “the finest and most important sporting book of the last two centuries”

Samuel Howitt was a “genius, artist, sportsman”, and concentrated his considerable artistic talents on picturing scenes of horse racing and hunting in all its aspects.

The Compleat Angler by Izaak Walton


Listed by Nudelman Rare Books

Chiswick: Carodoc Press, 1905. Exquisitely bound full dark green crushed morocco binding by Riviere with a bold gilt-blocked scene of swimming fish in a pool with stylized water flowers and leaf patterning. T

The Compleat Angler was first published in 1653, but Walton continued to add to it for a quarter of a century. It is a well-loved celebration of the art and spirit of fishing in prose and verse. After the Bible and Shakespeare, The Compleat Angler remains one of the most reprinted books in the English language.

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