Vintage 1966 “Personal and Family Survival” Handbook

This is one of the most bizarre finds I’ve ever stumbled upon while thrifting – a US Department of Defense handbook written in 1966 titled “Personal and Family Survival”. The introduction starts with “This manual is for your use in the Civil Defense Adult Education course. It can serve also as a basic home reference for personal preparedness.”…then continues “This manual can be a key to your survival. Your knowledge, interest and actions can help your family and your community meet emergencies, whether they result from an enemy attack or natural disaster.” How on earth could I not pick this gem up?

Some of my favorite sections are “Effects of an Example 5-Megaton Surface Burst”, “Protective Measures Against Gamma Radiation”, and “Psychological Aspects of Community Shelter Occupancy”. There are also suggestions on how to pass the time if you are in a group shelter after nuclear fallout with types of “Shelter Amusements” and “Religious Activities”.

Now, in case you are a “Home Handyman”, there is also a whole area in the book about building your own personal fallout shelter in your own home, complete with a pantry list to stock.

Don’t forget the ever important salt and candy! Those are essential to survival!

The illustrated shelter supply page is also really helpful. I especially love the drawing of the “Human Waste” bucket.

And there are plenty of ideas for building a shelter in your home. I’d vote for the one within your basement bar, personally. But don’t forget to add liquor to your pantry list then!

Though I’m not sure all the plans would make a shelter that would actually save your life. Something tells me some dressers and a kiddie pool isn’t up to the challenge of a nuclear blast. But what do I know? The US office of Civil Defense obviously knows best.