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Out of the Ashes (Ashes #1)

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  441 ratings  ·  35 reviews
Following a devastating nuclear apocalypse, Ben Raines - rebel mercenary, retired soldier, and tireless patriot - leads a revolutionary army dedicated to rebuilding America and creating a new vision for the future.
Paperback, 480 pages
Published January 1st 2008 by Pinnacle (first published January 1st 1983)
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The Stand by Stephen KingThe Road by Cormac McCarthyThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsWorld War Z by Max Brooks1984 by George Orwell
Best Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
224th out of 704 books — 2,167 voters
Orchard of Dust by Brian Edward BahrA Handful of Dust by Evelyn WaughCity of Ashes by Cassandra ClareAsh Wednesday by T.S. EliotAngela's Ashes by Frank McCourt
Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust
15th out of 52 books — 18 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 900)
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Bill VanderGiesen
Oct 13, 2012 Bill VanderGiesen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Eric Guerra, Jason Platter
Shelves: post-apocalyptic
This counts more as a re-read than the first time, but essentially I am much older, wiser, more literate and hopefully more discerning than when I first read this, probably in late middle school shortly after it was originally published. I remember reading this and perhaps the first ten books before I moved on to other things in the years following.

I hadn't thought much about it other then an occasional fond memory, nor had I known the series went on to 36 books so far. In addition, my interests
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Jim
This is an apocalyptic novel set in the late 1980's. Instead of the Soviets fading away, the button is pushed & our hero roams post-apocalyptic America doing good. The only reason I give the book 2 stars is because I happen to believe most of the conservative philosophy behind the novel. Unfortunately, the plot & writing are atrocious. I got about halfway through (page 276 of the MMP edition) before I couldn't take it any more.

I hadn't realized this was a series when I started reading it
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Ron
A classic post apocalypse America novel from a conservative POV. I enjoyed as a youth and reading it again 20 years later it was interesting. Still pretty much a modern pulp novel, but some of the early 80s fears seem strange. Maybe its just me, but I don't see a race war on the horizon.

Also looking at the Tri-states as presented here I realized just how non-liberatarian it was. Actually a little totalitarian in its own way.

So not as cool as it was an adolescent, but still an interesting book.
Dale
Out of the Ashes is about 2% post-apocalyptic men's adventure and 98% half-baked political utopian babbling.

A secret army of rogue elements of the US military start a war between China and Russia. These are the good guys, the ones that kill billions of people. Ends up that they were somehow having their strings pulled by presidential candidate Logan Hilton, who is for some reason the bad guy for doing the same thing.

Most of America is wiped out by nuclear and germ warfare. Veteran and genre fict
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Mia
Not a bad apocalyptic/military read. Johnstone is a bit far to the right (so far he's out of the park), and he belabors his social arguments, but the story itself is a fascinating picture of how society could reform after nuclear and germ warfare.
Bryan457
In a post apocalyptic world, Ben Raines helps put a "utopian" society together.

I enjoyed this story. It had a lot of interesting ideas. Definitely a "men's adventure" though.

Warning strong language, violence and sex.
Randy
Ben Raines writes men's adventure. After the world virtually ends woth war and collapse, he starts hearing calls for him to lead people back to civilization.
Barbara
Jun 03, 2009 Barbara marked it as to-read
David from Morris & Whiteside Gallery recommends this entire ASHES series of books. This is the first of around 35 books.
Doug Ratcliffe
Language can get bad, but the story is very good. Pulp through and through, I love it.
Curtis
Wow, incredible series written 75 and on. Describes the US to a tee whats happening now
Stefan
Sep 10, 2014 Stefan rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: A 13 year-old Ted Nugent.
Only made it half way through, saving my sanity from all the inane dialogue and one-dimensional characters. Our hero is a "conservative" (a fact repeated constantly) who can heroically suppress his "sexual urges" when surrounded by swooning women, in contrast to all the evil non-conservatives who gleefully rape and pillage. He's also a one-man army and happily bangs every woman he meets, while philosophizing and pointing out that all blacks aren't bad - just most of them.

I usually finish every
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Jpm
Jan 05, 2009 Jpm is currently reading it
On Book 5 in the series.
John Karr
Feb 21, 2009 John Karr is currently reading it
on order from amazon
Todd Sullivan
Compelling terrible? Terribly compelling? It's hard to say exactly how I feel about this book except that it's bad. Bad bad bad bad bad. But, thankfully, entertainingly so.

The end of the world is just the beginning for Ben Raines, former military man and now clearly the most famous writer in the world (seriously, everywhere he goes he runs into someone who's read some if not all of his books). Raines is not only the hero, but also a pretty spectacular author stand-up, which means that he's an as
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Henry Brown
I like the post-apocalyptic genre. Like reading, watching, and writing in it. Unfortunately, a lot of it is pap. After hearing much word-of-mouth about Johnstone and his "tri-states philosophy," I hoped this would be one of the better flagships for the genre.

The nuclear war is triggered by a coup-gone-wrong involving rogue military hawks (think Jack T. Ripper with scads of accomplices). Ben Raines survives the dirty bomb holocaust, as do many others...inexplicably. He begins touring the ravaged
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Scott Rachui
William W Johnstone never wrote masterpieces. His narratives and dialog will never be compared with people like Hemingway or Dickens. Having said that, he writes some viscerally very compelling stories. They are better described as "Men's Adventures" (the male equivalent of Harlequin Romances). And as long as you keep these in mind, the writings of William W Johnstone are quite good.

I started reading him with his very first published book, The Devil's Kiss. I have to admit, I was hooked from tha
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Noodle TheNaughtyNightOwl
"It has been written that there is nothing in the world more savage than the American fighting man."

William W. Johnstone's Out of the Ashes was one very brutal and long diatribe. I picked this book up on impulse as I passed it on the shelf at the library. It seemed like a potentially good Dystopian Story - my latest craze.

The world is completely and utterly destroyed by nuclear warfare and one man, Ben Raines, has what it takes to unite the people and fight for freedom in it's aftermath.

Sounds
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Thee_ron_clark
Being that I enjoy post-apocalyptic fiction and needed something lighter to read; I picked up this book. I figured that a series that went on this long must have something going for it. Hmmmm. I'm not convinced on that matter.

The plot is a bit confusing. The world is in turmoil with the Chinese and Russians at the brink of war. There are a number of "rebels" in America aligned under two famous special operations soldiers who are presumed dead. Out of nowhere, all of the world powers decide they
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J. Dale
The beginning of perhaps the best "Post-Apocalyptic" "what-if" series I've ever read.

Ben Raines just wants to live out his life, be left alone. But "when the balloon goes up," through a freak accident of nature -- or is it divine providence? -- he survives to roam a destroyed nation fully of desperate people. Ben travels to record what's left in the ruins. He finds the remnants of a once great people shattered and destitute. Some want to rebuild, some want anything they and steal, and some just
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Francis Gahren
The worst-case scenario has come to pass: a nuclear strike has crippled America. Gangs, looters, and vandals have seized the streets. The decent few can only pray for a leader to protect them. Luckily, one of the survivors is Ben Raines.

Rebel mercenary, retired soldier, and tireless patriot, Raines is searching for his missing family in the aftermath of this devastating war. His relentless pursuit through the ruined cities of the west unites him with the civilians of the Resistance forces. They
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William
Too preachy. I enjoyed the stuff about how society broke down, but everything was tinted with a racism is bad idea that beat the reader repeatedly. It wasn't bad just hard to want to finish when you knew you had a lecture coming up.
Mark Danley
Could be today
Gary
Aug 01, 2011 Gary rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2011
The first of thirty-six books (wow) in The Ashes series of novels by William Johnstone, the apocalyptic Out of the Ashes is reminiscent of Stephen King's The Stand (but not written nearly as well). It's occasionally far-fetched and there's a lot of repetitiveness early on as Johnstone sets a doomsday tone for first half of the book. Not usually a big fan of survivalist themes, I was surprised when I realized that it held my interest right up to the last page.
VelveetaRanch
The first of thirty-six books (wow) in The Ashes series of novels by William Johnstone, the apocalyptic Out of the Ashes is reminiscent of Stephen King's The Stand (but not written nearly as well). It's occasionally far-fetched and there's a lot of repetitiveness early on as Johnstone sets a doomsday tone for first half of the book. Not usually a big fan of survivalist themes, I was surprised when I realized that it held my interest right up to the last page.
David Minger


I've read 15 books this summer and by far this is the best book of them all. My hat is off to you Mr. Johnstone, you have written the book that I would most like to write. Pick up this book and share with your friends, for me, the best book of the summer of 2012. I can't wait to get my hands on the next book in the series.
David
Jun 08, 2014 David rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: war
So this is what could happen to Amerika...one could only hope ...
If you hate not just obama and the un but how all of washington treats the fly-over states then this series is for you. You could treat it as a well written story OR as a prophetic tome of what is to come of the US and the rest of the world.
Scott Carlson
I have read this one at least a half a dozen times. I loved the concept and the political spin is something I believe my st believe but never really want to express. The series is pretty decent through the first 10 or so books but then it kind of drags and gets repetitive.
Justin
The opening portion of the book was confusing in parts, but the plot works itself out by midpoint and moves with clarity. Interesting characters, but lacking in depth and development over the course of the book. A decent read about a post-apocalyptic future.
Michael
I loved it. worth reading. it gets better but repetitive towards the last few books. this guy doesn't get a break.
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Pulp Fiction: William Johnstone - Ashes Series 1 5 Feb 27, 2013 08:35PM  
  • The Last Mailman: Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Zombies
  • Afterlight (Last Light, #2)
  • Rage
  • Without Warning (The Disappearance, #1)
  • Desperate Times
  • Total War (Survivalist, #1)
  • Elegy Beach
  • Kill or Cure (The Destroyer, #11)
  • Half Past Midnight
  • The Deluge
  • Requiem for a Ruler of Worlds (Alacrity FitzHugh & Hobart Floyt, #1)
  • Breaking News: An Autozombiography
  • Long Voyage Back
  • Quarantine (Alone, #3)
  • Cry Wolf
  • Dead Earth: The Green Dawn
  • Summer of the Apocalypse
  • Sudden Independents (Book 1)
20852
William Wallace Johnstone was a prolific American author, mostly of western, horror and survivalist novels.

Born and raised in southern Missouri, Johnstone was the youngest of four children. His father was a minister and his mother a school teacher. He quit school when he was fifteen and worked in a carnival and as a deputy sheriff. He later served in the Army and, upon returning to civilian life,
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More about William W. Johnstone...
The Last Mountain Man (Mountain Man, #1) Return of the Mountain Man (Mountain Man, #2) Law of the Mountain Man (Mountain Man, #5) Trail of the Mountain Man (Mountain Man, #3) Code of the Mountain Man (Mountain Man, #8)

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