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Total War (The Survivalist #1)

3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  396 Ratings  ·  33 Reviews
This is NUMBER ONE in the Survivalist series featuring the hero, John Thomas Rourke: The story of the ultimate war, the final nuclear holocaust and the unrelenting quest of John Thomas Rourke as he begins his search across war-ravaged America, following every haunting clue, however fragmentary, to locate his missing family.
Mass Market Paperback, 218 pages
Published May 28th 1982 by Zebra Books (first published March 1st 1981)
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(showing 1-30 of 878)
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Checkman
I started reading this series when it began back in 1981.I thought it was terrific at the time. I was also thirteen. Couldn't get enough of it and read probably the first ten installments. Finally I reached college and realized that the books were very repetitive and John Rourke was just Superman with an assault rifle. He would mow down dozens of villains at one time and not even break a sweat. I stopped reading them at that point. It probably shouldn't have taken me so long to arrive at that re ...more
stormhawk
Sep 15, 2011 stormhawk rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle, reread
The Survivalist is a classic, post-apocalyptic, hairy-chested men's adventure series.

I am neither hairy-chested, nor a man, but I enjoy these books.

John Thomas Rourke is a man who is ready if the world ends tomorrow. Tomorrow comes, and the adventure begins at breakneck pace, including piloting a plane to the gentlest crash landing ever, and California sliding off into the sea.

I don't try to claim that there is great literature or great art between these covers, but there is a a fine story of
...more
Phil Elmore
Aug 17, 2011 Phil Elmore rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The temptation to uncritically label every one of Jerry Ahern's books with five stars is definitely within me. Mr. Ahern's many fiction series (including this one, "Track," "The Takers," and his "Defender" books) had a profound influence on me as a writer. Jerry combines a very vivid imagination (and a willingness to leave the real world for science fiction and even fantasy settings) with solid firearms knowledge, a flair for adventure, and fast-paced action scenes. There are times when "The Sur ...more
Molly
Feb 27, 2011 Molly rated it really liked it
Please sub this book review for any Ahern Survivalist book, as they are all pretty much the same book. I gave this one four stars cause it is the first and funnest, but they are all pretty much the equivalent of a McDonald's cheeseburger, they will all taste the same.

A guy who can kill anything and always comes out the winner in any situation is ready for nuclear war. His wife thinks he is a depressing nut. So when the inevitable nuclear war happens, he is out of town cause she needs space. What
...more
Monique
Dec 22, 2015 Monique rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In this novel the Soviet Union (the novel was written in the 80‘s) and America go to war. They launch numerous nuclear missiles at each other with hundreds of millions of people being killed. These two countries aren't the only ones affected however. Canada, Europe and the middle east also become causalities in the war.

This novel follows John Thomas Rourke: a gun enthusiastic, survivalist and all around bad ass. He is flying home when his plane is forced to crash land due to a nuclear strike bl
...more
Carl Timms
May 22, 2016 Carl Timms rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this series as a teenager and re-read more than once since. This is Man fiction with a capital M. Read whilst eating a Yorkie, drinking whiskey and watching a Rambo marathon.

The first book is a terrific scene setter and the sniping scene and finale have to be read to be believed.

The series gets more sci fi over time but this is a top notch post-apocalyptic violent action romp with some great firearms detail.
Charles
Jul 28, 2010 Charles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mens-adventure
The first in what I consider to be the best men's adventure series out there. I've read all but 2 or three of these, and I think there are about 26 in the series. I really like the character and there is a very good level of action. There's also a lot of imagination excercised throughout the series. Ahern knows his weapons, knows his survivalism, and can tell a damn fine story.
Jodarryl Tinker
Nov 29, 2011 Jodarryl Tinker rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you like guns, a post-apocalyptic setting, and survivalism this is the book for you. Basically, this is a story about a man named John Rourke(who happens to be a doctor, a survival and weapons expert, as well as an ex-paramilitary operations officer for the CIA) trying to get back to his family after nuclear war has wiped out the majority of the country.
Craig Herbertson
Feb 19, 2013 Craig Herbertson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
He shoots people as others shoot dice and its difficult to imagine how he walks carrying all that metal and his brain must be worn down with gun nomenclature and yet...and yet its all good fun
Richard Buro
Oct 19, 2014 Richard Buro rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The short version first...

I have just finished my first book by Mr. Ahern; and, while I am not new to dystopian literature, this is the start of a long series of works focusing on the adventures, trials, and tribulations of his protagonist, Rourke. It is highly detailed regarding technical aspects of arms, action-packed, and fast-paced. The characters and action overshadow the characters to some degree, but this is not unheard of in dystopian reads that I have seen in the past. This work also ha
...more
Simon
Mar 13, 2015 Simon rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Well, talk about revisiting a blast from the past. I read these when I was a young teenager, and loved them. They were hard to get, I collected a fair stash of them over the yeras from second hand book shops, back when we still had second hand bookshops.

But ye gods, the Mary Sue-ism of these is off the scale. And it wasn't long before I just wanted to punch John in the face, repeatedly, for just being so god damned awesomely perfect at EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD EVER.

Great post-apocalyptic fun when
...more
Dan Panke
Feb 10, 2014 Dan Panke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure
A good start to a series. Total War provides the background for the series.
Andy Phillips
This book is the first in a very long series of books (around 30 in total). The books are mostly numbered, but for some reason there are a couple of un-numbered books that slot into the main story.

All of the books revolve around John Rourke, a CIA agent who is on a commercial airliner when a conflict between the USA and the USSR (as it was then) escalates to nuclear war. The pilots are blinded but Rourke manages to land the plane. He then begins an epic trek across the US to look for his family.
...more
Christina
There is tension in the Middle East as the Russians begin to send in troops. Rourke is a man of many talents, special ops, medical training, survivalist, etc. Nuclear war seems imminent and he must find his way home to his family and move them to the retreat he has been stocking for years.

First, allow me to share how I came across these books. My library has a monthly used book sale. I don't particularly like mass market paperbacks, but I noticed a bunch of these books and they looked interestin
...more
Matt
Jun 09, 2008 Matt rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alex Power
Men's adventure at it's best! The main character, John Thomas Rourke, an ex-CIA operative and skilled surgeon, is almost godlike with his abilities to save lives as well as take them away. The action is intense if not repetitive (look for the excessive use of "the double Tae Kwon Do kick"). This is the first of about 26 books, and I think I made it through 18 of them before realizing my mind was slowly turning to mush. I have to rate this a 3/5 for sentimental value, as well as, this being the m ...more
Angus McLean
Dec 28, 2015 Angus McLean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Re-read this for the millionth time; great fun, great start to a cool series. Lots of pulp action and adventure and inspired me as a young reader.
Matt
Jan 06, 2014 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think this was the first book series I read all the way through when I was about 12 or so. Now when I look back, the writing is cheesy, the stories themselves are ridiculous, and nothing is as 'deep' it seemed at 12. Still, the series influenced a lot of my real life interests then and even to this day. If you want some great adventurous commie/space nazi/viking nazi/viking commie/raider killing action without having to think too much, then you will love this series.
Jeff Miller
Jun 26, 2014 Jeff Miller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Read whole series a couple times. Apocalyptic ww3 series. Great books. Nostalgic now but awesome characters
Keith
Jan 06, 2015 Keith rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Was fun easy reading in my teens. Would actually like to pick one up again and see what I think now. :D
Kevin Lindsey
Lots of weapon detail. Interesting concept that reads as a TV serial drama. Will be like The Living Dead.
Andrew Addison
Jan 29, 2016 Andrew Addison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Awesome concept. I will read all of the books in this series
Dalton Lynne
This was my first experience with a Graphic Audio book. Though it wasn't spectacular (the story, I mean - not necessarily the Graphic Audio part of it), it was pretty good and I do look forward to listening to the other entries in this series.

Some things seemed a little odd - such as the fact that only a few hours after the bombs hit, there were already packs of dogs hungry enough to try to eat survivors ... um, right ....

But other than something trivial like that, it was still a fun listen.
Cyn
May 13, 2011 Cyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first experience with a Graphic Audio book. Though it wasn't spectacular (the story, I mean - not necessarily the Graphic Audio part of it), it was pretty good and I do look forward to listening to the other entries in this series.

Some things seemed a little odd - such as the fact that only a few hours after the bombs hit, there were already packs of dogs hungry enough to try to eat survivors ... um, right ....

But other than something trivial like that, it was still a fun listen.
Timothy Boyd
Feb 12, 2016 Timothy Boyd rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favorite adventure series. Dr John Thomas Rourke leads his family and friends through a post apocalyptic world fighting ever step if the way. Fantastic characters and plots. Very detailed weapon descriptions. Excellent series. My highest recommendation
Don
Dec 28, 2008 Don rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've listened to straight audio books before but I've never listened to a Graphics Audio version of a book before.

I have to say I'm very impressed. The whole production-actors, sound effects, etc., is very well done. It's a new way to do an audio book. It really is like the difference between a novel and a graphic novel.

I originally read these books in my teens. This audio book is like a whole new version of it.

Great job by Graphic Audio!
Nicholas
Jun 14, 2015 Nicholas rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Soviets, particle beam weapons, nukes, savage bands of marauders popping up immediately. Should have been great, but like many pilot episodes, it wasn't. It also would have been 25% shorter if the author didn't have a gear fetish that nearly dominates the book. It's very much a product of its time (as am I) and still more fun than the Koontz I keep reading.
Gary Samples
This is the type of book I devoured after graduating from high school in 1972. Can you say "Exterminator" or "Destroyer"? Still love the pure escapism and constant action. Kind of embarrassing but I admit I am still an adolescent at heart.
M D
Jan 28, 2008 M D rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed these books as a kid, and they are great choices for reluctant male young adult readers.

But lets face it, they are just pulp fiction.
Kurt Vosper
Got into these when I was a teen. Mindless stories with violence and lots of guns. :)
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Jerry Ahern (born Jerome Morrell Ahern) was a science fiction and action novel author best known for his post apocalyptic survivalist series The Survivalist. The books in this series are heavy with descriptions of the weapons the protagonists use to survive and prosecute a seemingly never-ending war amongst the remnants of the superpowers from pre-apocalypse times.

Ahern was also a firearms writer
...more
More about Jerry Ahern...

Other Books in the Series

The Survivalist (1 - 10 of 33 books)
  • The Nightmare Begins (The Survivalist, #2)
  • The Quest (The Survivalist, #3)
  • The Doomsayer (The Survivalist, #4)
  • The Web (The Survivalist, #5)
  • The Savage Horde (The Survivalist, #6)
  • The Prophet (The Survivalist, #7)
  • The End Is Coming (The Survivalist, #8)
  • Earth Fire (The Survivalist, #9)
  • The Awakening (The Survivalist #10)
  • The Reprisal (The Survivalist, #11)

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