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Out of the Ashes

(Ashes #1)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  863 ratings  ·  57 reviews
Come And Take It
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 t
Paperback, 480 pages
Published January 1st 2008 by Pinnacle (first published January 1st 1983)
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Bill VanderGiesen
Oct 13, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Jan 29, 2014 rated it did not like it
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
Oct 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
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
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.

Mar 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: survival
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.
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.
Nov 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
Doug Ratcliffe
Oct 08, 2008 rated it really liked it
Language can get bad, but the story is very good. Pulp through and through, I love it.
Jun 03, 2009 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.
Jan 05, 2009 is currently reading it
On Book 5 in the series.
Dec 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Jul 31, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Wow, incredible series written 75 and on. Describes the US to a tee whats happening now
John Karr
Nov 30, 2008 is currently reading it
on order from amazon
Michael A.Blackford
Enjoyed it!

A friend at work mentioned this series to me in passing so I decided to give it a read. Yes it's dated and gets a bit preachy now and again, but holy cow what a punchline. I give it a solid 4 stars based on the previous statement. It was a fun ride and if you enjoy post apocalyptic, rebuild the world, kick some bad guy butt kind of tales then you might dig this one. I'm on to book 2.
Henry Brown
Sep 08, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: teotwawki
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
Gwen Breshears Cogan Brunelli
Apr 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
USA and the entire world comes close to complete annihilation via nuclear and germ warfare. Story centers around a group of people who build a utopian society in three states, while the USA rebuilds as well with a near dictator as POTUS. Conservative vs liberal societies are the crux of the storyline. An easy read and are apart of a lengthy series of 30+ books. This is the first book.
Ralph Carlson
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
A bloody and violent read. Full of some great but impossible ideas. Many of them far right. It is, though, an entertaining read. I don’t know if I will both to read the entire 35 book series, but will several more.
P.S. Winn
Aug 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
I know this author from his western books, but found this up to date book about Nuclear War is just as compelling. I also like the main character, who is a patriot, a mercenary, a retired soldier, and a rebel. This is one to check out.
sabrina osborne
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great novel

It was quite ahead of its time...
It was thought provoking and very moving. Expertly written and very engaging, a great work.
Cynthia Fowler
May 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yet to come?

We're on that Roman road. Hope our desendants do a better job than we did. Just a matter of time.
Eric Compton
William W. Johnstone was mired in a variety of genres in the 80's and 90's. While known mostly for multiple western series' the author created a long line of post-apocalyptic books called "Out of the Ashes". The series ran 35 books and was spun-off into one additional series called "The Last Rebel" that only managed one book release before Johnstone's passing. His son, J.A. Johnstone, doesn't seem to have any interest in continuing the series so for now it seems like it has come to a definitive ...more
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
Al Datum
Jun 27, 2013 rated it liked it
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
David Nichols
Dec 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Some novels are at once shallow, politically reactionary, and hard to put down. OUT OF THE ASHES falls into this limited category. The author, William Johnstone, contrives a pro-forma nuclear and biological war in order to destroy the Bad Old Order and clear the way for a better society. According to Johnstone's protagonist, Ben Raines (an ex-mercenary and novelist), the Old Order suffered from an excess of bleeding-heart liberalism and nanny-state government. The "punks" and scumbags it liked t ...more
Todd Sullivan
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was ok
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
Jun 08, 2016 rated it liked it
There are times when I get in the mood for a book that covers what could happen after WWIII (or some type of event that causes a breakdown in society.) This is a book that I read a LONG time ago, but I recently read again. When I picked up the paperback version I had this feeling I had read it before, but couldn't remember enough of the story to put it back together. And I can say after finishing it that it is "ok." It has a lot of William W. Johnstone's style in the book and it is very much a b ...more
J. Dale
Aug 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Francis Gahren
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Sep 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
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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Pulp Fiction: William Johnstone - Ashes Series 1 5 Feb 27, 2013 08:35PM  
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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,

Other books in the series

Ashes (1 - 10 of 36 books)
  • Fire in the Ashes (Ashes, #2)
  • Anarchy in the Ashes (Ashes, #3)
  • Blood in the Ashes (Ashes, #4)
  • Alone in the Ashes (Ashes, #5)
  • Wind in the Ashes (Ashes, #6)
  • Smoke from the Ashes (Ashes, #7)
  • Danger in the Ashes (Ashes, #8)
  • Valor in the Ashes (Ashes, #9)
  • Trapped in the Ashes (Ashes, #10)
  • Death in the Ashes (Ashes, #11)
“Government got too big—too powerful. Agencies like the IRS had entirely too much power.” 0 likes
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