Copyright 1981.

John Thomas Rourke ex-CIA agent, weapons specialist and survival expert is a man who plans ahead. He knows that there are many scenarios for the collapse of civilization. He has studied how to survive and has build a shelter in the mountains for his family. Yet he can’t plan for every contingency. A Soviet invasion of Pakistan escalates out of control into a full scale nuclear war. Rourke is on a 747 flying home from Canada when it happens. Forced to crash land in Albuquerque he must now make his way across a devastated country overrun with brigands and invading Soviet troops to be reunited with his wife and two children in Georgia.

“If civilization were destroyed today__ would John Thomas Rourke be able to survive…?” That is what is on the cover of every book in this series. The answer is of course yes. Rourke is the most bad ass man to ever live. He seems to be perfect an expert in all forms of combat, a medical doctor and knows how to fly any plane. Sort of like an American James Bond but with a wife and family. Thus the first book sets up the characters and the basic premises for the series the quest to find his wife and children. His wife Sarah didn’t approve of her husbands obsession with survival and never bothered to learn the location of his shelter. Something she regrets as she is forced to flee with her children from armed brigands. Rourke picks up a sidekick in Paul Rubenstein a publisher from New York who becomes his best friend. A friendship that carries on throughout the series.

After all the new books I was reading lately its great to get back to the old classics from the ’80s. The Survivalist is probably the most iconic post-apocalypse series from that decade. In fact it was the first and responsible for the slew of series that would follow. The series sold millions of copies and lasted well into the ’90s with 29 books. Recently his wife and a good friend have revived the series and I hope to read them. This will definitely keep me occupied this summer. It was one of my favorites.

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