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Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse  
Cover of the most recent edition of Patriots
Author James Wesley Rawles
Original title Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse
Country United States
Language English
Genre(s) Novel
Publisher Ulysses Press
Publication date 2009
Media type Print (Trade paperback)
Pages 400
ISBN 978-1569755990
OCLC Number 251196581

Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse is a survivalist novel[1] written by James Wesley Rawles, first distributed as shareware in 1995 and first published in paperback in 1998.[2] It was most recently updated and re-published in 2009.[2] On April 8, 2009, shortly after its release, it was ranked #6 in's overall book sales rankings[3], #1 in Contemporary Fiction, and #1 in the Thrillers category.[4]

Set in the near future amidst hyperinflation[5] and a catastrophic global economic collapse[6], Patriots tells the story of a group of survivalists that flee riots and chaos in metropolitan Chicago to a survivalist retreat that they have prepared near Bovill, Idaho.[2] One reviewer referred to it as "The most dangerous novel in America."[7]



The novel is based on a 19-chapter draft that Rawles wrote in 1990, and first distributed as shareware[8], under the title The Gray Nineties.[9] It was later expanded to 27 chapters and retitled Triple Ought[10], and then 33 chapters, under the title TEOTWAWKI: The End of the World as We Know It.[11][12] In 1997, the rights to the novel were purchased by Huntington House Publishers[13], a small Christian publishing firm[14] in Lafayette, Louisiana. They abridged the book to 31 chapters and re-titled it Patriots; Surviving the Coming Collapse.[15] This was the publisher's best-selling title from November 1998 to January 2005.[12] In early 2005, Huntington House went out of business, and the copyright reverted to the author.[16] In November 2006, responding to pent-up market demand, Rawles self-published a restored 33 chapter edition of the novel, through XLibris, a print-on-demand publisher.[17] Patriots was the best-selling title for XLibris from late 2006 to early 2009.[12] In late 2008, the rights to the novel were purchased by Ulysses Press, Berkeley, California.[18] After updating the novel and adding both a glossary and an index[19], in April 2009 Ulysses Press released the 33 chapter edition under the new title Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse.[2]


One reviewer called the novel a "...combination military thriller and how-to survivalist guide."[20]

The publisher's synopsis from Huntington House described the novel as "distinctly pro-Christian, pro-preparedness, pro-gun ownership, and anti-racist." [21]

Barnes & Noble describes the book: "Part novel, part survivalist-handbook, Patriots tells of a small group of friends facing every American's worst nightmare—the total collapse of society. The stock market plummets and hyperinflation cripples commerce and then a seemingly isolated financial crisis passes the tipping point when an unprepared government fails to act. Practically overnight, the fragile institutions of democracy fall apart and every American is forced to survive on their own. Evading mobs of desperate, out-of-control citizens who have turned Chicago into a wasteland of looting and mayhem, this novel's protagonists make their way to a shared secure ranch in the wilds of northern Idaho. Here the survival-driven group fends off vicious attacks from the outside and eventually assists in restoring order to the country. The compelling, fast-paced action-adventure novel has readers jotting notes and referencing the book's impressive index for informative survivalist tips on everything from setting up a secure shelter to treating traumatic flesh wounds."[22]



Much of the novel takes place in the Intermountain west, specifically in the Palouse Hills region, in and around Moscow, Idaho.[23]

Reception and Criticism

From its first inception, the book gained a cult following among the survivalist community[24][25][26]. With the release of the 2009 edition, the book has gained a popular following among a broader audience. Rawles himself speculates the ongoing financial crisis accounts for the book's popularity among a wider readership traditionally not interested in survivalist themes[27].

Writing for The Daily Beast, book critic Sara Nelson—in an interview with Rawles titled "The Most Dangerous Novel in America?"—described the novel as a "bestselling manifesto..." "the only thing fans... seem to squabble over is whether the story... should be called a novel or a survival guide. She quotes Rawles himself as saying "I don’t pretend it’s a literary masterpiece". [27]

Likewise, World Net Daily reviewed an earlier printing in 2006, finding worthwhile the non-fiction information about survivalist techniques but the fiction elements "[not] exactly subtle".[28]

Pro-survivalist columnist Claire Wolfe, reviewing an earlier edition, also highlighted "the survival-and-military-tactics manual that resides within this novel. The fictional scenes are, as often as not, the vehicle for introducing information about food storage, improvised weapons, emergency surgery, security systems, barter goods, radio communications, home birth and other aspects of real-life survival situations."[28]

Reviewer Jerry Erwin, who wrote about the book in the course of another review, described Patriots as "an instruction manual, dressed as fiction, for legal purposes. This book is considered the bible of modern survivalism, and is actually used as reference material.... The character descriptions in Patriots are somewhat lacking. The reader has to tolerate some fundamentalist Christianity. Regardless, the average survivalism / preparedness-minded individual will be absolutely glued to this book for its information... It is also ominously predictive: the collapse in his novel is created by a global credit crisis, and a subsequent collapse of the US Dollar."[29]

On April 8, 2009, shortly after its release, Patriots was ranked #6 in's overall book sales rankings, #1 in Contemporary Fiction, and #1 in the Thrillers category.[4] On that same day, sold more than 2,000 copies of the novel.[30]

Printing and distribution history

  • The Gray Nineties (19 chapter draft). Distributed as shareware from 1995 to 1997, with 17,000 downloads.[12]
  • Triple Ought (27 chapter draft). Distributed as shareware from 1997 to 1998, with 82,000 downloads logged from the main site and 11 mirror sites in North America and Europe.[12]
  • TEOTWAWKI: The End of the World as We Know It. 33 chapters with six appendices, self-published edition, The Clearwater Press, Kooskia, Idaho, Velo-bound, 1997-1998. Only 1,600 copies sold.[12]
  • Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse. 31 chapters, 342 pages, abridged edition from Huntington House/Vital Issues Press. ISBN 9781563841552. It was in print from November of 1998 to January of 2005. Nine printings, with 37,500 copies sold.[12]
  • Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse. 33 chapters, 384 pages from XLibris. ISBN 9781425734077. It was in print from November of 2006 to February of 2009, with 26,220 copies sold.[12]
  • Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse. 33 chapters, 400 pages, updated edition with glossary and index, from Ulysses Press, Berkeley, California. ISBN 9781569755990 (Kindle ASIN: B00292B7WW). April 2009.[2] First Printing (March 2009): 10,000 copies[12]. Second printing (April, 2009): 10,000 copies.[30] Third printing (April, 2009): 20,000 copies.[31] It late April, 2009, it was reported that the book had three printings totaling 40,000 copies in its first month.[32] Fourth printing, September 2009, 12,000 copies.
  • Patriots: A Novel of Survival in the Coming Collapse--Unabridged Audiobook was released on December 31, 2009. ISBN 978-1441830517. This audiobook, from Brilliance Audiobooks, was narrated by Dick Hill. It is available on CD-ROM, and via download at Apple iTunes.

See also



  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c d e
  3. ^
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ On-line Underground. The Spokesman-Review (Spokane). Dec. 3, 1995, page H7
  10. ^ How America Uses The Net (Subsection Profile: [James Rawles] The Y2K Survivalist) Yahoo! Internet Life magazine, September, 1999, p. 108-109
  11. ^ Some store food, gold, guns in case Y2K brings chaos. The Sacramento Bee, December 29, 1998, p. 1.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i
  13. ^
  14. ^ Alphabetical List of Christian book publishers Christian Online Community
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^ Rachel Donadio: You’re an Author? Me Too! The New York Times, April 27, 2008
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Powell's Books - Patriots: Surviving the Coming Collapse by James Wesley Rawles
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ a b
  28. ^ a b WND Commentary Five novels of freedom by Claire Wolfe, WorldNetDaily, September 30, 1999
  29. ^
  30. ^ a b
  31. ^
  32. ^


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