Black Autumn : A Post-Apocalyptic Saga

Jeff Kirkham, Jason Ross

Defiance Press, 2018

A rogue Russian nuke sails toward the harbors of Los Angeles in the hull of a ramshackle sailboat. Without destroying a single building, the bomb shatters the latticework of the American dream, toppling one piece of the economy after another. A group of Special Forces veterans and their prepper friends scramble for survival in a worldwide catastrophe so psychologically disruptive they are left questioning everything they ever believed to be true.

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| ISBN: 9781948035163 | Publication Date: 10/01/2018


In recent years there has been a plethora of "post apocalypse" novels.  It is a fascinating market when you sit back and think about it.  In this "Age of Anxiety" that we live in with so many potential threats to our civilization, from what I wrote about as a result of an EMP attack, to solar storms, to pandemics, global financial collapse, or simply because some fanatics get ahold of a WMD and decide to use it regardless of consequences we seem to be fascinated with stories about our potential demise..   Some of these works are quiet good, going all the way back to Pat Frank's "Alas Babylon," written over sixty years ago, and some not so good, which I will reframe from naming. And then a book like "Black Autumn" comes along.   I was asked to review it, something I actually try to avoid doing, but agreed to as a favor to a friend, and within minutes found myself engrossed in the story.   This one is different.  The authors come to the subject of societal breakdown with a hell of a lot of experience as special forces "types."   Their years of extensive training and professional experience prior to writing this book is evident.  From overall plot to technical details this book is on the mark.   "Black Autumn" is a page turner with well developed characters, plot, and plausible story line.   I give it the highest of recommendations.

- William R. Forstchen – NY Times best-selling author
Black Autumn by Jeff Kirkham and Jason Ross is sure to be a standout in the post-apocalyptic category. No honest reader can complete the work without experiencing a battery of emotions. There will be anger, trepidation, some anxiety and perhaps shame or a sense of dread.

Apathy, however, is a feeling that no thinking person will still possess by the final chapter.

Though fiction, Black Autumn is built around a very real set of circumstances and the reality is that our current world seems to be held together by rods of glass. Whether a nuclear bomb, plague, or terrorist attack, the trigger is not so important as the cold realization that our national infrastructure and people are at the same time the most modern and the most fragile they have been in national history.

Even those who consider themselves to be well-prepared and schooled in the arts of survival can take lessons from the story. I found myself writing notes in the margins and making plans to be better prepared.

The storm requires neither your approval nor your consent. The storm in simply the storm. We cannot reason nor argue the storm away. The best we can hope for is to be prepared for the storm the very best we can. Black Autumn will inspire you to do just that.

- Paul G. Markel, Amazon Bestselling Author, Radio and TV Host, United States Marine
"With action sequences that feel more real-life than fiction, and a plot that we can only hope remains fiction, Black Autumn stands out in the genre as one of the most authentic stories in print. Kirkham and Ross have beautifully woven together a post-apocalyptic tale that can only be told by men who intimately know where of they speak."

- Marty Skovlund, Jr., Executive Editor Coffee, or Die Magazine


A real wakeup call written by soldiers with real life experience who know first-hand the terrors we would undoubtedly face in the wake of a calamitous event.  Few of us are prepared for such.

- Alex J. Robinson, Manager, Robinson Armament Co.


I’ve known Jeff Kirkham since he graduated the Q-Course as a newly-trained and qualified Special Forces soldier of the 19th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Utah Army National Guard.  As a member of the same Battalion, I got to see Jeff in action, no one trained harder or prepared more.  I also knew him as a young Sheriff’s Deputy, having trained with him at various law enforcement events, both of us being Cops as well as Guardsmen.  I tracked Jeff through both of his careers, including his move to Federal Law Enforcement, his deployment to the Global War on Terror, his transfer over to the Intelligence realm, and his continued real-world, down-range assignments for both the U.S Government and the U.S. Army.  Driven by an extremely high intellect and exceptional patriotism, no better thinker, soldier, trainer, operator, or man, exists.
 I didn’t know Evan Hafer when he was in the 19th SFG(A), as he was assigned to A/1/19, Camp Murray, Washington.  I was his and Jeff’s Battalion Commander and, later, Group Commander, but I don’t remember ever meeting Evan personally until he and Jeff had retired and gone into business together contracting back to the U.S. Government.  Evan’s reputation as a Special Forces soldier and a black-ops trainer is exceptional and these two make a perfect team.  Evan’s entrepreneurial skills became evident in the rapid rise of Black Rifle Coffee Company, their venture into the realm of capitalism.  Evan slays competition in much the same way as he slayed enemy elements during downrange deployments and assignments on behalf of the U.S. Government.  Evan is the real deal, as brilliant as he is skilled.
 I don’t know Jason Ross, have never met him, but Jeff and Evan speak so highly of him and his commitment to readiness that I can’t help but be impressed.  Yes, he’s wealthy, but that’s not what created this synergistic relationship among the three as they developed ReadyMan together.  It is the knowledge they all share, between Jeff and Evan’s downrange experience in the Third World and Jason’s experience in the realm of business economics, of the precarious nature of American society and its continued existence.
 As a life-long Special Forces soldier, enlisted and officer, as well as a 35-year police officer and current Chief of Police, I, too, understand the precarious nature of our continued freedoms in the United States of America.  This book is real.  The events in it are not just plausible, they are quite probable.  We are in challenging times and there are so many potentially triggering events possible that it will only take a few happening simultaneously to kick us into the exact scenario occurring in this book. 
 This book, written by these same men and including cameo roles for each of them, is more a documentary than a work of fiction.  The mayhem and death described in this book will become real, it’s only a matter of time and a couple of key events.  In fact, think of sections of Chicago today and you will readily identify many of the same conditions albeit on a smaller scale.  This book will, I hope, strike the same chord in you that it did in me.  As a result of reading this book, I hope you will realize your vulnerabilities, your limitations, your likely level of survivability, and, more importantly, will have a strong desire to prepare.  If so, Jeff, Evan, and Jason, through ReadyMan, will have made you think of your life, your family, and your community in different terms and with different priorities.  Your family and your community are counting on you to become an operator or a facilitator, responsible for their continuing survival during very dark times.
 These days are coming and are very near, more near than we will allow ourselves to think about.  But think about them we must, or we must be prepared to watch our loved ones die hideous deaths.  We, the Special Operators, have seen these very things occurring in other places around the globe.  We pray to the God we worship that we don’t see them here, but we also recognize the reality of the potential.  So, we prepare so that we are ready, and we sound the alarm so that you are forewarned.  This book is your clarion call, you’ve been warned.  Read this book, place yourself inside the story, and judge your place in the outcome.  Will you still be standing, with your family, after the great battle?  Remember, it’s not paranoia, it’s preparation.  God Bless.

Steven R. Watt (Randy)
Colonel (ret.) U.S. Army Special Forces
Chief of Police, Ogden, Utah



What would happen if the world as we know it completely fell to pieces? What would it look like?  How would we survive?  In Black Autumn, Jeff Kirkham and Jason Ross tap into their vast knowledge and experience to answer these questions.  The result is a fast-paced, adrenaline-filled, action-packed read, that will not only leave readers thoroughly entertained but will also leave them pondering very potential realities that we all should prepare for.

-Tim Ballard
Very rarely do I get to read an Apocalyptic Thriller that is believable, Black Autumn does it. This could happen. I kept asking myself as I read the book, Are you prepared?

Terrorists headed to LA with a nuke, I was cheering them on. Seriously this is a great read, so realistic I felt like I was there. Jeff and Jason made me think.

I normally only read history, I just hope someday this doesn’t become true history. Scared for the players, scared for America, and scared for those who are not prepared for the worst. This is a great read.

I love this book. It is as real as it gets, nice to read something from a man who has actually been there, done it, and has the hidden scars to show for his service. A must read for any military or civilian who wants to be prepared.

Awesome read, I caution you this book will make you do some soul searching, I know I did.

Mexicans, Mormons, and Preppers, all mixed in with a scenario that is as real as it gets. I loved this book.

- Special Forces Sergeant Major (retired) Kyle Lamb, Founder, Viking Tactics, Inc. and Author of Leadership in the Shadows
"Jeff Kirkham and Jason Ross have penned a frightening premise that is only too easy to imagine: the paralysis of American government and commerce in the face of catastrophe. The ensuing scenarios could happen to anyone, anywhere. If you're a prepper, this book is for you."

- Dan Schilling

"Black Autumn is a compelling post-apocalyptic saga of Special Forces veterans who come together to protect and guide a group of peppers after a crippling series of events to the United States. It’s a timely, and profound, warning to preppers, and people everywhere, who underestimate what it would take to survive the chaos and mayhem of a grid-down situation on a national scale. As a prepper myself, it’s an eye-opening wake-up call."

- L.L. Akers, author of The SHTF Series, and Founder of the Dirty Dozen Post-Apoc Army  


What a fantastic read!   
Jeff Kirkham’s new book Black Autumn is roller coaster ride through the collapse of modern society, and it ain’t pretty. Jeff comes to this subject with nearly three decades of professional soldiering under his belt as a Green Beret. He’s trained indigenous forces around the globe, in places where we would consider the shit has already hit the fan. But to those people, it’s just another day. That experience provides an incredible insight into how humans will act when suddenly thrust into a collapse scenario. It also gives him an educated position from which to speak about government response to such an event, and it’s sobering.
As Jeff describes in intimate detail, though the eyes of several people trying to find their way in a new and foreign world, nothing will work the way we think it will. Every day will be a struggle, it will not be romantic, it will not be fun, it will not go the way we envision. Black Autumn is a perfect example of a point I try to make to people every day, no man, no family is an island. You cannot and will not be successful on your own. You need a group. But that also brings it’s own challenges as Jeff very clearly details.
In the world Jeff has created, hard choices must be made. Morals and principles will be compromised for the sake of survival. People will be forced to do terrible things and the lines of right and wrong will be so blurred as to no longer exist. Every question will come down to, will my family survive? And you will only get it wrong once. There are a number of lessons in Black Autumn to learn from. To spur conversation and hopefully, maybe, help save a life or two.
You will not be disappointed with Black Autumn, I couldn’t put it down and was drawn into the characters and the ugly world. But it’s not all bad. There’s some great humor in the book at times and these moments give you a brief respite from the daily horror that is survival. Do yourself a favor and read Black Autumn, then give it to your friends and family. Everyone should read this book.

- Angry American