TOM CLANCY: First Man of RED STORM RISING ‘s Printing

"Allah!" With that shrill cry, three Muslim terrorists blow up a key Soviet oil complex, creating a critical oil shortage that threatens the stability of the USSR. To offset the effects of this disaster, members of the Politburo and the KGB devise a brilliant plan of diplomatic trickery -- a sequence of events designed to pit the NATO allies against each other -- a distraction calculated to enable the Soviets to seize all the oil in the Persian Gulf. As this spellbinding story of international intrigue and global politics nears its climax, the Soviets are faced with another prospect, one they hadn’t planned on: a full-scale conflict in which nobody can win."

Thus is the plot of RED STORM RISING.

But how did Tom Clancy, the owner of a small-town insurance agency, become “The First Man” of the book Red Storm Rising? Realize this -- this was only his second novel, the first being, of course, The Hunt for Red October.

Let’s take a quick look at some details about Tom Clancy and his career:

Thomas Leo Clancy Jr. was born on April 12, 1947, in Calvert County, Maryland. His rise as an iconic American author known for technically detailed Cold War espionage and military science storylines simply befuddles many.

Part of his resume includes a private conversation with President Ronald Reagan, lecturing the CIA, and even long talks with a top Russian defector about military and political differences between Super Powers.

His name is also not only on the covers of many fictional world espionage books – he also knows his military non-fiction. These factual books address topics such as aircraft carriers, Marine expeditionary forces, Air Force flight combat wings, Army armored cavalry regiments, and most certainly, Navy nuclear warships and submarines.

And he’s a man who likes his sports, too. As part-owner of the Baltimore Orioles, he officially serves as the Orioles' Vice Chairman of Community Activities and Public Affairs. Oh yeah, he also came a hair’s width away from owning the Minnesota Vikings.

All this from a guy who couldn’t get into ROTC (Reserved Officer Training Corps) because of poor eyesight.

After graduating from high school in Towson, Maryland, he studied English Literature at Loyola College in Baltimore, graduating in 1969. A year later he married his first wife, Wanda. After having four children together, they divorced in 1998.

During these years, he wrote phenomenal blockbusters, breaking a record for a writer that you’ll read about shortly. And while all this writing, interviewing, researching, and child rearing was occurring, he joined a group of investors that included Peter Angelos. Together they purchased the Baltimore Orioles from Eli Jacobs.

One would think that in 1998, what with all the work he had in his in-box – and a divorce to contend with, he’d keep a low profile for a while. Wrong. That was the year he tried to buy an NFL Team. A year later, in 1999, at age 53, Tom Clancy married freelance journalist Alexandra Marie Llewellyn, 21 years his junior.

Talk about The Sum of All Fears. (Hint: that was the title of his 1991 book, but I bet you already knew that.)

It seems he pretty much stopped writing in 2003. But dormant he wasn’t. In 2008, Clancy's name was purchased by Ubisoft for an undisclosed sum for its use in conjunction with video games and related products such as movies and books.

So what kind of political views does a man like this possess? “Well…” (to quote Reagan, to whom Mr. Clancy dedicated one of his books), Clancy is regarded as a political conservative. He fairly well confirmed that by donating over $256,000 to Republican Party political candidates.

After 9/11, Clancy was an early and, to many, surprising defender of Islam. Clancy has also associated himself with General Anthony Zinni, a critic of the Iraq War and the George W. Bush administration, and has been critical of former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. In his novels, countries portrayed as hostile to the USA include the former Soviet Union, China, India, Iran, and Japan. But Russia, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and the United Kingdom are shown as close USA allies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: (By publication date)

The Hunt for Red October (1984)
Clancy's first novel. Jack Ryan assists in the defection of a respected Soviet naval captain, along with the most advanced ballistic missile submarine of the Soviet fleet. The movie (1990) stars Alec Baldwin as Ryan and Sean Connery as Captain Ramius.

Red Storm Rising (1986)
War between NATO and USSR.

Patriot Games (1987)
The third book that Clancy wrote. The movie stars Harrison Ford as Ryan and Samuel L. Jackson as Robby Jackson.

The Cardinal of the Kremlin (1988)
First appearance of John Clark and Sergey Golovko. Secret anti-satellite lasers (SDI), high-stakes diplomacy, spies, and computer geeks.

Clear and Present Danger (1989)
Drug war in Colombia involving American military forces in a covert war against the Medellín Cartel. The movie (1994) stars Harrison Ford as Ryan, Willem Dafoe as Clark and Raymond Cruz as Chavez.

The Sum of All Fears (1991)
Israel loses a nuclear weapon, which Islamic terrorists use to foment war between U.S. and Soviets. The 2002 movie stars Ben Affleck as Ryan, Liev Schreiber as Clark, and changes the identity and motivation of the terrorists to neo-Nazis, most likely in response to the concurrent 9/11 fears.

Without Remorse (1993)
Set during the Vietnam War, it deals mainly with the war there and major drug trafficking back in the U.S. The book ends with the POWs... (I CAN'T reveal an ending!) 

Debt of Honor (1994)
Ryan as National Security Advisor, and John Clark and Domingo Chavez as agents with Russian cover, help win a military and economic war with a nuclear-armed Japan.

Executive Orders (1996)
Sequel to Debt of Honor. Ryan, propelled into the presidency as a result of events in Debt of Honor, survives press hazing, assassination attempts and biological warfare. Clark and Chavez trace the virus to a Middle Eastern madman, and the U.S. military goes to work.

SSN: Strategies for Submarine Warfare (1996)
Follows the missions of USS Cheyenne in a future war with China precipitated by their invasion of the disputed Spratly Islands.

Rainbow Six (1998)
Released to coincide with the computer game of the same name. John Clark and Ding, who is now John's son-in-law, lead an elite multi-national anti-terrorist unit that combats a worldwide genocide attempt by eco-terrorists motivated by radical environmentalism.

The Bear and the Dragon (2000)
War between Russia and China. Ryan recognizes the independence of Taiwan and the United States Armed Forces help Russia defeat the Chinese invasion of Siberia.

Red Rabbit (2002)
Back when he was a humble CIA analyst, Ryan aids in the defection of a Soviet officer who knows of a plan to assassinate the Pope.

The Teeth of the Tiger (2003)
Features the rise of Jack Ryan's son, Jack Ryan Jr., as an intelligence analyst, and then a field consultant, for The Campus, an off-the-books intelligence agency with the freedom to discreetly assassinate individuals "who threaten national security."


  • Submarine: A Guided Tour Inside a Nuclear Warship (1993)
  • Armored Cav: A Guided Tour of an Armored Cavalry Regiment (1994)
  • Fighter Wing: A Guided Tour of an Air Force Combat Wing (1995)
  • Marine: A Guided Tour of a Marine Expeditionary Unit (1996)
  • Airborne: A Guided Tour of an Airborne Task Force (1997)
  • Carrier: A Guided Tour of an Aircraft Carrier (1999)
  • Special Forces: A Guided Tour of U.S. Army Special Forces (2001)

Studies in Command:

  • Into the Storm - On the Ground in Iraq (with Fred Franks) (1997)
  • Every Man a Tiger - the Gulf War Air Campaign (with Chuck Horner) (1999)
  • Shadow Warriors - Inside the Special Forces (with Carl Stiner) (2002)
  • Battle Ready (with Anthony Zinni) (2004)


The Tom Clancy Companion - Edited by Martin E. Greenberg - Writings by Clancy along with a concordance of all his fiction novels, detailing characters and military units or equipment.

Video Games:

In 1996, Clancy co-founded the computer game developer Red Storm Entertainment. Since then, he has had his name on several of Red Storm's most successful games. Publisher Ubisoft Entertainment, which continues to use the Clancy name, later bought Red Storm.

Achievements and awards:

  • (This is that writer’s record he broke that I mentioned earlier) Clancy is one of only two authors to have sold TWO MILLION COPIES ON A FIRST PRINTING IN THE 1990S. (John Grisham is the other.) Clancy's 1989 novel “Clear and Present Danger” sold 1,625,544 hardcover copies, making it the #1 bestselling novel of the 1980s.
  • Clancy received an honorary doctorate in humane letters and delivered the commencement address at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1992.
  • Clancy is an honorary Yeoman Warder of The Tower of London, holding the title "Supernumerary Yeoman".

From a “small-town boy” to an internationally respected author, Tom Clancy has climbed a very tall ladder. Speaking of my own personal opinion, he is simply a master of fictional intrigue and factual military killing machines.


FOR PEACE OF MIND, BUY FROM A PROFESSIONAL. Another handy thought to keep in mind is to find out if the book you're buying has a "mismatched" book with its dust jacket. That is, the book was not originally published with the dust jacket that's attached. A common way that professionals refer to this is by noting that the book was "married" to the jacket. If you're a devoted collector, a professional won't be offended if you e-mail and ask if the book and jacket have been married.

This guide was assembled by booksuncommon.  Any errors are mine. For those I apologize.


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