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Tom Clancy - Essay Example

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No one titillates the book-reading world better than Tom Clancy and his never-ending string of publishing successes that stand out not only in terms of record-breaking frequency and amount of sales but also because he is considered the unlikeliest man to write them…
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Tom Clancy
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Download file to see previous pages Tom Clancy is something else again. The flap jacket of Tom Clancy's first successful book, The Hunt for Red October, contains this anecdote: "He has had a private chat with President Reagan, and lunched with the White House staff. His maiden novel was a top seller at the Pentagon. Yet the author is neither a former intelligence nor a naval officer. Rather, Tom Clancy is an insurance broker from a small town in Maryland whose only previously published writing was a letter to the editor and a three-page article about the MX missile. He always wanted to write a suspense novel, and a newspaper article about a mutiny on a Soviet frigate gave him the initial idea for Red October. He did extensive research about Soviet-American naval strategies and submarine technology. Then in the time he could spare from his insurance business, Clancy sat down at his typewriter and wrote. The rest is history."
This insurance man with very little writing experience invented the "techno-thriller" genre, a hybrid of military, spy, political and suspense thrillers which became part of popular American culture 20 years later (Greenberg, M., 1992). Clancy's suspense thrillers are political intrigues mixed with rich details of modern military technology, which are focused on the Cold War and take a grim view of the former Soviet Union. This struck a responsive chord among political conservatives. These novels are also distinguished by the intricacies of their plots, attention to detail, and technical accuracy in military and intelligence topics (Wikipedia). An amazing achievement for one who never had any training in intelligence or military affairs, which gives his popularity a dimension bigger than that of all the best-selling authors combined who are known to have some previous expertise in the fields they are writing on.
As a result of the immense popularity of Clancy's books, he became the only author in history whose works have been "branded,' a new publishing phenomenon in which other authors publish books using his name to ensure brisk sales. These publishing ventures are called "Apostrophe Books" as in "Tom Clancy's Op-Center with Steve Pieczenik." (
Tom Clancy's initial attempt at novel writing, The Hunt for Red October, was modeled after authors he admired most. These include the British masters of suspense and spy thrillers - Frederick Forsyth, John le Carre, Alistair MacLean and Len Deighton. Martin Greenberg, who collaborated with Clancy on his Mirror Image series, recalls that Clancy worked on the novel from November 11, 1982 to February 23, 1983, or within a space of only three months. The novel concerns a prolonged sea chase involving high-tech submarines so he referred it to the Naval Press Institute, hoping to obtain the stamp of authenticity that he doubted from the start.
As Clancy feared at the time, his knowledge of submarine technology and weaponry was found wanting in places by the Naval Press Institute. Thus, the manuscript was returned to him three weeks later, full of suggested rewrites. Clancy dutifully did the rewrites, learning from that experience as he did so. In November 1983, sometime after Clancy brought back the revised manuscript to the Naval Press Institute, the institute was impressed enough to make an offer to publish it on a $3,000 deal with the first-time author. The institute had never published a book before and it was a measly contract by industry standard, but Clancy ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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