.. ). In addition to writing multiple best sellers, a number of Clancy’s books have been adapted into movies and television series. Clancy also created his own company called Red Entertainment, which markets software games and other multimedia developments. These are all based on books or ideas by Tom Clancy.
Ten years ago, the world was a very different place and it’s changed–in historical terms–virtually overnight (Cohen 114), said Clancy when asked to comment on why the expansion into software development. It is estimated that Clancy earned 16 million dollars in 1996, and 34 million dollars in 1997(Schindehette 2). Clancy has also become involved in the education of the military. He has done lectures for the FBI Academy, CIA, and the NSA. Clancy has also made a large impact on the audio world of literature.
An expert in the audio book field could best describe Clancy’s work by saying, His techno-thriller idiom had a cinematic feeling that lent itself readily to spoken adaptation(Zinsser 1). No matter what the entertainment community has demanded of Clancy, he has been able to assimilate his work for a recipe that equals nothing but success. How Clancy is able to take the brilliant imaginations formed in his head and put them down on paper is a question often wondered by many. Clancy starts his explanation of the tedious process by describing his schedule, Generally I work from about eight o’clock until lunch, and it’s usually all I can stand to do on a continuous basis. (Greenberg 58). However, Clancy finds the forming of the storyline to be slightly easier, You start off with a basic idea: what if? What if an American tourist got in the way of an assasination attempt in London? Follow that thought to what you hope is a logical conclusion.(Greenberg 57).
The conclusion to the what if statement is often not as obvious to Clancy as many would think, I write my 5 to ten pages and it’s as much a discovery process for me as it is for the reader. (Greenberg 58). The fact that every story is a whole new adventure for Clancy, is just one reason why Clancy enjoys his work so much, I am living the life I wanted, not actually, but through the books I write(Cerasini 78). There is no doubt that Clancy will be able to continue living this fantasy. Though there is no question that Tom Clancy’s books have reached a level of popularity that some authors only dream of, not all those who read his books are complete Clancy fanatics as I learned from reading the critics views.
One of the most abundant criticisms I found towards Clancy’s work is that of his lack of character development. One reviewer put down Clancy by saying, Clancy is a Master of Hardware(Litchtenstein 1). His characters are viewed by many critics to be either larger-than life heroes or the traditional dark evil villain. They possess no human or personal characteristics which would make them real to the reader. In the reviews of Clancy’s book Rainbow Six that I read, the comments were for the most part negative. The action and conclusion in the book, are said to be predictable and dull.
One critic said, It is amazing how the determined reader can plow through 700 pages of a thriller on a timely topic by a novelist who always tops the bestseller charts and still not come away with a single provocative idea or a single interesting character (Litchtenstein 2). Clancy is not like most popular authors of this time though, gaining the respect of the critics early and later become their favorite target. Instead his earliest novels also took on a lot of flack. When Clancy’s book Op Center was reviewed, it received just as much negative publicity as Rainbow Six. One critic wrote that he never thought Clancy’s geopolitical thrillers make for wonderful books (Hiltbrand 1).
The critic said that the story was very exciting and suspenseful, but that it really only resembles a cheap copy off of an episode of mission impossible (Hiltbrand 1). Clancy’s stories are seen by the critics as being almost the same every time. An international terrorist group is running some sort of lucrative scheme against a government and a team of American special forces go in, led by the everyday Joe. This lack of dynamic theme and cardboard cutout characters is the main cause for the Critics to give it nothing but bad reviews. These bad reviews still do not at all affect the popularity of Tom Clancy’s work among the public audiences. After being out for only one week, Rainbow Six had already earned 10% more than John Grisham’s newest novel, The Street Lawyer(Maryles 1). In 1996, Clancy sold 91,000 copies of Executive Orders in its first week, and in 1998, he sold 81,000 copies of Rainbow Six in its first week.
Not to mention the outstanding success of Clancy’s movies, it is as though the critics never existed. I personally have two opinions about Clancy’s books. One opinion I had formed when I read a few of his books years ago, and the second opinion would be from writing this paper and reading two more of his books this year for the paper. My first opinion of Clancy’s work was a very positive one. I found his stories to be very interesting and enjoyed his use of strong imagery when describing the military hardware used in the action sequences. I also found that I had a strong interest in foreign affairs and military strategy. It interested me to see through the eyes of those who called the shots in times of war, how they dealt with the life of the country, and at the same time, the life of their own.
I enjoyed reading about the common soldier in times of war and what he thought and felt about what was going on. Another interesting thing about Clancy’s books to me was hi use of the CIA and other intelligence agencies of the world. I found it very interesting to read about the classified information and how they managed to save the world behind the backs of the common man. After completing the research behind this paper though, my opinion of Clancy’s work changed. By reading the negative reviews, I found myself unable to take my focus off of that which was talked about in a negative light and concentrate on that which I had enjoyed.
I find that I agree now with the critics. In my opinion, Clancy’s work is just a story filled with countless paragraphs describing dull military equipment and characters whom have no real personality with which to identify them, all jumbled into books that are over 800 pages most times. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a strong respect for Tom Clancy the person, but I do have a revised view on his work as an author. Who knows, maybe so would the rest of his fans if they had done the same research as I have. So far in this paper, I have discussed Tom Clancy the author, family man, and business man, now I want to discuss Clancy and his extracurricular involvement.
In Tom Clancy’s basement, he has a gun range, my favorite gun is the Smith & Wesson .45-caliber revolver(Cohen, 114). Clancy’s love for guns is strong and is seen in his work very continuously. A friend of his commented on a time when he and Clancy visited the White House, He really liked the CIA guys. Clancy kept asking to see their guns (Schindette 2). Though he is a huge fan of firearms, Clancy also like to watch wildlife, but never kills them (Cohen 114). Another hobby of Tom Clancy’s is being a owning major league sports franchises.
Right now, he is the owner of 23% of the Baltimore Orioles. Clancy also made a $60,000,000 bid to buy the Minnesota Vikings, but at the last minute pulled out for unknown reasons (Schindette 3). Clancy also purchase a summer camp called Camp Kaufman. Camp Kaufman is a summer Camp for poor Jewish kids, and when asked about the camp, Clancy simply answered, It is a place I want to protect(Cohen 115). This is Clancy’s way of giving all that he has earned back to those less fortunate.
Tom Clancy, the American master of international techno-thrillers, uses experiences from his own life and his dreams to write successful books. Unfortunately, despite my attempt in contacting Tom Clancy, I was unable to receive any information back from him. By writing this paper, I learned a lot about Tom Clancy. I found that Tom Clancy is a man whose success lies only in the event that his real dreams had failed. I also found that it is possible for a man with such a strong belief in the family, to have a large amount of trouble with keeping his own together.
Lastly I found that a man who writes a bestseller once a year, owns a multi-million dollar company, and is the owner of a summer camp and professional baseball team is still able to enjoy his life and is not bogged down by his many commitments in the world, while the rest of humanity seems to spend their lives stressed and looking for a way out. I found that Tom Clancy, while not a total recluse, gives very few interviews and tends to spend his time in the comfort of his own home. If I had to do the paper over again, I think I would definitely look into doing Shel Silverstein or Dr. Suess, because I enjoy their work and find them very fascinating. I am happy that I did my paper on Tom Clancy, because I learned a valuable lesson about never letting go of your dreams when there are obstacles in the way.