Tom Clancy: biography
A lot of Russians consider the founder of the techno-thriller genre, Tom Clancy, to be a Russia hawk. But the first translation of his book by Julian Semenov was published by a printing house owned by the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation.
Childhood and youth
Thomas Leo Clancy Jr. was born in the spring of 1947 in Baltimore, the largest city of Maryland. The boy who was the second child in the family was named after his father, who worked as a clerk at the United States Postal Service. The mother of the future writer, a devoted Catholic named Catherine, worked in a store's credit department.
The young man was interested in three things: chess, literature, and military affairs, especially engineering. At the age of 22, Tom graduated from Loyola College (now Loyola University Maryland) in his hometown with a bachelor's degree in English literature. During his studies, the young man was the president at the chess club.
Tom wanted to serve in the army, but the dream of joining the ranks of officers did not come true due to severe myopia. He also did not start pursuing a career in literature immediately. After graduation, the future best-selling author worked as an insurance agent. His income allowed Tom to improve his personal life and get married, and 11 years later, he could buy an insurance company founded by his wife's grandfather. Since that time, Clancy became a rentier and began coming up with the plot of the first book.
The former insurance agent constructed the plot of the debut novel "The Hunt for Red October" after reading an article about the uprising on the Soviet frigate Storozhevoy. Clancy made the insignificant ship into an atomic submarine and the rebel into a native of Baltimore, wrote a happy ending and many technical details that made the story believable.
The book became a bestseller, and the author had an audience in the White House. Clancy earned $5,000 for the first draft of the novel in 1984, but over four years, they sold copies for $1 million.
The next novels of the writer, including the famous books "Patriot Games," "Without Remorse," "Dead or Alive" (in collaboration with Grant Blackwood), "The Sum of All Fears," were also commercially successful. The protagonist of most of Tom Clancy's books is retired US marine Jack Ryan.
The American Stierlitz saves the British royal family, prevents a military conflict with the Soviet Union, fights against Islamic terrorists. The height of Ryan's career is the post of the president of the United States. Thus, the literary work of the "chief American patriot" turns into alternative history.
The elements of Clancy's popular books are as follows:
- an exciting plot and skillfully written dialogue;
- Hollywood story structure (happy ending and a large number of storylines);
- an accurate description of military engineering services (many critics believe that the writer created the unique techno-thriller genre).
The thrillers of the former insurer also have shortcomings such as inadequate knowledge of the realities of the "potential adversary" (for example, according to the fiction writer, the weekly ration of the Russian colonel consists of a bottle of vodka and a loaf of bread) and the lengthy technological introduction.
Despite numerous fantasy stories, Clancy could predict some significant events of the early 21st century. In the novel "Debt of Honor," the author wrote about an attack of a kamikaze pilot on important American buildings, and in the last book "Command Authority," he described the annexation of Crimea by Russia.
Some people believe that the publishing house of the Russian Ministry of Defense published the translations of Clancy's book because the writer portrayed the Russian military as insidious, but powerful and respectable opponents. The commercial success was not the main reason.
Clancy's books have been adapted for movies several times. His bestsellers have become blockbusters. The role of Ryan in the films was played by such celebrities as Alec Baldwin (The Hunt for Red October), Harrison Ford (Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger), Ben Affleck (The Sum of All Fears). Willem Dafoe and Sean Connery also starred in action movies based on Tom Clancy's books.
The prose writer was not always pleased with the adaptations, finding many technical errors in the films based on his masterpieces. However, thanks to Hollywood, the stories invented by Clancy became popular even with action fans who were not interested in reading, and computer games were based on them.
Tom Clancy was married twice. The first wife, a medical practitioner, Wanda Thomas King, gave birth to four children and presented the writer a World War II-era tank. After 27 years of marriage, the couple broke up. The expenses during the divorce prevented Clancy from acquiring the Minnesota Vikings club, however, five years earlier, the writer had bought the baseball team in his hometown.
In 1999, the famous writer married Alexandra Marie Llewellyn, a journalist and novice author. The second marriage increased the number of Clancy's children. The bestselling author had one more daughter.
Tom was a Roman Catholic and a supporter of the Republican Party. Clancy compared writing to golf, and besides the books, he created chess problems.
There was a shooting range in the basement of the writer's mansion, consisting of 24 rooms and the estate with over 80 acres of land.
The American presidents were favorably disposed towards the military writer, and Russian far-left politicians ranked him number two on the Russophobes list (after Zbigniew Brzezinski).
Death is the most mysterious chapter in the writer's biography. As of February 2019, the official cause of death of the 66-year-old author has not been announced yet.
Clancy's net worth of about $ 90 million has been a bone of contention for his wife and children. After the death of the writer, companies continue to use Tom Clancy's branding to publish books and release computer games.
At the time of his death, Tom Clancy's net worth was reported at nearly $300 million.
- 1984 – The Hunt for Red October
- 1987 – Patriot Games
- 1989 – Clear and Present Danger
- 1991 – The Sum of All Fears
- 1993 – Without Remorse
- 2000 – The Bear and the Dragon
- 2003 – The Teeth of the Tiger
- 2011 – Locked On
- 2013 – Command Authority