Almost everyone played a Tom Clancy video game or read a Tom Clancy book, which usually reveals detailed knowledge about military life.
Tom Clancy never served in the military. Although Clancy is affiliated with military-style videogames and has written detailed accounts of fictional military missions, he never served in the military in real life. Tom Clancy thoroughly researched his material prior to writing it. He then had military or ex-military personnel check over the material to ensure that it is accurate.
Read on to learn more about how a non-military man wrote such convincing military plots.
How did Tom Clancy get his information?
Tom Clancy passed away in 2013 at the age of 66. He’d been a published author since 1984 and has written at least 13 books that go to great lengths to convince the reader of his expert knowledge of military ways.
When reading a Tom Clancy novel, most wouldn’t hesitate to assume that the author must be an ex-military soldier. That is the extent of Clancy’s detailed knowledge about Naval ships, tanks, military weapons, and more.
To most, it comes as a shock when they find out that Tom Clancy worked as an insurance broker before becoming a novelist.
Tom Clancy’s first book, The Hunt for Red October, blew away military men and women for how accurate the novel was when it came to the depiction of military life.
In order to attain this insider knowledge, the author did several things in the name of research: he read other books on similar topics, interviewed people, and read public research papers.
He also knew people in the military. He sent his manuscript to two submarine officers for them to review. This way, he knew any inaccuracies would be corrected before the book hit the shelves.
Little-known details in The Hunt for Red October include that a Russian submarine spends only around 15 percent of its time at sea and the number of Seahawk missiles it carries. It’s this attention to technical details that make Clancy’s books best-sellers.
It’s important to note that Clancy never had access to classified information. He used only what was publicly available, but he put in the time to ensure this information was accurate and detailed. As a result of his efforts, Clancy quickly became one of the best-selling military novelists of his time.
How did Tom Clancy get so popular?
A big factor in Tom Clancy’s popularity was the fact that President Ronald Regan was given The Hunt for Red October as a Christmas gift.
At some presidential dinner during the ‘80s, Reagan remarked that he enjoyed the book. His comments went viral, even before the days of the internet. After that, the already moderately successful book began flying off the shelves.
The book stayed on the best-selling list long enough to be made into a movie of the same name, which was released in 1990. The movie became a hit too, and Clancy’s skills of plot-writing became public knowledge.
Tom Clancy went on to write another dozen books that followed the same meticulous attention to detail as to his first. Above any presidential recommendation, it is this that enabled him to become such a celebrated novelist.
By the late ‘90s, it wasn’t just movie producers that wanted a piece of Clancy’s expertly written military and espionage storylines. He was approached by video game creators who wanted to use his name and seal of approval to market their games.
Tom Clancy became a household name in just a short while after his first publication. Even after his death, Clancy’s name continues to be affixed to video games, movies, and television series as a stamp of approval from the master of technically-accurate military works.