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4.6 out of 5 stars248
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 5 August 2011
I purchased this book in paperback years ago and enjoyed it very much. It is now falling apart due to old age and being read lots of times. I waited until the Kindle version was cheaper than the paperback as I feel that it is a rip off to charge more for a book delivered electronically than physically.

Once again I enjoyed the story however there was no way that this book could have been proof read before it was sold as there are lots of typographical errors. This would not be acceptable in a printed book so why should we have to accept it in an electronic version. I would like to see Amazon apologise, proof read it properly and once corrected notify everyone who has purchased a Kindle version that a "proper" copy is now available.

For me the story rates five stars but the "translation" one.
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on 14 January 2011
I love Tom Clancy's work. I've read The Hunt For Red October countless times in it's paperback form and was so looking forward to reading the kindle version. Bitterly dissapointed with the download version though as it misses out huge swathes of the plotline and the spelling mistakes are terrible. If the Kindle books are abridged or altered in plot line then they should IMHO advise you before buying.

If you have not read the book in it's previous forms then it is still a good yarn but this has put me off buying the other Kindle versions of Clancy's work.
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on 23 November 2010
One of those action books that (if you are the type who prefers such to romance, comedy, celeb bull, pompous self-important blowhard autobiographies, or other nonsense) keeps you on the edge of your seat in constant page turning mode.
Clancy has earned a penny or three from his novels, and I strongly believe rightly so. I feel The Hunt for Red October is one of his three best, the others being Red Storm Rising and Without Remorse. Interestingly I believe Without Remorse (his 6th book?) brought in a $17 million advance before pen was put to paper in what was then the greatest literary advance in history - so clearly the publishers thought the guy could write as well.
Most likely to read the book will have seen the film - probably the best way around as the film falls badly in comparison, as is the norm - and will have many of the gaps filled in that the film left wanting. Sean Connery is an excellent actor, but as a Russia sea captain????????
The pace is good, most of the (American) characters solid and the plot is plausible - who cares about a few technical inaccuracies. I thought it was a grand read. However, after recomending it to a Russian girl, who then read it and reported back, there may be more than a little trouble with the Russian characterisation and, as for us Brits - well we all say absolutely spiffing old chap to one another all the time - don't we?
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on 6 January 2001
The first book Tom Clancy ever wrote and it took off like a rocket becoming a best seller. This book was also the first Jack Ryan book completed although not the first in the series (The first is Without Remorse writtin a few years later). The book focuses on a submarine comanded by Marco Ramius who's plan is to defect but he tells the crew that they are going to cuba like in the film, by using a new silent underwater propulsion system nicknamed 'Caterpiller drive'. This brings the whole Russian Navy out into the atlantic to try to sink the Red October. The American president and other members of inteligance services decide that Ramius wants to to park neuclear warheads off the United States. Jack Ryan however belives he may be trying to defect and is given three days to prove his theory and if he can't the Red October will be sunk.
A book packed with drama and suspence its worth the money anyday.
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on 30 June 2011
Having committed myself to reading this series in chronological order, my reactions have been somewhat mixed so far. Although I really enjoyed Without Remorse and Patriot Games, I found Red Rabbit to be awful. This fourth entry in the 'Ryan timeline' slots somewhere in-between. I didn't enjoy most of it in truth.

Sadly there's a language barrier to get through in order to enjoy The Hunt For Red October. The entire book is so drenched from head to toe in naval-speak that it's often difficult to figure out precisely what's going on. Realism is nice, but at some point you have to crack on with telling a story. Clancy gets so wrapped up in making his novels ultra realistic that often he forgets he's in the fiction business. A shame.

Also, there are far too many characters! It just so happens I'm an experienced reader who's very used to keeping track of many different characters. In this novel though even I got to a point two thirds of the way through when I was literally screaming at the pages - "No more new characters! Just concentrate on the existing ones!" As a reader, I didn't need to know the perspective of every single ship/submarine in the Atlantic ocean.

There are some strong points, most of them towards the end. The GRU agent aboard Red October makes for an exciting turn of fate. Even better is the submarine battle, which I found to be very exciting. Given all the tedious chapters that had gone before, I was actually shocked to suddenly find myself so glued to the final few pages! The submarine face-off definitely redeemed the book a little bit.

Not the worst I've ever read but I doubt I'll keep it. I'd only recommend it if you're in the armed forces (you'll understand the terminologies better than I did) or you're simply hell-bent on reading all the Clancy novels.
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on 25 February 2005
Tom Clancy's first book already shows his skill at blending realism with suspense and bringing lots of authenticity to what could have been a mediocre Bondish thriller. Contrary to what some critics thought, I think characterisation is pretty good. The book would not be anywhere near as interesting if Marko Ramius and Jack Ryan were a little bland. However, the book has some flaws. As realistic as much of it is, there are a few technical errors which you would not normally see in his later books (F-14s dropping balloons?!!) Being a Brit, I found the portrayal of British characters and comments made about Britain patronising. We don't all eat cucumber sandwiches and say things like "Jolly good old boy." There are a few bits which seemed a bit unnecessary. Surely we could have just been told that the Soviets had found the missile the Red October ejected aswell as the depth gauge, rather than give us a whole section detailing the event. The CARDINAL subplot doesn't really fit in that well with the story. The pace slips a bit because of this. Also, if you think about it, the plot is pretty much a variation on Firefox, which was published in 1975, 9 years before Clancy's debut novel. There are also a number of amazing coincidences and contrivances which also hurt the book's realism. However, the book's good points more than make up for the flaws, and the climax will definitely reward patient reviewers.
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on 10 September 2015
So many five star reviews... I must be missing something.

I find it hard to abandon a book midway through, no matter how terrible it is, so I sorely regretted starting this one, and the last hundred pages were like watching paint dry. It's just boring.

Buried under four hundred pages of absolute tedium is actually a genuinely good story, but it's beaten so thinly that you hardly notice it. This book reads like a technical field manual for nuclear submariners, CIA agents and seamen.

Clancy has clearly done an enormous amount of research to make the story more realistic... and didn't want to waste a single drop of it! And I think this is my problem with it. Clancy tries to conjure a realistic picture by describing every tiny detail to exhaustion, and yet misses the most important stuff completely.

There are so many characters, it's almost impossible to keep track of them all, even when reading pretty quickly (I read it over a four day period). And they're all cardboard cut-outs, with almost no emotional nuance whatsoever.

Clancy tries clumsily to inject some emotion by having these drones talk about their children now and then, but it's not nearly enough. Other than the Russia vs. America thing, you really don't care what happens to any of them.

If you're a technical, political or military intelligence nerd, you'll probably love this. If you're a sociopath with no real empathy for your fellow man, this should also work quite well for you.

But for me, it reads like a tedious court transcript providing an exhaustively detailed and objective account of an international incident that occurred in a time and place I just can't relate to.

I don't feel compelled to pick up another Clancy book anytime soon.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 September 2007
This is the book which started it all - the great techno thrillers featuring Jack Ryan, a brave non nonsense CIA analyst with a great future ahead. When it was written, this story was incredibly daring, in two ways:

First, it was technologically very advanced - there is lot of military hardware involved and its description is more detailed that usually in spy books. A great lot of military jargon fills this book, but somehow it is not a problem, to the contrary, it gives it a unique flavour which me for one I immediately liked.

The second courageous thing was to portray Americans and British clearly as good guys and the Soviets clearly as bad guys. Let's face it - during the Cold War this was the case, but usually in books and movies authors and directors tried to muddle things, showing bad US politicians, stupid western generals and greedy western businessmen facing usually renegade warmongering soviet officials, with the peace being finally found between the moderates of both camps. Nothing of the kind in this book - here, Soviet regime is bad, and West is OK. Which for me is simply the way things were in times of Cold War...

In the very beginning we see a group of Soviet officers, who, having all suffered from the communist regime, decide to defect and go West - but not empty handed. They want to give to western powers the most perfect strategic nuclear submarine ever build, the best in the Soviet Navy, "Krasnyi Oktiabr" (Red October), a modified giant submarine of TYPHOON class (those ships really exist). Soviet Navy of course will do everything possible to prevent it, find the Red October and destroy it. And so begins The Hunt for Red October! This book is so thrilling, that I finished it reading at 3AM, because I wouldn't sleep before knowing the end, and standing, because I couldn't take the tension. There are many surprising twists in the book, many very likeable characters, and a great deal of true information about modern naval warfare. I recommend this book with all my heart - if you have to read only one techno thriller in your life, it should be this one. If you want to read two, your second choice should be "The Cardinal of Kremlin", which is a totally stunning continuation of this book.

And if by any chance you already saw the movie "The Hunt for Red October" with Sean Connery and Alec Baldwin, please be advised, that although it is a honest effort, the book is INFINITELY better.
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on 5 April 2000
I really liked the movie, and now that I have completed the book, I must say that they are rather different. I gave the book 4 stars, but it was difficult to decide, because I think that the first 150 pages deserve 4 stars, the last 100 pages deserve 5 stars (actually some of the most exciting pages I've ever read!), but the part in between, some 200 pages, are really bad. You could as well read a technical manual about sonar and radar technology, US and Sovjet submarines or a list of 150 names of imagined fleet and airforce commanders. Without any difficulty a 5 star author could have shortened this part into 50 pages, and the whole book would have profited from this. Another point is the political background - the Soviets are not really BAD guys, they are actually really DUMB guys. The US army consists only of hardened veterans who know everything from the start, find out everything within 5 minutes, or are always in advantage because of their supertechnology, compared to which ALL soviet technology is "kludge" (garbage). The Soviets are slow, inexperienced, never know what to do, and are displayed as robots under the control of the state. After all, characterisation is not available in this book. With around 100 characters it would have been a rather difficult task, so this may be forgiven, especially since a lot of characters appear only for 1 or 2 pages. Interesting to compare the movie to the book - in the movie Jack Ryan and Marko Ramius are the people who have all the genius ideas and carry the plot. In the book, Jack Ryan is a bit more in the background, as is Ramius. And - the whole movie is made out of the first 150 pages... so it doesn't matter if you've seen it. Well, as a conclusion - if all the technical stuff would have been STRONGLY reduced, and the Russians were a bit more like the Americans (like Comrade Tupolev in the end of the book...), it would have been a smashing 5 star read. Still, it's rather captivating, and if you've liked the movie, you will like the book as well (or the other way round).
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on 11 March 2014
This is one of Tom Clancy's truly amazing books, excellent plot, great technical details with well thought out and developed characters, it's a 5/5 all day long.

However the kindle version contains various spelling errors and some sections of the book appear to have gone missing.

Baffling.
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