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3.9 out of 5 stars59
3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 3 August 2007
This book had some of Clancy's characteristic plotting strengths so was fun and engaging, but ultimately it boiled down to Clancy coming up with a way of telling us all of the things he would love to do if he was president. Fair enough, and not badly written either, but not up there with his best.
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on 29 October 1998
Executive Orders is another winner from Tom Clancy. The latest book in the Jack Ryan series finds Ryan thrust into the job of US President and having to pick up the pieces after a kamikazi attack kills his predecessor and wipes out half of congress. Ryan is faced with opposition from both inside and outside the United States as he attempts to restore stability and show the world he can cope. Clancy masterfully interweaves the various plots, moving from one to another at a cracking pace. This is a not a book for the person who occasionally reads a page and puts the book down. This is a book to overdose on. It is lock yourself away and read till you finish it type of book. The best book I have read this year (1998)
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on 28 August 2004
Without wanting to spoil this book, the events are suprising and certainly not expected, some aspects are reminicent of 9/11 is Tom Clancy trying to predict the future - he nearly did!!! Read this book!
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on 8 July 2002
Tom Clancy's longtime hero, former CIA analyst Jack Ryan, has managed to assume the Presidency, Gerald Ford-style, without ever having been elected on a presidential ticket.
Unlike Ford, however, Ryan had never been elected to any public office at all. Asked by President Durling to serve as Vice President, after the previous Vice President is forced to resign in the wake of a sex scandal, Ryan reluctantly agrees to take on a largely ceremonial office. The catch for the non-politician Ryan, however, is that the Vice-Presidency is only a heartbeat away from the most burdensome job in the world, and one which Ryan shivers at the thought of undertaking.
Then the incredible happens, when a grief-striken Japanese pilot who lost family in a brief Japanese-American shooting war, mans a jumbo jet during Ryan's swearing-in ceremony and crash lands into the Capitol, thereby all but obliterating government. The President, First Lady, the entire Supreme Court, nearly all the Cabinet and most Senators and members of Congress are killed in a few calamitous moments.
This leaves Ryan, who survived by a sheer fluke, to assume an office which he frankly dreads approaching. A complete political outsider, Ryan has an excellent working knowledge of the government, but close to zero political instincts. A populist and technophile of the sort both idolized and unelected by America, Ryan must bumble through his grief and shock at the horror which has befallen his nation and attempt to lead it. His hostility toward any form of ideology that appears other than starkly pragmatic, however, is ultimately disappointing. In the guise of non-partisan vigor, Clancy has Ryan deliver a series of startlingly conservative speeches praising a flat tax and denouncing abortion rights.
If Ryan's syrupy claims to integrity are occassionally enough to set one's teeth on edge, Clancy establishes a magnificent character in "India", the Prime Minister of the world's largest democracy. Referring to her only by the name of the country she represents, Clancy cleverly harkens back to the medieval language of kings, who refer to one another by the name of their countries. India is a nearly Picassoan study in minimalism. Only a few lines here and there richly summon up the mental image of the face of Benazir Bhutto masking the mind of Indira Gandhi. India's supernaturally beautiful English conveys all at once the history of her nation, her class origins and educational background, her exquisite mendacity and diplomatic sophistication.
One masterpiece is a conversation between India and Ryan in which he attempt to secure her promise of safe passage of American vessels through the Indian ocean. India effortlessly evades Ryan's direct request a number of ways, each time protesting offense and hurt feelings on behalf of her nation. While India is written as a villain in Clancy's novel, conspiring against America, her delicious sophistication elevates her far above the supposedly well-intentioned lummox that is America. India's protests on behalf of her "sovereign nation", as Ryan attempts to shove her military around, will resonate deeply amongst Clancy's international audience, as he is surely aware.
In the meantime, America's vulnerability is a huge source of inspiration to any number of enemies, both foreign and domestic. Ryan's forte, and Clancy's as well, is in the field of international relations, and an array of hostile nations (India, China, Iran and Iraq) plan intricate attacks on the American homeland and its new President.
Clancy has a speechwriter inform Jack Ryan that his use of language, while correct and to the point, is far from poetic. Clearly, the same can be said of Tom Clancy. But what Clancy lacks in artful turns of phrase, he makes up for in scholarship. None of the attacks dreamed up by foreign powers against America are, in themselves, totally unbelieveable: it is only their sheer number and simulteneity that gives "Executive Orders" a far-fetched quality.
Tom Clancy's immense learning about weapons systems, military manoeuvers, Pentagon and CIA operations, is put to superb use. Even an outbreak of the Ebola virus in Zaire, which is quickly capitalized upon by the new United Islamic Republic (composed of former enemies Iran and Iraq), is described with striking and quite remarkable clinical accuracy. The governmental institutions he describes are entirely real. Clancy's gift is for taking the world of politics as he expertly knows it to be, and rearranging a few pieces on the chessboard to suggest fictional events evolving from familiar institutions.
A large amount of the pleasure derived from a Clancy novel comes from simply being able to follow it. The acronyms are endless, yet largely accurate and non-fictional. Clancy is the ultimate man's man, sharing his war stories in warmly confidential tones, allowing the reader the great vicarious pleasure of merely comprehending: testing each piece of data and finding most to be accurate and real.
While many readers will note a kind of "jump the shark" quality to Ryan's extraordinary assumption of the Presidency---for where else had he to go in Clancy's imaginary career trajectory?---the book has an indisputably educational quality for students of geopolitics. World leaders use subjective impressions gleaned at diplomatic receptions to decide upon military gambits. Everyone in politics and in the military has an agenda, noble or not, and all leaders use a range of discursive strategies to communicate with the public, the international community, their cabinets, and with other leaders. None of these 'voices' is entirely sincere or truthful, and some are not a bit of either.
Clancy will establish in his readers the important instinct toward looking for the ever-present subtext behind every public speech and pronoucement, and for this reason alone, at least one or two of his novels should be attempted by any serious student of politics.
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on 8 February 2004
It has got to be my favourite Jack Ryan book, I am in the process of reading it's sequel the bear and the dragon which is also brilliant. I read it in a week, the pages just flashed by. I'm going 2 re-read it soon. I can't believe how you can say it was boring, it's the most fast-paced Tom Clancy book I've read and I've read quite a few. Clear and present danger, Sum of all fears, the cardinal of the kremilin, patirot games and the hunt for red october.
Clancy just improves the further he goes along I think.
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on 27 October 1999
Marvellous, its all I can say. This has got to be the best Clancy has written. The stories rivetting the plots are masterful it is simply his best word. He has kept his technical description to minimum. I have a copy DOB but haven't finished it because the in-depth description of how computers work bore the life out of me. He make up for it though EO, calling up memories of Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger which were also brilliant stories as opposed to 'technical manuals'
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on 6 September 2000
EO is quite simply one of the most rivetting books I have ever read and I would heartily recommend it to anyone who like a good political thriller. I read it on holiday and so was able to really get into it and I didn't want it to end. Some other reviewer said it was too long - with writing of that standard I could have coped with twice as many pages and even a Volume 2. As the pages left to read diminished I became more and more upset at the thought of having no more action to follow. Why did the Jack Ryan films end - if ever there was a novel screaming out to be filmed this is it - and Red Storm Rising, of course but even Spielberg couldn't raise the budget for that. EO - a great book,buy it, read it.
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on 19 October 2001
Tom Clancy remains the worlds number one author in my eyes, this is the first tom clancy book that only tom clancy wrote, previously I have read net force 1-5 and op center devide and conquer. This book is by far the best I have read, excellent setting of scene and the most enthrawling 400 page ending I have ever read. If it wasnt for tom clancy, where would we be in the world? all sad without the worlds best books!. Long live good ol' TC (can someone mail me if bear and dragon is in the jack ryan series and if so is it b4 or after exec orders??
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on 14 May 2000
This was an excellent Clancy novel: the plot is, as ever, excellent. It is rather long - dauntingly so in one way, so probably best to get into it seriously than reading it over a long time. My only criticism is that he does get very bogged down with thoughts of a fundamentalist and philosophical nature - just a bit too heavy sometimes. Good entertainment nonetheless.
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on 6 June 1997
One of Tom Clancy's best. Jack Ryan returns as the main character in this political thriller. Jack Ryan becomes Preisdent of the US as cabinet members and the executive branch of government are killed by a crashing Japanese jet airliner. Jack Ryan is not your typical president. He does things the way things should be done. While politicians are out to get him, the people rally to the hero. It is a must read for tom Clancy fans.
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