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on 7 February 2003
I'm an American who has been living in the UK, going on for five years now. Usually, I'll read a Clancy book with great gusto. I love his earlier books. His Republican views never really bothered me before .......... before this one. I am just incredibly ashamed by this book. Forget the plot (boring), forget the characters (no new insights), and try to forget the conservative Republican jargon. This book's sole purpose is to rant and rave about the USA, Reagan, the CIA, the US health system, coffee, the DOW, food and to criticise anything non-American. From the way he goes on and on about the UK (NHS, coffee, food, the peeling paint and decay of the buildings, lazy workers who I assume rather be at home with their families instead with work colleagues, etc) and Russia I wasn't quite sure which country was worse off. They are both depicted as second world nations ... barely even that. Did anyone else notice that the good guys all have some form of Catholic backgrounds? It made me cringe every time Clancy had his American characters correctly predict the fall of the USSR or the futures in stocks. Oh how about when the CIA leaders were singing the praises for Martin Luther King? Yeah, right! The stereotypes of the British have been mentioned by many of the previous reviewers so no need to dwell on it again. My God, I have never read such arrogance, such righteousness, and sole ownership of high ethics. No wonder many non-Americans are annoyed by us. I wonder if Clancy understands the annoyance he has caused by his extremely bias tome?
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on 27 June 2005
I think most people who have read Tom Clancy before will agree that although the writing style isn't anything special the storylines are huge and complex, the attention to detail of warfare is second to none, and the characters who are found in many of Clancy's books (notably John Clark or in this case Jack Ryan) are interesting.
Well, perhaps Tom Clancy has had an off-day or is toying with the idea of writing children's books.. either way this book is rubbish (and I'm trying to be as polite as possible), and I've never said that of any book I've reviewed on Amazon.
The story itself is a combination of fact (the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul II), a conspiracy theory (that it was orchestrated by the KGB) and fiction (enter Jack Ryan... who I always think of as Harrison Ford due to his film roles). For those familiar with Ryan from other books, Red Rabbit is set in the early 80s, Ryan has an honourary knighthood (for saving the royal family in Patriot Games) but is not yet President (Executive Orders and thereafter).
So what do I dislike about this book so much:
- Weak storyline - as Clancy books go, there really isn't much to get excited about in this one. Once I got about a third of the way through I was convinced there would be another thread of the storyline to grip the reader but no, there was nothing.
- Where's the weapons and action? - A Clancy book without detailed description of weaponry, warfare and operational tactics just isn't a Tom Clancy book.
- Terrible writing style - I'm not sure why I've picked up on this but the style Clancy has adopted for this book is a bit like "Jack went up the hill. It was raining. Tomorrow would be an important day. "Hello, I'm Jack - do you want to be my friend?" etc. I know the writing style isn't the strongest aspect of Clancy's books but this is truly dire.
- Brit bashing - now, I don't normally take offence at this but there's a bit too much of it in this book... there's one point (and this takes nothing away from the storyline) where Clancy spends pages explaining how in British hospitals surgeons will pause halfway through an operation and pop out to the pub for a couple of pints before returning and completing the op. Obviously this would not be allowed in America, and Ryan and his wife are rightly outraged. Oh for god's sake... next he'll say us Brits don't clean out teeth, all have Mad Cow Disease and can't spell properly.
No, this book fails on all counts, it really is truly terrible. Oddly I will probably read the next Clancy book that comes out on the hope that this is the only lemon he produces, but you never know. I also think he should give up on the Jack Ryan character, as the John Clark one is far stronger, but that's just my opinion.
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on 11 May 2017
Worst. Clancy. Ever.
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on 13 March 2015
As the other ones
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on 24 December 2003
As a Tom Clancy fan, on the strength of his previous books I bought this one straight 'off the shelf'.
But this book was disappointing. It was strongly nationalistic, sickeningly pro-american (to be expected but this was too much - possibly done in response to recent american developments?), anti-communist, patronising, and in parts racist, whilst not providing much in the way of redeeming features such as excitement or suspense.
On the upside, it was interesting to read a theoretical "how this could have happened" story, but this was constructed more like a biased documentary than a spy thriller; the lack of real action or plot twists ensured that my most common thought was "So what?"
If you're not a Jack Ryan fan, don't bother. If you are a fan, you'll probably want to read it simply so you don't miss anything, but don't expect too much.
Personally, I'm going to use this book to prop up my broken sofa.
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on 25 November 2003
I am a big Clancy fan, but this is very disappointing. For starters, it is all a bit anticlimatic. You pretty much know how things are going to turn out for all the main protagonists with 20 pages of 'meeting' them. There is little action, and most of the book is portrayed in Jack's office or his home - film rights unlikely I think. And the end seems rushed, as though he had to get it to the publishers on time.
In addition, annoyingly Jack is portrayed as some sort of prophet. The collapse of communism, the collapse of the Japanese economy, the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan, how his wife would be a laser surgery pioneer, are all predicted by Jack in the space of a few days. Indeed it is apparently thanks to a letter from Jack that London is littered with Starbucks.
In addition this book is written in a patronising tone. It also seems far less balanced than previous books. There is a huge amount of America is great - nothing compares in this book. Perhaps this is what was required when Clancy wrote it?
Overall though I would not recommend this.
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on 6 January 2004
This is by far and away the worst attempt that clancy has ever made at a novel. Some of the net force books which he did not actually write were better than this. I have in my entire life read thousnads of books and this is one of only three books that i have not finished (the other two were 15 years ago in high school and i think i could have written a better book back then).
There is not much else to say i bought this book to read while traveling and it damn nead spoiled my trip, however if you have not read The Cardinal of the Kremlin buy that its a keeper.
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on 6 September 2002
A new Jack Ryan novel is always an event, and Tom Clancy is one of those authors I buy in hardback as soon as his new book is published. But no more. It does not help that much of this book is set in England and the errors abound. Land Rover makes saloon cars, would you believe, bitter has twice as much alcohol as American beer and York is the biggest city in the north. Clancy became successful with books that start slow, building a complex and believable world full of intricate and fascinating detail before exploding into the climax of the story. Do not look for that in Red Rabbit. The book is set in the eighties toward the end of the cold war. The plot is hackneyed, the characters are cardboard, even good old Jack is boring...
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on 30 April 2006
If I'd bought a car instead of this book, I would have taken it back to the dealers and demanded my money back. It's just awful. Littered with long, meaningless discussions - some as long as six pages - about an American view of British society, about the differences between US and UK health systems, how the Ruskies are an inefficient corrupt bunch of Commies as opposed to our sensible, efficient, rich friends from across the Atlantic. Characters - even our hero and wife - are flat, inconsistent. The recommendations on the rear cover should be reported to the Advertising Standards Authority. Over and over again (five times, I recall), Clancy describes how the head of the USSR had a dissident spy put live into a furnace, Mafia style. After a hundred and fifty pages I was yawning. It is the kind of book John Wayne would have written at the height of his patriotic meanderings. I put it down after two hundred pages, with another seven hundred to go. Then I picked it up again. It just had to have a Clancy type story line further on, didn't it? Sadly there wasn't one. Never finished it. Never will.
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on 24 September 2002
It seems that Tom Clancy has gotten a bit lazy. His usually meticulous research doesn't appear with Red Rabbit, and so the plot suffers with generalisations (all Brits say "What-ho" and drink ale at every opportunity, all Russians are moody alcoholics, and all Americans are bright and brilliant) and the glaring errors (the Yorks and "ordinary" Land Rover saloons as mentioned by previous reviewers). Also incredibly irritating is his "interesting facts", which get re-used time and time again throughout the book - he obviously likes a few ideas then forgot he had used them previously in the same book.
The trademark Clancy plot twists and turns, hundreds of seemingly unconnected events coming together, and tense endings are completely missing in this book. In Red Rabbit, before you even turn the page you know that Jack will figure everything out, will implausibly get to go and do everything, things will go smoothly (unless you're a Russian) and that it will all turn out alright in the end.
Come on Mr Clancy, what happened to the great writing of old?
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