Myth of the 20th Century: Tom Clancy and the Rise of the Technothriller

After the military’s withdrawal in Vietnam, national scandals and the revelations brought about in the Church hearings of the CIA’s illegal activities in the 1970s, the 1980s brought about a renewed period of American muscularity with Ronald Reagan’s focus on combating the Soviet Union. With the release of ‘The Hunt for Red October’ in 1984, Tom Clancy quickly became the nation’s best selling author when it came to portraying the Cold War in heroic terms, positing the CIA as a pivotal player in winning the conflict. After the end of the Cold War and as the lack of a major existential threat in the 1990s transitions to the ‘Global War on Terror’ in 2001, Tom Clancy became increasingly disenchanted with the American military’s use in what could in the past be construed as defending freedom as now merely a thinly veiled drive for global domination.

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— References —

– The Scarlet Pimpernel, Orczy (1908)
– Casino Royale, Fleming (1953)
– The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Le Carre (1963)
– The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, Marchetti (1974)
– The Parallax View, Pakula (1974)
– Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, Le Carre (1974)
– Three Days of the Condor (1975)
– The Bourne Identity, Ludlum (1980)
– The Hunt for Red October, Clancy (1984)
– Flight of the Intruder, Coonts (1986)
– Red Storm Rising, Clancy (1986)
– The Cardinal of the Kremlin (1988)
– Clear and Present Danger, Clancy (1989)
– The Hunt for Red October (film), McTiernan (1990)
– Without Remorse, Clancy (1993)
– Crusade: The Untold Story of the Persian Gulf War, Atkinson (1994)
– Debt of Honor, Clancy (1995)
– Executive Orders, Clancy (1996)
– Fatal Terrain, Brown (1997)
– Carrier – A Guided Tour of an Aircraft Carrier, Clancy (1999)
– Three Kings, Russell (1999)
– Red Rabbit, Clancy (2002)
– See No Evil, Baer (2003)
– Battle Ready, Clancy, Koltz and Zinni (2004)
– The Power of Nightmares, Curtis (2004)
– The Last Patriot, Thor (2008)
– Throne of Bones, Day (2012)
– Zero Dark Thirty, Bigelow (2012)
– Use of Force
– Operation Gladio, Williams (2015)
– Tom Clancy’s FBI File (Part II), Spy Culture (2016) –
– Jack Ryan – Not So Super Spook, Whitlow (2018) –