Tom Clancy, who rocketed to fame during the Reagan administration with “The Hunt for Red October” and remained a fixture on best-seller lists ever since, died Wednesday.
His death was confirmed by publishing sources, CNN reported. He was 66. The cause of death wasn’t announced.
Clancy’s muscular, knowledgeable writing introduced generations of readers to weapons and tactics of the U.S. armed forces and their specialized branches. His topics ranged from the Cold War to the war on drugs, international diplomacy and international espionage.
And through it all, his politics were never in any doubt: He was a Republican, a conservative and a writer who despised weak politicians who used the military as a method to foster their own ambitions and cover up their own failures – even if it cost them the lives of those in uniform.
That kind of outlook won him respect in all sectors of military and intelligence service — from the Coast Guard to the CIA – which gave him access to information most writers could only dream of.
But he never abused the privilege for his own benefit.
CNN’s report of his death quoted a Clancy statement from a 2003 interview.
“I’ll never decide for commercial reasons to put something in that endangers our national security. You just can’t do that,” he said. “There was one thing, I discussed with a friend of mine in the Royal Navy. I told him a story I knew, and he said, well, Tom, you may never repeat that, as long as you live. And I haven’t.”