Clear and Present Danger

Tom Clancy

HarperCollins 1993
A book review by Danny Yee © 1995
It is not often that I start reading an 816 page book at page 451. In this case I was stuck in a homestay in a remote Indonesian village and a partial copy of Clear and Present Danger was the only reading material available (I don't know what had happened to pages 1 to 450). Somewhat surprisingly, I had no problems at all picking up the plot mid-stream: the gist of it is that Colombian drug lords murder a United States ambassador and the United States retaliates by mounting a series of covert operations including assassinations and interdiction of drug production and smuggling; complications arise because not all the necessary people have been informed about what is going on...

If you enjoy detailed descriptions of high-tech weaponry and highly trained combat personnel in action (and of machinations in the upper echelons of the United States government), then Clear and Present Danger will be right up your alley. Don't expect anything else, however — aside from some sophomore moralising about what constitutes justification for the use of force, there isn't anything else to be found. I think it says something that the "character" about which I remember the most is a laser-guided smart bomb. No attempt is made to convey any feeling for the pain and suffering described (an elaborated deathbed scene is painful — painfully cliched). Cuba is demonised in standard propaganda mode and the reader would be hard put to learn anything about what is actually happening in Colombia.

Not only do I have absolutely no desire to find a complete copy of Clear and Present Danger — I have no desire to read any more Clancy. I would probably have appreciated him more when I was younger (and indeed I can vaguely recall enjoying The Hunt for Red October).

December 1995

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%T Clear and Present Danger
%A Clancy, Tom
%I HarperCollins
%D 1993 [1989]
%O paperback
%G ISBN 0006177301
%P 816pp