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Red Storm Rising

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With that shrill cry, three Muslim terrorists blow up a key Soviet oil complex, creating a critical oil shortage that threatens the stability of the USSR.

To offer the effects of this disaster, members of the Politburo and the KGB devise a brilliant plan of diplomatic trickery - a sequence of events designed to pit the NATO allies against each other - a distraction calculated to enable the Soviets to seize all the oil in the Persian Gulf.

But as this spellbinding story of international intrigue and global politics nears its climax, the Soviets are faced with another prospect, one they hadn't planned on: a full-scale conflict in which nobody can win.

Audio Cassette

First published August 28, 1986

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About the author

Tom Clancy

474 books7,381 followers
Tom Clancy was an English major at Baltimore’s Loyola College. As a Maryland insurance broker with a passion for naval history, his dream of writing a novel came true with his first effort, The Hunt for Red October (1984).

He wrote more than a dozen novels, which have a blend of realism and authenticity, intricate plotting, and razor-sharp suspense. Ten of the novels, including The Teeth of the Tiger (Berkley, 2004), feature the character Jack Ryan, former stock broker and CIA employee.

Clancy’s non-fiction works include a series of guided tours of America’s warfighting assets, Submarine, Armored Cav, Fighter Wing, Marine, and Airborne.

He lived in Maryland.

The following are the books and approximate time frame in the Jack Ryan Universe

Without Remorse 1969-73
Patriot Games 1981-82
Red Rabbit 1982
The Hunt for Red October 1984
The Cardinal of the Kremlin 1986
Clear and Present Danger 1988
The Sum of All Fears 1990-91
Debt of Honor 1995-96
Executive Orders 1996
Rainbow Six 1999-2000
The Bear and the Dragon 2002
The Teeth of the Tiger 2006
Dead or Alive 2007
Locked On 2007
Threat Vector 2009
Command Authority 2013
Support and Defend 2014
Full Force and Effect 2014

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,319 reviews
Profile Image for Mario the lone bookwolf.
733 reviews3,397 followers
May 12, 2022
Testosterone poisoning and mad manly masculinity escalate to short-story-long descriptions of saber-rattling, real life global strategy games, and the brink of nuclear war.

Reread 2022 with extended review

Good, but not objective enough
It´s entertaining, full of suspense, and the extreme accuracy and the focus on details reminds me of Hard Sci-Fi, but in contrast to that, I am a bit missing the objective criticism of all parties involved. This combination of thriller, James Bond, war novels, and patriotic badass supersoldiers is something unique but the length of the novels is a problem that might reduce my motivation for reading more of that stuff, because there is no more complex setting than those clashing forces and fight and bam and boom and explode and stuff.

Some audiences might find it ingenious
This is highly subjective and I guess that many will find their ecstasy with Clancy's work and with a third lawyer of storytelling like politics, economics, dark forces, etc it might be fulfilling my dreams of a both brutal and deeper entertaining novel, but I guess I won´t get comfortable with that kind of genre.

Brighter future
I´ve heard of, or read about, news regarding a kind of endless continuation of his work with fresh authors and maybe they´ll produce the kind of not so black and white, more complex WW3s we´re all waiting for.

Tropes show how literature is conceived and which mixture of elements makes works and genres unique:
Profile Image for Matthew.
1,219 reviews8,686 followers
July 6, 2020
This is definitely the longest it has taken me to finish a book in years. In this case, the cause was a COVID-19 reading slump that started in mid-March 2020. Red Storm Rising was the last remaining hold out from the books I started before the quarantine began. Now I can begin to move on fully as I no longer have books from that timeframe hanging over me.

The rating of this book is based on my personal experience, as I think it should be. However, it is not based on what was obviously a labor of love with hundreds of hours of carefully researched military strategy. Other Tom Clancy books that I have read and enjoyed, I enjoyed them mainly because the story of the political intrigue greatly outweighed military strategy. In this case, it was the exact opposite with 90% descriptions of military battles and planning and 10% story.

So, if you really, really like military strategy, this is the book for you. And, when I say really, really I REALLY mean it . . . this book is very long so you are committing yourself to A LOT of military strategy. Also, this is early 1980s, US vs USSR, cold war military strategy – so it is a bit dated. But I think if this type of book is one of your favorite genres, then that will not matter.

Casual Clancy fans might enjoy. Fans of political thrillers who enjoy story over tactics should proceed with caution. But, if you enjoy stories with 20 page air battles, submarine vs battleship engagements, tank battlefield plotting and execution, etc. then this is a book you must check out.
Profile Image for David Putnam.
Author 15 books1,437 followers
February 8, 2020
Loved this book when it came out; summed up in one word, "enthralling." It's told from multiple points of view of multiple locations and incidents each one was interesting in itself. An epic story on a massive scale. I remember the length of the book and how I didn't want it to end.
Reread it today and found found it lacked character building and a simplicity of prose. I might've given it three stars but that fond memory of past enjoyment bolstered it to four.

David Putnam author of The Bruno Johnson series.
238 reviews10 followers
November 16, 2008
Ah, clancy. If you like his stuff, you'll love this book. If you like the books that he didn't write that have his name on them, you'll probably really like this book.

Few people know that this book was written as part of a competition that clancy had with Stephen King, to see who could write the longest book in a week. Sadly for clancy, King won, but that's only because Clancy took 15 minutes out of the contest to call up the army and ask them the names of some cool guns and planes and stuff. A nice touch: this book contains one word for every bullet that was fired in the vietnam war.

Russians run out of oil, decides to attack NATO to get lots more, it doesn't work, and everyone forgets about it. Fortunately for the good guys, Russians only know how to fight by following the rule book, and Americans know when to throw the book out the window. Also, everyone that dies in war is either someone that you don't know or care about, or they die in a removed, abstract sort of way. How convenient!

While this book does have 350,000 words, it's easily readable. It's clearly written by a war nerd (he says in the introductory author's note that he developed lots of the plot while in discussion with a guy that created a war simulation game). Sweet! His enthusiasm is clearly evident, and it does make the book more pleasurable to read.
Profile Image for Brett C.
769 reviews157 followers
May 16, 2021
Overall this was an entertaining read. I have read numerous Tom Clancy novels and I feel his early works are the strongest. This book does not involve Jack Ryan or John Clark. The plot setting is during the 1980s and involves the Soviets, Americans, and Germans. The book contains action, espionage, and pretty much all-out war. I think his writing style is descriptive and sometimes can be over technical but that doesn't take away from the story.

I would recommend 'The Hunt For Red October' and 'Clear and Present Danger' if you liked this one. Thanks!
Profile Image for Maggie.
260 reviews16 followers
May 31, 2011
My relationship with this book got off to a bad start. I've never known much about or cared much for the Cold War, and while I read of the Russian Politburo plotting a way to seize oil from the Persian Gulf without incurring NATO opposition, I was wiki-ing terms like "KGB" and "Kremlin". Things didn't improve when the Russians failed to break up NATO, World War III started, and I was searching my dictionary for things like "fighter" and "carrier".

But 830 pages gives you a long time to learn, and within a few hundred pages, I was checking my dictionary less and enjoying the book more. Clancy is brilliant. Most fight scenes to me are boring, endless combinations of shooting, bombs and explosions. While most of Red Storm Rising was fight scenes, there was so much thinking go on that I never got bored waiting to see if a strategy would work, and I was continually surprised by unmentioned strategies that did work.

Clancy is not just smart, he's hardworking too. He clearly did his research, with lots of knowledge on war maneuvers, Soviet politics, war machinery, and everything else related to war. It amazed me when I realised that the ships he mentioned, like USS Pharris or HMS Battleaxe, really do exist in real life. The fact that he never let the war degenerate into a nuclear war, so common in 1980's fiction, allowed him to show off his knowledge of conventional weaponry and gave him control over the events so that they were always realistic.

It could have been difficult to manage the many groups of people and many places involved in a World War, but I felt that Clancy handled it quite well. As I've said, there were many well developed main characters, but all the other characters were identified by their roles rather than by name, helping me keep all the characters straight. Clancy also broke the book down into various small sections, a few paragraphs set in Germany, a few in Iceland, a few in Scotland, and so on, allowing him to continually update the reader on what was going on in each area and how different groups of people were cooperating - or not - with each other. The shortness of each section also made a long book easier to read.

While the book was largely technical, Clancy did not forget the human aspects of war, and there was just the right amount of humanity to be emotional without being unnecessarily tear-jerking. I also enjoyed how both sides were portrayed in a somewhat balanced manner. Sure, NATO were the good guys and the Russians were the bad guys, but Clancy was quick to note that not all Russians are bad, and even as I rooted for NATO and in particularly Ed Morris and Jerry O'Malley, I rooted for Alekseyev and the Sergetovs as well. In fact, characterisation was a strong point of the book. There were many characters, in keeping with the fact that the book was about a World War, but the main characters were all realistic people that I could feel for. That is, apart from Vigdis, a beautiful and courageous Icelandic girl, perfect in every way. Not all stories need a love interest, really.

It takes something extraordinary to make someone like me interested in a book about war, and Clancy clearly has that something extraordinary.
Profile Image for Doug.
83 reviews53 followers
December 25, 2020
Tom Clancy is absolutely hands down the master of the military/techno-thriller genre. And this book is no exception - I can only imagine the extreme and meticulous lengths he must have gone to research this work. His knowledge of military technology and strategy is truly something to behold. Apparently the Pentagon tried to figure out who leaked info to him after he wrote The Hunt For Red October, it was so detail-laden and accurate.

But, about Red Storm Rising. Parts of this were really good, don’t get me wrong. This book is truly a massive tome, and has its fair share of incredible set pieces. But I can’t help but be a little let down by it. This was supposed to be “WW3”? It’s more like a little bit of fighting in Iceland, some tank battles in Germany, and some submarine cat and mouse in the Atlantic. And that’s it, folks. The two greatest superpowers in the 20th century clash...and its essentially a one-front war with a little bit of action off to the sides. If this was Clancy’s take on WW3, it’s definitely less brutal and cataclysmic than either WW1 and WW2, which honestly...doesn’t seem too likely if this scenario had actually occurred.

Overall, this is still a fairly good read. It’s a must read for any Clancy fans or military thriller fans in general. Clancy writes from both the Russian and US perspectives, and the book avoids being too jingoistic, for the most part, though the Americans get hopelessly lucky a lot of the time while everything that could go wrong for the Russians usually goes wrong. There’s a fairly boring love story thrown in to all the action, and my advice to anyone reading the book is forget trying to keep track of everything that’s happening, just keep reading and the story will more or less come together.

Again, not a bad book, but if this is one of the best known works on a “what if” Soviet-NATO War, then it was a bit of a letdown.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Mike (the Paladin).
3,145 reviews1,782 followers
January 12, 2010
I read this and found it intensely interesting. it lead me to several more books of the type usually called "techno-thrillers" and I still enjoy that genre. While a bit dated this one is well written, researched, and absorbing.
Profile Image for Tim.
2,084 reviews192 followers
February 6, 2013
Awful, boring overlong story of war and rape. The only good portion of this novel aside from the victim finding love is the end which should have ocurred one third of the way through this travesty. 2 of 10 stars
Profile Image for Robert.
10 reviews1 follower
May 12, 2013
I read it once when I was too young to understand many key themes so it was an action thriller at the time. During my second read through my perspective changed, gone was the line between clearly good and clearly evil. Instead I found myself rooting for the Russians. Not because of anti-americanism or any foolish rubbish, but simply because it seemed the west had an abundance of four leaf clovers and lucky charms. Any and all luck was on their side and despite the desperation of the situation, America is always going to win. Everything they do and have is better, and what could have been a brutal conflict with the challenge of facing intelligent nations both with the will to come out on top into the equivalent of shooting paper targets on a range. I'm not disputing the outcome, I would have just rather read about actual struggles instead of random secret technologies being pulled out of the sky at just the right moments. In the end the final message I got from this was "America fuck yeah!" and "democracy hurr"
Profile Image for Corey.
410 reviews96 followers
July 2, 2019
As much of a fan I am of Tom Clancy and his work, I can't believe it's taken me so friggin long to read RSR! Well I've finally read it and haven't come back disappointed!

Red Storm Rising is Tom Clancy's second written novel, co-written by his friend Larry Bond. Red Storm Rising follows a World War III scenario between NATO and the Soviet Union, set during the Cold War, after terrorists from Azerbaijan attacks and destroys an Oil Refinery in Russia, threatening to cripple the Soviet Union's oil economy due to massive shortages. The Soviet Politburo decides to launch a massive attack and seize the Persian Gulf by military force in order to retake the Oil losses. But the only thing standing in Soviet's way is NATO, so they decide the NATO forces must be eliminated before reaching their objective, so the whole globe is plunged into world domination by 2 countries.

A fascinating, and nail-biting thriller, and Risk-Board-Game like novel that will keep you up past your bedtime, turning the pages until the unforgettable climax! Another winner by Tom Clancy!
Profile Image for Harv Griffin.
Author 12 books16 followers
January 30, 2013
pic of my copy of RED STORM RISING

I’m guessing Tom Clancy novels are mostly a “guy thing.” If it’s a Tom Clancy novel I’m probably going to check it out. I’m something of a “Naval Action” freak. I blame the 1943 Lawrence O’Donnell science fiction short story CLASH BY NIGHT, which I read in Junior High, for my fetish. Asimov made me want to read more science fiction; Lawrence made me want more Naval Action!

RED STORM RISING presents a global non-nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia that involves our NATO allies. The first read-through I read everything, but on re-reads I skip many parts, depending on my mood, and focus on the parts involving the weatherman in Iceland, a U.S. Air Force lieutenant who is the main hero. There is also a cute love story that develops here.

There is some great submarine action here. Many readers think Clancy novels are technical over-kill, but what he does in RED STORM RISING works for me. @hg47
Profile Image for Arthur.
318 reviews12 followers
March 12, 2022
A 32 hour unabridged audiobook. My first Tom Clancy, and my first post WW2 alternate history.

I'm surprised. Tom Clancy found a way to turn ww3 into a borefest. The characters are robotic, as if ww3 would have been devoid of all human emotion. I came close to shelving this book a few times, which is extremely rare for me to do. It was okay at best.
169 reviews7 followers
September 7, 2022
Its action times!

In Red Storm Rising, the author Tom Clancy depicted his take on WWIII, set in midst of the ongoing Cold War of the 80s.

"WHAT IF" USSR decided to move west, and launch offensive on NATO in order to seize oilfields on the Persian Gulf?

The story concentrated more to the battlefield aspects. Of various tactics employed, challenge of logistic deployments, and how military hardware functioned during ground, air and sea combats.

Politicians took a backseat this time around. Agreeable to me. Actually, I found it very irony when making a historical comparison. In the past, rulers of absolute monarchy fought alongside their soldiers in wars. Like Napoleon I. 1st hand witness. Nowadays, the elected head of governments sit and wait on the comfort of their sofas.

So, I'm glad Clancy decided to assign them less coverage this time.

This war between USSR vs NATO had no outright favourite nor underdog. It appealed to me. That means, battle's progress could go to both ways.

Or none.

Quite unpredictable. Quite un-stereotypical with conventional weapons deployed. Instead of WMD or nuclear. Though the ending itself not totally unexpected.

Thriller-wise, that made an exciting reading. It made me try my best to focus. To make sure I invested my engagement on plots to picture it inside my mind. So, I didn't miss a thing when the flow suddenly turned out different way.

I admit of getting lost sometimes, amidst numerous jargon and the technical side. I had to explore the internet for more clarification on military terms. To see how certain artillery and weaponry system looked like and strayed around, reading related articles.

I re-read those affected chapters again. You see, even though it is my 1st reading; it also made up with half of the book read twice.

Yes, it slowed down my phase. But I prefer reading with more clarity and grasp. Rather than chasing book counts.
Meaningful reading and satisfaction are more important to me. That's what I aimed for.

Earlier, I had read Clancy's later book, the Executive Order. ( I'm guilty of reading haphazardly without following sequence of publication.) While there, I found his writing had a prediction element, which unfortunately more or less had became true. A commercial airliner had been used as the ultimate weapon itself to attack important buildings. Less than a decade, 9-11 happened in real life. Within that same book, an Ebola virus been harnessed to become a biological weapon to destroy other nations. Had not for the last 2 years we had Covid-19?

Reading Executive Order made me changed my mind about Clancy. It made me believed, this man didn't just writing his book as purely fiction. He added some of his theories on possible future threats as well. That's what I'm trying to look for in this Red Storm Rising.

Clancy's prediction was not accurate TO A TEE; but his general idea left something to ponder on. Well researched, this techno thriller still relevant to be read. Not outdated; in view of current situation in Europe. It give us a general idea of possible Russia's motivations on invading Ukraine.
Profile Image for Mike.
475 reviews367 followers
April 30, 2022
April 2022 update: Yes I reread this because of the Russo-Ukrainian war. Still holds up well in spite being almost as old as I am.

The weird thing is how the shortcomings of the Soviet/Warsaw Pact armed forces are still present in the 2022 Russian armed forces (reliance on conscripts, emphasis on lots of artillery, weakness in low level leadership, rigid command structure).

Oddly enough this book also identified the strength of antitank guided missiles against armored formations which we are seeing play out in Ukraine today AND the Russians today are using a lot of the same equipment we saw the Soviets using in this book. The real world is weird.

At least this book had a happy ending (relatively speaking).


By the time I read this book the Cold War was already over and the Soviet Union was just a scary creature from history books. As such I never really knew the dread of Soviet armor divisions rolling into western Europe or the threat of nuclear war. In spite of this I found Red Storm Rising a very fun read.

I read this during my WWII history phases (late middle school to high school) so I had some appreciation for and knowledge off armored warfare and the Soviet military. Sufficed to say I ate this book up. Lots of action over a bunch of different theatres of war, likable characters on both sides of the conflict, and a satisfying conclusion to the book. Nothing really felt forced and the events leading up to the war had their own internally consistent logic that drove them.

This was by no means a deep or insightful book, just a fun excuse to throw western military forces and doctrine at Warsaw pact forces and doctrine, with some basic critiques of both (Western language/coordination problem, reliance on convoys for resupply; Soviet reliance on blunt force attacks, fairly inflexible tactical doctrine that discouraged individual initiative). If you are into that sort of stuff you'll really find this book to be a fun read, if not avoid this book at all costs.
Profile Image for Josh.
36 reviews22 followers
September 4, 2012
Tom Clancy's writing style leaves a lot to be desired sometimes, even to a fan of this genre. Let me just say off the bat that this book (like most of Clancy's novels) is rife with blatantly false stereotypes of Russian and Soviet characters, and a very poor understanding of the Russian language. Maybe the tense relationship between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. when Clancy wrote these books means he had little practical experience to go on, but given some of the other, more accurate depictions of Soviet life by other Western authors during the same time period, I have to conclude that Clancy either didn't do his homework or was trying to appeal to a specific anti-Soviet worldview popular among some Americans at the time.

That all being said, this is the tenth time at least that I've read this book. For all the technical flaws in his writing style and the factual errors, Clancy does spin a good yarn. The underlying plot is compelling, as are most of the main characters. All the characters remain somewhat two-dimensional, as is typical of Clancy and other writers in this genre. Clearly the focus of the book is on drooling over high-tech weaponry and battle-scenarios. Where Clancy is successful is in making sure the gadgets actually drive the story forward. I've never been in the intelligence business or the armed forces, but maybe those folks derive greater pleasure out of what I assume is his accurate portrayal of those communities.

I rated this book three stars because at the end of the day this is pretty much a run-of-the-mill techno war thriller, and is very typical of that genre. Coupled with Clancy's overly-simplistic or deliberately misleading portrayal of Soviet characters and life in the U.S.S.R. I can't say as this is a book worth raving about. Still, it is an interesting story particularly if you're nostalgic for the Cold War days or interested in vintage intelligence and military trivia. I would recommend this book to someone who enjoys the genre, otherwise don't bother.
32 reviews4 followers
March 24, 2019
This is my favorite Clancy novel. I'm currently re-reading it for the fourth time.

Published in 1986, at the heigth of reaganism, it probably read as a near-future techno-thriller. Now (2012), it reads as an alternative history thriller: What if the USSR chose to risk a limited war with Nato in order to gain a geopolitical advantage in the Middle East?

Don't let me mislead you: The political set-up is dull and at the point of naïve. The main point of this part is to lay down the premises for the military confrontation: A limited, non-nuclear confrontation in Western Europe with a lot of action in the North Atlantic. What follows is a portrayal of the war, as seen from multiple perspectives (mostly american soldiers and soviet generals and politicians).

The "special forces", often the focal point of modern military fiction, is rather absent from the story. This is a war fought with conventional armies and large machines of war: planes, battleships, tanks and missiles.

Why is this my favorite Clancy novel, or, indeed one of my favorite thrillers? I don't know. It's possible to list a lot of negative aspects: The writing style is bland, the characters are not very interesting and the political plot reads like a piece republican propaganda. However, I grew up in the 1980s, when a major war between USA and USSR still was considered a possibility.

RSR is a survey of (then) current military technology and tactics, it's fast paced and quite exciting.
Profile Image for Thomas Stroemquist.
1,454 reviews120 followers
October 12, 2016
In Sweden (at least) this one rode high on the success of the first few Ryan books. The characters of this one is even more one-dimensional and the whole story has a feeling of taking place on a higher level than personal most of the time. Unavoidable due to the scale of things, I guess. Nevertheless, it is quite suspenseful and if you're going in with an understanding of what you are about to read, it's captivating and readable.
Profile Image for Mahendra Palsule.
146 reviews17 followers
August 24, 2012
Dry narration of hypothetical WWIII. Full of strategic & tactical military, naval, and air combat technical details. Hardly any character development, pages after pages of insipid writing. Best avoided.
Profile Image for Shelle Perry.
480 reviews30 followers
January 13, 2019
Tom Clancy knew how to tell a story. This book is wonderful jumping off point for Tom Clancy novels. Engaging characters, solid action and a brilliant insight into how cold governments operated.
Profile Image for Wilmar Luna.
Author 4 books29 followers
July 23, 2015
Tom Clancy’s Red Storm Rising was the longest, dullest, most terribly written P.O.S. I have ever read. Again I have to ask, “How did this author become a multi-million dollar best seller?” I was the target demographic for this book. It had airplane battles (sorely lacking in detail), naval battles (had way too much detail), tank battles, and ground infantry reconnaissance missions. Everything about this book was right up my alley. So why did I hate it?.

Sadly, the same problem that I had with The Cardinal and the Kremlin was the same problem I had with Red Storm Rising, the prose. As usual, it was boring beyond all imagination. Too much detail on mundane things, too much telling, too much action, and not enough focus on the human condition.

We have five main characters. Alekseyev a Russian general. Captain Morris, a frigate commander. Captain McCafferty a submarine commander, Mike Edwards an airforce lieutenant? I don’t remember, and Toland, a navy officer focused on intelligence. Actually, come to think of it. Toland probably shouldn’t be considered a main character because he inexplicably drops off the face of the earth at the novel’s conclusion.

Look, WHO CARES! I don’t care about these main characters! All of them are treated like military grunts and are practically clones of each other. The only character that’s actually different is Edwards because he’s on the ground evading Russian troops. We get glimpses into some of their personal lives but there is not enough substance to want me to care about these people. Clancy seemed more focused on tactical maneuvering and telling you every little detail on how a submarine operates than fleshing out the characters that we’re going to be stuck with for SEVEN HUNDRED PAGES! F—me!

Well I guess I should get started shouldn’t I?

The beginning of the book has the same exact problem that the beginning of The Cardinal and the Kremlin has. It starts you off with an incessantly long explanation that could have been cut out or saved for the end of the novel. In The Cardinal and the Kremlin it was a several chapters long technical explanation on how anti-nuke missile lasers work.

In Red Storm Rising we’re treated with a delightfully boring meeting of Russian politburo members discussing how much fuel they have left before supplies run out. What I just told you in one sentence took like four chapters in this book! Way to ruin the mystery, Clancy! I know, I know, the author has long since passed but man . . . Having a major in English does not make you a great author.

As a reader, Tom Clancy robs any mystique or suspense as to why the Russians decided to attack the European front. It goes a little something like this.

“How’s our fuel situation?”

“Terrible, we need more.”

“Okay, how about we acquire some fuel from the middle eastern countries??

“The Europeans won’t like that.”

“I know! We’ll blow up one of our own schools full of children as an excuse to go to war.”


Does this make any f-ing sense to you? That an entire war was started not from water, not food, not territory, but fuel. Color me unimpressed. You’re telling me they couldn’t work out a trade deal or set up oil drilling platforms somewhere else? Bull, all of it was bull and the worst part is that we’re told the motive right from the very beginning. There’s no suspense or mystery, just back to back battles.

In theory, this would have been awesome. Problem is that the prose is terribly written and it’s difficult to care about the characters. This book turned into a massive and painful chore and had I not bought it I wouldn’t have forced myself to finish. Lesson learned, I’m borrowing from the library next time.

This is pretty much how the book goes: McCafferty gave the order, “Left ten degrees rudder a third power.” “Aye, left ten degrees rudder a third power.” The submarine was now cruising at 10% power.

Ugh, give me a break! It just went on and on and on for 700+ pages. Every time I attempted to read the book I’d fall asleep and wake up pissed off that I still had over 600 pages to go.

I would jump to the end of the book, see what page number it ended on, subtracted that number from the page number I was on, and told myself I only have X many pages before I’m done with this boring piece of crap. Does that sound like a good book to you?

But wait, there’s a plot twist! I’m not giving it a 1 star. It actually managed to get up to 2 stars.

“Bwuh huh?” You say. I’ve been talking all this crap about the book and yet I’m still going to give it 2 stars? Well, the book actually had some strong moments. Moments that shocked me, upset me, and reminded me of why war is so terrible.

What shocked me were some of the unexpected deaths in this book ala Game of Thrones. Though the characters weren’t particularly memorable, there were events in the book that left a strong emotional impact.

The first was an incident involving Captain Morris and his frigate. Something terrible happened to the ship while under his command and left him traumatized and babbling in his sleep. It showed how vulnerable the character had become and made me feel awful about the guilt he felt over the loss of his crew. It was a powerful moment that made a rather dull book into something that was . . . I don’t want to say enjoyable but definitely interesting.

The next involved Edwards leading his group of marines throughout Iceland. We’re treated to several chapters where he and his team and a civilian girl have evaded detection and capture from the Russians. They feed intelligence reports to their commanders and constantly risk their lives in order to support the war effort. In fact, these bits in Iceland were the strongest chapters of the book because it focused on humanity and characters rather than ships blowing up submarines, or artillery destroying bridges, or aircraft shooting down satellites. It had the human element it so desperately needed and should have been more of a focus.

So yeah . . . maybe I got a little attached to these guys. And maybe I got a little upset when the finale hit but that was short lived.

*Be warned SPOILERS up ahead*

*End spoiler*

Clancy never bothered to follow up with Edwards. As a result we’re told that he got medevac’d but we never get to discuss or see how he felt after being one of a handful of survivors. We don’t know if he stays with the female civilian they found out in the countryside and we don’t see if he ever attends a funeral or mourn for the team who became like his brothers.

In fact, after Edwards gets wounded, we never from him ever again. It was a perfect opportunity to create empathy for a character and Clancy completely blows it. A touching moment with him weeping the loss of his team would have been enough to possibly push this book up to three stars but NOPE! We’re men and men don’t cry.

Also, it became abundantly clear that Clancy loved submarines and the navy because the subs were the most detailed part of the book. From how the ship was steered, to how the sonar works in water, to how the enemy subs are eluding them. Clancy clearly loved naval warfare and his submarine sections were some of his best bits (which makes sense, since Hunt for Red October was his 1st best seller). Since the sub cannot really “see” underwater without sonar and I don’t have photos of what’s going on, reading these passages in the book made it easy for me to imagine myself in the submarine with the captain.

Unfortunately, just when a scene is finding its groove, Clancy ruins the moment with excessive, nauseating technical detail. Then the exciting scene dies down into a boring technical manual that puts me immediately to sleep.

The sin of it all is that this could have been an incredible book. In my opinion, this novel could have easily been four or five stars if it did the following:

-Made the cause of the war more of a mystery.

-Get rid of all the Russian POV sections because there wasn’t anything memorable in any of these chapters. Just lot’s of boring political talk and strategies.

-Cut down on the technical detail and rambling. Get rid of all the extra, meaningless text and make it more concise.

-Have less battles and have more moments where the protagonists are disturbed by what’s been happening in the war.


-Cut down this book by 300 or so pages. There’s a lot of fluff and not enough substance.

Overall, after having read The Cardinal and the Kremlin and Red Storm Rising, it’s safe to say that I will never pick up another Tom Clancy book ever again. I don’t like his writing style, I don’t understand how he became as successful as he did, and there was no deep plot to get curious about or any characters to care about.

It did have its moments where I could see the potential of it being a glorious book but they were few and fleeting. All the more a shame that it sucked as much as it did.

Maybe I don’t like military genre books but I find that hard to believe. I think his writing style was just for a different time that I was not a part of. If Hunt for Red October really was his best work then you should absolutely skip this book and I guess read that instead? Anyway, RIP to the author but I’ll definitely not read another one of his works ever again.
Profile Image for Asghar Abbas.
Author 1 book191 followers
January 1, 2018


Sigur Ros

The cover, that is.

The book? This was a true work of art.

A tour de force.

Only one of Clancy's books, I would ever recommend. Otherwise, his novels should be used as bricks in constructions of something more useful.
Profile Image for Vitali.
18 reviews
July 11, 2022
Soviet Union going to war against NATO.
A scary fictional scenario which feels too real in 2022.
As anything by Clancy, Red Storm Rising is very well written and depicts war in incredible detail and through the eyes of dozens of characters on both sides of the conflict.
As anything by Clancy, it is also should have been half as long.
Profile Image for Patrick Peterson.
450 reviews181 followers
February 19, 2013
I read this book within a year or two of it comming out in 1986 and enjoyed it very much then. I went on to read all the Clancy books till he started writing (with a collaborator) the Ops Center series, which I never did read. I liked all I read, but this was my favorite.

For some reason, my son and wife picked this out to read together over these last holidays. I settled right in to listening with avid attention. One night I did the reading out loud to them. The next night Mary was busy and Arthur wanted me to read... so I obliged. But after he went to bed, I could not stop reading to myself. It took me another couple weeks to finish it off... but gosh was it worth it to me. Mary's been asking to read it to Arthur, but he's gotten into more books that are his style since. Mary's now working on Clancy's latest: Dead or Alive - now on the best-seller list.

I'm looking forward to reading that book this summer, but for now, here are some details of why I liked Red Storm Rising so much:
Background: this book is about what would happen (in detail) if the Soviets attacked the west (set in 1980s), because they thought an internal(!) crisis could not be handled any better way.

If you like grand (militory/political) strategy - this book has it.
If you like battle tactics - it's here in spades.
If you like taut, sweat inducing, can't-stop-reading drama - this book is amazing.
If you like good portrayals of how the soviet system actually worked - it's here.
If you admire the importance of geography in military/political affairs, artfully weaved into the plot - don't miss it.
If you like various languages, customs, and stereotypes used appropriately - this is it.
If you don't mind a maddening oversupply of military jargon and acronyms - well that is here in abundance.
If you like competence admired and sloth usually getting it's just deserts - Clancy's the man.
If you're a techno-geek (of 25 year old cutting-edge military & misc. stuff) - this book is divine.
If you're a parent - the values and sympathies and humanity are here.
If you like "What if" scenarios played out based on important questions. This book beats out (by a very wide margin) "World War III" by some generals that I read shortly after reading this book the first time.

I could go on, but I'm sure you get more than the picture I tried to present.

Full disclosure - here's what I did not like:
- German & Icelandic towns discussed that are not in my German Road Atlas of Germany or World Atlas (for Iceland).
- Too many acronyms without explanation.
- The hardcover binding is falling apart. I doubt the book has been read more than 5 or 6 times by various relatives and friends over the 24 years or so. Usually paperbacks can even handle that kind of use.
Not much else.
Profile Image for ⚧️ Nadienne Greysorrow ⚧️.
301 reviews38 followers
February 6, 2019
This is, quite possibly, one of my most favorite World War Three titles out there, and has influenced much of my own thoughts on the prospect of what a hypothetical Third World War between NATO and the Warsaw Pact would have been like in the 1980s. I believe it also helped that there was a corresponding video game back in the actual 1980s that I played constantly on my 16-color Tandy 1000 from Radio Shack.

There are enough interesting characters and locales to make for a very action-packed and interesting story. There are sympathetic characters on both sides of the war, and you may even come to cheer for a couple of them; however, the KGB characters and most of the leadership of the Soviet Union do clearly emerge as the "bad guys." There are also a number of different perspectives in the book as you get to follow along with a Frigate Captain, a Tank Commander, a Stealth Fighter Pilot, an Air Force Meteorologist, a Paratrooper General, and an Intelligence Analyst, among so many others. While you can most likely guess the outcome (particularly if you are familiar with the other works by the author), I do believe that there is quite a bit of tension present, and you may feel like its going to end the other way. Hell, I've read this a few times now and even I sometimes feel like it may turn out different this time. If I had a complaint, its that I believe the novel wraps up way to quickly at the end. Arguably, one can extrapolate what probably happens, but it would be nice to have a few more pages devoted to the resolution.

Despite the notation on the cover of my copy of this novel, it is not supposed to be set in the Jack Ryan universe, the Ryanverse, of Tom Clancy, although it's not too hard to make a few tweaks in the background lore to make it so. I imagine that this could take place sometime shortly after "The Hunt for Red October"...
Profile Image for KB.
147 reviews5 followers
February 12, 2019
Red Storm Rising warrants five (red) stars on the basis of a riveting and well-structured narrative. Tom Clancy certainly knew how to write an effective thriller when he created this imaginative and nightmarish vision of a high-technology, non-nuclear Third World War set during the 1980s. The story unfolds from numerous perspectives, providing the reader with an immersive view of the entire conflict, primarily as experienced by various American and Soviet military personnel.

More than three decades after the book's initial publication, quite a few details are definitely outdated (e.g., a partitioned Germany, references to characters' Vietnam service, Iowa-class battleships, etc.), but it is surprising to consider just how many of the described weapons systems are still critical components in active service among the NATO and Russian militaries.

The novel is not without weaknesses. Particularly obvious is the overtly good-versus-evil theme, with the Russians being broadly portrayed as slavish brutes. The sections that focus on submarine or frigate patrols tend to drag, and the story could have benefited from the inclusion of additional information relating to political and homefront issues. Then again, at more than the 800 pages, Red Storm Rising is probably long enough already.
8 reviews1 follower
April 24, 2021
10th time I've read it but a good read nonetheless
1 review1 follower
May 22, 2014
Red Storm Rising is basically a fictitious story about a conventional war between NATO and the Soviet Union. Written by Tom Clancy, it is one of the best books I have read. It is an incredibly realistic portrayal of what a real shooting war would be like. The book begins with Arab extremists sabotaging and ultimately destroying a key soviet oil refinery. Crippling an already shaky economy. In desperation, the soviet leaders, or Politburo, launch an offensive attack against NATO and the US to gain the natural resources that they so desperately need. This book takes place in the middle of the Cold War and is very well written and researched. It gives the feel of reading an account of a real event and not a novel. This book is perfect for anyone who enjoys a good thriller and (like me) hates inaccurate information, because you will not find any in this book. Tom Clancy has written many more novels, all circling a similar theme but all being incredibly "good reads" and I have yet to be disappointed.
Profile Image for Remo.
2,273 reviews125 followers
March 9, 2022
En un ejercicio de simulación, Clancy (y su negro) imagina(n) qué pasaría si la URSS atacara a los aliados de la OTAN. El motivo que dan en la novela es que los islamistas les destruyen sus principales refinerías por lo que para sobrevivir, la URSS necesita tomar Oriente Medio. COmo no puede conseguirlo por las buenas, idea un plan para enfrentar a los aliados de la OTAN unos contra otros y lanza una ofensiva contra ellos a la vez que se dirige a los campos petrolíferos del Golfo Pérsico.
La parte de los enfrentamientos militares es muy realista, y creo que es lo mejor del libro. Se aprenden cosas. Era lo que mejor hacía Clancy (y su negro). En marzo de 2022 este libro merece una relectura, aunque sea para ver cómo trata(n) Clancy (y su negro) el tema de la amenaza nuclear.
Profile Image for Jamie Shew.
43 reviews34 followers
August 5, 2013
I got this book for Christmas as a teenager and did not sleep as I read it. It was such an engrossing read especially as a teenager in the 1980's. My guess is a teenager today would not understand why it had such an impact as the Cold War is something they study in history. Tom Clancy was so detailed in setting up the plot, you had to push through the many chapters setting up a climax. I have always considered a Clancy book like a roller coaster, you go up a long hill really slow until that moment when you crest the top and take off on a wild twisty, curvy ride. That crest usually happened about midnight which meant I did not sleep until morning.
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