“What a difference a lot of hindsight makes.It was my first and probaly last Tom Clancy.Every single american in this book is super competent,super sagacious,can plot out the future events of soviet history in the most precise detail,and all in all are almost superhuman.I was continually annoyed at the patronising tone about the rest of the world,none of whom were shown as more than semi-competent.While the americans were supermen,the brits were bumbling around,and the book gave a bashing to almost everything british except the bacon!.The National Health service was derided,the only doctors were two drunkards who left their patient halfway through the operation to go for a drink.The Hungarians,oh well,the american spies didnt wash that morning,so that they could pass as Hungarian workmen.A whole nation tossed aside as dirty and unwashed.
The Italians? Ryan's smug wife Cathy seriously states that its possible that Italy may have a few competent doctors,but wishes the Pope had the services of brilliant american surgeons!
But Clancy's opinions of the Russians! Whereas every single american is saintly,every Russian is venal,cold,selfserving,and totally focused on getting western goods.Mary Pat,american spy is totally scathing of evrything russian-even the furs are not as good as US furs,even before they are sloppily sewn.Really.I never knew even US animals were superior to russian ones.
Even american spies are angelic,they gave up killing spy opponente years ago,and even at the end of the book,they hand over the spy,of COURSE captured by Ryan,to the british,who then murder him after 2 hours questioning.
No wonder the american armed services adore Clancy,he shows americans as the saviours of the world,so he is their poster boy.As I said at the beginning,everything is wonderful with 20 years hindsight.But it made me smile as Ryan seriously pontificates about the russians failure in Afghanistan,This book was written probably in 2001,and 10 years of american failure to cope with Afghanistan was still in the future.Not so wise and clearsighted with no hindsight,was he.
No,this book seiously infuriated me with it patronising attitude,smug belief that America is the greatest in every sphere of life.Couldnt some of the american characters have had at least a few human flaws,or made a couple of mistakes?I am more used to Len Deighton and John Le Carre where everyone is flawed,there is rarely a victorious outcome,and the whole murky world is one of rather sad depression.This whole book seemed a sort of updating of Ian Flemings ludicrous hyping of the british secret service,which other brit writers spent decades knocking down.Clancy just seems to have modernised the whole thing,but from an american perspective”
dustydigger wrote this review Sunday, August 14, 2011.