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Clear and Present Danger (A Jack Ryan Novel) Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 1990

4.4 out of 5 stars 290 customer reviews
Book 5 of 10 in the A Jack Ryan Novel Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

At the end of the prologue to Clear and Present Danger, Clancy writes, "And so began something that had not quite begun and would not soon end, with many people in many places moving off in directions and on missions which they all mistakenly thought they understood. That was just as well. The future was too fearful for contemplation, and beyond the expected, illusory finish lines were things fated by the decisions made this morning--and, once decided, best unseen." In Clear and Present Danger nothing is as clear as it may seem.

The president, unsatisfied with the success of his "war on drugs," decides that he wants some immediate success. But after John Clark's covert strike team is deployed to Colombia for Operation Showboat, the drug lords strike back taking several civilian casualties. The chief executive's polls plummet. He orders Ritter to terminate their unofficial plan and leave no traces. Jack Ryan, who has just been named CIA deputy director of intelligence is enraged when he discovers that has been left out of the loop of Colombian operations. Several of America's most highly trained soldiers are stranded in an unfinished mission that, according to all records, never existed. Ryan decides to get the men out.

Ultimately, Clear and Present Danger is about good conscience, law, and politics, with Jack Ryan and CIA agent John Clark as its dual heroes. Ryan relentlessly pursues what he knows is right and legal, even if it means confronting the president of the United States. Clark is the perfect soldier, but a man who finally holds his men higher than the orders of any careless commander.

Along with the usual, stunning array of military hardware and the latest techno-gadgets, Clear and Present Danger further develops the relationships and characters that Clancy fans have grown to love. Admiral James Greer passes the CIA torch to his pupil, Ryan. Mr. Clark and Chavez meet for the first time. Other recurring characters like Robert Ritter and "the President" add continuity to Clancy's believable, alternate reality. This is Clancy at his best. --Patrick O'Kelley

From Publishers Weekly

When a U.S. president decides that drug smuggling has become a "clear and present danger" to national security, the response is a complex and covert military campaign against the "Colombian Cartel." "The dean of techno-thrillers demonstrates once again his mastery of the genre," stated PW .
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Series: A Jack Ryan Novel (Book 4)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley; Reprint edition (July 1, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0425122123
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425122129
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.9 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (290 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tom Clancy is America's, and the world's, favorite international thriller author. Starting with THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, all thirteen of his previous books have hit #1 on the New York Times bestseller list. His books, THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER, PATRIOT GAMES, CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER and THE SUM OF ALL FEARS have been made into major motion pictures. He lived in Maryland where he was a co-owner of the Baltimore Orioles.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Mass Market Paperback
The book begins like modern headlines and top stories in the news: a Coast Guard boat discovers several dead bodies on a drifting boat out at sea ... piecing together the scenes ... the Captain and his crew understand the grisly details which became all too clear. Before the discovery, they announce their intention to board the boat, only to find two Columbians who speak little and look guilty as sin. The Captain and crew have the presence of mind to record on film permanently what the encountered. They nearly gag at what they find. Contrary to usual procedure, they create a "justice at sea" bogus trial based on some ancient mariner's manual. It is just the right scenario to create fear in their prisoners which extracts a confession from them that the Coast Guard believes will stand up in court and get them prosecuted.

In Washington, DC clandestine operations are executed for a secret American plan to use the most talented night warriors the US Army has ever produced to fight the drug cartel in Columbia, on their own turf. The select group all have Spanish roots and were salvaged from a life on the streets, where they would surely work against the system, to build a clean life in the Army ... the better alternative.

This book shows how power politics, secret hand-shake decisions, and behind the scenes operations occur which could shake up the core values of a country. Clandestine activities work outside the boundaries of national and international law. If they were made public, there would be a huge outcry from USA citizens and of the world judgement. It is at this time that Jack Ryan becomes Acting Director of the CIA. The CIA Director is in the hospital with a terminal illness ... The current president has not a clue of how the drug war is being fought and won.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I'm a huge Tom Clancy fan, so I won't mind if you think this review is a little biased. I do want to mention, however, that, having read all of his works of fiction, that Clear and Present Danger is one of my favorites. There's lots of action, intrigue, and plotlines in this one, just like his other fine books, but at 650 pages, he's put it all in a tighter package. (For the unintiated, Clancy books have been known to exceed 1000 pages.)
Two of my favorite characters, John Clark and Ding Chavez, get a good amount of airplay (readplay?) here. Other books with the characters, including Without Remorse and Rainbow Six, were lackluster, but they really shine here. One can't help but feel a sense of loyalty between these two after reading their stories here.
This was the first Clancy book I re-read...it's really that good!
(I could also add at this point how the movie didn't do justice to the book....but you knew that already, didn't you?)
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
"Clear and Present Danger" explores the ramifications of leaders who use their office as a platform for personal agenda: This is a fictional account of the lives lost as a result, and the moral courage neccessary to counteract cowardice at the highest level of government, which finds its corallary in the countless historical accounts of leaders who's moral failures led to massive destruction.
The book also raises some good questions about covert international intervention, and fleshes out the personal character-centered nature of such endeavors. Similar covert action is present in many of Clancy's other novels, but here the crucial nature of motive is most clearly presented.
This is a good study in leadership, as well as an excellent patriotic thriller and an entertaining read.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I haven't read too much Tom Clancy up until this point, but this was the best of the ones I've read so far. I picked up Clear and Present Danger because the movie based on this novel is one of my favorites. Going in, I was expecting this to be similar to the movie, so I was pretty surprised to find that while some of the situations are the same, most of the action is quite different. The book is quite a bit more realistic, which of course means that the film is immensely more entertaining. My only real complaint about the story is that the beginning scene with Red Wegener and the Coast Guard goes on too long for its overall impact on the story. I did like reading some beefed-up rolls for both John Clark and Domingo Chavez, who are two of my favorite Clancy characters.
If you've seen the movie and want to read something akin to the screenplay, this is the wrong place to look, but if you're looking for a more realistic, and more special forces-intensive version of that story, this is a great read.
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Format: Hardcover
Murder, covert operations within the government, drugs, and the few risking their lives to stop it all are what you'll find in Tom Clancy's Clear and Present Danger. Drugs are being imported into the U.S. and the American people aren't very approving. In an attempt to stop the influx of narcotics and increase his popularity for the upcoming election, the President has begun a series of covert operations. There is one man the government is out to get, Felix Cortez, and just how they're going to do it isn't quite clear yet. Dr. Ryan is out to stop the operations before they get out of control and out to the public, but just how and why would he do something like that? Clancy stories, many about government and military operations, range from futuristic (Net Force) to present, it-could-happen type novels (Rainbow Six, Clear and Present Danger). His style is to explain every last word and situation in the beginning and leave you to fend for yourself towards the end. He is deep into detail and dedicated to giving you all the background information. This causes the stories to start off slowly. As you continue on in the book, references become less and less explained and the story picks up faster. Even when he explains in his novel some of the military terms and procedures, if you're not familiar with them on an intimate level, it can get pretty challenging. Clear and Present Danger is no exception. Clancy is, nonetheless, an expert writer and storyteller. His ability to surround you with the sights and sounds within the book are extraordinary. I would give this book about an average score of three out of five. The beginning gets a rank of about two, not for detail and clarity, but for lack of suspense or action. Clancy has created catchier openings.Read more ›
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