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Dead or Alive Hardcover – December 7, 2010

3.6 out of 5 stars 952 customer reviews
Book 2 of 8 in the Jack Ryan, Jr. Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. After stumbling with The Teeth of the Tiger (2003), bestseller Clancy is back at the top of his game, aided by Blackwood (An Echo of War), with this update on the Jack Ryan story, both father and son. While the senior Ryan is sitting at home quietly penning his memoirs, the real action is taking place at "The Campus," the independent secret intelligence agency he set up when he was commander in chief. Jack Ryan Jr., who works for The Campus as a researcher, has, unbeknownst to his father, begun involving himself in field operations. Uppermost in the sights of The Campus is the deadly Emir (read Osama bin Laden), who has set in motion a new round of attacks. Jack Sr. is furious at current President Edward Kealty, whose liberal administration is stripping the CIA and other intelligence agencies of funding and manpower. In-depth research, continuous suspense, and scores of fascinating characters prove again why Clancy, the man who virtually invented this genre, reigns supreme in the crowded thriller field.


“Heart-stopping action…entertaining and eminently topical.” —The Washington Post

“The best characters from all of Clancy’s previous novels are on the case.…For fans of the genre, Dead or Alive is likely to provide a long weekend’s pleasure.”—Los Angeles Times

“Clancy is back at the top of his game…In-depth research, continuous suspense, and scores of fascinating characters.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review) --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Read the first two chapters from Tom Clancy's Dead or Alive [PDF].

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 848 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; 1st edition (December 7, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399157239
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399157233
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.6 x 2.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (952 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #381,409 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The Amazon description has the book at 848 pages, but my copy, purchased at retail, is 950 pages. And--as with all the other Clancy books after Red October--I was the first one in line, and read it through on the first day. Harry Potter fans have their vices too, so I'm told.

"Dead or Alive" is in most respects exactly what you expect from Clancy--globe-trotting special agents whose names are now familiar. Exquisitely researched, down to almost mind-numbing detail on everything from internet protocols and encryption procedures, to the operation of weapons systems, and the layouts of neighborhoods half a world away.

It is a terrific book, and will be embraced by Clancy fans all over. It falls somewhat short of five stars for several reasons. Without giving away too much of the plot, I found the big targets in "Dead or Alive" to be implausible: why not go after Chicago or LA, given the ultimate objective to kill as many people as possible? Why target a huge South American oil refinery, when all of East Houston will do just as well? Just me, though.

But the second objection was what I consider a glaring, and most uncharacteristic mistake by Clancy. In providing background on Iranian army moves along the Iraqi border, he describes the Iraqi Shi'a population as a minority, and subject to persecution by the Sunni majority. In fact, it's the other way around. 80% of Iraq is Shiite, but Saddam Hussein was a Sunni, which is the primary reason the Sunni countries in the Middle East--which is all the others except for Iran--almost uniformly opposed his removal. It was unimportant to the plot, but I'm surprised that it survived what was probably double- and triple-checking by the editors, and no doubt by Clancy himself.
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Format: Hardcover
I have a First Edition hardback copy of "Hunt for Red October", published by the Naval Institute Press, which was Clancy's first-ever book. I bought it new the day it hit the bookstore shelves in 1984. That's how long I've been a fan of Tom Clancy's.

Unfortunately, for a number of years now Clancy has chosen to go the James Patterson route of becoming a book mill using "co-authors", and the quality of his releases has suffered accordingly. I haven't even bothered reading his stuff for quite a while now.

So when I saw this book that promised to bring "Together for the first time, an all star cast of Clancy's characters..." (from the book jacket), I snapped it up with high expectations.

I wish I'd saved my money. What a bore!

First of all, the story line isn't anything new or inventive at all. Pretty standard fare about Islamic fanatics trying to blow things up. Been there, done that. Now, obviously that is a current and timely theme in this day and age, but there's nothing at all original about the execution in this book. Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp does it about a hundred times better.

Far too many characters with exotic Middle Eastern names for me to keep track of without a scorecard, and none of these jokers is at all unique or distinguishable. I'd think to myself, "Didn't this guy get killed off about 80 pages ago?", then I'd go back and find out that, no, it wasn't this guy, it was another guy with a weird and unmemorable name and no distinguishing characteristics. They were about as interchangeable as lug nuts.

The pacing is awful; there's never at all any buildup of tension or excitement. It's like watching paint dry.
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By G. Newman on December 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have always enjoyed Tom Clancy's books and remember looking forward to each book as it came out. This current book is absolute torture. While I would usually read one of his books in 1 to 3 sittings, I am about to scream trying to get through this boring, muddled mess of a book. I am on page 600, so it's really too late to abandon the book, but I can barely get through 25 pages at a time without my mind wandering. I don't know who edited this piece of garbage, but they should be shot and Clancy should simply leave the good storytelling to Vince Flynn and Lee Childs.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I have been a Clancy fan from the git go. After reading this piece of trash it is quite evident that Tom Clancy had little to do with writing it. Seems that he just lent his name to Grant Blackwood in order for Blackwood to get it published and get a good price set for the work. Blackwood isn't near as good as he thinks he is. Very disappointed in the read and in Tom Clancy for this subterfuge as well.
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Format: Hardcover
My father introduced me to Tom Clancy's novels which had kept my dad buoyed during this bout with terminal cancer. I recall when Dad, in 1989 said, "well, I've read all his books, now what?" And he was actually sad that he'd never get to read another Clancy.

Well, Dad didn't miss much on this one. I wanted to like it. But... yech. I have suffered through this book, aiming at the wall and heaving the dastardly tome at least five times. Flat, silly, inane, political diatribe. Rants interrupted by criss-cross trips around the world to kill bad guys who are also taking trips on planes, trucks and boats and killing anyone who pilots the vehicles. Seriously, with all the blood splashed and bodies dumped, you'd think international headlines would be screaming about a world wide serial killer. Absolutely no tension or suspense. Everybody is supposed to be so savvy and crafty and "intelligent." So, why doesn't Jack Ryan (super sleuth with best friends in all the high/right places) know what his son does for a living? at the secret place he, Jack Sr., devised? Oh, come on! And yeah, Jack Jr. is soooo ready to do field work, with absolutely no training. And how does the cousin flash an FBI badge at a date and then go off to Sweden or insert-nasty-foreign-place and knife/shoot/strangle a bunch of guys? And... I could go on and on. But mostly, if I am reading a thriller, I want to be thrilled or at least intrigued. I don't want to hear how much the people who kill the bad guys hate the rest of us for going about our daily lives. Or how different political parties are ruining the country (and I'll give you 2 bits and a case of Fox News to let you guess what side is which). Not just once or twice, mind you. But spewing from every character AND even sandwiched into exposition.
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