Flashback Friday: The Hunt For Red October

Flashback Friday is my own little weekly tradition, in which I pick a book from my reading past to highlight — and you’re invited to join in!

Here are the Flashback Friday book selection guidelines:

  1. Has to be something you’ve read yourself
  2. Has to still be available, preferably still in print
  3. Must have been originally published 5 or more years ago

Other than that, the sky’s the limit! Join me, please, and let us all know: what are the books you’ve read that you always rave about? What books from your past do you wish EVERYONE would read? Pick something from five years ago, or go all the way back to the Canterbury Tales if you want. It’s Flashback Friday time!

My pick for this week’s Flashback Friday:

The Hunt for Red October (Jack Ryan, #3)

The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy

(published 1984)

Please don’t think I’m a military fanatic! I realize that this is my second week in a row picking a Flashback Friday book with a naval/military setting. I was originally going to go in a completely different direction this week, but in light of the sad news about Tom Clancy’s passing, I thought I’d highlight his very first book, The Hunt for Red October:

From Goodreads:

Somewhere under the Atlantic, a Soviet sub commander has just made a fateful decision. The Red October is heading west.

The Americans want her. The Russians want her back. And the most incredible chase in history is on …

Here is the runaway bestseller that launched Tom Clancy’s phenomenal career. A military thriller so accurate and so convincing in its accuracy that the author was rumored to have been debriefed by the White House. Its theme: The greatest espionage coup in history. Its story: The chase for a top secret Russian missile sub. Its title: THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER

According to the Wikipedia page, Tom Clancy originally sold The Hunt for Red October to the Naval Institute Press for $5,000.  The Naval Institute Press’s first published original fiction work, The Hunt for Red October leaped onto the bestseller lists when President Reagan mentioned it during a press conference and said that he couldn’t put it down.

The Hunt for Red October was hugely popular, fitting right in with the Cold War era and the mood of distrust between the US and USSR. Red October was perhaps the first (and certainly most prominent) book of the time to focus not just on plot but on military hardware — to such an extent that it supposedly had the military intelligence community in quite a tizzy over the amount of sensitive information contained within the book.

Admittedly, this is a somewhat strange selection for me, as I don’t typically read thrillers, much less military thrillers with lots of technical jargon and big things going boom. But at the time, I found it fascinating, and learned a huge amount about life on board submarines, what a sonar array is, and how all that underwater listening actually works. Plus, it’s a tense, compelling story — so yes, I’d have to agree with President Reagan on this one: Hard to put down!

I promise to move on to more “literary” selections next week for Flashback Friday. But consider this one a tribute to a man who was a huge influence in the world of popular fiction. Even though it’s been years since I’ve had the slightest interest in reading a Tom Clancy book, I’m still happy to acknowledge that this was an author who knew his audience and knew how to tell a story. RIP, Tom Clancy.


Do you host a book blog meme? Do you participate in a meme that you really, really love? I’m building a Book Blog Meme Directory, and need your help! If you know of a great meme to include — or if you host one yourself — please drop me a note on my Contact page and I’ll be sure to add your info!

8 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: The Hunt For Red October

  1. My husband loves this stuff, so it helps me to sound knowledgeable now that you’re reviewing them at the moment 🙂
    Tom Clancy will certainly be missed in the political thriller genre.

    I’m still on my Australian classics binge with this weeks flashback

    • I’ve read about 4 or 5 Tom Clancy books, I think — so if you need any tips, just let me know! 🙂 Throw the name “Jack Ryan” around and you’ll sound like a pro!

  2. Great choice Lisa! I was sad to hear that Tom Clancy had passed away. I was introduced to his works when I was 13 by some classmates. I haven’t gotten around to his classic titles (the ones that were adapted into movies) but I did read a book or two by him and he really does set the mood in his stories.

    Hope you have a lovely weekend! 🙂 My Friday Book Memes

    • Thanks, Lianne! I haven’t read any of Tom Clancy’s more recent works, but I did read his first 4 or 5 (would have to look up the titles to be sure) — I’ve definitely read all the ones that later were made into movies. He was very good at what he did, and certainly took the thriller genre in a new direction when he first started writing. Happy Friday!

  3. Pingback: The Ladies of Missalonghi by Colleen McCullough

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