Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Tom Clancy, Red Storm Rising, 1986.

It's always nice to reread some pulp.

Red Storm Rising is a gedankexperiment. Back in 1985/86, in the height of the Cold War, Clancy wondered what a modern war would like. This book details a potential cause (albeit with the USSR as the aggressor), and a war plan for the Soviet side.

He posits the need for a severe resource grab, and in this case chooses oil. Clancy (or his main character, Jack Ryan) is fond, in later novels, of arguing that all wars are just examples of "grand larceny writ large." The Soviets try to achieve surprise before attacking Germany--in an effort to capture Europe--in order to prevent NATO from interfering while the Soviets would attempt to capture the Persian Gulf and its oil.

At any rate, the novel is vintage Clancy. It's fun, it jumps all over the place, and it presents a neat bird's-eye view of tactics and strategy for war in a modern environment. Except that it's twenty years out of date now. And there are no longer any modern states for the United States to worry about...

A pleasant distraction that's mostly just light fluff, the book still disturbs you, as any book about war is likely to do.

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