As a career naval officer and submariner I am familiar with both conventional and nuclear-powered submarines and I can honestly say that Tom Clancy’s first novel in 1984, The Hunt for Red October, seriously impressed me with the depth of its realism. He not only mastered a wealth of technical detail about submarine operations but also captured submariners’ patterns of thinking very accurately.
I recall reading that Clancy had some very knowledgable contacts in the U.S. Navy – he had to have. In subsequent novels Clancy demonstrated similar skills and contacts while spinning yarns about special operations and politics.
Recently my son, a retired Navy NCO (E-8), sent me a link to a New Yorker article that reads like a Clancy novel, except in this case “Getting Bin Laden” is true stuff. It is clear that investigative reporter Nicholas Schmidle had Clancy-like access to top sources in order to piece together the riveting narrative of how Navy SEALs eliminated America’s top enemy.
You won’t find any big revelations in this account that you haven’t already read in the press accounts, but just like the fine-grain, realistic detail of a Clancy novel pulls the reader along, so does this. It’s a page-turner. Clancy himself, in my opinion, could not have written it any better. Maybe not Bob Woodward either, come to think of it. Enjoy: Getting Bin Laden