Thomas L. Clancy was born in Baltimore, Maryland, in 1947. His father, a mailman, and his mother, who worked in a department-store credit office, provided him with a middle-class upbringing. Toys, particularly toys featuring military technology, fascinated the young Clancy; he also became and remained a voracious reader.
Educated in Roman Catholic schools, Clancy attended Loyola College in Baltimore, majoring in English. He later said that he always wanted to see his name on a book, although he never imagined that he would become a best-selling author. While in college, he was a member of the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC), but poor eyesight kept him out of the regular military, much to his regret. He married Wanda Thomas in 1969, shortly after leaving college, and the need to support his growing family of eventually four children led him away from a literary career and into a more immediately financially rewarding occupation as an insurance agent, and he eventually joined his wife’s grandfather’s insurance agency in rural Maryland.
Clancy never abandoned his quest to become a writer. He had a science-fiction story rejected, and in the early 1970’s, he began plotting a novel, a work that contained characters that would eventually populate his published books. During those years he also continued his extensive reading, particularly in science fiction and military manuals. Although he did well in business, by the end of the decade he again turned to the task of getting his name on a book jacket.
In 1976, a naval mutiny occurred on a Soviet frigate, the mutineers hoping to defect to Sweden. The mutiny failed, but the incident gave Clancy the inspiration for his first published novel. Written during several months in late 1982 and early 1983, the unknown author’s The Hunt for Red October was published in 1984 by the Naval Academy’s Naval Institute Press, which...
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