Tom Clancy teams with close range combat expert Mark Greaney to bring fans a new  work of fiction that touches the edge of reality in a world of cyber warfare!  The players from his previous best seller Locked On return in the new Clancy book Threat Vector.  Jack Ryan is now president, his son Jack Jr. is even more deeply involved in The Campus black ops.  Hendley, Mary Patricia Foley, Ding Chavez, John Clark and Sam Driscoll carry on.


The new bad guys are the Chinese Communists operating a cyber warfare ghost ship called The Center, run by a Dr No like character, Dr. Tong Kwok Kwan.  Kwan infects U.S. military computer networks, takes control of U.S. Air Force drone aircraft, invades CIA secret files, destabilizes a U.S. nuclear power plant and shuts down America’s power grid with the click of a mouse.

No Clancy fan will be disappointed with the pace of the novel and all will admire the accuracy of the military, scientific and cyber research provided by co-author Greaney.


President Ryan is faced with an all out land war against the Chinese Communists  as they re-claim the South China Sea and threaten U.S. Military presence in the region, all in preparation of an elaborate plan to capture Taiwan!  The threat is escalated when it is discovered that The Campus itself has been compromised, with The Center bad guys one step ahead of The Campus good guys. Who, where, when, why and how could that happen? For Jack Ryan Jr., it may be closer than he could imagine.

Enjoy every page as the authors pull together all of the elements of good against evil to develop a plan and strike force involving assassinations , Taiwanese Air Force planes secretly flown by U.S. Pilots, a surgical bombing in the center of Beijing and the tactical planting and withdrawal of the Campus black-ops including the president’s son Jack Ryan Jr.

Clancy is the master in turning contemporary issues  into reality. Who but Clancy would have cyber hackers hijack drone aircraft?  What is the level of vulnerability of U.S. top-secret communications networks?  Are nuclear power plants subject to cyber attacks?  The good guys in Threat Vector win but many of the issues raised remain outside the pages of the novel. Suspense from the master, and high marks from this Tom Clancy fan.







Gordon’s Good Reads does not make a practice of reviewing movies but when a film is based upon a book that I have enjoyed, written by an author in whom I have the highest regard, I broaden my license. Doris Kerns Goodwin is among the country’s most respected presidential historians. Goodwin’s book Team of Rivals, upon which the movie Lincoln is loosely based, falls into the category of an intimate study not only of Lincoln but also of those with whom he surrounded himself in his cabinet.


I read the Goodwin book and also the early reviews of the movie Lincoln so I had some idea of what to expect before seeing the picture. I understand that the movie was about Lincoln’s political genius but I left the theater wondering what impression anyone who had not read Team of Rivals would have come away with. They certainly saw an excellent performance by Daniel-Day Lewis and learned how the Thirteenth Amendment was passed, but was this the Lincoln they expected to see? Did the movie leave too narrow an impression for such a broad title? I think so.

Lincoln is depicted as a brilliant politician pursuing whatever tactics necessary to pass the Thirteenth Amendment, abolishing slavery. Missing from Lincoln was the remarkable story of the end of the Whig Party and the evolution of the anti-slavery Republican Party. Goodwin’s book fills in the important detail that positioned Lincoln for the 1860 presidential nomination including the Lincoln-Douglas debates of the 1858 senatorial campaign and Lincoln’s Cooper Union address in New York  in 1860. Equal to Lincoln’s brilliant political strategy in getting the Thirteenth Amendment passed was the fact that he won the Republican nomination by defeating the heir apparent, William Seward, which laid the basis for Lincoln bringing all of his challengers for the presidential nomination into his cabinet. The Goodwin book details how the interaction of this disparate group influenced Lincoln’s conduct of the Civil War. The film’s short clips of Lincoln viewing battlefields and Lee’s surrender did little to place the enormity of the Lincoln presidency and his team of rivals in context.


There is no doubt that Daniel Day-Lewis is on track for a Best Actor nomination and that the film will be among the nominees for Best Picture but the title Lincoln was a huge reach and likely a disappointment for many. Would you title a movie The Civil War and only tell the story of Gettysburg?  On the other hand, if Spielberg had instead titled the movie The Passing of the Thirteenth Amendment, would anyone have come? I get it. It will take a five-part Ken Burns PBS Series titled Lincoln to fill this history buff’s canvas.

One thing for sure, the film has provoked a great deal of talk from the pundits about a president’s need to be very much a politician in order to attain lofty goals.  As the nation again approaches the edge of the partisan fiscal cliff the timing of the release of the film and renewed interest in Team of Rivals could not be better! Maybe the narrow focus of the movie is a good thing after all!  Required congressional viewing?




I opened Tom Wolfe’s Back To Blood  on Thursday afternoon!  It is now Saturday afternoon and every word on each of the 704 pages has been digested!  I guess I could simply end my overview with that!  However, it can not go unsaid that Tom Wolfe engages the reader from the first page whetheimages-2r it be Bonfire of the Vanities or my favorite Wolfe novel, I am Charlotte Simmons.

Back to Blood catapults the reader into the political and social structure of Miami.  There is little left out of this vivid painting. A WASP publisher of the Miami Herald seeks to avoid controversy at all costs. Add to the mix a young aspiring  reporter, A black chief of police, a Cuban mayor, and a police officer, also Cuban, who with great consistency finds himself in the middle of  two huge stories that threaten the delicate balance between all of the competing constituencies within this cosmopolitan melting pot. There is also plenty of  humor, bringing back images of Lucky You by Carl Hiaasen, another Miami based novel.

With great skill, Wolfe introduces the ethnic beauty of the women of Miami who play a major role adding to the complexity of relationships as played out by the protagonist police officer Nestor Camacho.  There are dozens of contemporary themes as a video of a police drug take down goes viral, a local psychiatrist specializing in pornographic addiction becomes a high-profile TV Doctor, a stunning light-skinned Haitian woman of French heritage is a love interest.  Miami Art Basel and a new Miami Art Museum become a focal point in a fake painting fraud perpetuated by a Russian Oligarch and his entourage.   Wolfe carefully  and with great creativity brings all of these factions together in a tumultuous conclusion.


Place Back to Blood on the Christmas gift list for friends who enjoy a good read.  Pick up the hard cover as any Tom Wolfe novel is worth a permanent place in a book lovers library. Luckily, Back to Blood arrived when the family was traveling and I only had my dog to offend with my face in a book for two days. What pleasure great writing can bring and the new Tom Clancy novel Threat Vector is on the way December 4th!