My Recommendations

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My Recommendations: For some unknown reason, over the years many people have found me to be a useful source for book recommendations. So, I decided to use this medium to offer my book recommendations. If you decide to read one of the books that I mention, please let me know what you thought about it. Please note that these recommendations are alphabetical by author. No inference as to which I prefer should be made on the order in the list; instead, please read my thoughts to get a better idea.

bulletGeorge Bernau
bullet Promises to Keep: An interesting speculative history book in which the author imagines what might have happened had John F. Kennedy survived the assassination attempt in Dallas. The ideas the author presents are well conceived and feel "possible" or even "right"; you never feel as if you're reading "alternate history". The biggest drawback to the book is that the pacing and writing style are both a bit slow.
bulletWilliam F. Buckley, Jr.
bulletThe Blackford Oakes novels. These novels are set primarily in the late-50s and early- to mid-60s and involve Cold War espionage. Many readers may be surprised at how enjoyable Buckley's writing style is. Those who expect purely dry academic storytelling will be in for a real treat. His dry wit comes across wonderfully in these novels. It is also a real hoot to read fictionalized conversations involving the Kennedy brothers from a conservative voice like Buckley's. I highly recommend reading these books in the order written (although some of the later novels actually take place out of chronological sequence). Other titles include: _____ (coming soon).
bullet Saving the Queen: This is the first of the Blackford Oakes novels, one of the best, and a great (and obvious) place to start.
bulletJohn Case
bullet The Genesis Code: This thriller was just that: thrilling. A few great action sequences are very memorable.
bulletTom Clancy
bulletThe Jack Ryan novels (including the John Clark novels). Clancy is the king of the modern thriller. His plots are big and complicated. Some people are turned off by the depth and detail, but that is part of what keeps me coming back. The books have not been written in chronological order, but I recommend reading them in chronological order (with the exception of Without Remorse, which I believe should be read immediately before Rainbow Six). I have listed the books below in the order that I believe they should be read. If you're not sure if you want to read the whole series, then start with The Hunt for Red October, Clancy's first book and, to this day, probably his best. Without Remorse and Rainbow Six focus on one of the principal supporting characters of the Jack Ryan novels (Jack makes cameo appearances in both books) with Without Remorse serving as the "origin story" of that particular character. The Teeth of the Tiger takes place several years after The Bear and the Dragon and introduces Jack Ryan's son as one of the new main characters.
bullet Patriot Games
bullet Red Rabbit
bullet The Hunt for Red October
bullet The Cardinal of the Kremlin
bullet Clear and Present Danger
bullet The Sum of All Fears (note that the recent movie of the same title was only very loosely based on the plot of the book)
bullet Debt of Honor
bullet Executive Orders
bullet Without Remorse
bullet Rainbow Six
bullet The Bear and the Dragon
bullet The Teeth of the Tiger
bullet Red Storm Rising: A chilling look at what World War III might have looked like. The book feels very dated now that the Cold War is over; nevertheless, it remains an exciting story and the sequence in which an American aircraft carrier comes under heavy attack remains very memorable (even chilling). Note that Red Storm Rising is not a Jack Ryan novel, notwithstanding the claim to the contrary on the cover of a recent re-publication of the book.
bulletClive Cussler
bulletI fell in love with the Dirk Pitt novels when I read Raise the Titanic! (the book was published third, but is the fourth in the series). Please ignore the movie of the same name. Seriously. Don't go there. Anyway, Dirk Pitt is, essentially, a cross between James Bond and Indiana Jones. Each of the books starts with an event in the past (often, the very distant past) and these events will eventually tie in to a threat to the world today. Pitt's wise-cracking is as sharp as the best Bond movie. The plots are often very farfetched, but who cares...they are fun! Make no mistake: Clive Cussler does not write literature and his works probably won't be discussed in the halls of academia in the next century. However, there is probably no better writer to help a long airplane ride pass more quickly. The best novels in the series are Raise the Titanic, Treasure, and Inca Gold, although most of the rest are still pretty entertaining. One quick word of caution. Clive Cussler also has two other series (the NUMA Files written with Paul Kemprecos and the Oregon Files written with Craig Dirgo [now replaced by Jack Du Brul). My guess is that Cussler plots these books while the other authors handle the actual writing. While these other books are okay, they are not even close to the caliber of the Dirk Pitt novels. Only read these alternate series after you've finished the Dirk Pitt novels, and then only if you really love those books. The NUMA Files are written very much in the style of the Dirk Pitt novels; unfortunately, Kirk Austin simply isn't Dirk Pitt. The Oregon Files (only two books so far) are more like an episode of Mission: Impossible (at least the first book was; the second book was a study in logistics).

More coming soon...