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The Bear and The Dragon

by Tom Clancy

The Bear and The Dragon by Tom Clancy
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  • First Published:
    Aug 2000, 752 pages
    Aug 2001, 752 pages

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There are currently 49 reader reviews for The Bear and The Dragon
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Byteskat (07/22/09)

Good Read
An exciting, intricate, detailed (hence the 1000 pages) story. I give it a four only due to some sloppy editing.

A number of reviewers have criticized the "conservative propaganda" of this book, esp. the anti-abortion theme. Other than a brief and unsuprising mention of President Ryan's stand on the issue (as a political figure he IS allowed one), the main focus is China's mandatory abortions. Hardly "pro-choice" there.

As for the description of the novel as sinophobic, I feel that is an exaggeration. The anti-Chinese sentiment is directed at either the Politburo, or the PRA (by the US / Russian military forces). Both are realistic and have a basis in real-world perception, if not in reality. I noted that there is, however, no slurs directed to the Taiwanese - who are just as Chinese as their PRC bretheren.

Other than the editing (for repetitiveness), a good read for all but thin skinned liberals.
Ryan Tumbler (03/25/08)

Getting worse...
As I indicated in my last review, Clancy went bad in "Rainbow Six." In this book, he gets worse.

The plot; very unlikely. Very contrived. Very predictable for anyone who's read TC before - "Red Storm Rising" was the same basic story told with much greater skill.

The style; again, predictable, and redundant. The same words and messages are used from beginning to end, both by the narrator and his characters; the reading gets tiresome very quickly.

The relevance to international affairs, which made Clancy so famous in the eighties; zilch. Pigs will fly before Russia joins NATO or China invades Russia.

The characters; even more cardboard than usual, and all clones of one another. The same language, attitudes and personalities are grafted onto Ryan, Clark, Chavez, Robby, Nomuri, Adler and all the heroes - though some characters are allowed to become even more extreme so as to make Ryan appear "moderate."

The rhetoric; predictable right-wing diatribe, but this time tainted with a very ugly anti-Asian racism. Chinese culture, history, geography, society, economics and politics are all grossly misrepresented by the author, in sharp contrast to the respect he displayed for Russian or Middle-Eastern culture in earlier books.

Bottom line; don't buy it. Check it out at the local library if you're really curious. I promise you'll be as disappointed as I was.
C-3PO, human-cyborg relations (01/30/06)

Baaaaaaaaaaad stuff...
Oh my God!
How do you even begin to describe this book? One of the most god-awful pieces of propaganda ever written, and the fact that almost all of Clancy's previous books were so well-written and thought out only makes this one that much worse.
The plot; is it even worth discussing? China (an complete communist dictatorship which somehow never made it out of the fifties) is made nearly bankrupt overnight by a trade embargo imposed by the U.S. and its allies, following a Tienanmen-style shootout. The Chinese therefore decide to invade Russia and steal all the oil, mineral and natural gas resources in Siberia for their own use. America stops them through high technology, plot over.
As I said, it's really not worth mentioning, because the war itself only starts happening about eight or nine hundred pages into the book. The first 1000 or so pages are dedicated to describing China-US relations and addressing every single issue on the Republican agenda.
The anti-Chinese sentiment in this book is probably the most offensive part of it, and don't start telling me it's only directed at the government. Dear China, how do I hate thee? let me count the ways. Every Chinese citizen in the book is a complete moron, brainwashed by Communism to be an inhuman machine, the one exception being, of course, CHRISTIANS!!! didn't see that one coming, did you? The average Chinese Joe out on the street still calls everyone "comrade" and dresses in Mao jackets, unisex dresses and generally fifties attire; no sense of style whatsoever. EVERY single Chinese person is an utter and complete moron, from the leaders who refuse to believe in any form of American power to the General who gets shot by a ninety-year old sniper to the office secretary who gets seduced by a pair of Western panties, the likes of which she has never seen even though most of them are, in fact, made in China. Oh! very important! China is STILL a completely communist country, like North Korea, never mind that their leaders are doing everything in their power right now to strengthen and invite capitalism; and of course, Chinese leaders have no idea how the world works, even though they're the ones who right now have the entire world eating out of their hands, including owning half of America's debt.
And of course, Chinese culture is thoroughly evil, only Christianity can save it. The phrase, "Marxism is inhuman, and Chinese culture doesn't value human life; put the two together, and you get the worst country in the world..." is used over and over and over again in the book until I was going, GET TO THE POINT! Are you telling a story or slandering 1.6 billion people.
So all in all, "disappointing" is probably the best word I could use for this book. Clancy's writing used to be a lot less fanatic. In old books, he showed respect for the people and cultures of enemy countries like Russia, Japan or Iran, and usually managed to create sympathetic characters on both sides of the fence; he also stated his principles in a more muted and respectable way. This book is nine hundred pages of non-stop rhetoric, a short bathroom break for the little war, and final pages in which all is set right, America all-powerful again, Russia too (though capitalist now, of course), and China relegated to its rightful place with a more pro-Western leader (though of course, China will now remain in the dark because, as Clancy in his wisdom says, "it is a country of great momentum rather than great thought").
Four words; Do not read this.
matt (01/28/05)

great story
Ravi (01/17/05)

One lenghty, boring book I had to finish since I started it. Thought it might get interesting in the end since he built up a huge plot with so many characters. Fizzled out totally in the end. It seemed like it was more of a republican, and defence contractor propaganda than real entertainment. Some of the subplots are pretty childish only present for belittling either the chinese or the russians. Whereas the gods in his book are english and americans predictably. I have wasted a lot of time reading this book while I could be reading something more entertaining or useful.
Punisher (10/25/04)

This book is very descriptive and very informing on war an politics. I liked it.
Frank (09/22/04)

This so called "thriller" is boring and poorly paced at best, and blatently vulgar and racist at worst. The villains are completely one-dimensional and incredibly stupid, while Jack Ryan seems to completely toss away any and all likable qualities he may have had in previous novels. Don't bother wasting your money.
SpringerD (08/03/04)

Just another example of the outstanding work turned out by Clancy. Can't wait for the next one!

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