The Sum of All Fears

From Academic Kids

The Sum of All Fears is a best-selling thriller novel by Tom Clancy, a part of the Jack Ryan series. It was the fourth book of the series to be turned into a film.


The book begins during the Yom Kippur War; at its height the Israelis opt for a tactical nuclear strike, but this was changed at the last minute. Unfortunately, one nuclear weapon was left on an Israeli fighter and that fighter was shot down, creating a "Broken Arrow".

The plot then moves to the present day. A small group of terrorists recover the bomb and convert it from a nuclear device to a thermonuclear device. The terrorists decide to use the weapon at the Super Bowl in Denver, and then frame the Russians. Jack Ryan, at the time DDCI (Deputy Director of Central Intelligence), must prevent a nuclear exchange between Russia and the USA. It is interesting to note the prescience of Tom Clancy. The book was written several years before the 9/11 attacks, yet it describes in detail the reality of terrorism in America.

The book began with this quote:

"Why, you may take the most gallant sailor, the most intrepid airman or the most audacious soldier, put them at a table together - what do you get? The sum of their fears."Winston Churchill


The Sum of All Fears was turned into a film in 2002, starring Ben Affleck and Morgan Freeman. While the basic plot was the same, there were significant changes from the book, including the identity and ideology of the terrorists. The original terrorists in the novel were Muslims, but in the movie, they are changed to neo-Nazis. The destroyed city was changed from Denver to Baltimore, Maryland. Additionally, Jack Ryan is a low-level analyst in the movie, whereas he is the DDCI in the book.

In the film there is this sentence:

"You don't try and fight Russia and America. You get Russia and America to fight each other... and destroy each other."


See: The Sum of All Fears (game)



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