Ronald Reagan Responsible For Tom Clancy's Rise

The Gipper loved "The Hunt for Red October."

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Writer Tom Clancy at his home in Calvert County, Md. in 1998. Clancy, the bestselling author of more than 25 fiction and nonfiction books for the Penguin Group, died on Oct. 1, 2013, in Baltimore, Md. He was 66.
Writer Tom Clancy's "The Hunt for Red October" was a favorite book of Ronald Reagan.

A hat tip from the Gipper made Tom Clancy -- who passed away Tuesday at the age of 66 -- a household name.

"He kind of became a big deal in Republican circles for awhile," author Tevi Troy says of the late fiction writer. Troy has become an authority on presidents and their pop culture thanks to his new book, "What Jefferson Read, Ike Watched and Obama Tweeted."

[READ: Vince Flynn, Political Thriller Author and Conservative Hero, Dies at 47]

During the Reagan administration, the Republican president was reluctant to portray himself as a big reader, even though he read a wide variety of books, Troy explained.

"He liked a good adventure story, he also liked to read non-fiction and I know that the Clancy book made a bit of a splash," Troy said. Reagan received "The Hunt for Red October" as a gift and called Clancy's first published novel, "my kind of yarn."

From there, Clancy made a trip to the White House to meet with Reagan.

"The guy has a handshake like a lumberjack," Clancy said of the president, according to Lou Cannon's book "President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime." Clancy went on to become a best-selling author and a millionaire, leaving behind his former life as an insurance salesman, and many of his books were turned into movies.

The Reagan-Clancy connection continued when Reagan was gifted the teddy bear used for the final scene of the film, "The Hunt for Red October." In turn, the president gave the bear to his grandchild Cameron. (Cameron's father Michael Reagan revealed that the family possessed the toy in his book, "The New Reagan Revolution," in a chapter where he tells this tidbit to the film's liberal star, Alec Baldwin.)

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More recently, Troy, who's also a scholar at the Hudson Institute, used the "Patriot Games" and "Clear and Present Danger" author to illustrate a point.

Presidents can have an effect on book sales, but the "president book bump" is bigger when presidents pick books that Americans are inclined to read, a phenomenon known as "Clancy's Law," Troy explains.

"The president reading a beach read is going to have a bigger bump," Troy told Whispers.

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