Weisman, John 1942–
Weisman, John 1942–
PERSONAL: Born August 1, 1942, in New York, NY; son of Abner I. (a physician) and Syde (a schoolteacher; maiden name, Lubowe) Weisman; married Susan Povenmire (a government employee), February 12, 1983. Education: Bard College, A.B., 1964. Religion: Jewish. Hobbies and other interests: Skeet shooting, hunting, war gaming.
CAREER: Coast (magazine), Los Angeles, CA, managing editor, 1969–70; Rolling Stone, staff member, 1970–71; Detroit Free Press, Detroit, MI, staff writer, 1971–73; TV Guide, Radnor, PA, associate editor and bureau chief in Washington, DC, 1973–89; freelance writer, 1989–. Coproducer of the videotape Red Cell, LOTI Group.
MEMBER: International Defence Pistol Association, Authors League of America, Association of Former Intelligence Officers, Cosmos Club (Washington, DC), Army and Navy Club (Washington, DC), Naval and Military Club (London, England).
AWARDS, HONORS: Annenberg senior fellowship, Northwestern University, 1989–91.
Guerrilla Theater, Doubleday (New York, NY), 1973.
Evidence (novel), Viking (New York, NY), 1980.
Watchdogs (novel), Viking (New York, NY), 1983.
Blood Cries (novel), Viking (New York, NY), 1987.
(With Felix Rodriguez) Shadow Warrior (autobiography), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1989.
Soar: A Black Ops Novel, William Morrow (New York, NY), 2003.
Jack in the Box: A Shadow War Thriller (novel), William Morrow (New York, NY), 2004.
Direct Action: A Covert War Thriller (novel), William Morrow (New York, NY), 2005.
Also author of Seal Team Six (interactive compact disc), Magnet Interactive Studios; work represented in anthologies, including Unusual Suspects, Best American Mystery Stories, 1997, edited by Robert B. Parker, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 1998, and Best American Mystery Stories, 2003, edited by Michael Connelly, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2003. Contributor to Columbia Journalism Review, Rolling Stone, and Playboy. Contributing editor, Soldier of Fortune; columnist for Military.com.
"ROGUE WARRIOR" SERIES; WITH RICHARD MARCINKO
Rogue Warrior, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1992.
Red Cell, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1994.
Green Team, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1995.
Task Force Blue, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1996.
Designation Gold, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1997.
Seal Force Alpha, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1998.
Option Delta, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1999.
Echo Platoon, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2000.
Detachment Bravo, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2001.
ADAPTATIONS: Simon & Schuster Audio has adapted the "Rogue Warrior" books.
SIDELIGHTS: John Weisman conceived, developed and wrote the "Rogue Warrior" series, which features Richard Marcinko, a former Navy SEAL and specialist in counter-terrorism, as the protagonist and narrator of the fictional adventures that are filled with action, weapons, and thrills. Weisman also wrote the best-selling Shadow Warrior with Felix Rodriguez. It is a nonfiction account of Rodriguez's career in the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and his role in capturing communist guerrilla leader Che Guevara.
The "Rogue Warrior" books feature Marcinko and a cast of dependable co-warriors—with such colorful names as Boomerang, Pick, Duck Foot, and Half-Pint—who together go on death-defying missions to thwart the schemes of America's enemies. Each story includes military acronyms and a glossary to help the reader understand them. In the course of conducting their duties, the Rogue Warrior team confronts Japanese right-wingers intent on obtaining an American nuclear weapon, Russian-Iranian plotters trying to destabilize the newly independent Muslim countries of the former Soviet Union, and an ambitious billionaire hoping to seize the American presidency by stirring up terrorist trouble and then promoting a dictatorial solution to the chaos.
Recounted in Marcinko's salty language and filled with plenty of straight-shooting violence, each novel is fast-paced and grounded in actual Navy SEAL tactics. Sometimes the series has drawn criticism for its tough approach and violence, but the "Rogue Warrior" series still enjoys strong sales and a loyal audience that appreciates high-octane adventure tales. In his review of Task Force Blue, Booklist critic Roland Green noted that, "as usual for a Rogue Warrior yarn, this one is a gripping hard-boiled thriller."
A "Ten Commandments of Specwar" opens Designation Gold, which was called an "exercise in literary violence" that encapsulates "the authors's macho approach" by a Publishers Weekly contributor. In this story, Marcinko is in Russia avenging the death of an old friend in a plot that links Russian mobsters with Syrian arms dealers, and he and his men are caught up in action when they discover top-secret American electronics. The story offers explanations of tactics and the personal attributes needed to be Marcinko's kind of SEAL, as well as "roguish philosophy and patriotic speechifying," noted the Publishers Weekly reviewer.
In reviewing Option Delta, Green called the "Rogue Warrior" novels "the purest kind of thriller around, with action, pacing, and hardware galore." This outing finds the team targeting the yacht of an Arab prince who provides terrorists with American nuclear weapons left over from the Cold War and the cash to finance their terrorism. Green also reviewed Echo Platoon, in which Marcinko is attempting to thwart efforts to destabilize the Caspian Sea region for the benefit of the Russians and the Iranians, "in an odd but entirely too plausible plot." Green commented that this "exercise in hairy-chested readability," like the others in the series, contains a fair share of expletives, but he added that "hardened 'Rogue Warrior' fans will just salute and read."
With Detachment Bravo Marcinko pairs up with British general Mick Owen to stop Gwilliam and Gerry Kelley of the Green Hand Defenders, an Irish Republic Army splinter group. The billionaire dot-com brothers are planning a London bombing, but first they attack the anti-terrorists's Bravo and kill one of Marcinko's men. Marcinko and Owen follow a lead to Argentina, where his series nemesis is stationed with the CIA. A Publishers Weekly critic remarked that Marcinko and Owen "skewer the establishment and trumpet opinions on what's wrong with the world today … while upholding their pledge to defend it."
Weisman has also written a number of solo action novels, including Soar: A Black Ops Novel, the lead character of which is Army Special Forces Major Mike Ritzik. His team's rescue of a CIA unit in China is supported by pro-military Vietnam vet president Peter Forrest and his secretary of defense. The detainees who are being held by Uzbeki terrorists had been planting seismic listening devices to determine China's activities as they and the United States are about to agree on nuclear reductions. What they found is that the terrorists have stolen an old Chinese atomic bomb, but Americans, including Tracy Wei-Liu, the deputy assistant secretary of energy who will disarm the bomb, don't want to be caught by the Chinese with the terrorists for fear it would put an end to the talks. This standalone novel was called "a suspenseful war fantasy" by a Kirkus Reviews contributor.
Weisman followed Soar with Jack in the Box: A Shadow War Thriller, in which retired CIA agent Sam Waterman is caught up in the intrigue of moles leaking secrets to Moscow and a CIA officer. The CIA agent has defected to the KGB, claiming he can prove that the White House knew about plans to execute the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, weeks before they were carried out. When the officer is killed, Sam assembles a team that travels from Washington to Paris to Moscow to uncover the truth. Library Journal reviewer Barbara Conaty wrote that this spy novel "will keep readers on the edge of their easy chairs."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 1, 1994, Roland Green, review of Red Cell, p. 1181; March 1, 1995, Roland Green, review of Green Team, p. 179; February 1, 1996, Roland Green, review of Task Force Blue, p. 917; January 1, 1999, Roland Green, review of Option Delta, p. 832; March 15, 2000, Roland Green, review of Echo Platoon, p. 1293; May 1, 2001, Roland Green, review of Detachment Bravo, p. 1667; July, 2003, Roland Green, review of Soar: A Black Ops Novel, p. 1868.
Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 1994, review of Red Cell; March 15, 2000, review of Echo Platoon, p. 334; June 15, 2003, review of Soar, p. 833.
Library Journal, April 1, 1993, James Dudley, review of Rogue Warrior; April 15, 1994, Michael T. Fein, review of Red Cell, p. 130; June 1, 2004, Barbara Conaty, review of Jack in the Box: A Shadow War Thriller, p. 128.
New York Times Book Review, May 22, 1983, Elisabeth Jakab, review of Watchdogs, p. 43; April 24, 1994, Newgate Callendar, review of Red Cell, p. 23; March 26, 1995, Newgate Callendar, review of Green Team, p. 27.
Playboy, April, 1994, Digby Diehl, review of Red Cell, p. 32; April, 1995, Digby Diehl, review of Green Team, p. 34.
Publishers Weekly, February 6, 1995, review of Green Team, p. 77; January 15, 1996, review of Task Force Blue, p. 443; February 10, 1997, review of Designation Gold, p. 68; January 12, 1998, review of Seal Force Alpha, p. 46; December 21, 1998, review of Option Delta, p. 57; April 23, 2001, review of Detachment Bravo, p. 49; June 16, 2003, review of Soar, p. 48; April 26, 2004, review of Jack in the Box, p. 40.
John Weisman Home Page, http://www.johnweisman.com (January 30, 2006).