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Clive Cussler

Clive Cussler Clive Cussler[1†]

Clive Eric Cussler (1931-2020) was an American adventure novelist and underwater explorer, best known for his Dirk Pitt thrillers, which frequently topped The New York Times best-seller list. His breakthrough came in 1976 with "Raise the Titanic". Founder of the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), he discovered over 60 shipwrecks. His novels, renowned for their detailed research, revived the pure adventure genre[1†][2†].

Early Years and Education

Clive Eric Cussler was born on July 15, 1931, in Aurora, Illinois[1†]. He was the son of Eric Edward Cussler and Amy Adeline (née Hunnewell)[1†]. His father was from Germany and his mother’s ancestors were from England[1†]. In his memoir “The Sea Hunters: True Adventures with Famous Shipwrecks”, Cussler revealed that his father served in the Imperial German Army on the Western Front during World War I[1†]. Furthermore, one of Cussler’s uncles served in the Imperial German Air Service and became a flying ace, shooting down 14 Allied aeroplanes[1†].

Cussler grew up in Alhambra, California[1†]. He was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout when he was 14 years old[1†]. He attended Pasadena City College for two years[1†][3†][4†]. During his time in college, he enlisted in the United States Air Force during the Korean War[1†][3†][4†]. During his service with the Air Force, he was promoted to sergeant and worked as an aircraft mechanic and flight engineer for the Military Air Transport Service (MATS)[1†].

Cussler’s early life and education laid the foundation for his future career as a renowned adventure novelist and underwater explorer. His experiences in the Air Force and his interest in underwater exploration were reflected in his novels, particularly in the adventures of his character Dirk Pitt[1†].

Career Development and Achievements

After his discharge from the military, Clive Cussler went to work in the advertising industry, first as a copywriter and later as a creative director for two of the nation’s most successful advertising agencies[1†][2†]. As part of his duties, Cussler produced radio and television commercials, many of which won international awards including an award at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival[1†].

Cussler began his writing career in 1965[1†][5†]. He started writing when his wife, Barbara, got a night job for the local police station as a clerk[1†][2†]. At night after putting his kids to bed, he had hardly anything to do and no one to talk to. So out of solitude, he decided to write a book[1†][2†]. After a few nights of thinking of an idea on what to write about, he thought it would be fun to produce a little paperback series[1†][2†].

His thriller novels, many featuring the character Dirk Pitt, have been listed on The New York Times fiction best-seller list more than 20 times[1†]. His work put him on the map after 11 years of hard work, especially when his novel “Raise the Titanic” was bought for $840,000 by Viking Publishing in 1976[1†][2†].

Cussler was the founder and chairman of the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), which has discovered more than 60 shipwreck sites and numerous other notable underwater wrecks[1†]. He was the sole author or lead author of more than 80 books[1†]. His novels have inspired various other works of fiction[1†].

After the publication in 1996 of Cussler’s first nonfiction work, The Sea Hunters, he was awarded a Doctor of Letters degree in 1997 by the Board of Governors of the State University of New York Maritime College who accepted the work in lieu of a Ph.D. thesis[1†]. This was the first time in the college’s 123-year history that such a degree had been awarded[1†].

In 2002, Cussler was awarded the Naval Heritage Award from the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation for his efforts concerning marine exploration[1†]. Cussler was a fellow of the Explorers Club of New York, the Royal Geographical Society in London, and the American Society of Oceanographers[1†].

First Publication of His Main Works

Clive Cussler began writing novels in 1965[6†]. His first work featuring his continuous series hero, Dirk Pitt, was published in 1973[6†]. Here are some of his main works along with their publication years:

Cussler’s novels are known for their intricate plots and thrilling action sequences. His works have reached The New York Times fiction best-seller list more than 20 times[6†][7†]. His novel “Raise the Titanic” was bought for $840,000 by Viking Publishing in 1976, marking a significant milestone in his career[6†][3†].

Analysis and Evaluation

Clive Cussler’s work has been widely recognized for its rich storytelling and intricate plotlines. His novels, particularly those featuring the character Dirk Pitt, have been critically acclaimed for their blend of adventure and technology[8†].

Cussler’s writing style was unique in the way he intertwined his personal experiences and interests, particularly his love for the sea and underwater exploration, into his novels[8†][9†]. This added a layer of authenticity to his stories, making them more engaging and relatable to the readers[8†].

Steven Philip Jones, in his critical review of Cussler’s work, highlighted the importance of Pitt to modern fiction and discussed Cussler’s literary themes[8†]. He also deconstructed some of Cussler’s classics, such as “Raise the Titanic!” and “Iceberg”, providing an in-depth analysis of Cussler’s storytelling techniques[8†].

Cussler’s novels have been compared to the works of other acclaimed adventure writers like Rudyard Kipling, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Ian Fleming[8†]. His work has not only entertained millions of readers worldwide but also influenced a generation of writers[8†].

Despite the commercial success of his novels, Cussler’s work has not been without criticism. Some critics have pointed out that his characters often lack depth and his plots can sometimes be formulaic[8†]. However, these criticisms have done little to diminish his popularity among readers.

In conclusion, Clive Cussler’s work has left a significant impact on the genre of adventure literature. His novels, characterized by their fast-paced action and intricate plotlines, continue to captivate readers around the world[8†].

Personal Life

Clive Cussler was married to Barbara Knight in 1955, and they remained married for nearly 50 years until her death in 2003[1†][9†][10†][11†]. Together they had three children—Teri, Dirk, and Dayna[1†][9†][10†][11†]. They also had four grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren[1†].

After Barbara’s passing, Cussler married Janet Horvath[1†][9†][11†]. Janet survived him after his death[9†][11†].

Cussler passed away at his home in Paradise Valley, Arizona, on February 24, 2020, at the age of 88[1†][11†].

Conclusion and Legacy

Clive Cussler’s legacy is one of adventure, exploration, and storytelling. His novels have not only entertained millions of readers but also inspired various other works of fiction[12†][1†]. His impact on the genre of adventure novels is significant, and his legacy continues to influence writers and readers alike[12†].

Cussler’s writing career almost didn’t become a career. He was working as an advertising copywriter in the 1960s while writing fiction on the side[12†]. He finished two manuscripts but had no literary agent. So he created one out of thin air. He invented “The Charles Winthrop Agency,” got a friend to design a logo for it, and sent an inquiry in its name to the William Morris Agency. The ruse worked—Cussler’s book, Mediterranean Caper, was published in 1973[12†].

He went on to write more than twenty Dirk Pitt novels as well as other adventure series and children’s books[12†]. Cussler died at his home in Scottsdale, Arizona, at the age of eighty-eight[12†][1†].

His enduring legacy of writing reminds us that writing leaves a legacy that lasts far beyond the writer[12†]. In our digital age, anyone with a smartphone can publish his or her writing to the world[12†]. As a result, Christians have an unprecedented opportunity to “make disciples of all nations” through social media and other platforms[12†].

Key Information

References and Citations:

  1. Wikipedia (English) - Clive Cussler [website] - link
  2. IMDb - Clive Cussler - Biography [website] - link
  3. Booksradar.com - Clive Cussler Books in Order (Complete Series List) [website] - link
  4. CBC - Clive Cussler, adventure novelist, dead at 88 [website] - link
  5. The Guardian - Clive Cussler, bestselling adventure novelist, dies aged 88 [website] - link
  6. Goodreads - Author: Clive Cussler (Author of Sahara) [website] - link
  7. Book Series In Order - Clive Cussler [website] - link
  8. The Big Thrill - The Clive Cussler Adventures: A Critical Review by Steven Philip Jones [website] - link
  9. The Guardian - Clive Cussler obituary [website] - link
  10. BBC News UK - Clive Cussler: Dirk Pitt novels author dies aged 88 [website] - link
  11. PennBookCenter.com - What Is Clive Cussler Net Worth: Wiki, Age 06/06/2024 [website] - link
  12. Denison Forum - Clive Cussler dies at 88: The enduring legacy of writing [website] - link
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