Clive Cussler Robin Burcell Biography & Facts
Clive Eric Cussler (July 15, 1931 – February 24, 2020) was an American adventure novelist and underwater explorer. His thriller novels, many featuring the character Dirk Pitt, have reached The New York Times fiction best-seller list more than 20 times. 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. He was the sole author or lead author of more than 80 books.
His novels have inspired various other works of fiction.
Clive Cussler was born in Aurora, Illinois, the son of Amy Adeline (née Hunnewell) and Eric Edward Cussler, and grew up in Alhambra, California. His mother's ancestors were from England and his father was from Germany.In his memoir The Sea Hunters: True Adventures with Famous Shipwrecks, Cussler revealed that his father served in the Imperial German Army during World War I and that one of his uncles was a German flying ace during the same war and who shot down 14 Allied aeroplanes.He was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout when he was 14. He attended Pasadena City College for two years and then enlisted in the United States Air Force during the Korean War. During his service in the Air Force, he was promoted to sergeant and worked as an aircraft mechanic and flight engineer for the Military Air Transport Service (MATS).
After his discharge from the military, 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. 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.Following 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. This was the first time in the college's 123-year history that such a degree had been awarded.In 2002, Cussler was awarded the Naval Heritage Award from the U.S. Navy Memorial Foundation for his efforts in the area of marine exploration.Cussler was a fellow of the Explorers Club of New York, the Royal Geographical Society in London, and the American Society of Oceanographers.
Clive Cussler began writing in 1965 when his wife took a job working nights for the local police department where they lived in California. After making dinner for the children and putting them to bed, he had no one to talk to and nothing to do, so he decided to start writing. His most famous creation is marine engineer, government agent and adventurer Dirk Pitt. The Dirk Pitt novels frequently take on an alternative history perspective—such as "what if Atlantis were real?" or "what if Abraham Lincoln wasn't assassinated but was kidnapped?"The first two Pitt novels, The Mediterranean Caper and Iceberg, were relatively conventional maritime thrillers. The third, Raise the Titanic!, made Cussler's reputation and established the pattern that subsequent Pitt novels would follow: a blend of high adventure and high technology, generally involving megalomaniacal villains, lost ships, beautiful women, and sunken treasure.
Cussler's novels almost always begin with a chapter taking place in the past. These contain none of the novel's main characters and often seem disconnected from the plot until the main characters discover a mystery or secret connecting the events in the first chapter to the rest of the story. This almost always comes in the form of a long-lost artifact that holds the key to the villain's or hero's objectives. Often in the first chapter, a ship or plane carrying a top-secret, important, or dangerous cargo is lost and never found, until it is recovered by a modern character later in the book.
Cussler's novels, like those of Michael Crichton, are examples of techno-thrillers that do not use military plots and settings. Where Crichton strove for scrupulous realism, however, Cussler prefers fantastic spectacles and outlandish plot devices. The Pitt novels, in particular, have the anything-goes quality of the James Bond or Indiana Jones movies, while also sometimes borrowing from Alistair MacLean's novels. Pitt himself is a larger-than-life hero reminiscent of Doc Savage and other characters from pulp magazines.
Cussler had seventeen consecutive titles reach The New York Times fiction best seller list. In 2014, McFarland Publishing released The Clive Cussler Adventures: A Critical Review by Steven Philip Jones, the first critical review textbook of Cussler's novels.
As an underwater explorer, Cussler discovered more than 60 shipwreck sites and wrote non-fiction books about his findings. He was also the founder of the National Underwater and Marine Agency (NUMA), a non-profit organization with the same name as the fictional government agency that employs Dirk Pitt.
Important finds by NUMA include:
RMS Carpathia, the ship famed for being the first to come to the aid of RMS Titanic survivors.
CSS Manassas, the first ironclad of the civil war, formerly the icebreaker Enoch Train.A visual and interactive depiction of Cussler's NUMA Foundation Expeditions has been made available as an extension of NUMA's original website that has since been deleted.
Finds formerly believed to be important include:
Mary Celeste, the famed ghost ship that was found abandoned with cargo intact (the identification of this wreck as the Mary Celeste has since been placed into a state of question after one researcher disputed the claim's authenticity).Media appearances
In what started as a joke in the novel Dragon that Cussler expected his editor to remove, he would often write himself into his books. At first he wrote himself simple cameos, but later as something of a deus ex machina, providing the novel's protagonists with an essential bit of assistance or information. Often, the character is given an alias and not revealed as Cussler until his exit with the characters remarking on his odd name. The cameos include the Dirk Pitt Adventures, as well as the Fargo Adventures books Lost Empire, Spartan Gold, Kingdom, and The Tombs. The Tombs also includes his wife, Janet.
There are at least two other types of recurring in-jokes that are less obvious to a casual reader. One is the frequent reuse of the name Leigh Hunt for different characters in different novels. Seventeen books have had a character with this name, frequently in the opening prologues, frequently a sailor, usually dying; a notable exception is the first (in chronological order) Dirk Pitt adventure, Pacific Vortex!, in which Admiral Leigh Hunter is a major character, commander of the 101st Recovery Fleet in Hawaii. In the introduction to Arctic Drift, Cussler says there was a real Leigh Hunt who died in .... Discover the Clive Cussler Robin Burcell popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Clive Cussler Robin Burcell books.