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Marco Polo, If You Can (Blackford Oakes #4)

3.73  ·  Rating Details ·  277 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Master of espionage fiction and National Book Award winner William F. Buckley Jr. brings us another in his best-selling series starring the intrepid CIA agent Blackford Oakes.
When a shadowy Russian mole threatens to undermine the free world's defenses by infiltrating President Eisenhower's National Security Counsel, CIA super-secret agent Blackford Oakes is called in to u
Paperback, 288 pages
Published June 1st 1996 by Cumberland House Publishing (first published 1981)
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Aug 23, 2009 Carole rated it liked it
Continuing my series of William F Buckley readings, I read this spy story. One of my all time favorite genres, being a child of the 50's & 60's but even I found this rather dated. Our world has gone so far beyond doctoring a xerox machine to make extra copies of everything & hide them in a secret drawer! Nothing of Buckley intrudes on what is a plain old-fashioned spy story, based on the Gary Powers U2 spy plane incident. He went down in the USSR & was held, put on trial & later ...more
Kevin Montgomery
Apr 25, 2009 Kevin Montgomery rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Cold War-era spy enthusiasts
Another fabulous Blackford Oakes novel. Oakes is cool, calm, and collected, as usual...even while facing imprisonment in the Soviet Union. This guy is smart, compassionate, handsome, suave... you name it. A regular James Bond without the smugness or the gadgets. His boss Rufus...low-key, impreturbable, and deadly decisive. Great dialog throughout, especially the rantings of President Eisenhower about his staff's incompetence and "Kroo-cheff's" bumblings. This is (as are all of Buckley's novels) ...more
Sep 20, 2011 Ashley rated it it was ok
Just didn't do much for me. It's a pretty straight forward Cold War era spy story. But, when reading it in 2011, it feels too dated. Hard to get too excited about espionage being conducted via photo manipulation and xerox machine. Plus, having read several of William Buckley's son Christopher Buckley's books, I was expecting a bit more wit than was present.
James Cooper
Feb 28, 2015 James Cooper rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A little drier than the others in the series, but nothing should be taken away from Buckley's writing. Whether running away, being traded for, freelancing, spying, or anything else Blackford always finds a way to return home to dear ole Sally. The beginning as well as the ending were great. For some reason, the middle just seemed a bit of a bore this time.
Read a bunch of Buckley's Oakes stories back in the '80's. I remember them all being pretty good, and this as the best of the bunch since I found the whole U-2 thing interesting. I haven't reread any of them since then, however, so have no idea how they're survived the test of time.
Nate Oman
Jan 31, 2016 Nate Oman rated it it was ok
Oakes is a Mary Sue and the plotting isn't impressive. What brings me back is the way that Buckley invokes the 1950s and 1960s.
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William Frank Buckley, Jr. was an American author and conservative commentator. He founded the political magazine National Review in 1955, hosted 1,429 episodes of the television show Firing Line from 1966 until 1999, and was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist. His writing style was famed for its erudition, wit, and use of uncommon words.

Buckley was "arguably the most important public int
More about William F. Buckley Jr....

Other Books in the Series

Blackford Oakes (1 - 10 of 11 books)
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  • Stained Glass
  • Who's on First: A Blackford Oakes Mystery
  • The Story of Henri Tod
  • See You Later Alligator
  • High Jinx: Blackford Oakes Mystery
  • Mongoose, R.I.P.
  • Tucker's Last Stand
  • A Very Private Plot
  • Last Call for Blackford Oakes

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