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A very private plot : a Blackford Oakes novel /

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Format: Book
Language: English
Published: Morrow, 1994
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SUMMARY

An ambitious senator wants to weaken the power of the CIA, perhaps to the point of its elimination. To accomplish his goal, he tries to enlist Blackford Oakes--now retired--into his cause by forcing him to testify before a senate committee about CIA covert activities in 1985.


Review by Booklist Review

A diverting meditation on the end of the cold war featuring--perhaps for the last time, since he is 69 in this outing--Buckley's CIA man, Blackford Oakes. An ambitious, wackily idealistic senator hauls in Oakes to testify concerning his covert activities, particularly as they concerned Cyclops, the code name of a Russian informant involved in a plot, in the mid-1980s, to assassinate Gorbachev. The plot had been devised by idealistic veterans of the war in Afghanistan at a time when it seemed Gorbachev was betraying his own troops, and when it seemed, to the Reagan administration, that glasnost was just another ploy of the Evil Empire. Oakes made his ties with the young revolutionaries and then, with the summit between Gorbachev and Reagan at Reykjavik, global politics underwent a sea change. When he's called before the Senate almost 10 years later, Oakes is torn between his professional loyalty to the revolutionaries and his political loyalty to Reagan, and he refuses to testify. Oakes is thrown in jail for contempt of Congress but becomes a conservative cause c{{‚}}el{{Å }}ebre; Buckley's view, with a nod to Oliver North, is that we cannot punish the policymakers of an old era with the policies of a new era. The revolutionaries, particularly the electrical engineer Nikolai Trimov, are sympathetically drawn, and as always, Buckley moves within Washington's power circles with ease; his portrait of a gee-whizzing Ronald Reagan is affectionate and amusing. Perishable but clever, and Buckley's high wit lurks everywhere. (Reviewed Dec. 1, 1993)0688127959John Mort

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Smooth and skillful, but only mildly suspenseful, the 10th Blackford Oakes adventure brings the Cold War hero into the age of glasnost and beyond. The year is 1995. Senator Hugh Blanton, who is framing a bill that would effectively ban all covert intelligence activity, subpoenas the retired Oakes to give evidence about Cyclops, a Reagan-era CIA operation that supposedly nearly drove Gorbachev to start a nuclear war. Interspersed with the narrative of Oakes's adamant refusal to testify is the true story behind Cyclops, which involves Oakes's discovery in the mid-80s that a group of young Russian patriots plan to assassinate Gorbachev. He informs Reagan of the plot, creating interesting moral dilemmas for both men: Should the president warn the head of an enemy state? Given an order with which he disagrees, does Oakes obey, or remain loyal to his Agency contacts? Urbanely written, the novel has enough information about Oakes's past to satisfy newcomers to the series and plenty of Beltway subculture references (including an appearance by Buckley himself). The plotting is strong, the story interesting and enjoyable, but Buckley raises complex ethical issues only to skate over them. A little more depth would have made this genial novel truly compelling. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
AUTHOR NOTES

Editor and writer William F. Buckley, Jr. was born in New York City on November 24, 1925. While at Yale University, he studied political science, history and economics and graduated with honors. In 1955, he founded the weekly journal National Review where he was editor in chief. He began his syndicated newspaper column in 1962 and his weekly television discussion program, Firing Line was syndicated in 1966.

Buckley wrote "God and Man at Yale" (1951) which was an indictment of liberal education in the United States, "Up from Liberalism" (1959), "The Unmaking of a Mayor" (1966), which tells of his unsuccessful mayoral campaign as the Conservative Party candidate for New York City in 1965, and "Quotations from Chairman Bill" (1970).

Buckley also wrote best selling stories of international intrigue whose titles include "Saving the Queen" (1976), "Stained Glass" (1978), "Who's on First" (1980), "Marco Polo, If You Can" (1981), and "See You Later, Alligator" (1985). He died on February 27, 2008.

(Bowker Author Biography)


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