Error in Books: Object reference not set to an instance of an object. Blackford Oakes - Spy Guys And Gals


Full Name: Blackford Oakes
Codename: Geoffrey T. Trueax
Nationality: American
Organization: CIA
Occupation Agent

Creator: William F. Buckley, Jr.
Time Span: 1976 - 2005


       Blackford Oakes is an agent with the CIA.
       He was the son of a highly successful aircraft salesman and a high society lady and, therefore, enjoyed quite a good childhood, although he did not see as much of his father as desired due to frequent and extended business trips. Undoubtedly this contributed largely to the divorce his parents had when he was just entering his teens. When his mother remarried a knighted member of British aristocracy, Blacky was forced to move to England with her and to attend a prominent prep school called Greyburn.
       A prankish incident involving graffiti on a blackboard resulted in an extreme whipping by the headmaster, prompting Oakes to leave school. It also left a severe mark on the young man's attitude towards the upper crust of Britain, something that would have significant ramifications in his early missions.
       Blackford Oakes is written as an incredibly handsome, virile man who is equally at home in the dining hall of Windsor Castle and in a back bedroom of a French burlesque house. In that regards he might sound like a twin to James Bond but in action and in thought he is worlds apart. While Bond is certainly an act-first kind of man, Oakes is far more cerebral and sedate.
       During WWII, Oakes served in the Army Air Force flying fighters and shooting down enough to earn the designation of Ace. After the war, he attended Yale where he studied physics, among other subjects. It was near the end of his schooling that he was approached with the idea of joining the CIA which he did almost as a lark.


       It is amazing to me that when I read dissertations on the leaders of the spy genre, names like LeCarre and Deighton and Ambler and Greene routinely appear, which is right, but Mr. Buckley is seldom mentioned, which is wrong. The insight that is given into the training and the machinations of spycraft depicted in Mr. Buckley's books are terrific and the writing is absolutely first-rate as one would expect.
       I have some thoughts as to why he is not given the critical acclaim he is due but I will keep them to myself. I will not keep quiet, however, about the fact that Blackford Oakes is a great character and the books are well worth reading.


My Grade: A

Your Average Grade:   A+


amlee4 A+ 7/26/2012 8:03:02 AM

Cold War history brought to life with Blackford Oakes.

David A+ 4/19/2014 8:04:50 PM

Aside from the humor, the insight, the intimate looks at the great and powerful and the damnably attractive Oakes, the books spycraft is excellent since Buckley himself served as an agent in Mexico City. Like Fleming with Bond, Oakes is a fantasy extension of Buckley himself. The books also have a wry humor with the ending of Who's on First? so good I wish it was true.

DHolloway A+ 2016-08-17

These are very good. Well written (of course) and very good spy stories. A shame that they seem to have been forgotten. Highly recommended.

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