Marco Polo, If You Can Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Marco Polo, If You Can

Marco Polo, If You Can
William F. Buckley Jr.
Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1982, 233 pp.
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ISBN: 0-385-15232-9

Allen Dulles, Director of the CIA, is faced with the challenge of finding and neutralizing a government mole and turning what has been an intelligence disaster to our advantage. The result is a fast paced spy thriller that closely parallels accounts (as I remember them from junior high school current events assignments) of Francis Gary Powers' ill fated U-2 spy flight and his subsequent exchange, on a bridge between East and West Germany, for Soviet East German spy, Rudolf Abel. At the time there was controversy as to how the U-2 was downed. The Soviets claiming that they shot it down. But the U.S. claimed that, at 75,000 feet, the U-2 was too high for both antiaircraft and then current Soviet SAM missile capability.

In the book, Blackford Oakes is recruited back to the CIA by his old friend and mentor, Rufus, shortly after having been fired from the CIA. Allen Dulles has recruited Rufus from semi retirement to manage this delicate mission and Oakes is one of the three agents that Rufus insists he needs for the project. A key feature of Rufus's disinformation plan is the advance leaking to the Soviets of details of a planned U-2 spy flight over the Soviet Union and then faking a malfunction that forces it to crash land inside the Soviet Union. Oakes' love of country and commitment to its freedom is severely tested when he is asked to fly the U-2 and trust that his friend's complex plan to get him out alive will work.

As with other novels in the Blackford Oakes series, the people and events of the story closely parallels real life accounts of the times but the view is that of an insider.
The review of this Book prepared by Chuck Nugent

Chapter Analysis of Marco Polo, If You Can

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 60%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30% Time/era of story:    -   1960's-1970's Spying/Terrorism Thriller    -   Yes Cloak & Dagger Plotlets:    -   stopping a saboteur/spy Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Who's the terrorist enemy here?    -   commies!

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   spy Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Mid-Atlantic states Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   Germany    -   Russia

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths Amount of dialog    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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William F. Buckley Jr. Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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