Stained Glass (Buckley)

Buckley, William F.  Stained Glass.

Probably more than any other novel, this best illustrates the type of ethics the CIA will use to maintain “security.”   From that it is tempting to read the CIA as the hitman for global liberalism.  That’s certainly true on one level, but the dilemma that Blackford Oakes faces is a real one.  The focus point of the story is the heroic and charismatic German noble, Count Axel Wintegrin. Germany is divided between West and East, the latter living under Soviet terror (made possible by the Allies some five years earlier).  Wintegrin is a rising politician who campaigns on the promise of unifying Germany by liberating East German from Communist slavery.

Of course, every human being should rally to such a cause. NATO, however, is reluctant to support Wintegrin, as they fear such a move would trigger World War III.  Wintegrin, however, has anticipated and countered every objection to his plan.  He is the only one in the West with the backbone to stand up to the Soviet dragon.

Oakes is torn between his desire to help his new friend (and thus liberate millions of people from slavery) and obeying his masters in the CIA.  What will Oakes do? The CIA makes it very clear that if Wintegrin starts WWIII, millions would die.  The alternative is to dispose of Count Wintegrin and save millions of lives, although leaving millions under socialist slavery.  What will Oakes do?

Following upon the heels of the events in Saving the Queen, Stained Glass takes us from the countryside of Merry Olde England (albeit in the 1940s) to post-war Germany. The beauty of the German language and its culture (exorcised from Hitlerism) is apparent in this novel and pulls the reader in.

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