I once read a book about an American ex-spy, but remember nether its title nor the author. I remember that author was an American ex-spy who took part in covert ops in several countries including Panama.

The book starts with the author's young years when he worked for the Peace Corps. I think there was an insight into his school years before that, but not sure. Later he was recruited by (I think) by the CIA (he had a woman handler if I'm not mistaken). He helped to lobby USA oil interests, to offer something cheap for the oil that country had. There was an example he described when the US offered some Arabian country (Saudi Arabia or the UAE) street cleaning equipment and trash recycling technology in exchange for their oil because they thought that it was below their dignity to sweep streets and only goats walked the streets eating trash laying around.
He also took part in ensuring the US interests in the Panama Canal. At the end of the book he had enough of the service, he founded his own company (I think it was an IT company) with one of his friends or former colleagues. He also had a child (could be a son, but it's probably a daughter).

It is not any of the books with "Panama" in the title, not one of John le Carré's books and not The Spy Who Dumped Me.

I would be grateful if anyone could help me with identifying the author and the book.

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    You mean the Panama Canal constructed over 100 years ago, by G. W. Goethals, among others? And the Peace Corps founded in 1961? Sep 16, 2020 at 20:06
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    @kimchilover Operation Just Cause perhaps?
    – SQB
    Sep 17, 2020 at 7:36
  • @kimchilover, If you put it like that, it breaks the whole theory in my mind. Well, maybe he was just doing some business there, not construction, but control. I clearly remember that the Panama canal had something to do with that book. Sep 17, 2020 at 12:16
  • @SQB, there are some plot similarities, but there's a lot of books on that operation. Sep 17, 2020 at 12:37
  • One of Robert Baer's books, maybe? He was a CIA operative who wrote a couple of books about his experiences.
    – Rand al'Thor
    Sep 17, 2020 at 19:59

1 Answer 1


I found it! It's a book called Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins.

The book is not as much about the biography or any specific historic event, instead, it describes several cases when America used its powers to gain access to natural resources. Including Panama, Saudi Arabia, and other countries. The author worked for a private company, he was a volunteer for the Peace Corps, he had a daughter, he had a woman handler - Claudine. He didn't start an IT company, however, he started an independent power company. And he wasn't technically a spy, but rather an economic hitman.

I don't know to what extent the story is true-to-life, but nevertheless. Thank you for helping me to identify the story!

I know for sure that this is the story, I dug into my old e-book archives and found it there.

cover of "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man", showing an eagle landing on / striking at a globe, against a backdrop of the US flag

  • 1
    Awesome! Would you mind expanding your answer by adding the points that did / did not match up to your memory?
    – SQB
    Sep 24, 2020 at 7:07

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