On the Run

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

CIA defector Philip Agee relates his struggles to thwart CIA operations around the globe, beginning with his decision to leave the CIA in 1968 and write a book about his experiences. Having participated in CIA Latin American activities in the 1960’s, Agee became convinced that the CIA served only to support the financial interests of a few American businessmen at the expense of the majority of Latin American people.

The CIA pursued and harassed Agee throughout Western Europe while trying to prevent the publication of INSIDE THE COMPANY: CIA DIARY, the first of many exposures by former agency employees. Far from dissuading Agee, the agency’s attempts to silence him (including his expulsion from Great Britain and the Netherlands and the revocation of his American passport) served only to radicalize him further. Agee became a primary supporter of the campaign to expose CIA agents in all countries.

Written in a colloquial, conversational style (and, unfortunately, poorly edited), Agee’s story is interesting on many levels-- as a true-life adventure, as a portrayal of the personal, emotional consequences of devoting one’s life to a political cause, and as a revelation of the crimes of a United States government agency.

Agee’s account seems less the result of a personal vendetta against the CIA or the United States, as some have charged, and more the effort of a man, convinced that he committed grave wrongs in the service of the CIA, to atone by undoing the work of his former employer and exhorting others to do the same.