“Eamon Javers has produced a remarkable book about the secret world of business warfare—a world filled with corporate spies and covert ops and skullduggery… An important book that has the added pleasure of reading like a spy novel.” —David Grann, author of The Lost City of Z Award-winning reporter Eamon Javers’s Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy is a penetrating work of investigative and historical journalism about the evolution of corporate espionage, exploring the dangerous and combustible power spies hold over international business. From the birth of the Pinkertons to Howard Hughes, from presidents to Cold War spies, Broker, Trader, Lawyer, Spy is, like Legacy of Ashes and Blackwater, a first rate political thriller that also just happens to be true.
The tools and tricks once used in the name of geopolitics have increasingly been applied to the private sector, according to this engaging overview of the rise of corporate espionage. With the end of the Cold War, spies on both sides of the Iron Curtain discovered there was money to be made renting out their skills to clients in such fields as pharmaceuticals, banking, and agriculture. Although the historical sections can drag in places, the book gathers steam every time Javers turns his focus to the technologies that have moved the field forward. From early wiretaps to the use of satellites, the author expertly explains how spies help clients sabotage corporate competitors or buy and sell stocks based on expected fluctuations in the price of corn. Generally more interested in strategy and gadgets than the ethical components of spying, the book flirts with painting a romantic picture of the profession before noting the less-than-glamorous occupations of corporate spies, including participating in the battle for supremacy in the pet food market.