Kolb, Larry J. 1953-

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Kolb, Larry J. 1953-


Born in 1953, VA; son of an intelligence official; married; children: Stewart Copeland.


E-mail—[email protected]


Writer. Has worked variously in international business and as an agent for professional athletes; Central Intelligence Agency, former agent.


Overworld: The Life and Times of a Reluctant Spy, Riverhead Books (New York, NY), 2004.

America at Night: The True Story of Two Rogue CIA Operatives, Homeland Security Failures, Dirty Money, and a Plot to Steal the 2004 U.S. Presidential Election, Riverhead Books (New York, NY), 2007.

Author's works have been translated into Chinese, French, and Portuguese.


Overworld: The Life and Times of a Reluctant Spy was adapted for film by Atmosphere Entertainment.


Overworld: The Life and Times of a Reluctant Spy is an autobiographical memoir that offers a detailed account of Larry J. Kolb's former life as an agent for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). As the son of a senior U.S. intelligence official, Kolb grew up surrounded by spies, and he traveled throughout the world during his youth. He was recruited by the CIA in his early twenties, but turned down the opportunity to be an espionage agent in favor of a career in international business. As a businessman, Kolb established himself in the world of finance and was even featured on the cover of the Wall Street Journal. A later career change found Kolb working as a sports agent, where he represented such well-known athletes as heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali. Kolb's life took a surprising turn when he married the daughter of an arms dealer and found himself linked to the world of the famous and wealthy. It was at this point that the CIA successfully recruited him to join their agency, thus beginning Kolb's participation in a string of covert operations as an undercover agent.

Popular with general readers, Overworld was deemed captivating and exciting by critics, a Publishers Weekly reviewer describing Kolb's memoir as "dramatic in the way Oedipus's life story is dramatic." Not surprisingly, the high-energy drama and political intrigue, as well as the number of high-profile characters who make an appearance within the book's pages, strained the credibility of several critics. Raymond Puffer, for instance, wrote in Kliatt that Overworld is "is either a thrilling exposé of the madcap life of a freelance undercover agent, or else it is simply a brilliant piece of exciting fiction." Regardless, Puffer concluded, Kolb's book makes for a compelling read. Leaving the veracity of the purported spy saga for others to judge, Library Journal critic Ed Goedeken deemed Overworld "a fascinating story, even if we will never know how much is actually true."

Biographical and Critical Sources


Kolb, Larry J., Overworld: The Life and Times of a Reluctant Spy, Riverhead Books (New York, NY), 2004.


Kliatt, March, 2006, Raymond Puffer, review of Overworld, p. 36.

Library Journal, November 1, 2004, Ed Goedeken, review of Overworld, p. 96.

Publishers Weekly, January 26, 2004, review of Overworld, p. 165.


Larry J. Kolb Home Page,http://www.larryjkolb.com (November 30, 2006).

Penguin Group Web site,http://us.penguingroup.com/ (November 30, 2006), "Larry J. Kolb."