There have been many different James Bonds. Seven actors have played him in the official movies alone, and everyone has their favourite.
But there was only one Ian Fleming.
He is always pictured wearing a bow tie and usually with a cigarette holder or a gun in his hand.
Suave, sophisticated, Ian Fleming wanted to be James Bond, but when he was Naval Intelligence during World War II his plans to be a man of action were constantly thwarted by his superiors who thought he was too valuable to risk losing.
Yet he still smoked, drank and womanized, and shared many other characteristics with his famous hero.
Of his James Bond books, Ian Fleming said: “Everything I write has a precedent in truth.”
While Fleming was very conscious that his Bond books were pure fantasy, he insisted that everything within them had its foundation in reality.
All the gadgets – in the books at least – he had come across in the war. The contacts he had made in the British intelligence services and the CIA also proved vital, and many of the plotlines mimic wartime operations he himself had planned.
James Bond is a remarkable creation, infested with many of the demons that plagued the remarkable man who created him.
But how true is James Bond’s character to Ian Fleming?
And what shaped the man who created the stories that have thriller the world for the last fifty years?
‘Ian Fleming: License To Kill’ is an essential biography of one of the greatest popular story-tellers of the last century.
Nigel Cawthorne is the author of some eighty books – and a major contributor to at least twenty more, including ‘Jeremy Clarkson: Motormouth’, ‘Che Guevara: The Last Conquistador’ and ‘Harry: A Prince Among Men’. He lives in Bloomsbury, London’s literary area.
A Brief History:
While I know plenty about the James Bond film series, and have read many of the novels, it recently hit me: I don’t know much about Bond’screator, Ian Fleming.
Holy moley! talk about an eye opening book. Turns out, Ian Fleming was James Bond! Now, he didn’t go on secret missions like 007 does in the books and movies, but Fleming did come up with real life spy missions during World War II. Fleming also slept around much more than 007 ever has. He was with so many women, I don’t know where Fleming found the time to do anything else.
Anyways, there’s a lot of cool little stories in Ian Fleming: Licence to Kill. Nigel Cawthorne keeps things short in places, but gives you enough details where avid Bond fans can go “Oh right, that happened in…”
Plus, there other little bits of information in the book, like: Goldeneye isn’t just the name of Ian Fleming’s Jamaica home or a 007 film. Turns out, Goldeneye was the codename to a World War II Fleming helped craft in which British soldiers would live for a year inside the rock of Gibraltar keeping an eye on Nazi operations.
Nigel Cawthorne keeps things in this book simple and fun. There is never a dull moment, but there are plenty of moments that will surprise you, and even shock you.
Even if you’re not a James Bond fan or a Fleming fan, this biography is an amazing read. Ian Fleming truly was one of a kind!
Ian Fleming: Licence to Kill score: A
You can find Ian Fleming: Licence to Kill on Amazon.