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For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond
 
 

For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond [Kindle Edition]

Ben Macintyre
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)

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Review

'A marvellously entertaining and informative book ... deserves to fly off the shelves every bit as quickly as Devil May Care' Spectator 'Thrilling' Sunday Times 'Everything that makes Bond interesting with relation to the real world, in fact, is explored here. Ben Macintyre's skill, in this entertaining mix of history, espionage, biography, and post-war sociology, is to make you see clearly where Ian Fleming's world ended and the fantasy of James Bond began' Tom Fleming, Literary Review 'Fleming, a journalist like Macintyre, would have approved of Macintyre's fast, witty and informative style, and this is the perfect starting place for anyone wanting to find out more about Bond and his creator' Mail on Sunday

Product Description

‘I am going to write the spy story to end all spy stories'



One morning in February 1952, a journalist called Ian Fleming sat down at his desk and set about creating a fictional secret agent. James Bond was born and would go on to become one of the most successful, enduring and lucrative creations in literature. But Bond's world of glamour and romance, gadgets and cocktails, espionage and villainy wasn't entirely drawn from imagination: Fleming's background and his experiences as an intelligence officer during the Second World War were all formative parts in the creation of the world's most famous spy.



Packed with astonishing detail and written in Macintyre's inimitable style, For Your Eyes Only is the most enlightening, enlivening book on the creator of the spy who not only lived twice, but proved to be immortal.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
By Nicholas J. R. Dougan TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover
A book written to accompany an exhibition at the Imperial War Museum to celebrate the centenary of Ian Fleming's birth, it is, according to author Ben Macintyre, neither a biography of Ian Fleming nor a "Biography" of James Bond, but "a personal investigation into the intersection of two lives, one real and one fictional".

There certainly are many elements of a biography of Fleming. We learn of his father's death, when he was just nine, on the Western Front, and of his relationship with his domineering mother Evelyn, referred to by him and his brothers, interestingly, as "M". Fleming's search for a career that combined high earnings with a relaxed lifestyle, his compulsive womanising, his taste for the good things of life, but also his war service in naval intelligence, are all covered, as a backdrop to the elements of Bond's character. The many actual people who may have contributed to Bond as well as Fleming, including his late father, Valentine Fleming, his brother Peter, also involved in intelligence work, a variety of commandos and Special Forces types like Fitzroy MacLean, and a similar treatment to the other principal characters in the books, like M and Miss Moneypenny. The way that Fleming adopted names from acquaintances for other characters is fascinating: he was almost sued by the architect Erno Goldfinger for the misappropriation of his one.

While Macintyre comments primarily on the books, he also brings in the films. I suspect that part of the reason for this was that it gave the book (and the exhibition) much more material to display, but on the whole inclusion of film material is not intrusive and allows Macintyre to point out the differences.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars lots of conjecture, slim on facts 16 May 2011
Format:Paperback
Interesting for only those who havent read the numerous Fleming autobiographies and/or Bond books where the contents of this book are covered in much more detail.

It's a slim volume and only really of interest to those just wanting the most basic of details about the Bond books/films and Ian Fleming.

Must agree with the 1 star reviewer about the cover note, it states that this is a biography of both Bond and Fleming, however, the author states in his first paragraph that this book is neither! - bit naughty of the publishers.

An interesting read but I found nothing new about either Fleming or Bond and I suspect that most people with the most basic knowledge of either subject will be in the same position.

Lots of 'perphaps' and 'maybes', very slim on actual facts.

A decent starting point but nothing more.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars For the uninitiated into world of Fleming..... 29 July 2008
Format:Hardcover
As one who studied Fleming's work extensively as a graduate student and later publishing a thesis on the writer's impact on pop culture of the period, I must admit I was a bit skeptical about yet another bland and redundant Bond "coffee table" book for the masses. Happily, this is not the case with "For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond" by Ben Macintyre, written on the centenary of the author's birth. Highly readable and enjoyable and chock full with full-color photos of props used throughout all 21 Bond films, this book is a comprehensive survey of not just of Bond's impact on fiction and the cinema, but a real in-depth analysis of the man who breathed live into one of popular culture's most endurable icons.

Much is written about Fleming's childhood, adolescence, education at Eton, relationships with family (brother Peter, noted travel writer), his military career, his closest friends (Ivar Bryce and Noel Coward), his love-hate relationships with wife Ann, and the author's affairs with numerous beautiful women which oddly resemble Fleming's fictional alter-ego. For those who wish to learn more about Bond and the writer who created him, this tome is a great springboard into the Bond phenomenon which has spanned over forty years.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The reailty behind the legend 24 July 2008
Format:Hardcover
A kazilion authors have attempted to connect the real life of Ian Fleming to his famous fictional creation. Macintyre does an excellent job of summarizing the life of Fleming and the inspirations both in his personality and in his experience that led to the famous mythical world of 007.

As you would expect of an Imperial War Museum production, there are excellent photos from the archives as well as artifacts from the James Bond movies.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly Readable 17 July 2010
Format:Paperback
Andrew Lycett and John Pearson have both written very creditable biographies of Ian Fleming (as well as a number of other authors on the same subject, who have failed to come anywhere near) but in this book, the highly talented Ben Macintyre has carried out his research very well indeed. He draws together the life of Fleming, the origins of Bond and shows the comparisons between the drabness of post-war England and the life lived by Bond, with his exotic meals, fabulous locations, exciting lifestyle and the top totty whom he encountered with bewildering regularity. With Fleming's racy, authoritative style of writing, it was inescapable that the Bond books would become best-sellers.

The author is a fan of Bond and his creator, as I am; Mr. Macintyre possesses a writing style which is both fluid and witty. I found this book informative, amusing and irresistible.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars For Your Eyes Only
An easy read, but not as good as Ian Fleming in my opinion, but I guess it will sell well.
Published 2 months ago by D. J. Lay
5.0 out of 5 stars another ben macintyre good read
having read a lot of other books by ben macintyre this is another I would recommend. it is well written informative
Published 5 months ago by Geoff Jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars Present for a James Bond fan
Brims with pictures that will appeal to anyone wanting to know more about the author and the making of some of the films.
Published 11 months ago by Ms. Janice Harrison
4.0 out of 5 stars I read all Ben Macintyre
A very good read and keeps your attention. i gave it only 4 stars because (for me) the theme wasn't as engaging as Macintyre's books on WW2. Read more
Published 11 months ago by Margo
2.0 out of 5 stars A Little Info
I am afraid it is just a bit of a pot boiler . But as I only paid 1p for it ,one can't complain
Published 12 months ago by Paul Hindle
4.0 out of 5 stars Good insight by subject
Well researched and argued propositions about Fleming's inspiration for Bond and the various plots, characters and locations for his stories. Read more
Published 19 months ago by andy
5.0 out of 5 stars stirred not shaken...
A very interesting book that is factual and entertaining. Puts the books into perspective, best read after reading Macintyre's other wartime factual books, Operation Mincemeat and... Read more
Published 23 months ago by MarkP
1.0 out of 5 stars Feeble pretence of a book
The cover calls this effort "The ultimate biography of Ian Fleming and James Bond" yet the Author's Note states in the second sentence that: "it is not a biography of Ian Fleming... Read more
Published on 20 April 2011 by John Fitzpatrick
5.0 out of 5 stars 007 seen by a true Historian
I am a vivid reader of James Bond novels; also I like WW II spy stories and I greatly enjoyed Agent Zigzag and Operation Mincemeat by Ben Macintyre. Read more
Published on 23 Oct 2010 by Paolo Tagini
5.0 out of 5 stars Bond-tastic
After all the bond books on the market, this one is very refreshing. It compares the life of Fleming to that of Bond. Well written and researched by the author.
Published on 4 Jun 2010 by Bianconero
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