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Ian Fleming [Kindle Edition]

Andrew Lycett
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Review

As good as any Bond novels, it proves that facts can be equally as fascinating as any fiction (SUNDAY MERCURY)

This is a revealing biography of a man who lived life in the fast lane (GOOD BOOK GUIDE)

Book Description

The definitive biography of author Ian Fleming and the perfect read for anyone enjoying the Sky Atlantic biopic starring Dominic Cooper.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1931 KB
  • Print Length: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson; New edition edition (25 Oct. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B009W32ZAE
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #128,464 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
By Broga
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Andrew Lycett's superb biography is the story of a shallow man, disastrous husband and hopeless father. And yet, as Fleming lived his heavy drinking, self centred life in an upper crust mileu where his values were often accepted, and desirable work owed more to public school and family conections than merit, Lycett produces a sympathetic portrait. Fleming's mother was never going to rear an emotionally mature man and placing him at Eton did nothing to ameliorate her destructive influence. He developed as an excellent writer and in his fantasy figure James Bond seems to have been invested with many of the qualities Fleming would have liked to posses himself. Reading the excruciating details of Fleming's inability to halt his slide to an early death - e.g.70 cigarettes a day and heavy drinking - is like watching a train crash in slow motion.

He loved facts, he admired and read great writers, he was passionate about the marine environment and he worked hard on his writing. He wanted fame and fortune but when it came the satisfaction was muted. In one way he never compromised: he lived his life on his own destructive terms to the end. This is a magnificent biography, the detail and sharp insights - often supplied by astute observers such as Noel Coward, Somerset Maugham and Graham Greene - are stunning. And the portrait of Fleming, at the end, is sympathetic. He was a deeply flawed, chronically disatisfied man who sought happiness in a material world which alone could never provide it. But this same man produced James Bond who thrilled millions, allowed them for a time to escape their own mediocrity and melancholy, and Fleming himself acheived a celebrity on a par with his hero.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Exhaustive & Exhausting! 14 Mar. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having read John Pearson's biography some years ago, I thought I'd give Lycett's version a go and see how it differed.
It is certainly more detailed and less sycophantic. That said, it has an unclear narrative and often becomes a blur of names that have little interconnectivity and whom are relatively unimportant in the grand scheme of things. This makes many passages boring and too much of the book is devoted to his pre 'Casino Royale' years and not enough to the development of his novels within the dynamic of the UK thriller market. Fleming virtually created a genre single handily and this is barely mentioned!
To it's credit, one feels that one is reading the naked truth and unfortunately Fleming emerges as a flawed genius who committed suicide through alcohol and tobacco addiction. Not a great life but a great literary legacy.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This is a wonderful example of what, to me, illuminating biography should be. Lycett has exhaustively picked over every kind of source - the man's work, those who knew him, their letters & comments, the media & added his own low-key, rarely judgemental assessment to make Fleming really alive in the mind's eye without ever having met him himself. It is also so much a book about relationships, warts and all. I especially appreciate the manner in which the reader is left, from such a wealth of information, to draw their own conclusions about the subject.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too many days in the life of Ian Fleming. 23 April 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A bit of a struggle. Far too much detail. We can gather that Ian was a good bridge player. (Lost count of the times this was mentioned.

Everyone he seemed to know either had titles, and or, double barrelled names. They all appear to speak in French, Latin or German phrases, thus us plebs require the relevant translation dictionaries.

The stress is piled on as to how well connected his family was, enclosed in all the right circles, old Etonian's, pulling strings, absolutely litter the chapters. Good luck to Ian, that was his world; but Andrew Lycett overdoes the name dropping to the extent of confusion.

James Bond has many fans, courtesy of Ian Fleming and Ian Fleming has many fans, courtesy of James Bond. I cannot imagine that an autobiography would have been so lengthy and detailed as to create an area of boredom, that just wouldn't be him.

No offence Andrew.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb biography of a fascinating man 5 Aug. 2010
Format:Paperback
This is a superb biography of Ian Fleming, and well worth reading if you're interested in him. It makes two substantial additions to the picture provided by John Pearson in his (also superb) biography published three decades earlier: it gives the story of Blanche Blackwell, Fleming's lover in later life; and provides a much deeper context for the success of James Bond that followed Fleming's death. Neither of these were in Pearson's book, the first I imagine for reasons of diplomacy, and the second because most of it hadn't happened yet. Lycett occasionally overdoses on the connections and backgrounds of very minor figures in Fleming's life, but then again he leaves few stones unturned. While the book is generally more sympathetic than Pearson's, he spares us no detail, even of Fleming's sexual preferences. Fleming was a much misunderstood man during his life, and remains an undervalued writer. The popular perception is that his novels were superficial fantasies, simple Boy's Own adventures. This book shows that they were deeply ingrained fantasies and rather complicated Boy's Own adventures. This book also gives a context to the times in which Fleming lived and to his achievement both in that time and beyond it. While no book could ever present the whole portrait of a writer, taken together with John Pearson's work, one feels that Lycett comes very close.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
The oerson who received it as a christmas gift was delighted
Published 17 days ago by Valewis
4.0 out of 5 stars A very well-researched and thorough biography, giving a well-rounded...
A very well-researched and thorough biography, giving a well-rounded picture of its subject. There is perhaps a tendency to information overload at times - difficult for any... Read more
Published 2 months ago by sandy smyth
2.0 out of 5 stars Fog of words
Ian Fleming led a fascinating life but this biography often dissolves into a confusion of contradictory detail.
Published 3 months ago by T. Bently
2.0 out of 5 stars It might be a great book!
It might be a great book but I will never know because the type is too small to read comfortably. Why oh why are publishers so careless with their product.
Published 8 months ago by James
3.0 out of 5 stars Boring bits
Think that really Ian Fleming wasn't that interesting, James Bond was his aspirational alter ego.

He didn't so much die but faded away!
Published 13 months ago by Guy Kebell
3.0 out of 5 stars Packed with superfluous detail
I heard this author speak on a panel about James Bond at the Jaipur Literature festival 2013, bought the book to satisfy a life-long fascination since my surname is Bond, but... Read more
Published 20 months ago by Andrew B
4.0 out of 5 stars Ian Flemming
Bought this for my father who loves anything related to James Bond - so I am sure he would have loved it
Published 23 months ago by Pooks
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointingly dry and very academic in style
I should start by saying I am a massive James Bond fan and have always been fascinated by Ian Fleming - you see the TV programmes and the newspaper articles describing him as a... Read more
Published on 28 Nov. 2009 by G Marwaha
5.0 out of 5 stars an insite into the creator of 007
I found this book hard to put down. This book written by a friend is a well structured insite into the creator of 007 and Chitty chitty bang bang. Read more
Published on 8 Dec. 2000
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