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9 Reviews
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good book
This is a good book. What I like about it is that Pearson seems to have done his homework. He draws a lot of connections between Fleming, the boy, son and brother and husband, the Secret Service man, the writer, the playboy, the athlete and the alcohol drinking and cigarette smoking socialite, and the subject of his books - James Bond (named after an ornithologist writing...
Published on 9 Nov 2010 by Rowan

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Licence to Bore
This is a rather dull biography of a man who created the most famous spy in the 20th century.

It was first published in 1966, is thin on detail and research and would probably be rejected by a publisher nowadays when biographies pry into every corner of their subjects' lives.

For example, Fleming was supposed to have been a lady killer yet he did not...
Published on 2 Mar 2012 by John Fitzpatrick


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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good book, 9 Nov 2010
This is a good book. What I like about it is that Pearson seems to have done his homework. He draws a lot of connections between Fleming, the boy, son and brother and husband, the Secret Service man, the writer, the playboy, the athlete and the alcohol drinking and cigarette smoking socialite, and the subject of his books - James Bond (named after an ornithologist writing of birds of Caribbean - one of Fleming's favourite books). Pearson selects and renders his anecdotes well, and I really got a sense of the development of Bond and Flemming - the character and the man - each bleeding into the other.
There's a great emotional aspect to the book also - Pearson gets beneath the cool facade, delving into Flemming's insecurities and inner motivations - in a very human and humane manner. In many respects, this is quite a moving book. It was six months ago that I read it, and I still think about it, frequently, and refer to it from time to time in conversations with friends; yes, it's full of interesting facts that when shared with others never fail to impress!
I recommend it, for the Bond enthusiast, and those interested in Flemming, and for those interested in the relationship between authors and their characters - authorship - the way in which authors sometimes live their life, by chance and/or intentionally, in a manner that seems to facilitate and feed into their written subject.
Enjoy!
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5.0 out of 5 stars A really good read!, 14 April 2014
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This is the second of John Pearson's books that I have read. I really enjoyed this story of Ian Fleming's life. It was a fascinating insight into a most unusual man.
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5.0 out of 5 stars interesting book, 14 Mar 2014
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Enjoyed the book, great insight into his life. I found it much more interesting than I had first thought :)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good Life, 6 Nov 2013
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William J. Bale "WJB" (South Wales) - See all my reviews
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Enjoyable read. Contains a great deal of insight into the world and psyche of James Bond's creator in relatively broad strokes by an author who knew Ian Fleming personally. Entertaining and amusing in places and as with a lot of books perhaps a bit 'dry' in others.
Fleming lead a very active and interesting life but seems was never completely satisfied or ever quite reaped the full fruits of his labours. Even though Bond was clearly not completely based on any one real-life individual (such as Ian Fleming himself or WWII operatives such as Forest Yeo Thomas) I'm of the view that when Fleming died the literary James Bond died with him. Ian seems to have been a strong character in some ways. Set backs such as a plagiarism law suit and increasing health problems did not prevent him from writing some of the finest installments in the series, i.e. On Her Majesty's Secret Service and You Only Live Twice.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Life of Ian Fleming, 22 July 2012
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J. E. Hudson - See all my reviews
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A fascinating account of Fleming's life: bit like a Bond Novel. Fleming attended Eton with his elder brother but developed something of an attitude, excelling at athletics and truancy, finally leaving under a cloud. No University yet, but a spell at Sandhurst where he hated the discipline and resigned after a year. Private tuition in Austria followed, where he learned to ski, had a good time and treated the local girls with the same casualness as James Bond.
Ian flunked a Foreign Office exam but did report freelance for Reuters on the mid 30's Moscow industrial spy trials. Then a period in London when the club life developed and finally his contacts allowed him entry to the Intelligence Service at the start of the war. After WWII he write the Bond books.
Well written and researched, easy to read, holds your interest.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kindle users beware., 22 Nov 2012
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I am 66% through this book - no page numbers - and enjoying it, but the download is seriously irritating. There are so many spelling mistakes as to make my teeth stand on edge every time I come across one. This book must never have been proof read or simple things like 'bis' instead of 'his' or 'ber' instead of 'her', 'bidethir' instead of 'their', T' instead of 'I' would not occur so many, many times and oooh so many, many more errors would have been spotted. It is a wonderful account of Ian Fleming's life and very interesting but totally spoilt. If anyone else intends to download this book to their kindle please be prepared for the poor quality. I can rate the book quite highly as I am enjoying it and it is a fascinating account about an extraordinary person. I would recommend anyone to read this but not in digital form.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good with some reservations., 29 Sep 2010
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I have been a James Bond fan since I was a teenager over 40 years ago. I have read all the books 4 times now. I have just finished them all again. I thought it was time to get to know the author better and purchased this book.

The book has done what I wanted it to do. On that basis I can recommend it to others.

The question I have asked since is: 'Do you have to be a Bond fan to enjoy it?'. The word 'Anarak' keeps nudging at me.

Ah well, I love his books and some of the films. Now I know quite a lot about Mr Fleming himself thanks to John Pearson.

Not sure it has done me any good though, I think I preferred the mystery.

Nothing wrong with the book it does it's job very well and reads fine.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Licence to Bore, 2 Mar 2012
By 
John Fitzpatrick (São Paulo, Brazil) - See all my reviews
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This is a rather dull biography of a man who created the most famous spy in the 20th century.

It was first published in 1966, is thin on detail and research and would probably be rejected by a publisher nowadays when biographies pry into every corner of their subjects' lives.

For example, Fleming was supposed to have been a lady killer yet he did not get married until he was 43. Is this important? Perhaps not but no modern biographer would just accept it without a little attempt at explanation.

Another example: we are supposed to believe that Fleming's grandfather, Robert, born in poverty in Dundee in 1845, founded an investment trust at the age of 28 and became so successful that by the time he died he was a millionaire on equal terms with J.P Morgan.

He transformed himself from a poor Scotsman on the make to a pillar of the English Establishment and sent his sons to Eton and Oxford.

This may all be true but it sounds just a bit unconvincing.

Ian Fleming himself comes over as one of those Evelyn Waugh characters with little talent who manages to get by through his social contacts - or rather his mother's social contacts.

He worked for Reuters although he had no journalistic experience and appears to have written only a handful of stories.

He ended up in a management position at the Sunday Times because he knew the owner, Lord Kemsley, and managed to get two months annual paid holiday to go and stay in the house he built in Jamaica.

He was a member of elite clubs, played golf at exclusive courses, was a friend of Somerset Maugham and Noel Coward and married the millionaire widow of press baron Lord Rothermere.

He even drifted into writing the Bond books and, of course, his contacts ensured it was published and publicized.

I like the Bond books and believe Fleming deserved his success but this book would have been a bit more interesting had it been more critical.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bought for 19 year old, 21 Mar 2014
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Bought as a present for my son who is quite particular and just getting into using after shave - he must have a girlfriend on the go! He really likes it, not overpowering lovely and subtle.
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The Life of Ian Fleming
The Life of Ian Fleming by John Pearson (Hardcover - Oct 1966)
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