Thursday, March 19, 2020

My Washington Times 'On Crime' Column On Ben Macintyre On Ian Fleming And James Bond

The Washington Times published my weekly On Crime column on Ben Macintyre’s take on the late, great thriller writer Ian Fleming and his iconic character James Bond.

With the release of latest James Bond film “No Time to Die” postponed from April to November due to the COVID-19 outbreak, millions of Bond fans around the world will have to be content to watch the older Bond films, or perhaps they should go back to the original source — Ian Fleming’s James Bond novels.

They could also read some of the many books written about the popular character and his creator, such as two fine biographies of the late Ian Fleming, John Pearson’s “The Life of Ian Fleming” and Andrew Lycett’s “Ian Fleming: The Man Behind James Bond.”

Ben Macintyre, a columnist for the London Times and the author of “The Spy and the Traitor: The Greatest Espionage Story of the Cold War,” (which I reviewed in these pages) “A Spy Among Friends: Kim Philby and the Great Betrayal” and “Agent Zigzag: A True Story of Nazi Espionage, Love and Betrayal,” also wrote an interesting book called “For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond.”

He wrote the book in 2008 as a companion to the Imperial War Museum exhibition that was held to celebrate the centenary of Ian Fleming’s birth. The exhibition examined the late thriller writer and his fictional character in historical context. The exhibition also looked at Ian Fleming’s experiences as a naval intelligence officer in World War II and how they informed his plots and characters.

Ben Macintyre was chosen to write the companion book because of his nonfiction books on espionage and his many columns on Ian Fleming and James Bond, including one column that revealed that there was a Nazi plot to rob the Bank of England, which perhaps inspired Ian Fleming to use a similar plot to rob Fort Knox in his great thriller “Goldfinger.”

Ian Fleming admitted his plots in the novels were fantastic (the films much more so), but he also said they were often based on the real world of intelligence.  

I recall Ben Macintyre telling me that his book on Fleming and Bond was a personal investigation of two lives, one real and one fictional.     

You can read the rest of the column below or via the below link: 

Note: The below photos are of Ben Macintyre, Ian Fleming. Sean Connery as James Bond in Dr. No, and Ian Fleming as a WWII naval intelligence officer:

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