Sunday, April 16, 2023

Ben Macintyre On Ian Fleming And James Bond

As I've noted here before, MGM + is now showing A Spy Among Friends. Based on Ben Macintyre’s book, the series is about the true story of the notorious British traitor and spy Kim Philby and his friendship with British SIS intelligence officer Nick Elliot. 





By Paul Davis 

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 based on the real world of intelligence.


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