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Ian Fleming Paperback – April 1, 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing (April 1, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1857997832
  • ISBN-13: 978-1857997835
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 1.4 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,445,435 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Fortunately, in reading this fascinating life of Fleming (LJ 6/1/96), British narrator Robert Whitfield exudes his own sophisticated charm to present interesting anecdotes about the celebrated author. Although the names James Bond and Ian Fleming are often interchangeable, Fleming's career as a newspaper correspondent and stockbroker and his passions for golfing, fishing, playing bridge, and collecting books are far from the life of 007. Here Fleming is characterized as handsome, moody, egotistical, and emotionally immature, among other things. In all, Fleming is as well drawn as any character Dickens could create of a well-born youth whose happy childhood in the Edwardian era consisted of a sophisticated country house and a Georgian mansion in London. The multifaceted man behind one of our cultural icons is successfully revealed. Recommended.?Barbara Mann, Adelphi Univ., Garden City, NY
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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

Customer Reviews

He tells us that child Fleming tries to get rich from ambergris, but doesn't tell us what it is.
Maria Beadnell
To my mind, although Lycett's book is large and, in some ways, more honest than Pearson's, a definitive biography of Ian Fleming is yet to be written.
The majority of folks who will read this book will be Bond fans and frankly, most could begin reading on page 220 and not miss much at all.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By cxlxmx on August 23, 2008
Format: Paperback
I had already read the John Pearson biography of Ian Fleming (Alias James Bond-The Life Of Ian FLeming.) when I picked up this Andrew Lycett biography. Because blurbs and reviews of this biography praised it for the access Lycett had, I was looking forward to something more about Fleming's internal life and motivations and more details and first-person accounts of the interesting experiences Fleming did have. I was severely disappointed.

In the Acknowledgements section of this book Lycett thanks Pearson "for material he collected for his book The Life of Ian Fleming." The influence of the Pearson material seems prevalent throughout. Pearson seems to have set the standard for the depth of investigation and the extent of informed speculation, and there are even trivialities that are related in such a way that it seems Lycett and Pearson were writing from the same material. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Lycett almost seems to have simply removed the whitewash from Pearson's book.

The whitewash is mostly related to sexual matters. For example, Pearson makes it clear that Fleming seduced many women, but Lycett relates the seduction of the wife of one Fleming's friends, soon after the marriage, in which Fleming was supposed to be best man. Likewise, Pearson surgically removed Blanche Blackwell from Fleming's life and obscured many unsavory facts about Fleming's wife Ann. Lycett puts these matters on display, but there is no probing of them for understanding.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By The JuRK on January 17, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This biography is worth reading for two very good reasons:

The most obvious is to get a look at the man who created one of the greatest iconic figures of the 20th Century. "Bond, James Bond" is usually on every list of popular and enduring characters from the previous century and his simple introduction is normally cited as the most memorable movie line in cinema history. The 007 machine is still very much alive in the 21st Century with all of Fleming's adventures in print and the secret agent still drawing millions at the box office with last year's "Casino Royale."

The second fascinating reason for reading this biography is the author's frank and open access to Fleming's family and friends. A great deal is revealed through their interviews as well as their diaries and letters.

When I read through the reviews for the hardcover edition, I found some complaints about the constant name-dropping throughout the book, but that was their world. Ian's wife Ann seemed to live to socialize and while most of the names probably mean very little to most readers today, some still jump out--from mobsters like Lucky Luciano to real intelligence figures like Allen Dulles, former CIA boss.

This is a sharp, genuine look at Bond's creator after decades of mythmaking about the life of Ian Fleming.

As the quote on the cover says, "This is an exemplary biography, beautifully written, fast-paced and extremely perceptive."
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Derek Leaberry on June 20, 2000
Format: Hardcover
In a fashion, Mr. Lycett's biography is as detailed as Carlos Baker's biography of Ernest Hemingway. Nearly every movement of Ian Fleming's adulthood is covered. What is revealed is not a pleasant personality. Ian Fleming was a selfish, egocentric fellow who was very much a rake and a cad, especially in the years before World War Two. Scion of a wealthy family, he was a true-to-life example of England's decadent ruling class as much as the Marchmont family was in Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited.(Interestingly, Fleming's wife, Ann, was friends with Waugh though Waugh did not know Fleming very well when Brideshead was written). Lycett paints an unflattering portrait of this ruling class. The ruling circle which Fleming was part specialized in divorce, arrogance, selfishness, the lapping up of assorted luxuries. They lacked fidelity and self-discipline. It is also noteworthy that in the middle of the Depression, Fleming was so set in society that he seemed to be able to vacation at a whim and not lose his job. Fleming would have died a spoiled cad if not for the discipline of war, in which he served well as an intelligence officer. Egocentric as always, Fleming later claimed to have drawn up the blueprint for the American O.S.S., later known as the C.I.A.. During the war, Fleming fell in love with Jamaica. This love led eventually to Fleming's routine of writing a James Bond novel each winter at his place, Goldeneye, in Jamaica during his ordinarilly 2-3 month winter vacations. The James Bond pop phenomenon was slow to take off and by the time that it did, Ian Fleming's health was in severe decline due to years of a diet of cigarettes, large amounts of alcohol and greasy foods.Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By B. Rutledge on August 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book covers an interesting life story and has great detail, but unfortunately much of that detail has nothing to do with Mr. Fleming's life, instead focusing on the bloodlines of every British person he ever met. A typical sentence would read "While at the party Ian met John Blankenship of Eddileshile, who would later become the Duke of Ipswitch and marry the Dutchess of Flem, whose mother, the Dame of Foppishnich, once had lunch with Sir Henry Handllberg" - and NONE of these people would have had anything to do with the story, the party, or Ian Flemming. It is as if a Flemming biography was inadvertantly been mixed with a "Complete Peerage of the Brittish Isles" and they went ahead and published it anyway. If you must, get the print version, so you can skim over the irrelevant stuff that pops up every other sentence - if you listen to the Audible audio version (like I did) you will find it had to follow and boring to boot.
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