From Publishers Weekly
In this glittering gem, Winder (publishing director at Penguin UK) combines cultural history, memoir and a terrifyingly formidable knowledge of James Bond plot lines to produce a hilarious and thoughtful narrative of the fall and rise of Britain from WWII to the present day. For a nation that had owned a quarter of the world but post-1945 was losing its possessions, Ian Fleming's masterful creation, 007, was its savior. Bond—quipping, killing and bedding all the way—put villainous foreigners and their sinister assortment of exotic henchmen back in their rightful place and ensured Britain would retain its top place in the world hierarchy. In reality, of course, the Americans and the Soviets gently ignored the sad little island and went about their Cold War business. But that did not matter, since 007 exemplified the potent fantasy of British superiority in all things. As for the best Bond movie and novel, Winder tilts toward 1963's From Russia with Love
, where Fleming's writing reached its peak and director Terence Young coaxed terrific performances out of his actors. Fittingly for Winder, the film's theme is so dated it requires the most explanation for those who don't remember the Cold War. (Oct.)
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"Simon Winder has managed to breathe new life into one of the most analyzed pop culture icons of all time. . .a unique and witty combination of history, film criticism and personal memoir that educates as much as it entertains."--Lee Pfeiffer, co-author of The Essential James Bond and co-publisher of Cinema Retro
"This is a brilliant look at the British Empire, and its fall, as reflected in the gadget-filled, babe-bagging, martini-swilling, world-saving career of James Bond. It's utterly unique. Sly, funny, occasionally sad, a wild mix of cultural history, film criticism, and memoir in which the author, trying to fathom the disorienting collapse of his parents' world, finds the key in the somewhat daft (Winder's word) creation of Ian Fleming. It burns from beginning to end."--Rich Cohen, author of Sweet and Low