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For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond Hardcover – April 29, 2008

4.3 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School—This thoroughly researched, intelligently written, and beautifully presented book explores in detail the connections between a super-successful writer and his marvelously engaging creation. Fictional characters, even one as exotic, sexy, and talented as Bond, seldom emerge from the pure, unaltered imagination of the author. Bond has deep roots in Fleming's life, in the places where the author lived and visited, the people he knew and worked with, and in the family, social, and love life he experienced. Macintyre also investigates the real-life roots of other major characters, such as Miss Moneypenney, M, and supervillain Ernst Stavro Biofeld. He examines the plot origins of several of the stories, as well as the real-world gadgets and gizmos that show up so famously in the books and movies. Where does the "Bond girl" come from? And what should we make of Bond's life of luxury? These and other questions are answered here, revealing Macintyre's convincing reverence for and fascination with the intertwining worlds of these figures. The volume is lavishly illustrated with black-and-white and color photographs.—Robert Saunderson, Berkeley Public Library, CA
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Review

“[A] marvelous tribute…He examines, among other things, the probable genesis of Bond's name (an ornithologist) and his spycraft (a number of exotic and intrepid agents, entertainingly described). He looks at the sources for Bond's taste in women (Fleming) and attitude toward them (Fleming) and at the effect of the Bond-of-the-movies on the Bond-of-the-books (significant).” ―Katherine A. Powers, Boston Globe
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury USA; First Edition edition (April 29, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596915447
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596915442
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.8 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,271,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kenneth M. Pizzi on June 10, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As one who studied Fleming's work extensively as a graduate student and later publishing a thesis on the writer's impact on pop culture of the period, I must admit I was a bit skeptical about yet another bland and redundant Bond "coffee table" book for the masses. Happily, this is not the case with "For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond" by Ben Macintyre, written on the centenary of the author's birth. Highly readable and enjoyable and chock full with full-color photos of props used throughout all 21 Bond films, this book is a comprehensive survey of not just of Bond's impact on fiction and the cinema, but a real in-depth analysis of the man who breathed live into one of popular culture's most endurable icons.

Much is written about Fleming's childhood, adolescence, education at Eton, relationships with family (brother Peter, noted travel writer), his military career, his closest friends (Ivar Bryce and Noel Coward), his love-hate relationships with wife Ann, and the author's affairs with numerous beautiful women which oddly resemble Fleming's fictional alter-ego. For those who wish to learn more about Bond and the writer who created him, this tome is a great springboard into the Bond phenomenon which has spanned over forty years.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ian Fleming's James Bond has been a mainstay of our entertainment for well over 50 years and thanks to Ben Macintyre we get an interesting and fun look at Fleming, his interesting career and life, creative influences,and vices that he readily adopted into his books. While there may be better biographies or studies on Fleming MacIntyre does a very credible job in adding some more to what we thought we knew or didn't know about the man and his work and the various movie Bonds, props, devices, and trivia that will keep you chuckling and smiling or saying, 'Ah ha!' more than a few times.
Why? Because most of us grew up with James Bond, loved the books and movies, the women (Ah, the women!) and the super secret agent's bold action when he saves the world, flirts or seduces some ladies with some interesting names, and who seldom gets shaken or stirred.
Better still, with this volume we get get some great photos and art work to better illuminate the flow of the chapters, whether it's his family background, military wartime service, success as a writer (failure as a stockbroker), and, well, everything we associate with the films.
Good stuff here about an interesting author by a talented writer as well.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Even though I was never totally engaged by Bond I was intrigued by his macho persona and his taste in martinis and adventure as well as in ladies and evil doers. The tales were predictable and entertaining on the scene. I had never read anyone of the mysteries.

By chance I came across this intelligent and insightful volume. I would recommend it for a fun read with interesting insights into "why" Bond so captured the reading public in the UK and around the Globe.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great biography with a breakdown of who James Bond was based on, who the baddies were based on (there was a real Goldfinger and that's a story in itself), who M and Miss Moneypenny were based on, about the gadgets, and why Ian Fleming initially did not like Sean Connery for the first movie. Well written and good fun.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great book for getting an insight on Ian Fleming and James Bond.
After reading the James Bond books, one realizes how Ian really treated
Bond (not very nicely), and how different the books are from the movies.
Great book for James Bond (Ian Fleming) fans.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This books could almost be called a biography of Ian Fleming but it would also have to be a biography of James Bond too. The book tells us all sorts of interesting details about how Ian came up with the characters in his James Bond books as well as why certain locations were chosen in the various books. But in telling us all these details we indirectly learn about how Ian grew up, what he did during WWII and how that influenced his writing. I found book interesting but the way it was written did not hold my attention well. Overall I would say the book is average. It is definitely for the person who must know everything about James Bond.
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Format: Hardcover
I bought this book at the Imperial War Museum at their exhibit of Fleming and Bond. It is a good reflection of the information there, for anyone who couldn't see the exhibit, and even for those who could.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was even better than I expected. I'm a Bond fan of long standing and have been reading a number of Ben McIntyre's WW2 spy books. This book was the best constructed by far and weaved the real life Ian Fleming's experiences into the fictional Bond's adventures in a masterful way. I couldn't put it down.
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