Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The ten best books about James Bond

Matthew Parker's non-fiction books include Monte Cassino: The Hardest-Fought Battle of World War II; the Los Angeles Times bestseller Panama Fever, which was one of the Washington Post’s Best Books of the Year; The Sugar Barons, which was an Economist Book of the Year; and Goldeneye: Where Bond Was Born: Ian Fleming in Jamaica.

One of his ten best books about James Bond, as shared at The Daily Beast:
The Man Who Saved Britain, by Simon Winder. (2006)

The Man Who Saved Britain is the wittiest book written about Bond—at times laugh-out-loud funny—and Winder is one of the only authors to appreciate how fun and silly a lot of the Bond canon really is. (To the annoyance of fans, he declared the film of Live and Let Die a “mean-spirited and offensive shambles, too stupid really even to be racist, too chaotic to be camp.”) While mixing in a memoir of growing up in the grey and tawdry Britain of the 1970s, Winder takes up the themes of Cannadine’s Fleming essay to explore how the invention of Bond and his popularity grew out of the bewildering decline of Britain and the collapse of the empire in the decades after the Second World War. Bond was a fantasy of continuing imperial power, bestriding the world and saving the Americans from their enemies. That this became very quickly ever more fantastical and even knowingly ironic did not diminish the appeal. He also noted the perfect irony of Prime Minister Eden staying at Fleming’s Goldeneye Jamaica house when his health broke down during the shambolic Suez Crisis of 1956, now seen as the final death spasm of the British Empire: “At the zenith of national incompetence, the architect of that incompetence stays at the very house in which the greatest reassurance and palliative, the Robin Hood of British imperialists’ darkest hour, was created.”
Read about another book on the list.

The Page 99 Test: Goldeneye: Where Bond Was Born.

Coffee with a Canine: Matthew Parker & Danny.

--Marshal Zeringue