The definitive biography of author Ian Fleming and the perfect read for anyone enjoying the Sky Atlantic biopic starring Dominic Cooper.
Ian Fleming's life was just as dramatic as that of his fictional creation, James Bond. Andrew Lycett's direct access to Fleming's family, friends and contemporaries has enabled him to reveal the truth behind the complicated facade of this enigmatic and remarkable man.
With an extraordinary cast of characters, this is biography at is best - part history, part gossip and part an informed reassessment of one of this century's most celebrated yet mysterious personalities.
Exhaustive and compulsively readable, Lycett's latest (first published in the U.K. in 1995) is billed as the first full-length Fleming biography to be published in America. Biographer Lycett (Dylan Thomas: A New Life) calls his subject "an immature child of the jazz age" a man of wealth and privilege who shared his fictional hero James Bond's fascination with women, gambling, and drinking. Fleming applied to Britain's Foreign Office for a job but to no avail, but thanks to the forceful lobbying of his snobbish and well-connected mother, he was hired by the Reuters news agency in London. During WWII, he worked for Britain's Naval Intelligence Division. One of the book's pleasures is reading about upper-class social life before, during, and after the war: Fleming and his wife, Ann, mingled with statesmen and notable cultural figures in London and at Goldeneye, their Jamaican retreat. But Fleming did have a darker side, collecting sadomasochistic erotica and being callous to women. Lycett uncovers the seeds of Bond in Fleming's life (though perhaps not as thoroughly as diehard fans would wish), as well as addressing the decline of Britain's power in the postcolonial world. In this anecdote-filled account, Lycett pays tribute to Fleming's colorful life, which was cut short by a heart attack in 1964 at age 56, just two years after Sean Connery starred in the film version of Dr. No. 8-page b&w photo insert.