The World of James Bond: The Lives and Times of 007

Jeremy Black. Rowman & Littlefield, $36 (208p) ISBN 978-1-4422-7611-6
Black (Counterinsurgency: A Global History), a British military historian, considers James Bond’s various print and screen incarnations and the villains he has fought over the years from a historical perspective. Introduced to the public in the 1953 novel Casino Royale, Bond was the creation of Ian Fleming, an officer in British naval intelligence during WWII. When the series began, Britain was still an imperial power, Churchill was again prime minister, and the Cold War was underway. Black shows that the ensuing books, and the films that came later, were informed by changing world politics. The villains, whether the Communist Le Chiffre in the novel (but not the screen versions of) Casino Royale, the mafia in Diamonds Are Forever (1971), or the rogue agent of the post–Cold War GoldenEye (1995), reflected contemporary fears. Black places more emphasis on the films than on the novels, aptly comparing the former to a “very good meal that you already know and love.” Black’s analysis of how a succession of writers and actors have presented Bond over the years goes well beyond being a literary or film retrospective by incorporating sociopolitical grace notes. His survey, which includes a brief piece on how Trump’s America might influence the franchise, serves as a thoughtful and uniquely positioned consideration of shifting cultural currents over the last seven decades. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 05/29/2017
Release date: 08/01/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 218 pages - 978-1-4422-7612-3
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