17F: the life of Ian Fleming
Through his fictional creation, James Bond, Ian Fleming achieved world-wide fame. Fleming has been seen as the archetype for Bond, the jaunty, womanizing secret agent, a somewhat self-indulgent Englishman given to rich man's pursuits. In this book Donald McCormick, who knew Ian Fleming well, sets out to disprove the stereotype playboy image.
Fleming was one of four brothers. His father, a Conservative MP with a Scottish background, was killed in the Army in 1917, when Ian was nine. Consequently his mother, a dominant personality, exerted a strong influence on him. After Eton, Fleming went on to Sandhurst, but withdrew to try for the Foreign Office. He failed to enter the latter and subsequently worked in the City. In the war he came into his own and served with distinction, notably as Personal Assistant to the Director of British Naval Intelligence, with the rank of commander - signing his memoranda with the code-name '17F'. After the war he became foreign manager for Kemsley Newspapers. Following his much-acclaimed first novel, Casino Royale, published in 1953, Bond books appeared regularly until his death in 1964.
Donald McCormick reaches far and wide in this illuminating account of Ian Fleming's remarkable life, covering his wartime exploits and successful journalistic career as well as his marriage to Anne Rothermere and life at Goldeneye, his house in Jamaica. He shows Fleming as steadfast and loyal to others, but also as a restless man always seeking new talents in himself. Fleming's command of pace and innate romanticism, vital ingredients in his fiction, were ever present too in his many lifetime relationships and activities.
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