Another Neat Review -- from the U.K.

TLS review 112720

There's a full-page review of my book in the new issue of The Times Literary Supplement (TLS)  in the U.K., which calls itself "the world’s leading magazine for culture and new ideas."

The review, by Wesley Stace, describes The Real James Bond as "handsomely illustrated" and packing "a familiar Flemingian punch."

Here's a sample:

It is by turns a capsule portrait of Philadelphia high society at the turn of the last century, a bibliographical thriller, and an exploration of the historically close ties between birders and spooks, even unmasking a surprising villain.

Although Bond “appeared every inch the genteel pipe-smoking naturalist”, he was “an adventurer with a reputation for occasional ruthlessness” and an expert marksman.

Wright makes much of the similarities between the two Bonds, even going so far as to wonder whether the birdwatcher was himself a spy, concluding that he probably wasn’t, despite his habit of showing up in politically sensitive places.

(Wright’s easygoing attitude to this – “it’s fun to speculate” – sums up his book.)

All that, and "Flemingian" too!

More about TLS here.

You might be able to read the full review here.


Does Your Group Need a Speaker?

When things get back to normal, I'm eager to give illustrated talks about "The Real James Bond" in person again. Until then, I am doing talks via Zoom.

I can discuss such Bond-related topics as Bond's adventures in the Caribbean, his life-long summers on Mount Desert Island, Birds of the West Indies, and -- of course -- Ian Fleming and 007.

I also like to talk a bit about the real-life ornithologist spies that Bond knew.

I speak to all sorts of groups -- museums, libraries, birding clubs, museums, and more.

Continue reading "Does Your Group Need a Speaker?" »


A Cool Podcast about My Bond Book

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The Free Library of Philadelphia just posted a cool podcast about The Real James Bond, including a segment about a 16th-century cartographer/spy.

You can listen to the podcast -- which begins with a snippet from Schiffer's audiobook version narrated by Raphael Corkhill -- on Spotify here for free.

The Free Library's Joe Shemtov and Andrea Lemoins hosted the podcast. (Thanks, Joe and Andrea!)


Order a Signed and Inscribed Copy

RealJamesBond_CVR(1)Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the supply chain for ordering my book in the U.S. has occasionally been disrupted, and copies can be hard to come by.

As a result, I am making you an offer you might not want to refuse:

A signed copy of my book, by mail in the U.S., for $30, including postage and handling, with all net proceeds going to conservation in the Caribbean (in honor of the real James Bond) and to my local library (I'm on the board and support it whenever I can.

Contact me at wrightjamesb (at) gmail.com to get more information, including how to pay easily via PayPal  (or by check if you'd prefer -- it'll just take a bit longer to send you the book).

The book makes a great holiday gift for a birder or 007 fan in your life.

 


A $4,000 1947 Bond 'Field Guide'

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At an auction of Ian Fleming-related books and manuscripts that ended on Wednesday,  Sotheby's sold a signed copy of James Bond's 1947 edition of Field Guide to Birds of the West Indies for 3,000 pounds (approx. $4,000).

This was the first signed Bond field guide that came up for sale at a prominent auction (that I'm aware of), and the first thing I wondered was whether the signature was authentic. 

Continue reading "A $4,000 1947 Bond 'Field Guide'" »


Another Terrific Review

Screen Shot 2020-11-09 at 7.48.28 AMEarlier this fall, The American Ornithological Society's The Condor magazine published an extensive review of The Real James Bond.

The two-page review by Harry Armistead concludes thusly:

"It is a pleasure to highly recommend this entertaining biography of James Bond, which also is full of 007 and Ian Fleming lore.

"Wright keenly describes Bond’s aristocratic upbringing and relatives, his education at St. Paul’s School and years in England, his writings, and his ornithological legacy."

"An obdurate researcher, Wright has been to all the relevant archives, libraries, has spoken to many key persons, and has traveled extensively for first-hand experiences of places Bond lived and worked. Well done."


'Jungle of the Maya' on Sale!

Jungle of the Maya coverAlmost 15 years ago, I wrote a book about the largest rainforest in Central America.

The book, published by the University of Texas Press, featured exquisite photography by Doug Goodell and Jerry Barrack, and covered topics from the Maya and rainforest ecology to birds, Jaguars and other amazing critters.

The book is now on sale at 40 percent off, with free shipping.

You can order it here


Sean Connery, Ian Fleming and the Real Bond

Fleming and ConnerySean Connery, who died over the weekend at age 90, will always be most remembered as the embodiment of Agent 007: handsome, charismatic, virile, and sophisticated.

For better and sometimes for worse. Being associated with 007 often brought unbidden and unwanted baggage for anyone in his orbit.  

The ornithologist James Bond's unwanted 007 affiliation in the 1960s was a prime example.

A highly respected birdman at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia and author of the popular Birds of the West Indies field guide, Bond tired of life in his namesake’s shadow.

As I wrote in The Real James Bond:

Continue reading "Sean Connery, Ian Fleming and the Real Bond " »


The Artist Behind 'Goldfincher'

AnnaRaff-goldfincher-HiResThe first time I saw the above illustration by the wonderful artist Anna Raff, I knew it was precisely the image I needed to illustrate a "bonus" section of  The Real James Bond.

It was perfect for the last chapter of the book -- a 007 ornithological parody written by Kenneth Parkes for an American Ornithological Society (then the AOU) annual conference.

The name of the parody?

"Goldfincher," of course.

You can learn more about Anna Raff here.

You can learn more about her illustrations and books here.

(Thanks, Anna!)