Two Signed Bond Books for (Only?) $12,000

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Came across this webpage offering two signed Bond books for $12,322.92:

The more-valuable book is the one signed by ornithologist James Bond. The last one I saw for sale went at auction for $5,000 including a buyer's premium in 2020. (If I were rich, I would have bid on it.) Taken at face value.

The perfect companion book is a signed "How 007 Got His Name" by Mrs. James Bond (Mary Bond).

While supplies last.

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A Wonderful Review in Birding Magazine

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The Real James Bond just got a terrific review in the December issue of Birding Magazine...

The reviewer is Julia Zarankin. Here's a sample: Screen Shot 2022-01-09 at 9.16.44 AM

Jim Wright’s The Real James Bond is, in and of itself, a fantastic work of detective sleuthing that uncovers the unlikely connecting threads between the titan of spy fiction and the ornithologist whose field guide to the birds of the Caribbean became a “bible for birders visiting the region.”

A slim volume, the book is a treasure-trove of information, curious anecdotes, photographs, meditations on the connection between birders and intelligence work, and even provides all the required geographic coordinates should an inquisitive reader wish to walk in the footsteps of both Ian Fleming and Jim Bond himself.

You can read the review online here, beginning on the right hand-hand page (the rest of the issue is pretty cool, too):

An easier-to-read version of the review is here:

'Real James Bond' Useful Links

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Interested in learning more about the book? Here are some useful links, including a raft of great reviews.

You can read my article about the real Bond in The Smithsonian Magazine here.

My interview with BirdWatching Magazine is here.

The Real James Bond has gotten some marvelous reviews and praise, and I thought it might be helpful to link to as many of them as possible in one spot -- here:

Continue reading "'Real James Bond' Useful Links" »

Happy Birthday, (the real) James Bond!

JB's bitrhplace today                                            Photo credit: Jim Wright

The real James Bond was born on January 4, 1900, in this pale brick townhouse on Pine Street near Rittenhouse Square in Philadelphia.

He worked for the better half of the 20th Century at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia (when he wasn't exploring the West Indies).

Bond is the scientist of the day on the following blog post, written by Bill Ashworth of the Linda Hall Library in Kansas City, Missouri:

Happy birthday, Jim!

Jim Bond's College Days

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Came across this fascinating blog post about Jim Bond's stay at Cambridge's Trinity College, including a "recommendation from his boarding school, Harrow.

Definitely worth a read, here:

Was the Real Bond a Spy? One Writer Says Yes

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I recently came across an article on a biography website that discussed whether the real James Bond was a spy, and naturally mentioned my book, which devotes a whole chapter to that possibility. (Another chapter highlighted all of Bond's colleagues who were spies during World War II.)

"Who would now dare to suspect (the real) James Bond of espionage Screen Shot 2021-11-25 at 10.15.03 AMwithout passing for a fanatic who could no longer distinguish between fiction and reality?

"The last to engage in this perilous exercise was Jim Wright in his book The Real James Bond: A True Story of Identity Theft, Avian Intrigue and Ian Fleming published at Schiffer in 2020.

"In this extremely well documented and illustrated biography of the real James Bond, Wright nevertheless dares to ask the question of whether James Bond was an American spy. Wright concludes not. But isn’t the question rather whether James Bond would be on Her Majesty’s Secret Service?"

Continue reading "Was the Real Bond a Spy? One Writer Says Yes" »

My Free Zoom Talk Is Tonight

Dec. 16(1)
My next free Zoom talk about The Real James Bond is for Maine's Mid-coast Audubon and the Camden Public Library is tonight (Thursday,  Dec. 16) at 7 p.m.

The ornithologist spent his summers in Maine his whole life, and he and his artist uncle Carroll Tyson even wrote a field guide about the birds of Mount Desert Island. (Tyson also did a famous portfolio of the birds of MDI with Bond's help.

You can learn more here.

007 Female Characters with Bird Names

Screen Shot 2021-10-22 at 12.07.28 PM                                                Ana de Armas | Nicola Dove/DANJAQ, LLC/MGM
At least two female characters in Ian Fleming's novels were likely named for birds -- Solitaire in Live and Let Die and Domino  (Thunderball). 

Fleming named Solitaire for the Rufous-throated Solitaire (a thrush with a beautiful, almost haunting call). You are most likely to hear this elusive bird in the Blue Mountains, where Fleming would occasionally go birding on muleback -- the mountains were too far away and too steep to traverse, and the roads over the mountain ranged from primitive to non-existent. 

Fleming came up with the name after his in-law, Guy Charteris, visited Fleming and his wife at Goldeneye in early 1953 and said he was fascinated by the Solitaire and its eerie flute-like song.

The  Common Yellowthroat was once known in Jamaica as the Domino Bird because the black feathers around its eyes resemble the domino mask so popular with comic-book heroes and carnival-goers. 

As has been pointed out many times, "bird" was once British slang for "young woman," just as "bird watcher" was British espionage jargon for "spy."

A friend pointed out that this avian tradition continues in Spectre and No Time To Die with Dr. Madeleine Swann and Paloma (Spanish for dove). 

The photo above is of Ana de Armas as Paloma, photographed by a photographer with the last name of Dove -- Nicola Dove.

Coincidences? You decide.

New French Article on Bond, Spies & Fleming

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I came across a fascinating article about 007, the real Bond, spies and more on The Conversation website.

The trouble is that this version of the website is French, and the article by Luc Shankland and Nathalie Mazin-Chapignac is in French as well.

(The Conversation bills itself as "a nonprofit, independent news organization dedicated to unlocking the knowledge of experts for the public good. We publish trustworthy and informative articles written by academic experts for the general public and edited by our team of journalists.")

I especially like the part about my book being an "extremely well-documented and illustrated biography."

You can read it here:

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