'Real James Bond' Useful Links
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:
Birding Magazine said: "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'.” The review is here.
The Wall Street Journal called The Real James Bond "a slim and elegant volume" and a "charming new book." The review is here.
The Birdbooker Report called "The Real James Bond" ... "a must-have for James Bond fans and for those with an interest in ornithological history." The review is here.
The (U.K.) Times Literary Supplement (TLS) said:
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.)
The American Ornithology Society's review said:
This is a wide-ranging and vastly entertaining biography, aptly described by its subtitle. In the best 007 manner, the chapters and appendices are all preceded by 2 zeros. There are chapters on Ian Fleming, how he chose the name James Bond for his 007, and his life in Jamaica.
The Real James Bond is a richly illustrated title. There are 109 illustrations, including 20 of Bond, 14 of books, 3 maps, 6 of Fleming or his Jamaica abode, 4 of stamps, and several of places where Bond lived or worked. Wright has researched Bond deeply, visited places where Bond lived, interviewed 25 people, collected Bond’s publications, delved into 007-iana, and much more.
You can download the review here:
In the Journal of Caribbean Ornithology, Steven C. Latta, Director of Conservation and Field Research for the National Aviary in Pittsburgh, wrote:
The Real James Bond: A True Story of Identity Theft, Avian Intrigue, and Ian Fleming is a quick and absorbing read that pleasantly leads the reader through a collection of themes almost as diverse as the Caribbean avifauna. Quite a treat!
Furthermore, in an era when many books seem to be thrown together for quick and inexpensive sale, this is a well-researched, high-quality book printed on heavy paper and loaded with interesting photos reproduced in true colors. Bibliophiles will understand when I say this book just feels good to hold!
I highly recommend this book to any Caribbean ornithologist who appreciates the history of bird study and bird conservation in the region, and especially to those who recognize the added color that diverse subjects and popular culture can add to ornithology and conservation.
You can download the review here. (Since the real James Bond has been synonymous with that region's ornithology since the 1930s, the review has a special meaning to the webpage.
"Donovan's Bookshelf" named "The Real James Bond" one of its prime picks last month and called it "a 'must' read for any fan of the Bond movies or writer Ian Fleming's creation, offering an intriguing real story of an ornithologist whose life mimicked Bond's world." The review is here.
The webpage Collector's Corner said: "This is a fascinating book, jammed full of photos, recollections and plenty of goodies about James and his fictional namesake along with author Ian Fleming." The review is here.
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