Created by Ian Fleming, James Bond was originally a thug, or hitman. When translated to the big screen he became a British icon as a sexy secret agent. Sean Connery is perhaps the most famous James Bond. See also Agent 007.

Distinguished ornithologist associated with the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. Wrote Birds of the West Indies: An Account With Full Descriptions Of All The Birds Known To Occur Or To Have Occurred On The West Indian Islands, introducing birders to the Grand Cayman Thrush, Semper's Warbler, Grenada Dove, and the Puerto Rican Nightjar. First published in 1936, the second edition (1947) was titled Field Guide To Birds Of The West Indies: A Guide To All The Species Of Birds Known From The Greater Antilles, Lesser Antilles and Bahama Islands. The book is still in print by the Peterson field guide company under the title, Birds of the West Indies*.

Ian Fleming acquired the name of his character from seeing this book.

*The book appears in the James Bond film, Die Another Day, when Bond briefly poses as an ornithnologist.

JFK, incidentally, introduced Bond to America, though not in the manner urban legend would have it. As part of a magazine profile, in which he was depicted as a speed-reader (1200 wpm), Jack was asked for a list of the last ten books he had read. Nine of them were on economic and political subjects, as befit a sitting POTUS, but somewhere on the list was a thriller he'd picked up in a London airport: From Russia with Love. Since everything he did was news, fashionable people picked up on this, and soon bookstores were deluged by requests to send to the UK for this book, leading to a reprint by Signet, while the story snowballed into JFK being a rabid fan, patterning himself after his hero and requesting stories from a British Scheherazade. (On the other hand, "Profiles in Courage" gets a favorable mention in the Bond canon, though not in that book.) Sadly, Ian Fleming died soon after the book was reprinted in America, thus trapping his most enduring character in amber in the less-than-hip Fifties.

Read without reference to the movies, Bond is not a sophisticated cosmopolitan, but a small-minded bigot prone to such remarks as "Koreans are rather lower than apes in the mammalian hierarchy". His celebrated tastes in food (which, written for a British audience still hobbled by strict rationing of such staples as butter, eggs, and meat, were part of the pornography) are described (by him) as "simple...I like old-fashioned egg dishes, and peasant cooking wherever I am": of course, this meant that Fleming could namedrop such (for the time) exotica as pesto sauce, eggs Benedict, and Kobe beef. His tastes in reading were similarly casual: mysteries, thrillers, and the like, along with books on golf and now and then, survival. He often depreciated scholarly types, and would certainly not liked Alan Turing, outside of a certain bare usefulness. (Given a psychedelic in the books, he remained stolidly on the ground, a true sign of iron-headed dullness.) In other words, operative, rather than controller, material. For the movies, however, even his martini got reformulated from a triple shot of vodka, one of gin, and one half measure Kina Lillet, to a more managable vodka/vermouth version (by an American liquor distiller, no less). Confronted with a spinning hat with razor blades in the brim, he was unaware that it could be caught from underneath (like a Frisbee), and it's hard to ascertain whether he'd do well against a moderately well-trained martial arts freak.

But still, a great character.

There was in fact another James Bond novel, written by a russian author in an attempt to counter the anti-soviet feelings that the original (and best) books had created. It was called The Xakhov Mission (spelling my not be entirely correct) and had a russian hero defeat Bond.

Everything James Bond Directory

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