5 October 2012

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The One About Ian Fleming - James Bond's Creator

Ian Lancaster Fleming (1908-1964), the author of the James Bond 007 novels,
was the grandson of a Scottish banker and the son of a Conservative MP
(Member of Parliament). His father died in the first world war. In his will,
he bequeathed his property to his widow on condition she never remarries.

Ian's youth was inauspicious. He was expelled from Eton following a sexual liaison
with a girl. He left Sandhurst without obtaining an officer's rank, having been caught
violating the curfew. He continued his education in Kitzbuhel, Austria, in Munich and
in Geneva where he studied languages. But the chain of disappointments continued apace.

He failed in a Foreign Service exam and had to join Reuters as a journalist.
There he successfully covered a spy trial in Russia (1929-32).

He then joined a British investment bank as a stockbroker and moved to live in a
converted temple in Belgravia, a fashionable district of London, where he entertained
the members of the Le Cercle Gastronomique et des Jeux de Hasard.

In 1939, Fleming took on an assignment for The Times in Moscow - in effect a cover.
He was spying for the Foreign Office and later for Naval Intelligence where he attained
the rank of Commander.

During the second world war, he worked from room number 39 in the Admiralty
building in Whitehall as assistant to Admiral John Godfrey. He was involved in the
evacuation of Dieppe in 1940, in the smuggling of King Zog out of Albania and in
setting up the Office for Special Services, the precursor of the CIA.

As commander of the 30th Assault Unit, he sometimes operated behind the German
lines, trying to secure important documents and files from destruction. But, mostly,
he directed the Unit's operations from London.

When the war was over, he built a house - Goldeneye - in Jamaica. He worked for
the Kemsley group of papers and vacationed every winter in the island.

While awaiting the divorce of one of his numerous paramours - the pregnant
Lady Anne Rothermere - the 44 years old Fleming wrote "Casino Royale"
published in 1953. It was the first of 12 James Bond thrillers, translated to
11 languages and with total sales of 18 million copies. James Bond novels
are now being authored by a new generation of writers.

In 1961, John F, Kennedy, the newly elected president, listed a James Bond title

as one of his favorite books. Many movie plots were loosely based on Fleming's
novels and have grossed, in total, more than $1 billion. The 007 trademark was
merchandised and attached to everything, from toys and games to clothes and toiletries.

But Fleming was also renowned for his non-fiction: tomes like "The Diamond Smugglers"
and his "Atticus" column in The Sunday Times where he served as foreign manager (1945-9).
He successfully branched into children's literature with "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" (1964),
also made into a movie.

Ironically, his mother died and left him a fortune in 1964 - when Fleming was already
wealthy and dying. The trip to her service may have done him in. His son committed
suicide in 1975 and his wife died in 1981. He left behind one heir: James Bond.

About Today's Guest Writer:

Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited
and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He served as a columnist for Global Politician, Central Europe Review, PopMatters, Bellaonline, and eBookWeb, a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.
Visit Sam's Web site at samvak.tripod.com

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