Allen Barra on Literary Bond vs. Movie Bond.
[Illustrations by Michael Gillette]
Arts and Culture
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I've only read one of Fleming's novels and it was pretty fun, but no great shakes. Certainly not as memorable or well-written as Chandler or Conan Doyle. This is a fun read, but I think the movies will be the lasting imprint of 007, not Fleming's novels. I don't think that just because smart and influential people enjoy them they instantly become great works (I don't recall JFK being a literary critic, do you?). Also, I recall the book Bond being very much a snob, despite also being a nasty, violent killer (more so than in the movies).
Well, ya know.... the guy wasn't really a writer.
He also worked with William Joseph "Wild Bill" Donovan (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Joseph_Donovan),
who lead a more exciting life than James Bond.
Donovan wrote a book called 'A Man Called Intrepid'. It was a droll read, but the stories involved made James Bond look like a sissy. Much of the information in the book was classified by the USA, until the mid '70s, when Donovan wrote the book.
Donovan wooked with Churchill and was largely responsible for FDR starting a 'secret war' against Germany, an impeachable offense, as Congress was against intervening.
"On July 11, 1941, Donovan was named Coordinator of Information (COI). America's foreign intelligence organizations at the time were fragmented and isolated from each other. Nevertheless, Donovan began to lay the groundwork for a centralized intelligence program. It was he who organized the COI's New York headquarters in Room 3603 of Rockefeller Center in October 1941, and asked Allen Dulles to head it; the offices Dulles took over had been the location of the operations of Britain's MI6.
In 1942, the COI became the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) and Donovan was returned to active duty in his World War I rank of colonel (by war's end, he would be promoted to major general). Under his leadership the OSS would eventually conduct successful espionage and sabotage operations in Europe and parts of Asia.
For many years the operations of the OSS remained secret, but in the 1970s and 1980s, significant parts of the OSS history were declassified and became public record."
The stories of the spy network during WWII were so hair raising, it's hard to believe they are true. The book is not 'well written', but the stories are unbelievable. The events told here quite literally shaped the world as it is today.
 Your bolding makes me suspect you're ahead of me here, but in the novels, we learn Bond's first kill on the way to double-0 status was of a man on... the 36th floor of the RCA Building. Sniper shot from a building across the street.
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