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Thrilling Cities

3.47 of 5 stars 3.47  ·  rating details  ·  214 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Ian Fleming. Thrilling Cities. London: Jonathan Cape, [1963]. First edition. Octavo. 223 pages. Jacket design by Paul Davis. Publisher's white cloth over mottled gray boards with gilt spine titles. Original pictorial dust jacket with price of "30s.
Paperback, 123 pages
Published 1965 by Signet (first published November 1963)
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(showing 1-30 of 488)
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Tosh
On the surface this looks like a typical travel guide by a famous author, but its more of a series of moody essays on various cities around the world. And the title is misleading, in that the James Bond author Ian Fleming doesn't find a lot of these cities thrilling. Some, for instance, New York City, he doesn't like at all.

Hong Kong is his favorite, in fact he seems to be in tuned with Asia in general - except for the sleeping arrangements in Tokyo, he likes the people and food very much in th
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AndrewP
This book appears to have been out of print for a long time, but I had never heard of it until it became available as an e-book.

This is a collection of essays, basically a travelogue that were written for the Sunday Times around 1958. At that time they were censored to exclude some of the more racy descriptions of prostitution and the like. The edited parts have now been restored so you can now read them as Fleming intended.

What struck me the most was how Flemings' real life adventures detailed
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Jc
Simply, NOT that thrilling. While I love Flemings Bond stories, as silly and dated as they can be, this mess is just not worth reading. I knew of Thrilling Cities back around 1964-65, when I was in the middle of reading 007's adventures. At the time, I thought it would be a Bond travel story and was sad when my brother's copy disappeared before I could read it. While you do see where Fleming got some of his ideas about the world, this series of newspaper articles written in 1959-60 are not reall ...more
Bill FromPA
In 1959 and 1960, Fleming was commissioned by the London Sunday Times to take two trips, in the fall of 1959 to the Far East and US and in the spring of 1960 to the continent, and to visit and write a series of articles about the titular metropolises. This book contains expanded versions of these articles, with passages eliminated by “blue pencil” restored and “incidental intelligence” added at the end of each article to bring hotel, restaurant and night-life information up-to-date as of 1964.

Fo
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Tyler Hill
I have read all of Fleming's Bond novels, but this is my first foray into his more limited non-fiction writing. First off, let me say that all the criticisms leveled against both Fleming and this book by the other reviews are 100% correct. While Fleming is an often thrilling writer, he is also an often horrible human being. He is racist, sexist and even ageist (the retired senior citizens that populate Honolulu attract his ire, in particular).

In addition, as others have mentioned, the book isn'
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Nils Jeppe
Ian Fleming goes on a round-the-world tour and visits a bunch of cities, each for a few days. If you are looking for a travel guide, you are looking at the wrong book. If you are looking at any sort of real insight, you are likewise looking at the wrong book. Oh and don't even think about James Bond.

That said, I found this book highly interesting for the differences it documented. 1960s "jet set culture", for want of a better term, and the outgoing colonial empires are genuinely alien to modern
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Angela
I picked up two "surprise" boxes at the Jefferson County Library's Baby Whale of a Sale back in June of 08 - one of Adult fiction and one of vintage paperbacks.

This is one from the vintage box. I read the author's note, where he insists the articles (written for the Sunday Times) have not lost any of their relevance, they are not dated - as it took him some 5 years to finally put them into a book. However, I would say they are now dated, and more historical in nature, as it is 43 years later. B
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Emily Schatz
Read this on the Kindle. Very interesting glimpses into the world's cities and cultures at a particular point in time, but dated in one glaring way. Fleming devotes (in my opinion) a disproportionate amount of space to gentlemen's clubs on the assumption (which he frequently trots out to defend) that stripteases and the like are innocent, victimless vices that every sensible urbane man should be enjoying. But he is clear-eyed about other things and writes with an amusing sense of irony about his ...more
Samantha
It was pretty good. I don't know what I was expecting from the man who doesn't like travelling, but his knack of discovering interesting things in the cities and narrating the journey with great, colourful writing redeemed it for me. It was an easy read and although it wasn't as spectacular as his action stories, I still enjoyed it. Have to admit, I didn't get to read Monte Carlo as I mistakenly handed the book back to the library, bookmark and all. Maybe in the future.
Wyatt
A travelogue from Ian Fleming that contains plenty of amusing complaints and anecdotes, with - unfortunately - a small measure of very dated, cringe-inducing, sexist/racist language. But that is Fleming, writing in the 1950s and 1960s, and if you've read his James Bond novels, you'll be well-prepared for what's in this book.

The book's hotel/nightclub recommendations are really only valuable for their witty descriptive phrases and as a historical curiosity, but if you're even thinking of reading
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Arjun Mishra
If you would like the creator of James Bond to be your travel guide to the cliche cities during a world tour, Fleming is your man. Replete with his usual supercilious, semi-racist/culturalist viewpoints and seemingly endless wallet, Fleming explores some of the world's most "thrilling cities" and documents their various restaurants, clubs, hotels, histories and culture. The actual travel guide is boring. Fleming's adventure takes him through a period of historical and social change and his persp ...more
Keeko
Around the world with Ian Fleming. It's an interesting glimpse of the man and his time. I learned a few things. At times, he's funny, and he's more down to earth than one might expect. I enjoyed it very much.
David
Ian Fleming, a popular author who was a contemporary of Agatha Christie, was very much like the Dame of crime. They both travelled a lot, created iconic characters, and are much more interesting when they write fiction. Thrilling cities these places may be, but Fleming makes them so clinical. The one plus to this book is historical. Obviously, many of the travel suggestions are considerably out-of-date, but it is a nice snapshot of traveling abroad in the 1960s from an Englishman's perspective. ...more
Mark Taylor
It's quite interesting to get Ian's take on a number of great cities between '58 and '60. The remnants of WWII in Europe. Reference to the lack of intellectual vitality in Berlin and Vienna due to the lack of Jews. His disappointment at the disappearance of British influence in the former colonies. The odd declaration that Momism and the economic might of women is dragging America down. The modern world is unfolding and Ian seems quite annoyed by the whole trend.
yoli
While this was interesting and well-written, with a strong sense of character and scene, I find Fleming's Imperialist attitudes a little too strong. There is much misogyny, racism, and privilege that just is without examination. Obviously expecting him to question those things is unrealistic, but it was too much for me to read. From what I did read, I thought his voice was very strong and clear so I would recommend it for others, in small doses.
Stephanie
The Bond fan in me could not resist this, especially since I have been to and am about to travel to some of the included cities. Each chapter is devoted to a city or region, and Fleming relays his travel experience, then gives a list of sources. The sources are mostly outdated 50 years later, but it's still an enjoyable read. I also love the simple and stylish woodcuts for each chapter in the edition I am reading (hardcover from the library).
Rene Blansette
There were parts I skipped over, which featured descriptions and reviews of restuarants and hotels, because, since the book was written over fifty years ago, are possibly no longer in existance, but overall it was interesting, in a historical way.
LeeAnn Heringer
Dated. I have to keep reminding myself that Bond is a very sexist character and that had to come from somewhere. It reminded me of the advice that one should never meet authors, because they're seldom as pleasant and intelligent as you would hope.
Ann
A fun, if occasionally cringe-inducing read. I live in Chicago, and it was very interesting to read about the Chicago Mr. Fleming visited in 1959 versus the one I live in today. It was still recognizable, but a world away.
Bhakta Jim
I had a used copy of this book once and I remember enjoying it. I was surprised that Chicago made the cut as a Thrilling City, mostly because of its gangster history and the Art Institute.
Tracey
Nov 19, 2014 Tracey marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Saw listed as Kindle Daily Deal - read other works by author
Patrick
Extremely dated but fun.
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Nov 25, 2014
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Nov 22, 2014
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Nov 20, 2014
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2565

Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Ian Lancaster Fleming was a British author, journalist and Second World War Navy Commander. Fleming is best remembered for creating the character of James Bond and chronicling his adventures in twelve novels and nine short stories. Additionally, Fleming wrote the children's story Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and two
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More about Ian Fleming...
Casino Royale (James Bond, #1) From Russia With Love (James Bond, #5) Goldfinger (James Bond, #7) Live and Let Die (James Bond #2) Moonraker (James Bond, #3)

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