Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Life of Ian Fleming” as Want to Read:
The Life of Ian Fleming
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Life of Ian Fleming

3.88  ·  Rating Details ·  136 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
The biography of the man who created James Bond, one of the world's most famous and popular fictional characters. Fleming remained an enigmatic figure who disclaimed comparisons with his creation, but John Pearson - with access to Fleming's private papers - draws many parallels between the two. Pearson worked with Fleming for several years on "The Sunday Times".
Paperback, 480 pages
Published 1989 by Coronet (first published 1966)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Life of Ian Fleming, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Life of Ian Fleming

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 293)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Larry Loftis
Dec 14, 2015 Larry Loftis rated it it was amazing
Excellent research and detail, although I was shocked to see that Pearson thought that Fleming modeled "M" on his (Ian's) mother!
Richard Bartholomew
In his 1996 biography of Ian Fleming, Andrew Lycett describes Pearson's account of thirty years before as a "lively" book which "suffered, through no fault of his own, from being too close to its subject, both in time and in perspective (the book was initiated by the Sunday Times for which both he and Ian had worked)… while his need to work closely with Ian’s widow Ann precluded serious examination of his subject’s emotional life."

This politely dismissive assessment understates the book's contin
...more
Bill
Feb 26, 2015 Bill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Written by a colleague who worked with Fleming in the last years of his life. Not an incredibly uplifting ending either. Just as Fleming was about to enjoy the success of the Bond novels, he is hit by a plagiarism suite and ill-health in the form of a massive heart attack. Many think the latter was precipitated by the former. I had recently watched the BBC mini-series: Fleming and wanted to know more about his war work. )There are certainly many inaccuracies in the service of dramatic effect.) B ...more
Julian Walker
Jan 29, 2016 Julian Walker rated it really liked it
Published shortly after the novelist’s death this is a well written and engaging story of Ian Fleming.

Carefully exploring the factors in his life which created not only the man himself but also his most famous creation, James Bond, Pearson sheds light on Fleming’s driving passions, successes and failures in an engrossing narrative.

Of all the books on Ian Fleming, this was recommended to me as the best and I have no reason to doubt that having read it.

This is a very rewarding and satisfying read
...more
Gabriel Salter
May 23, 2014 Gabriel Salter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, nonfiction
People have asked or years how much of James Bond is an original character and how much is he Ian Fleming in disguise. In this book, John Pearson (who actually knew Fleming at one point) gives us a good look into the complex, occasionally very exciting, and at other times sad life Fleming lived. At the same time, Pearson discusses which events inspired Fleming to create James Bond and to what extent Bond was a fantasy of who Fleming wanted to be.
Interesting, fascinating, and you come back with
...more
David
Jun 17, 2014 David rated it really liked it
Given that the author was an associate of Fleming, I certainly have reservations as to the fullness of this work of biography. However, it's still a wonderful story of an odd and complex man. The wartime life of Fleming is interesting. It's also quite notable to see how his rich imagination was so often at work. If the author is right, then Fleming also has some credit for the creation of the structure of the OSS, precursor to the modern Central Intelligence Agency. Book is well written and quit ...more
Patrick Di Justo
Jan 19, 2014 Patrick Di Justo rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
A heroic biography of Ian Fleming, carefully written to avoid some of the more sordid things we've come to know about him in more recent years. The book appears to have been written by a huge fan of the Bond novels, because there are frequent, nearly non sequitur references to little things in Fleming's life that show up as throwaway lines in later Bond adventures. (Best example so far: Fleming is running the operational branch of Royal Navy Intelligence from a basement room in Whitehall. He's n ...more
Steven Kent
Jul 08, 2009 Steven Kent rated it really liked it
A great and thorough look at the life of Ian Fleming. I think this book may be where the speculation began that the name M stood for "Mother."

Even without Bond Fleming had an interesting life. He served in British Intelligence during WWII and helped arrange one of the greatest and most daring escapades of the war. He was friends with William Stephenson--the man called "Intrepid."

He and John F. Kennedy were friends.
Allen
Jun 09, 2013 Allen rated it liked it
Never really enjoyed this book. Thought it would have been a lot more interesting, after all it is about the man who gave us James Bond, but it just never seemed to get going, and never covered anything in any real detail, just seemed very superficial. At least I found out where some the newer Bond movies titles came from.
Peter
Nov 12, 2012 Peter rated it it was amazing
Fascinating life story of a complicated man, the saga of how the media phenomenon which is James Bond was born out of the author's own life, and a great insight into how a writer draws on their own experiences both major and minor to give life to their creations.
Matt
Aug 07, 2011 Matt rated it really liked it
Just got past the photos fold... over half way.

finished. A good book that let's you understand the life and times of the man who created James Bond. He wrote Bond as the secret agent he wished to be himself and lived his fantasy life through Bond.
Kevin Anthony
Apr 26, 2011 Kevin Anthony rated it it was amazing
A fascinating insight of the creater of Bond, by an experienced author that worked with Fleming.
Paulo Levy
Jan 17, 2012 Paulo Levy rated it it was amazing
Very well written and a compelling story of the mans behind James Bond.
GARETH J. BOWLEY
GARETH J. BOWLEY rated it really liked it
Sep 21, 2016
Ivan
Ivan rated it liked it
Sep 12, 2016
Peter
Peter rated it liked it
Sep 12, 2016
Rory
Rory marked it as to-read
Aug 21, 2016
Angelia
Angelia marked it as to-read
Aug 11, 2016
Niall Wright
Niall Wright marked it as to-read
Aug 08, 2016
Wayne
Wayne rated it liked it
Jul 30, 2016
Riddheish Seth
Riddheish Seth marked it as to-read
Jul 22, 2016
Matthew
Matthew marked it as to-read
Jul 15, 2016
Fivewincs
Fivewincs marked it as to-read
Jul 14, 2016
Rahul
Rahul added it
Jul 12, 2016
Laura Belshaw
Laura Belshaw marked it as to-read
Jul 12, 2016
Ginaguo
Ginaguo marked it as to-read
Jul 11, 2016
Tehila
Tehila marked it as to-read
Jul 07, 2016
Indy
Indy marked it as to-read
Jul 07, 2016
doug
doug marked it as to-read
Jul 02, 2016
James
James marked it as to-read
Jul 01, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Ian Fleming
  • For Your Eyes Only: Ian Fleming and James Bond
  • The Man with the Golden Typewriter: Ian Fleming’s Bond Letters
  • Raiders!: The Story of the Greatest Fan Film Ever Made
  • Wings on My Sleeve
  • Next to You: Caron's Courage Remembered by Her Mother
  • Blood in the Cage: Mixed Martial Arts, Pat Miletich, and the Furious Rise of the UFC
  • A Strange Eventful History: The Dramatic Lives of Ellen Terry, Henry Irving and their Remarkable Families
  • Start the Car: The World According to Bumble
  • Hammett
  • Autumn Lightning: The Education of an American Samurai
  • History Lesson (The Collected Stories of Arthur C. Clarke, #Volume 1)
  • The SPECTRE Trilogy: Thunderball, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, You Only Live Twice (James Bond - Extended Series)
  • Fathomless Riches: Or How I Went From Pop to Pulpit
  • Gates: How Microsoft's Mogul Reinvented an Industry--and Made Himself the Richest Man in America
  • Blood, Iron And Gold: How The Railways Transformed The World
  • Our Kingdom of Dust
  • Hitchhiker: A Biography of Douglas Adams
John Pearson is a writer best associated with James Bond creator Ian Fleming. He was Fleming's assistant at the London Sunday Times and would go on to write the first biography of Ian Fleming, 1966's The Life of Ian Fleming. Pearson also wrote "true-crime" biographies, such as The Profession of Violence: an East End gang story about the rise and fall of the Kray twins.

Pearson would also become the
...more
More about John Pearson...

Share This Book