The definitive history of the flamboyant life of Ian Fleming and his most famous creation, James Bond.
This new biography of Ian Fleming presents a fresh and illuminating portrayal of the iconic creator of James Bond. Oliver Buckton provides the first in-depth exploration of the entire process of Ian Fleming’s writing—from initial conception, through composition, to his involvement in the innovative publication methods of his books. He also investigates the vital impact of Fleming’s work in naval intelligence during World War Two on his later writings, especially the wartime operations he planned and executed and how they drove the plots of the James Bond novels. Buckton considers the vital role of wartime deception, disinformation, and propaganda in shaping Fleming’s later techniques and imaginative creations. Offering a radically new view of Fleming’s relationships with women, Buckton traces the role of strong, independent, and intelligent women such as Maud Russell, Phyllis Bottome, and his wife, Ann, on Fleming’s portrayal of female characters. The book concludes with a thorough analysis of the James Bond films from Eon productions, and their influence in promoting, while also distorting, the public’s recognition of Fleming’s writing.
Oliver Buckton is professor of English at Florida Atlantic University. He is the editor of The Many Facets of Diamonds Are Forever: James Bond on Page and Screen and author of Espionage in British Fiction and Film since 1900: The Changing Enemy. He lives in Delray Beach, Florida.
List of Photos
Prologue: A Fateful Meeting
1 Spyway: The Early Life of Ian Fleming
2 Escape in the Alps: Ian Fleming and James Bond in Kitzbühel
3 From Moscow to Ebury Street: Fleming in the 1930s
4 My Man Godfrey: Ian Fleming in Naval Intelligence
5 After the War Was Over: Goldeneye and Kemsley House
6 The Spy Story to End All Spy Stories: Casino Royale
7 The Edge of Danger: Thrilling Environments of Ian Fleming
8 “Such Stubborn Retreats”: The Bondian Worlds of Jamaica and Kent
9 Fleming’s Women, Bond’s “Girls”
10 Promoting Bond: Fleming, Mass Culture, and the Movies
11 From Fleming, with Love: Travel Writings and Nonfiction
12 The Iron Crab
Ian Fleming’s character James Bond is a mainstay of Anglo-American popular culture. Buckton asserts that whereas James Bond is not necessarily Fleming's alter-ego, as some biographers suggest, the people, events, and locations of Fleming's life were the source material for his novels.... Buckton makes a compelling argument that Fleming’s Bond novels reveal much about the heyday and decline of Britain’s imperial vistas.
"Like an accomplished psychologist, Buckton puts Fleming (and therefore Bond) on the chaise longue and analyses every striking similarity or remarkable deviation. Also interesting are Buckton’s detailed look at Fleming's work outside Bond, such as the children's novel Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and - perhaps most interesting - a never published article by Fleming about the oil state Kuwait.”
As Oliver Buckton’s new Fleming biography, The World Is Not Enough, relays, all the superficial things that could make a young man happy were bountifully Ian’s; and yet he suffered hardships more deeply than many of his friends and family.
The World is Not Enough is.....certainly a biography for our time and richly merits a place on the shelf next to Pearson and Lycett.
For the millions of fans of Bond films and novels, 'The World is Not Enough' offers an in-depth look at Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming. (Paul Davis)
Through his extensive research [Buckton] has succeeded admirably in providing an extraordinary major new study of Fleming and explores in more detail the key points of Fleming’s life that are often missing in other biographies. In so doing he provides an exciting and refreshing read of a path well-trodden, and offers us the first in-depth exploration of the entire process of Fleming’s writings from inception to conception.... The biography provides a critical analysis of the Bond films and how Eon Productions has both influenced and distorted how the public view Fleming’s writings. Buckton is to be applauded for his pacy, flamboyant, finely balanced, well-researched biography of one of the most famous spies in the history of espionage.
Oliver Buckton’s The World is Not Enough represents an enjoyable and thoughtful dip into the facts of Fleming’s life, as well as his literary inspirations.
The World Is Not Enough is more than a sleek chronicle of one of the twentieth century's most popular authors and fascinating personalities—it’s Fleming's secret life and life of secrets unveiled through a psychological perspective. The book is a bullet whizzing past duller recent entries to strike its target in the heart. It reveals Ian Fleming the way Fleming wrote; he wanted to unpeel his creation James Bond as ‘the whole portrait—warts and all.’
A superb biography of Ian Fleming. Among its riches are an incisive chapter on James Bond's literary heritage and ‘birth’ in Casino Royale, a fascinating read of Fleming's unpublished text on Kuwait, and much, much more. Oliver Buckton has given us a major contribution to the world of Bond.
Reading Oliver Buckton’s spectacular new biography of Ian Fleming is like eavesdropping on a therapy session with James Bond himself. With the probing curiosity of a master psychologist, Buckton has crafted a remarkably revealing portrait of the man who single-handedly redefined the spy thriller for all time. With a novelist’s eye for detail and pacing, he brings the colorful creator of James Bond roaring to life as no other chronicler has before him. This is unquestionably the biography that 007 fans have been waiting for, and, with it, Buckton cements his reputation as one of the world’s foremost Fleming authorities.
Ian Fleming could not be luckier in his biographer. Oliver Buckton has done a splendid job of inhabiting the world of his subject, and his swift, clean prose is a fitting medium for the evocation of the creator of James Bond. A marvelous read, one that takes us deep into Fleming’s creative process.
Buckton not only traces the arc of Fleming’s life from his failed attempt to join the British foreign office to his highly successful career as a novelist, but he also shows how Fleming’s personality, lifestyle, and personal proclivities shaped the contours of the most famous fictional spy of the last century. Free from much of the postmodernist talk that has ruined studies of Fleming and his creation, this book will delight any reader who remains a Bond aficionado.
[P]rovides a nuanced reading of Fleming (and Bond) in which fans and scholars alike will take great interest….Buckton’s The World Is Not Enough accomplishes much more than its subtitle promises. This book is, of course, a fine biography and provides an incisive perspective of Ian Fleming’s life. But Buckton also utilizes the facts of this intriguing life to read the surfaces of Fleming’s fiction (and, in some cases, their filmic adaptations) as symptoms of much more complex psychical realities.
[T]he very readable The World is Not Enough is quick to peruse, and as such, currently stands as the most approachable biography to Fleming. Buckton’s achievement is thus in composing a biography that is far less intimidating to the average reader and film goer, who from here, can easily spring-board into the denser world of academic criticism during our current renaissance of Ian Fleming Studies.
3/16/2022: Buckton was interviewed on Spyhards Podcast.
6/11/2021: Buckton appeared on Episode #207 of the James Bond Radio podcast for an author interview.
9/23/2021: Buckton and his work are featured in the BBC World Service program of “Witness History" hosted by Vincent Dowd
BBC World Service Radio program with Vincent Dowd of "Witness History". It is linked to the imminent release of No Time To Die.
9/30/21, Washington Times: The author and book are featured in an extensive Q&A, which ends, “For the millions of fans of Bond films and novels, 'The World is Not Enough' offers an in-depth look at Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming.”
11/26/21, Foreign Policy: This book was included in a roundup of favorite books the editors read this year for pleasure.
6/2022: Buckton was interviewed in the Greek magazine, Polar: Crime Fiction Theory, no 10