What Bond reference book are you reading?

saunderssaunders Living in a world of avarice and deceit
edited March 2011 in Literary 007 Posts: 987
Considering how many different reference books there are about James Bond I thought it would be good to start a discussion on the individual merits of them and maybe eventually come up with a list of the 'must have' books that every serious Bond fanatic should read, while also highlighting the ones that maybe should be left for the completest only. All reference or associated works can be included and I think if possible we could give them a score out of 10 for their suitability, quality of information and value for money.

Historical Dictionary of Ian Fleming's World of Intelligence: Fact and Fiction by Nigel West

This is an excellent book containing facts on Ian Fleming's life, his secret navel intelligence career, his friends, his fiction and the real life inspirations that he used to create the world of James Bond. As the title suggests this is laid out alphabetically in dictionary style. Nigel West is a leading expert in real life espionage and it's clear from this book that he's also something of an expert on Ian Fleming and the world of Bond. The book is literally packed with interesting facts and though I have many other books about Fleming and his works this is undoubtedly the most interesting and the easiest to use if you want to for instance quickly reference something while reading one of the novels. It should be noted that this book is about Fleming and his creation and not suitable for anyone only interested in the films, but if you are a Fleming fan I can't recommend it enough and no matter how much you think you know about this subject you will learn new, interesting facts (though the £39.99 retail price is rather steep for a book of this size).

I rate it 8 out of 10 and only marked it down because of the exorbitant pricing.
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Comments

  • The Making of On Her Majesty's Secret Service

    Pretty much everything you could ever hope to know about the making of this wonderful movie. Pictures, anecdotes, script redrafts-- everything. A particular highlight for me is a picture storyboard of the famous deleted rooftop chase sequence.

    http://www.amazon.com/Making-Her-Majestys-Secret-Service/dp/0984412603/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1300307713&sr=8-1

    It's expensive but well well worth it.
  • Samuel001Samuel001 Moderator
    Posts: 13,217
    What a great front cover, just looking at it how can anyone tell you that man was not born to be Bond?
  • Posts: 4
    I was a given a copy of 'The Essential Bond' by Lee Pfeiffer and Dave Worrall a few years ago and it is still my main reference for bond facts and info.

    Really good descriptions of all the different aspects of the films as well as giving balanced criticism and praise of each film.

    My edition stops at TWINE, not sure if there is a later more up to date edition?
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 17,242
    Quoting GeorgeLazenby: The Making of On Her Majesty's Secret Service



    Pretty much everything you could ever hope to know about the making of this wonderful movie. Pictures, anecdotes, script redrafts-- everything. A particular highlight for me is a picture storyboard of the famous deleted rooftop chase sequence.



    http://www.amazon.com/Making-Her-Majestys-Secret-Service/dp/0984412603/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1300307713&sr=8-1



    It's expensive but well well worth it.
    Does it cover the quarrels involving Lazenby and the reason for his departure from the role?
  • Posts: 268
    For me it is, and will remain "Licence to thrill" from James Chapman. The book is very well written, puts the James Bond phenomenon into context and praises the fact of "taking Bond seriously". Every time I read it, I think of new different things about Bond that I didn't see before, and makes me feel like reading the books or watching the movies again.

    http://www.amazon.com/Licence-Thrill-Cultural-History-Society/dp/1845115155/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1300641987&sr=1-1

    I had the opportunity to meet James Chapman once, and this guys is just great when it comes to talk about 007.
  • @Dimi

    I don't remember the degree to which it goes into that-- and I don't have my copy here to check. If I remember correctly it doesn't get that extensively into it. Everything you could want to know about that though was explained in a post by Samuel in my OHMSS appreciation thread on this board.
  • saunderssaunders Living in a world of avarice and deceit
    Posts: 987
    No surprisingly considering the exhaustive detail the book gives to other areas of the film it doesn't dwell on George Lazenby's reasons for leaving as much as I would of expected. Though I get the feeling that Charles Helfenstein is trying to be fair to all involved and not tread on any toes as the reasons given from various sources tend to differ greatly, we may never get the definitive account of why and how he left.

    Got to agree with Ytterbium, The "Licence To Thrill" book by James Chapman is one of my favourite books, I got the first edition in 1999 and even updated it with the 2007 second edition. When it first came out the only books available were either glossy picture based EON authorized or tended to just be general reviews of the films, this book looked at the cultural phenomenon of the James Bond legacy and opened up the floodgates for a whole new academic approach to discussing the world of 007. James Chapman is clearly very authoritative on this subject and I find his writing fascinating and it opened my eyes to a whole new way to interpret the films. You only have to look at how many authors in Bond reference books have quoted him in the last 10 years to realise how important his book was to pathfinding the way that the James Bond series is now interpreted. I would definatley suggest that this is one of the books that should be in every Bond fans collection.
  • M_BaljeM_Balje Amsterdam, Netherlands
    Posts: 3,193
    The Essential Bond - Twine Edition (English)
    The Bond Legacy (Hard Cover/Big Edition) - Die Another Day Edition (English)
    Dossier James Bond (Dutch) A lot of information about the novels include. Dr No to Octopussy from 1985 (1984) with also about QOS short story. A nice extra besides documentry's on the SE dvd's if you haven't read the novels.
    James Bond films (Dutch) Dr No to FYEO with Octopussy preview.
  • Posts: 36
    I am currently reading "The Man with the Golden Touch" by Sinclair McKay. A nice book, and one you can pick up for a couple of quid in places like The Works. I recently had a Bond marathon, and this books compliments it nicely. It covers the plot, picking out the good, the bad, and the ugly bits, as well as commently on how each film and Bond actor did, in the way of box office performance and critical reviews.

    However, the part I like most is the covering of the events that were going on in the real world, and how they shaped the image of each Bond film due to changing trends. Although I find myself disagreeing a lot with the authors opinions on the films ie. his dislike for the two Dalton films, suggesting EON had the winning formula prefectly right with TWINE etc. it is a good little read and one I recommend if you can pick it up in a discount store somewhere.
  • saunderssaunders Living in a world of avarice and deceit
    Posts: 987
    Yes I really enjoyed reading 'The Man with the Golden Touch', it was both informative and presented with some wry humorous observations, but like you JBond007 I found myself getting a little frustrated with some of his more controversial opinions (Thank god that never happens on this discussion Community! ;) ). If your interested in books relating to Bond being shaped by real world events I would also recommend 'Martinis, Girls and Guns' by Martin Sterling and Gary Morecambe, 'The Politics of James Bond' by Jeremy Black, 'The Man who saved Britain' by Simon Winder and 'Licence to Thrill, A cultural history of the James Bond films' by James Chapman.

    I've just been reading my most often used reference book, the 2002 expanded and updated edition of 'The Bond Files' by Andy Lane and Paul Simpson, it's a 437 page paperback that's just crammed with interesting facts and trivia about the films, television, comics, novels and games. For anyone wanting a basic grounding in the entire genre this is the book to get, and with short chapters and a humorous yet clearly affectionate approach by the authors this never gets dry or dull. My only complaint would be that with the wealth of recent Bond material this book is crying out for a fourth updated edition.
  • Posts: 36
    Martinis, Girls and Guns and The Man who Saved Britain are currently sitting on my shelf waiting to be read. Another new edition to my collection is The Battle for Bond. I've been buying a lot of books on eBay recently, since discovering there are many reference books out there that I hadn't known about, and they are usually pretty cheap. I think I'll give The Bond Files a read next. Currently making my way through Benson's The Union Trilogy.
  • MrBondMrBond Station S
    Posts: 2,041
    The Making of <i>On Her Majesty's Secret Service</i>

    Pretty much everything you could ever hope to know about the making of this wonderful movie. Pictures, anecdotes, script redrafts-- everything. A particular highlight for me is a picture storyboard of the famous deleted rooftop chase sequence.

    http://www.amazon.com/Making-Her-Majestys-Secret-Service/dp/0984412603/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1300307713&sr=8-1

    It's expensive but well well worth it.

    I am very interested to buy this book. But i do also want to read " The Making Of The Living Daylights ". So if someone have the both of them, can that person tell me which of them is best in terms of facts, pictures etc?
  • In the gift shop after the Designing 007 exhibit was a book I'd never heard of before: Revisioning 007. Anyone read this? It seemed interesting but I was worried that it could tip into over-analysis:

    http://www.amazon.com/Revisioning-007-James-Casino-Royale/dp/1906660190
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    MrBond wrote:
    But i do also want to read " The Making Of The Living Daylights"

    Does such a book exist? I've never heard of it? Or is this Helfensteins next project?
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    Posts: 28,232
    MrBond wrote:
    But i do also want to read " The Making Of The Living Daylights"

    Does such a book exist? I've never heard of it? Or is this Helfensteins next project?
    Yes, it is by Helfenstein. He wrote one on OHMSS, and now Dalton's first:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Making-Living-Daylights/dp/098441262X

    If he creates one for DN, FRWL (especially), GF, TB or CR, he can take my money.
  • TheWizardOfIceTheWizardOfIce 'One of the Internet's more toxic individuals'
    Posts: 9,117
    MrBond wrote:
    But i do also want to read " The Making Of The Living Daylights"

    Does such a book exist? I've never heard of it? Or is this Helfensteins next project?
    Yes, it is by Helfenstein. He wrote one on OHMSS, and now Dalton's first:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Making-Living-Daylights/dp/098441262X

    If he creates one for DN, FRWL (especially), GF, TB or CR, he can take my money.

    Result. Why is this the first I've heard of this? Hopefully Charles will do the rest of my top 5 as well.
  • Data_ThiefData_Thief Banned
    edited January 2013 Posts: 75
    I'm currently reading, "The man with the golden touch - how the bond films changed the world". Written by Sinclair McKay.

    Anybody els pick this book up? there is quite a bit of interesting information in this book I never knew about, none the less I suggest this title to any Bond fan.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B005M4MQVK/ref=mp_s_a_1?qid=1358173164&sr=8-1&pi=SL75
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    Posts: 28,232
    Data_Thief wrote:
    I'm currently reading, "The man with the golden touch - how the bond films changed the world". Written by Sinclair McKay.

    Anybody els pick this book up? there is quite a bit of interesting information in this book I never knew about, none the less I suggest this title to any Bond fan.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B005M4MQVK/ref=mp_s_a_1?qid=1358173164&sr=8-1&pi=SL75

    Great cover choice. :)
  • Posts: 40
    The James Bond Bedside Companion by James Benson Kindle version.
  • MrBondMrBond Station S
    Posts: 2,041
    MrBond wrote:
    But i do also want to read " The Making Of The Living Daylights"

    Does such a book exist? I've never heard of it? Or is this Helfensteins next project?
    Yes, it is by Helfenstein. He wrote one on OHMSS, and now Dalton's first:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Making-Living-Daylights/dp/098441262X

    If he creates one for DN, FRWL (especially), GF, TB or CR, he can take my money.

    Result. Why is this the first I've heard of this? Hopefully Charles will do the rest of my top 5 as well.

    I've ordered " The Making of The Living Daylights " i hope it's worth it's price!
  • 0BradyM0Bondfanatic70BradyM0Bondfanatic7 It was this or the priesthood.
    Posts: 28,232
    MrBond wrote:
    MrBond wrote:
    But i do also want to read " The Making Of The Living Daylights"

    Does such a book exist? I've never heard of it? Or is this Helfensteins next project?
    Yes, it is by Helfenstein. He wrote one on OHMSS, and now Dalton's first:

    http://www.amazon.com/The-Making-Living-Daylights/dp/098441262X

    If he creates one for DN, FRWL (especially), GF, TB or CR, he can take my money.

    Result. Why is this the first I've heard of this? Hopefully Charles will do the rest of my top 5 as well.

    I've ordered " The Making of The Living Daylights " i hope it's worth it's price!

    From what I've heard: It surely is! :-bd
  • I think I have 40 or so James Bond reference books, some of my favorites are

    The Bond Files: The Unofficial Guide to the World's Secret Agent
    The James Bond Bedside Companion by Raymond Benson (Sep 16, 2001)
    James Bond: The Man and His World, the Official Companion to Ian Fleming's Creation
    The James Bond Archives
    The Complete James Bond Movie Encyclopedia by Steven Jay Rubin
    The Making of On Her Majesty's Secret Service
    007 James Bond: a Report by O. F. Snelling
    James Bond in the cinema by John Brosnan
    DRESSED TO KILL: James Bond - The Suited Hero
  • edited February 2013 Posts: 268
    In the gift shop after the Designing 007 exhibit was a book I'd never heard of before: Revisioning 007. Anyone read this? It seemed interesting but I was worried that it could tip into over-analysis:

    http://www.amazon.com/Revisioning-007-James-Casino-Royale/dp/1906660190
    @thelordflasheart I have it. it's a collection of essays all related to the analysis of Casino Royale. Some of them are quiet far reaching and sometime fall in over analysis. But you have enough articles for an extensive analysis of the construction of the film, its theme, the way it reboots James Bond, and also how it fits into today cultural studies (linking some representations from CR to current thematic such as gender, and such). You don't have to agree with it but its quality food for thoughts
    Also the previous anthology from Lindner (the James Bond phenomenon/ a critical reader http://www.amazon.fr/The-James-Bond-Phenomenon-Critical/dp/0719080959) featured better article (be sure to get the 2nd edition).
  • edited February 2013 Posts: 268
    [double post. my mistake]
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    Just picked up a rare copy of 007 James Bond: a Report by O. F. Snelling.

    Highly recommended. The updated online version can be found here: http://spywise.net/wbf/microscope.pdf
  • Posts: 686
    I think I have 40 or so James Bond reference books, some of my favorites are

    The Bond Files: The Unofficial Guide to the World's Secret Agent
    The James Bond Bedside Companion by Raymond Benson (Sep 16, 2001)
    James Bond: The Man and His World, the Official Companion to Ian Fleming's Creation
    The James Bond Archives
    The Complete James Bond Movie Encyclopedia by Steven Jay Rubin
    The Making of On Her Majesty's Secret Service
    007 James Bond: a Report by O. F. Snelling
    James Bond in the cinema by John Brosnan
    DRESSED TO KILL: James Bond - The Suited Hero

    Ian Fleming's Incredible Creation Paul Antony and Jacquelyn Friedman
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    edited October 2013 Posts: 17,242
    Does anyone know whether or not Charles Helfenstein will continue his fabulous 'making of' books? I simply love his books on TLD and OHMSS. I wonder if he will throw LTK in the mix, as he seems quite interested in the "less obvious" films. ;-) Either way, if haven't read or at the very least ordered these books, you must do so in 5

    4

    3

    2

    1

    NOW!
  • MayDayDiVicenzoMayDayDiVicenzo Here and there
    Posts: 5,029
    OHMSS wrote:
    I was a given a copy of 'The Essential Bond' by Lee Pfeiffer and Dave Worrall a few years ago and it is still my main reference for bond facts and info.

    Really good descriptions of all the different aspects of the films as well as giving balanced criticism and praise of each film.

    My edition stops at TWINE, not sure if there is a later more up to date edition?

    Yes, I have read that. Very interesting, and some good pictures. Some of the facts and trivia are a bit "I've heard it before", but nonetheless, its an enjoyable read. It would be brilliant for an updated version that goes into the same detail for CR etc.as it does with the DR-TWINE.
  • MrBondMrBond Station S
    Posts: 2,041
    DarthDimi wrote:
    Does anyone know whether or not Charles Helfenstein will continue his fabulous 'making of' books? I simply love his books on TLD and OHMSS. I wonder if he will throw LTK in the mix, as he seems quite interested in the "less obvious" films. ;-) Either way, if haven't read or at the very least ordered these books, you must do so in 5

    4

    3

    2

    1

    NOW!

    He said over at CBn where he's a member that he's done with these books. OHMSS and TLD is his favorites in the franchise and he hopes that someone else will pick up the torch and write new books!
  • DarthDimiDarthDimi Behind you!Moderator
    Posts: 17,242
    Seriously, @MrBond? That's too bad. I think he certainly has the talent. Well, okay then.
    *leaves the room a broken man*
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