Michael Cavacini

An award-winning arts and culture blog.

The Real James Bond: A True Story of Identity Theft, Avian Intrigue, and Ian Fleming

Did you know that Ian Fleming’s James Bond was inspired by a real-life James Bond who was an ornithologist from Philadelphia? As a fellow Philadelphian and a massive Bond fan, I found this to be incredibly interesting. Well, apparently I’m not the only one because there’s an entire book dedicated to this topic. The Real James Bond: A True Story of Identity Theft, Avian Intrigue, and Ian Fleming by Jim Wright is a fascinating and informative book all about the man behind the pop culture icon.

When James Bond published his landmark book, Birds of the West Indies, he had no idea it would set in motion events that would link him to the most iconic spy in the Western world and turn his life upside down. Born into a wealthy family but cut off in his early twenties, James Bond took off to the West Indies in search of adventure. Armed with arsenic and a shotgun, he took months-long excursions to the Caribbean to collect material for his iconic book, Birds of the West Indies, navigating snake-infested swamps, sleeping in hammocks, and island-hopping on tramp steamers and primitive boats. Packed with archival photos, many never before published, and interviews with Bond’s colleagues, here is the real story of the pipe-smoking, ruthless ornithologist who introduced the world to the exotic birds of the West Indies.

One thing this book makes clear is that the real-life James Bond had a life that was just as intriguing as his fictional counterpart. The Real James Bond: A True Story of Identity Theft, Avian Intrigue, and Ian Fleming by Jim Wright is wonderfully written and beautifully presented. As someone who loves behind-the-scenes information and is always seeking to understand the driving force behind creative endeavors, I found this book to be highly enjoyable. Whether or not you’re a Bond fan, I recommend checking it out.

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