October 13, 2006 at 04:00 AM EDT

The Man Who Saved Britain

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Simon Winder
publisher
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Genre
Nonfiction
We gave it an A

Turns out James Bond is more than a mere martini-swilling superspy. He’s also a psycho-cultural manifestation of the political and historical forces pulling the British Empire apart during the post -World War II years. Happily, Simon Widner’s brilliantly obsessive exegesis, The Man Who Saved Britain, on the meaning and influence of the 007 character — part sociological study, part geek memoir — also has a sense of humor about its subject (”We can argue almost indefinitely about which Bond film is the worst — but in the end it is an argument that sullies us all”). Indeed, Bond hasn’t provided this much entertainment in decades.

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