Thrilling Cities by Ian Fleming.
Join the creator of James Bond on an adventure-charged visit to the world's most exciting, exotic, and sinful cities. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published by Signet Books first published November More Details Original Title.
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Thrilling Cities by Fleming, Ian
Sort order. Jan 15, Jim rated it it was amazing Shelves: 2non-fiction , historical , 1audio , biography. The 7 cities of the around the world trip was done in a month, so was somewhat light in details although he had great connections.
The 6 cities of Europe had far more depth since he'd visited most of them for decades. While this is 60 years old, that is great in a lot of ways. He describes how tourism is ruining places.
Fleming was not particularly bad in any way, quite good in most. If you don't like it, you probably don't like the original James Bond books either, so this isn't for you. If you do like them, I highly recommend reading this. Here are some quotes. I won't say they're the best, just a few I grabbed from the online text to show his style. He is a giant Australian with a European mind and a quixotic view of the world exemplified by his founding of the Baritsu branch of the Baker Street Irregulars—Baritsu is Japanese for the national code of self-defence which includes judo, and is the only Japanese word known to have been used by Sherlock Holmes.
He concludes his section on Las Vegas with After paying all overheads, I had hammered the syndicates for one hundred dollars and three stolen ash-trays! He describes Berlin's efforts to rebuild housing as the 'packet-of-fags' school of architecture - hideous concrete bunkers which pack people into merciless cubes. It is certainly not what it used to be in Berlin, though there is still the emphasis on transvestism—men dressing up as women, and vice versa—which used to be such a feature of prewar Berlin.
Now, at the Eldorado, for instance, and the Eden where a home-made bomb went off, wounding three guests, ten minutes after we had left some of the 'women' are most bizarre. The one I particularly took to, a middle-aged flower-seller such as you might see sitting beside her basket of roses in Piccadilly Circus, is known as the 'Blumenfeldwebel'. I am allergic to almost every form of international agency, conference or committee. Having worked briefly in the League of Nations around , I believe that all international bodies waste a great deal of money, turn out far too much expensively printed paper, and achieve very little indeed.
Unfortunately I fell into the hands of Dr Seligman, This book is out of copyright, so can be found online in various formats.
View 2 comments. The articles were written 60 years ago and would have been uncontentious at the time. Reading them today I found some of them pretty cringey even as a year old bloke. That apart, what makes this book entertaining is that Fleming seems to have been a completely louche character who, in the cities he visits, seeks out casinos, bars, nightclubs etc, as well as meeting up with his celebrity friends or, wherever possible, people who can give him an insight into the local crime scene. Also he can be rude about the places he visits, so any readers from the countries featured might find their national pride a bit wounded.
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I found this interesting since nowadays the pre-Vietnam War era is often portrayed as the period when the US was at its most confident and assertive. Despite having some dated aspects, I enjoyed this book, mainly because I found a lot of it funny. The narrator of the audio version, Barnaby Edwards, takes a lot of credit for this, delivering the text in a sort of one-eyebrow-raised tone that was perfect for a s upper-class Englishman finding himself on foreign soil.
View all 14 comments. This is a book that is a collection of newspaper pieces written before I was born, by someone who died before my 3rd birthday about places that probably aren't there anymore or if they are certainly aren't the insanely low prices he quotes in the articles. So this is a book out of time and must be read as such.
Otherwise it is a sexist, misogynist, probably racist mess. And these essays aren't for kids. This is l This is a book that is a collection of newspaper pieces written before I was born, by someone who died before my 3rd birthday about places that probably aren't there anymore or if they are certainly aren't the insanely low prices he quotes in the articles.
This is like a travel guide for wanna be James Bonds. There are two sets the first covers Asia and the US; the second cover Europe. You will learn about the night clubs, that in the era these books were written often include striptease or other shows.
On occasion if the area offers legalized prostitution you will hear about that as well. The writing is lovely and the descriptions honest and, in retrospect, a lot of fun. This is not a long book, since it is written in essay form I was able to return it rather than read it from cover to cover. As a big fan of Ian Fleming's James Bond books and the movies, of course! Thrilling Cities is a collection of essays written for the Sunday Times in and , describing Fleming's visits to thirteen cities around the world. Written as travel journalism, the essays benefit from Fleming's keen eye and distinctive literary voice, along with or despite his somewhat patrician — and dated — preju As a big fan of Ian Fleming's James Bond books and the movies, of course!
Written as travel journalism, the essays benefit from Fleming's keen eye and distinctive literary voice, along with or despite his somewhat patrician — and dated — prejudices. Fleming's hotel, restaurant, and nightclub recommendations are, of course, of little value to the modern traveler. It's fun to see the prices, though! Jan 19, Tyler Hill rated it it was amazing Shelves: read-in I have read all of Fleming's Bond novels, but this is my first foray into his more limited non-fiction writing.
While Fleming is an often thrilling writer, he is also an often horrible human being. He is racist, sexist and even ageist the retired senior citizens that populate Honolulu attract his ire, in particular. In addition, as others have mentioned, the book isn' I have read all of Fleming's Bond novels, but this is my first foray into his more limited non-fiction writing.
In addition, as others have mentioned, the book isn't particular useful as a travel guide. The establishments referred to in the guide section, which ends each chapter, are likely all gone, and tend to skew toward towards the "wrap yourself in the comforts of home to protect yourself from the country you are visiting" variety. There's more than one mention on where to get a good British or French meal in, say, Tokyo or Hong Kong.
These two criticism, falling under the umbrella of being "a product of their time" as another reviewer put it seem to largely be an excuse to dismiss this book all together. But, conversely, the fact that this book is a product of it's time, is the reason I'd recommend them.
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Because, while Fleming is an often loathsome tour guide though often, honestly, an entertaining one , he provides a fascinating snapshot of the world as it existed as the start of the 's. This is a world where air travel itself is still an adventure: A flight from England to Hong Kong involves a half dozen landings as the traveler jumps across the Mideast and India. And, Fleming's plane has to set down on Wake Island on it's way to Hawaii when an engine catches fire.
It's a world where Europe and Asia are beginning to bleed into each other more as a result of increased air travel, a world where half of Europe is behind the Iron Curtain and where opinions on Japanese, Germans and Italians are still shaped largely by their rolls in World War II. And, for all his short comings as a person, Fleming approaches travel like he's writing his own personal Bond novels. If there is crime, gambling, prostitution, drugs, strip teases, cross dressers or scandal, Fleming will gravitate toward it like a moth.