the spy is born …. ….

The world of espionage powerfully grasped the popular imagination over the past fifty years, and James Bond was the main reason for this. Bond’s impact on the public’s perception of espionage, through both Ian Fleming’s novels and the films made of them, is hard to overestimate. He was the most successful adventure hero in history, thwarting “the instruments of Armageddon” in the film The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) or saving the world as the seconds tick away in Moonraker (1979). It is Bond who accounts for the popular misconception that espionage is all about covert operations and human intelligence (HUMINT), when in reality it was the less glamorous signals interception (SIGINT) that long dominated espionage.

The Bond series drew on contemporary fears in order to reduce the implausibility of the villains and their villainy, while also presenting potent images of national character, exploring the relationship between a declining Britain and an ascendant United States; charting the course of the Cold War; and offering a changing demonology. They were an important aspect of postwar popular culture, not only in Britain but also more internationally, particularly after the Americans created and financed the cinematic Bond (1962).

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