Beyond Bond: Spies in Fiction and Film

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Overview

At a time when the methods and purposes of intelligence agencies are under a great deal of scrutiny, author Wesley Britton offers an unprecedented look at their fictional counterparts. In Beyond Bond: Spies in Film and Fiction, Britton traces the history of espionage in literature, film, and other media, demonstrating how the spy stories of the 1840s began cementing our popular conceptions of what spies do and how they do it. Considering sources from Graham Greene to Ian Fleming, Alfred Hitchcock to Tom Clancy, Beyond Bond looks at the tales that have intrigued readers and viewers over the decades. Included here are the propaganda films of World War II, the James Bond phenomenon, anti-communist spies of the Cold War era, and military espionage in the eighties and nineties. No previous book has considered this subject with such breadth, and Britton intertwines reality and fantasy in ways that illuminate both. He reveals how most themes and devices in the genre were established in the first years of the twentieth century, and also how they have been used quite differently from decade to decade, depending on the political concerns of the time. In all, Beyond Bond offers a timely and penetrating look at an intriguing world of fiction, one that sometimes, and in ever-fascinating ways, can seem all too real.

At a time when the methods and purposes of intelligence agencies are under a great deal of scrutiny, author Wesley Britton offers an unprecedented look at their fictional counterparts. In Beyond Bond: Spies in Film and Fiction, Britton traces the history of espionage in literature, film, and other media, demonstrating how the spy stories of the 1840s began cementing our popular conceptions of what spies do and how they do it. Considering sources from Graham Greene to Ian Fleming, Alfred Hitchcock to Tom Clancy, Beyond Bond looks at the tales that have intrigued readers and viewers over the decades. Included here are the propaganda films of World War II, the James Bond phenomenon, anti-communist spies of the Cold War era, and military espionage in the eighties and nineties. No previous book has considered this subject with such breadth, and Britton intertwines reality and fantasy in ways that illuminate both.

He reveals how most themes and devices in the genre were established in the first years of the twentieth century, and also how they have been used quite differently from decade to decade, depending on the political concerns of the time. And he delves into such aspects of the genre as gadgetry, technology, and sexuality-aspects that have changed with the times as much as the politics have. In all, Beyond Bond offers a timely and penetrating look at an intriguing world of fiction, one that sometimes, and in ever-fascinating ways, can seem all too real.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Given the recent complications in intelligence-gathering and interpretation, perhaps some in that discipline should take time for a review of how the professionals do it, at least on a soundstage or in paperback. Britton examines the genres within the genres, especially those that rose and fell in response to the events of the time, beginning with such classics as foundational The 39 Steps and the loss of innocence in Maugham, Ambler and Greene. He describes the prelude to the Cold War in the personae of spy heroes on the radio and print and the influence of McCarthyism on television spies, works through the rich pickings of the Reagan years and the influx of action and explosions in recent techno-thrillers. In his conclusion, Britton describes what 9/11 has wrought in the genre, and why even the most casual viewers and readers are paying more attention."

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Reference & Research Book News

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780275985561
  • Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 6/28/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 298
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Meet the Author

WESLEY BRITTON is the author of Spy Television (Praeger, 2004), the first book-length study of espionage television series. He is also the author of several articles for journals, encyclopedias, and periodicals, as well as book reviews and poetry.

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Table of Contents

1 The 39 steps : creating a genre 1
2 Maugham, Ambler, and Greene : the loss of innocence 21
3 On the air, on the screen, and in word balloons : heroes on radio and film before the Cold War 39
4 McCarthy, television, and film noir : the Russians arrive 71
5 "Cloak and swagger" : James Bond and the spy renaissance in the 1960s 99
6 From George Smiley to Bernard Sampson : the counter-Fleming movement 123
7 The Cold War inside out : "whose side are you on?" 147
8 From the "evil empire" to "the great Satan" : spying in the reagan years 175
9 Big-screen pyrotechnics and eyes in the sky : spies in a technological world 195
Conclusion : more fact that fiction : espionage after 9/11 219
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