Best James Bond Books

Before there were superheroes with extraordinary strength and powers, there was one man, Bond — James, Bond — to save the world. This year, the James Bond franchise turns 50. Although there is always a spirited debate about which actor played the best James Bond (Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig), no one can deny the enormous success of the movie franchise (24 films that have made more than $6 billion) and the periodic re-invention of James Bond and his team (M, Moneypenny, and Q) over five decades. In celebration of this cinematic milestone, several publishers have introduced notable books to honor the intrepid and irrepressible 007.

James Bond: 50 Years of Movie Posters, DK Publishing (2012). At about half the weight of the Taschen book (see below) this oversized and elegant slipcased book from Dorling Kindersley presents beautifully reproduced international posters and artwork, with brief captions, from the James Bond.

Bond on the Set: Filming Skyfall, Greg Williams, DK Publishing (2012). An insiders view to the making of the film, full of revealing photos of actors, sets, locations, and stunts, as well as interviews with the director, actors, and crew.

The James Bond Archives, Paul Duncan, Taschen (2012). Similar to the Stanley Kubrick Archives published several years ago, this massive tome (weighing over 15 pounds) is a lavishly illustrated and comprehensive overview of the Bond canon. There is a detailed account for each film, including insights from cast and crew, and extensive presentation of photos and production materials. No one produces books like Taschen, a German publisher. This book, the definitive archive for the life and times of James Bond, is a real treasure for any cinephile or Bond aficionado.

50 Years of James Bond, the editors of LIFE, LIFE Publishing (2012). A breezy overview of the Bond films, loaded with trivia and featuring many photos, shot specifically for LIFE Magazine, that are not found in the other Bond books.

The Music of James Bond, Jon Burlingame, Oxford University Press (2012). Leave it to the editors of Oxford University Press to publish an author that eschews the visual aspect of the films and focuses on their aural appeal — namely, the iconic music from the 23 films. The author presents fascinating stories behind the music, the musicians, the producers, and the singers that created the melodies and musical atmosphere that helped define the 007 persona. A great companion to the book is the newly released double CD set, Best of James Bond 50th Anniversary (Capitol), featuring 50 memorable tracks.

Bond on Bond: Reflections on 50 Years of James Bond Movies, Roger Moore, Lyons Press (2012). Having been in some of the most outlandish and campy Bond films, Roger Moore redeems himself to Bond aficionados by sharing his personal reflections on the films he was in and commenting on the films before and after him. The book, written with a British sense of humor, features memorable anecdotes and throw away lines (puns), worthy of 007 himself.

James Bond FAQ: All That’s Left to Know About Everyone’s Favorite Superspy by Tom DeMichael, Applause (2013): Although not written in a FAQ style, the 400-page book is loaded with Bond trivia, including trivia about the most recent film, Skyfall. The book covers information about Ian Fleming, all the characters (Bond, the Bond girls, villains), the evil organizations, the cool gadgets, and the amazing cars.

Read related post: Bond Girls and Villains

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