• In the early 21st century, it is easy to condemn the Bond books for being racist and imperialist, sexist and misogynist, elitist and sadistic. But this is merely another way of saying that we cannot understand the Bond books without reference to the personality, the outlook and the 'Tory imagination' of the man who wrote them, and to the time in which he wrote them; and that we cannot understand the 1950s and 1960s without some reference to them, and to him.

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