09 August 2014

Empire Bust


The Man Who Saved Britain
by Simon Winder

A fanatical, mean-spirited little book, intermittently amusing, in which the author proposes on purely circumstantial evidence that the popularity of the James Bond books and films is due to the consolation they provided to (mostly conservative) Britons traumatised by the loss of the British Empire and their country’s economic collapse after the Second World War.

In support of this absurd thesis, Simon Winder rewrites some recent British and world history, dismisses the rest of it as a catalogue of grotesque savagery and unremitting exploitation of conquered peoples, and wildly overuses the adjective ‘mad’ and its synonyms (a favourite is ‘zany’) when describing anyone or anything conservative, traditional or upper-class. He is also fond of using the word ‘cynical’ in those connexions. Yet nothing could be madder or more cynical than Mr. Winder’s own take on history and his loony-Left political judgements. I am no Tory, and neither am I British, but I can diagnose a case of envy when I see one.

This is history and social commentary written by a movie nerd who should, frankly, have stuck to film reviews. By the way, he doesn't think much of the Bond books or films either, except for From Russia with Love and the movie version of Goldfinger.

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