The Mysterious Bookshop

Harling, Robert, Ian Fleming: A Personal Memoir

This is Robert Harling's account of his close and enduring friendship with one of the twentieth century's most iconic writers. A friendship forged on the front line of the Second World War.

Their paths met in the early 1940s upon the creation of 30 Assault Unit, a British Commando unit Ian Fleming founded and ran. While Fleming was based in London, Harling, his second-in-command, operated on the front line. The war made the men fast friends, and Fleming would later write Harling into his Bond novels Thunderball andThe Spy Who Loved Me.

Despite the pair's friendship, this book is a searching psychological investigation. This is Fleming warts and all: his magnetism and charm often tempered by bouts of depression and failing health, and a deep-rooted misogyny dooming his relationships with women to end in failure and recrimination.

Harling brings a unique and authoritative perspective to a compelling subject. Ordered by the author not to be published in his lifetime, this extraordinary memoir offers a fascinating and unprecedented insight into the mind and life of Fleming, from one of those who knew him best.

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