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Live and Let Die Penguin Cover
Live and Let Die
is Ian Fleming's second James Bond Book, first published on April 5, 1954 by Jonathan Cape. It's the first time Bond travels to the United States. Live and Let Die may be the most controversial of the Bond novels due to it's dated portrayal of African-Americans and Afro-Carribeaners as "feral", animalistic peoples. Fleming also makes liberal use of the terms "niggers", "negroes", and "negresses" throughout the novel. In most cases, the language used by Fleming is a reflection of 1950's terminology as opposed to any intentional attack on a particular group of people. To date, there is no source of Fleming-era criticism that considers him racist in his writing. This retrospective criticism has emerged in recent years.

Live and Let Die was adapted into the eighth Bond film of the same name in 1973. Major elements, scenes, and characters from the novel have subsequently been adapted in the films For Your Eyes Only (1981) and License to Kill (1989).

Brief Synopsis:
Bond is sent to Harlem, New York to investigate Mr. Big, a SMERSH operative who's funding global operations by selling pirated 17th century Spanish coins. Bond is excited about the opportunity to get back at SMERSH after his torture at the hands of a mysterious SMERSH agent in Casino Royale. Bond teams up with his old friend Felix Leiter and they investigate Mr. Big's operations in New York and in Florida, eventually leading Bond to Mr. Big's private island near Jamaica. Bond trains with his friend Quarrel, and with the help of Mr. Big's fortune-telling girlfriend Solitaire, Bond discovers that Mr. Big is smuggling the coins out of the US in exotic fish tanks. Bond locates Mr. Big's yacht, plants an explosive on its belly, and escapes with Solitaire just as the yacht explodes.

Key Scenes:
  • A broken finger
  • Felix and the shark tank
  • Bond investigates the warehouse
  • Bond's training regimen with Quarrel
  • The swim to Mr. Big's island
  • Bond and Solitaire are dragged behind the yacht

Detailed Synopsis:

Differences Between the Film and the Novel:

Key Passages and Commentary:

Book Jackets

Live and let Die First edition Cover Live and Let Die cover-MacMillan Live and Let Die-first Pan paperback Live and Let Die - Perma edition Pan cover-Live and Let Die Live and Let Die-First Signet Edition Live and Let Die-Abridged version Live and Let Die - 60's Pan

Live and Let Die-60's U.S. Signet Edition Live and Let Die - Jove edition Live and Let Die-Berkley Edition Live and Let Die 80's hardcover Live and Let Die-Cornet Paperback Live and Let Die-British Penguin Cover Live and Let Die American Penguin Cover by Richard Fahey Live and Let Die-Latest Penguin edition

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Dr.Goldfinger novel 2 Mar 31 2010, 11:03 PM EDT by Anonymous
Thread started: Mar 31 2010, 11:19 AM EDT  Watch
The novel was different, not only from the film but from the rest of the novels. There is a slight degree of almost undetectable racism and the fact that Felix is given the chop rather suddenly is quite a shock. Non the less a fantastic read.
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joshiorio Book Club: Chapters 13-17 2 Mar 26 2009, 10:45 AM EDT by Anonymous
Thread started: Mar 21 2009, 4:16 AM EDT  Watch
Plot Differences:

Film - Bond is trying to find an assassin who's connected to the San Monique consulate in New York. The ambasador's name is Kananga, who doubles as Mr. Big. As always Felix plays a minor role, providing back-up. When Bond first visits Big, he's captured and Tee Hee is supposed to take him out and kill him. Bond escapes, and heads to San Monique, where he meets double agent Rosie Carver and figures out that Big is actually smuggling heroine. That's about chapter 17.

Novel - Bond is tasked with figuring out who's stealing and recirculating gold coins from a pirate's treasure. The coins are being used to fund SMERSH. He's sent to NYC to investigate a man named Mr. Big. He meets with Mr. Big and Solitaire. Big asks Tee Hee to break Bond's finger for him (This injury stays with him throughout the novel. There are very few cases of Bond's injuries staying with him throughout the films. Bond is hampered by his broken finger. He is flawed, he gets frustrated as he struggles). Big tells Tee Hee to take Bond to the hospital after he's been sufficiently roughed up. Bond escapes and kills Tee Hee, along with a couple guys in the garage. The next day, Solitaire calls and asks if she can leave for Florida with him. Bond is heading to Florida to investigate Mr. Big's warehouse. He agrees and they meet the next day. After they arrive in florida, Bond meets up with Felix, leave Solitaire at the hotel and heads over the warehouse. They talk to the manager and decide to come back the next day. Solitaire is kidnapped and Felix heads to the warehouse the following day by himself. Felix gets tricked into falling into a shark tank and has his arm and leg eaten. Bond gets on the next plane for Jamaica to investigate Mr. Big's home base.

As you can see, there's really not much in common between the plots of the film and the book except for the characters.
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JustinAtheropinion Book Club: Chapters 7 - 12 7 Mar 21 2009, 3:54 AM EDT by joshiorio
Thread started: Mar 14 2009, 1:09 PM EDT  Watch
Check out the study questions for Chapters 7 through 12 of "Live and Let Die."

But here's another thing to think about. "Live and Let Die" starts to add an essential part of the James Bond mythos: gadgets. But Bond doesn't have them (although "Q" branch has already been mentioned in this book), Mr. Big does. Does this book "feel" more like Bond than "Casino Royale" for that? Also, Bond has killed three men so far on this mission, where as in CR he didn't kill anyone. Does that make him seem more like James Bond in...your book?
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