Live and Let Die Comparison

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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