James Bond entered the world in 1953 with the novel Casino Royale by Ian Fleming. Since then, the British secret agent codenamed 007 has become the biggest media phenomenon of the modern age, surpassing and outlasting previous cultural icons such as Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan and The Saint. Bond has conquered all forms of media - from books, films and radio to comic strips and video games - while inspiring a tidal wave of merchandise and legion of imitators. Although the world has changed almost beyond recognition since his debut, his continuing relevance is affirmed by the multiple generations who have thrilled to his exploits. This book for the first time provides the full enthralling story of how the espionage fantasies of a rather melancholy journalist came to captivate the world. It exposes the setbacks behind the triumphs, from Fleming's increasing boredom with his own creation to regular crises over re-casting of the cinematic Bond and legal battles in the 1990s that almost destroyed the film franchise.With the help of Bond scholars, Fleming intimates, Bond film crew and others, James Bond: The Secret History shows how the man with the Licence to Kill overcame every hurdle to become the greatest fantasy hero of all time.