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Love and Let Die

James Bond, The Beatles, and the British Psyche

Published by Pegasus Books
Distributed by Simon & Schuster

About The Book

A deep-dive into the unique connections between the two titans of the British cultural psyche—the Beatles and the Bond films—and what they tell us about class, sexuality, and our aspirations over sixty dramatic years.

The Beatles are the biggest band in the history of pop music. James Bond is the single most successful movie character of all time. They are also twins. Dr No, the first Bond film, and Love Me Do, the first Beatles record, were both released on the same day: Friday 5 October 1962. Most countries can only dream of a cultural export becoming a worldwide phenomenon on this scale. For Britain to produce two iconic successes on this level, on the same windy October afternoon, is unprecedented.

Bond and the Beatles present us with opposing values, visions of the British culture, and ideas about sexual identity. Love and Let Die is the story of a clash between working class liberation and establishment control, and how it exploded on the global stage. It explains why James Bond hated the Beatles, why Paul McCartney wanted to be Bond, and why it was Ringo who won the heart of a Bond Girl in the end.

Told over a period of sixty dramatic years, this is an account of how two outsized cultural phenomena continue to define American aspirations, fantasies, and our ideas about ourselves. Looking at these two touchstones in this new context will forever change how you see the Beatles, the James Bond films, and six decades of cross-Atlantic popular culture.

About The Author

John Higgs is the author of William Blake vs the World (his first book to be published in America) as well as other books published in Britain. John lives in England.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Pegasus Books (February 7, 2023)
  • Length: 400 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781639363315

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Raves and Reviews

"Higgs builds his case around evocative profiles of the Beatles and their fandom and of Bond’s evolving persona and his real-life alter-egos. The result is a thoughtful romp through pop culture that’s full of fresh ideas and sharp connections."

– Publisher's Weekly

Praise for William Blake vs the World:

“Higgs’s writing is consistently clear and confident...rightly and persuasively emphasizing the primacy and power of the imagination in Blake’s work. It was fun to witness Higgs’s cogs turning, to hear his thoughts ricocheting against the walls of his internal archive of affinities, allusions and absorptions.”

– The New York Times Book Review

“Higgs’s is a systematizing imagination, able to harness disparate elements and find the patterns that animate them.”

– The Financial Times

"A journey into the iconic poet’s sensuous, idiosyncratic mythology. Besides offering perceptive close analyses of Blake’s work (including the art that illustrates this volume), Higgs locates him within the turbulent political and religious contexts of his times. An appreciative, well-informed portrait."

– Kirkus Reviews

"For a thought-provoking and very accessible introduction to Blake, his work, and the complex mytho-poetic cosmology that he created, I can't recommend John Higgs' recent William Blake Vs the World highly enough. One of the best Blake explainer books I've read."

– BoingBoing

"Higgs displays Blake’s brilliance, noting the way his thought dovetailed with psychology, neuroscience, quantum mechanics, and chaos theory. This rewarding biography suggests that Blake would have appreciated Walt Whitman’s long, lapping lines of poetry, agreed with Ralph Waldo Emerson’s ideas concerning self-reliance and individualism, and championed free verse.”

– The Washington Examiner

“A glittering stream of revelatory light. Conventional expectations are ripped to shreds. Higgs's prose has a diamond-hard clarity. He knows how to make us relate. Before long you will find you are examining yourself as much as you are examining Blake. Fascinating."

– The Times (London)

“Absolutely wonderful! This book managed to make Blake's mind and mythology understandable to me at last—for that I am truly grateful."

– Terry Gilliam

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