James Bond books to be reissued with racist references removed

A number of words in the books have been swapped "for terms that are more accepted today but in keeping with the period in which the books were written"

Ian Fleming’s James Bond books are being reissued this year, and have reportedly been edited to remove racist references and words.

According to a report from The Telegraph, all of Fleming’s Bond series will be re-published this year to mark 70 years since the release of Casino Royale, the first book in the series.

The report adds that Ian Fleming Publications Ltd commissioned a review by so-called ‘sensitivity readers’ as to the appropriateness of re-publishing work from a different era.


Now, a disclaimer is set to accompany all the new books, reading: “This book was written at a time when terms and attitudes which might be considered offensive by modern readers were commonplace.

“A number of updates have been made in this edition, while keeping as close as possible to the original text and the period in which it is set.”

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Sean Connery as 007 in James Bond’s 1962 debut outing, ‘Dr. No’. Credit: Alamy

The report states a number of specific examples of the types of edits which have reportedly been made, including the removal of homosexuality being called a “stubborn disability,” “blithering women” failing to do a “man’s work” and racist references to black people, the latter of which have either been re-worked or entirely removed from the books.

The N word, which was used heavily by Fleming in the books, has now either been replaced by “black person” or “black man” or removed from the book.

In a statement to The Telegraph, Ian Fleming Publications said: “We at Ian Fleming Publications reviewed the text of the original Bond books and decided our best course of action was to follow Ian’s lead. We have made changes to Live and Let Die that he himself authorised.


“Following Ian’s approach, we looked at the instances of several racial terms across the books and removed a number of individual words or else swapped them for terms that are more accepted today but in keeping with the period in which the books were written.

“We encourage people to read the books for themselves when the new paperbacks are published in April.”

Daniel Craig
Daniel Craig as James Bond in ‘No Time To Die’. CREDIT: Universal

The news of the reissued books comes amid another conversation around the editing of historical works.

This week, Puffin announced the release of the Roald Dahl Classic Collection, and changed references to “fat” and “ugly” characters, claiming they had “listened to the debate”.

In response, King Charles’ wife Camilla said the edits were the work of “those who may wish to curb the freedom of your expression or impose limits on your imagination,” while Ricky Gervais hit out at the “fragile” and “easily offended” people who brought about the changes.
Elsewhere, Liam Neeson has revealed his late wife, Natasha Richardson, told him they’d not be getting married if he played James Bond.
The Memory actor said that he’d been tapped up in the ’90s over potentially playing 007 in 1995’s Golden Eye. However, it seems Richardson wasn’t bowled over by the idea of her soon-to-be husband playing the hard-drinking, pun-loving lothario.

Recalling having his hat thrown into the ring to play Bond, Neeson told Rolling Stone that his late wife had told him “we’re not getting married” if he decided to take the role.

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