50s to 90s Mags & Books

Ian Fleming Hunting in Kuwait – 1960

In 1960, Ian Fleming the British writer best known for his James Bond series of spy novels was invited to Kuwait by the Kuwait Oil Company. He was commissioned to write a book on Kuwait which he did and called “State of Excitement: Impressions of Kuwait”. However, the Kuwaiti government disapproved of the final manuscript, which they found condescending, and the book was never published.

There are two known copies of the book, one at the Lilly Library in the Indiana University, and another carbon copy sold at auction in 1997 to a private collector. I was given a photocopy of the book last year after trying to get access to one for nearly 5 years. Even though I never have the time or patience to read a book, I made sure I read this one because I knew how lucky I was to get a copy. As difficult it was getting a copy of the book, it was as difficult trying to find any photos of Fleming’s visit. Like the book, they seemed not to have existed, until now.

The photo on top is of Ian Fleming in Kuwait in 1960 on a hunting trip. I got the photo from the British novelist Louise Burfitt-Dons who recently published a book called “Our Man in Kuwait“, a fiction spy thriller based on true events from 1960.

Chapter 13 in Flemming’s book is called “Hunting the Hubarra” in which he discusses a hunting trip he went on in the Kuwaiti desert. Louise’s father, Ian Byres is the one who arranged that trip and took the picture above. In the photo is Ian Fleming on the left, John Collins on the far right who was the public relations officer at KOC, and I believe the person in the middle is a Kuwaiti called Khalid based on what I read in the chapter. Fleming didn’t enjoy the hunting trip, they weren’t able to catch a hubarra (a kind of bird) and blamed it on overhunting in Kuwait. He found the trip a total waste of his precious time and the chapter ends with him going off on a tangent criticizing Lebanon for over 2 pages.

I obviously can’t make copies of the book or upload it online, but I have shared the contents page above you can get an idea of what the book contains.

7 replies on “Ian Fleming Hunting in Kuwait – 1960”

wow! Now that is a very interesting piece of history! Mark, is it possible to borrow the book for a week or weekend read? Thank you.

Well if the copyright is owned by KOC who knows maybe this post can trigger them to publish it after all

I am guessing, the State of Excitement alluded to the dancing girls of Kuwait which gave it the boot.

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