Just what all went into that sleek, suave veneer that is James Bond? The story behind the making of the agent is almost as fantastical as the spy's fictitious escapades, writes Alexander Cockburn in the investigative newsletter CounterPunch. Cockburn explains how the mix of fantasy and real-world events shaped the character (and vice versa) in the years leading up to and following Ian Fleming's creation of James Bond. Cockburn not only illuminates the mad imagination required to dream up such a character and describes the influence Bond has had (and continues to have) on popular culture, but he also explains Bond's impact on presidents, prime ministers, covert operations, and the modern CIA. "Bond became the embodiment of western discourse on the Cold War," Cockburn writes. "The men who would later construct the Reaganite view of the universe turned time and again to their Bond for edification." And for any wistful Bond admirer who thought that the slick periscopes, cleverly disguised weapons, and paralyzing dust blown into the enemy's face were just figments of a fanciful imagination, Cockburn offers evidence that proves just how seriously such ideas were considered.