Sidney Reilly Was the Ethically Elusive Secret Agent Who Was an Inspiration for James Bond

From a Wall Street Journal review by Diane Cole of the book by Benny Morris titled “Sidney Reilly: Master Spy”:

So many legends have been connected to the espionage agent Sidney Reilly—most famously, that the author Ian Fleming modeled James Bond after him—that it’s no easy feat to establish the facts of the life he actually led. Further muddying Reilly’s trail are the countless lies he himself spread, not only to evade exposure as a spy but also to hide his Jewish origins, slither away from his many (often simultaneous) romantic affairs and to distance himself from questionable business schemes.