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Goldeneye: Where Bond was Born: Ian Fleming's Jamaica
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Goldeneye: Where Bond was Born: Ian Fleming's Jamaica

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  306 ratings  ·  52 reviews

'Completely fascinating, authoritative and intriguing' William Boyd

'The big bang of Bond books... Beautiful, brilliant' Tony Parsons

Goldeneye: the story of Ian Fleming in Jamaica and the creation of British national icon, James Bond.

From 1946 until the end of his life, Ian Fleming lived for two months of every year at Goldeneye – the hou
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published August 14th 2014 by Hutchinson (first published June 5th 2014)
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Jun 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary, history
Goldeneye – An ode to Fleming, Bond and Jamaica

In 1943 a young naval intelligence officer was in Kingston for a conference when he promised to himself that he would come back and live on the island of Jamaica. In 1946 Ian Fleming made good on that promise and so began a long love affair with Jamaica and the creation of one of the world’s most famous literary and celluloid heroes James Bond. In the eighteen years that Fleming owned Goldeneye his home during the cold winters of a dark and dank Lon
Jeffrey Westhoff
After Andrew Lycett's exhaustive biography of Ian Fleming (which is 20 years old, believe it or not), you may wonder what is left to learn of James Bond's creator.

In his new book "Goldeneye," Matthew Parker proves there is quite a bit left to learn. Unlike the works of Lycett and John Pearson, which remain the two indispensable Fleming biographies, Parker's book is not a straightforward life story. He instead focuses on Fleming's love for Jamaica and the vacation home he built there, Goldeneye.
George Roper
Aug 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are three reasons I bought and then read this book:

1) I love to read books that are historical in focus: Its a bonus for me when the history that is being written about has a Jamaican or Caribbean focus;

2) Matthew Parker's name on the cover of the book: The process of reading Parker's excellent "Sugar Barons" was absorbing, which was due in large part to the author's style and his selection of subject matter to include in a book that covered over 210 years of history in the English Caribbe
I love James Bond movies - fast-moving, fantasy, glitzy, bad guys, good guy always wins = never a dull moment! Goldeneye is the house in Jamaica that Ian Fleming built and where all the James Bond books were written. The book details the life of Ian Fleming, his friendships and the influence Jamaica had on his life and on his 007 books. There’s quite a bit of history thrown in as well as societal reflections of the day, particularly relating to class and race. It wasn’t as absorbing a read as I ...more
Feb 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The writing moves along and is easy reading. The book fleshes out the man who created Bond and the times and circumstances that influenced his books. The 50's was a time of great political and social change in the West Indies and this book covers its impact on Jamaica. Fleming had an eclectic group of friends and lovers and their interaction on the island is fascinating. You'll feel like a fly on the wall at times. I definitely would put this book in the 'curl up with a hot cup of tea and a coup ...more
Mar 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So fascinating! Parker does a wonderful job of balancing the history of Jamaica, the history of Bond, and Fleming's own life details. Read like fiction - so much family drama, political intrigue, tragedy, addiction, beauty.
David Gee
Jun 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
'Sex, snobbery and sadism' were the key ingredients in a James Bond novel, according to a review of Dr No in the New Statesman in 1958. Yes, he was probably right, but the reviewer seems to have missed out the outlandish thrills that Ian Fleming could deliver along with some of the most colourful villains in the history of pulp fiction: Mr Big, Rosa Klebb, Dr. No, Goldfinger and, that toothsome twosome, Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Irma Bunt!

Matthew Parker's lively new contribution to the 007 'canon
Mar 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Goldeneye Where Bond was Born: Ian Fleming’s Jamaica by Matthew Parker (2015, Pegasus Books) has been a long time in coming. Where much of Fleming and Bond have been explored and dissected, the little tropical island that was the backdrop for two months for eighteen years has little inspection.

Parker has done extensive research in preparation of this book. It’s a full plate that he most organize, manage, and in some cases, provide a delicate balance of he said/she said without becoming low brow
Frank Hughes
May 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Skillfully blends a history of Jamaica and the literary James Bond through the prism of Goldeneye, the tropical retreat where the novels were written. Author Matthew Parker begins with the story of Ian Fleming's first visit to Jamaica and a concise biography of Bond’s creator from birth to the postwar era. This is followed by a history of Jamaica that sets the stage for the birth of James Bond. Having brought the island and the author together, from this point on the book skillfully weaves toget ...more
Lee Miller
Jun 18, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
History as it should be: deeply researched, profoundly insightful, completely accessible, and vastly entertaining. The author uses a partial biography of Ian Fleming during his time in Jamaica as a tool for exploring the decline of the British Empire in the Caribbean. It succeeds on numerous levels: social history, literary history, literary criticism, film history, political history, and biography, but pure delight comes from the author’s talent for sounds, smells, people, and places: conch cho ...more
Jan 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love it. Confession: I've never been super into James Bond, but it didn't matter. I picked up this book out of curiosity, not even really realizing what it was about, and I was hooked immediately. It's a fascinating story, one that's about race and history and literature and one of the most memorable characters in history. I feel like 007 fans will totally geek out over this book, and non-007 fans will find so much in it that they'll find themselves craving one of the movies. Absolutely recommen ...more
Alissandra Cummins
Aug 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Enjoyed tremendously, clearly and empathetically written, provides fascinating insight into the writing process of an enigmatic author. MP has given a lot of space to pre and just post Independence Jamaica in this book, which for me ( like many others I presume) never really registered as the birthplace of Bond in such an indelible way before. Really resonated with some other research I was doing on Jamaica for this period.
Jared Millet
Sometimes it's the little decisions that make history. Such as when some obscure British guy decides he wants to buy a house in Jamaica where he can get drunk, snorkel his own private reef, and maybe write a book.

Parker's Goldeneye sits in the Venn-diagram intersection of three stories: a biography of Ian Fleming's time in Jamaica, a history of Jamaica during its transition from British colony to independence, and a literary history of Bond, James Bond. Parker does each of them justice, and draw
Nov 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good book, combining a biography of Ian Fleming with an analysis of his James Bond novels and their relation to Fleming’s experience in Jamaica, where they were written. In the late 1940s Fleming built a winter house on Jamaica’s north coast, Goldeneye, living there as Jamaica evolved from a colonial outpost to an independent country with a vibrant tourism industry and a budding industrial economy. The book provides a detailed look at Fleming’s life, his friendships, love interests, political/ ...more
Ian Fleming wrote his James Bond books during his annual two month holiday at his Jamaican retreat Goldeneye. Fleming had a soft spot for the island and it, or his view of it, is depicted in many of his books. This book looks at Fleming's life with a focus on his time at Goldeneye and the lives of his friends and the people he interacted with while there using Ian and Ann Fleming's letters as well as materials and interviews from people who knew and interacted with them during their time togethe ...more
Michael Sisk
Jun 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this as a biography of Ian Fleming (the author of the James Bond books) but found that it was as much a biography of Jamaica in Fleming's time as anything else. It was fascinating to see how the island changed, how Fleming changed, and how the character of Bond changed along with the times. Fleming was a product of British imperialism and while he sometimes welcomed the ideals of post-colonial Britain, the books he wrote show that he missed it all the same. He seemed to want the luxury of ...more
Robert S
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ian Fleming's James Bond series could not exist without the imprint that the "Goldeneye" estate and Jamaica left on him.

As a major fan of the Bond novel and film franchises, I was particularly interested in finding out more about Fleming's presence where he wrote all of his Bond books.

Matthew Parker's book does not disappoint, offering the reader a highly accessible look at Fleming's life on the island and how his experiences there weaved their way into his works.

If you're a fan of Fleming and o
Josh Fern
I was going to leave a "it was fine" review with one star, but the second part of this book was markedly better.

For me, I enjoyed hearing about Ian Fleming's life at the time of certain Bond novels. It frames the character and the story contexts differently.

Still, this book hinges on rich British partying, decadence, and, worst of all, melancholy. I won't be making this a recommendation anytime soon.
Tom Diehl
Apr 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very informative

After being a James Bond fan since Goldfinger, enjoyed learning all the behind the scenes goings on during 007 filming. Find myself watching all the original movies on BBC television. Now reading all the original books agsin!
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good book. It's definitely a light touch when it comes to going into any depth with the history it presents, but it seems well researched and moved pretty quickly.
Ric Sierra
May 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book. It provides detailed background on the importance of Jamaica in the Bond books. There’s a lot of history and politics, as well as thorough commentary on Fleming’s personal life.
Darren Sapp
Feb 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Bond fans will love this behind-the-scenes look into the creation of culture's most famous spy. I would have liked a little more on Fleming's WWII service as that likely shaped much of his writing.
Maggie Gust
Jan 06, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“My contribution to the art of thriller-writing has been to attempt the total stimulation of the reader all the way through, even to his taste buds.” – Ian Fleming

The James Bond movie franchise is 53 years old yet it is the third highest grossing movie franchise in the world, right behind those whippersnappers Harry Potter and Marvel Cinematic Universe. Bond’s creator, Ian Fleming, wrote 14 Bond books plus a collection of short stories and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a children’s story about a flyi
Aug 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unfortunately this book appeared shortly after I had been to Jamaica and stayed on the north coast where most of the story unfolds .

I imagine that this book has a small target audience mostly Bond fanatics but I found it fascinating because it tells of a vanished way of life . Ian Fleming firstly and then Noel Coward and a few aristos and filmy type people discovered exotic Jamaica in the early fifties . It was wild and untamed and suited those who found post war England grey and dull .

The surp
Victor Gentile
Aug 04, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Matthew Parker in his new book, “Goldeneye” published by Pegasus Books brings us Where Bond Was Born: Ian Fleming’s Jamaica.

From the back cover: Amid the lush beauty of Jamaica’s northern coast lies the true story of Ian Fleming’s iconic creation: James Bond.

For two months every year, from 1946 to his death eighteen years later, Ian Fleming lived at Goldeneye, the house he built on a point of high land overlooking a small white sand beach on Jamaica’s stunning north coast. All the James Bond nov
Dec 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What an interesting book! Each winter from about 1946 until 1964 (he died not long afterward), Ian Fleming spent January through mid-March at his estate in Jamaica, Goldeneye. This is where he would knock out the James Bond books.

Matthew Parker did a good job of detailing the time that Fleming spent at Goldeneye, which was on the cusp of Jamaican independence for most of that time. He noted the affair with Ann that resulted in one miscarriage (her husband probably knew it wasn't his child, but
Frederick Allen
So I got this book as an Advanced Reader Copy for a honest review, and when it came I was super stoked. I love the James Bond movies, and with the recent mini-series by the BBC "The Man Who Would Be Bond" I was even more interested in the Bond at the time. However, I was reading another book and was struggling to get through it, and busy working on a database and some other things so it took me a bit. Yet, I finally arrived at my destination - Goldeneye.

"Goldeneye: Where Bond Was Born: Ian Flemi
Jun 27, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grownup, nonfiction
God knows I know what it's like to have ~problematic favorites~, and of course if you're interested enough to write a biography of someone, you probably like that person. But this book, I felt, walked an interesting line between acknowledging Ian Fleming's grossness and kind of wanting to excuse it? Like he talks more than I expected about the racism in the Bond novels, but then kind of argues that Fleming is LESS racist against black people than he is against Asian people, because of all the ti ...more
John Eder
Sep 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love Fleming's Bond books and short stories. He was a really fine, propulsive writer and one of the most influential and durable authors of the 20th century. I have always esp. enjoyed the Bond books and films set in Jamaica, and would love to lead the life Fleming aspired to, and achieved, to some degree. His big dream? "I don't want yachts, race-horses or a Rolls Royce. I want my family and friends and good health and to have a small treadmill with a temperature of 80 degrees in the shade a ...more
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, true-story
I have not read the other Fleming biographies and would probably not have picked up this one, had it not been for the focus on Goldeneye and on the Bond novels. I particularly appreciated that the author moved quickly through Fleming's early life and on to those events that shaped his writing as well as his interest in and feelings for Jamaica, and then to how this is later reflected in the various novels. The analysis of Fleming's worldview and the semi-autobiographical details in the Bond nove ...more
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I'm currently working on a new book, due to be published in August 2015, that tells the extraordinary story of Willoughbyland, the forgotten seventeenth-century English colony in Suriname that was exchanged with the Dutch for New York.

When not reading, writing or staring out of the window, I love making sushi, pubs, growing stuff and visiting remote places.

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