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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

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  387 ratings  ·  64 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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Average rating 3.95  · 
Rating details
 ·  387 ratings  ·  64 reviews

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Aug 06, 2019 rated it liked it
interesting book which looks at both Jamaica and Ian Fleming the creator of James bond and both histories and how Fleming created the books at his haven Goldeneye. the author looks at Flemings Imperial cravings away from the austere London post war.
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.
Jun 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, literary
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
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. ...more
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel, biography, bond
I love reading about Jamaica and I can't get enough of the unlikely friendship between Fleming and Noel Coward, so I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which places the Bond novels in the context of what's happening both in Jamaica and in Fleming's private life. Five stars just for the photo of Coward with Sean Connery, honestly. ...more
Stephen Curran
Aug 03, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting book primarily about how Jamaica influenced Ian
Fleming as he wrote the James Bond novels. Worth a read of you like Bond and \or Jamaica
Stephen Terrell
I cannot heap too many superlatives on this multifaceted book. It is a gem that far surpasses the expectation of simply being a book for James Bond fans.

The book isn't neatly pigeon-holed as a biography of Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond. While Fleming is at the heart of the book, it is so much richer, deeper and nuanced than another bio. It is part mid-century British history, Jamaican history, British political history, social commentary, historical analysis of colonialism and the break
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
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.
Bill Lynas
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Matthew Parker's excellent book not only tells of 007 author Ian Fleming's time in Jamaica, it also provides the reader with an insight into the island's social, economic & political history. Drawing on numerous sources, as well as new interviews, there is a wealth of fascinating material for the reader to digest. ...more
Nathan Albright
Aug 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: challenge-2020
Ian Fleming had a good gig going for him. During the years between 1947 and his death, he would spend two months out of the year living in an austere Jamaican home with a lovely reef and beach where he would spend time with friends, recuperate thanks to "Dr. Jamaica" while putting out, at least from 1952, a book a year [1]. Yet Ian Fleming was not a very happy man and he did not end up being successful in love, for the most part. He died young, had a son who died even younger, and if his James B ...more
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
Reza Amiri Praramadhan
I’ve always known that some of James Bond’s adventures were set in Jamaica, yet I do not know the significance of Jamaica to its author, Ian Fleming. This book describes Ian’s escapade, to Goldeneye, Jamaica, where to avoid harsh winter back in London, he wrote numerous novels on Bond’s struggle to keep the Union Jack flying high, which served as escapism from the real world where British imperial grip was waning, and it found itself being overshadowed by the US. In Bond’s world, it is the other ...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.
John Ryan
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bond creator , Ian Fleming , spent 2 months in Jamaica at the height of the British winter, to write all the 007 novels. This is a biography of Fleming seen through the prism of his home from home , Goldeneye , and also a history of Jamaica through these years, leading up to independence in 1962. He lived to see the first two Bond films but died at the comparatively young age of 56 just as the Bond phenomenon was taking off.
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!
Alex K
Feb 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed learning what was going on in Fleming's life as he wrote each book and what the cultural and political landscape was like in Jamaica. Also some fun anecdotes about his interactions with JFK and other characters of the era. ...more
Carl Brundtland
Aug 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It’s a rare thing to find books about Jamaica at this time. Parker sets the environment clearly and intertwined the personalities around the famous property in a way that kept me engaged until the last page.
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. ...more
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. ...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.

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