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Publisher's Summary

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 18 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 novels and stories were written there.

This audiobook explores the huge influence of Jamaica on the creation of Fleming's iconic postwar hero. The island was for Fleming part retreat from the world, part tangible representation of his values, and part exotic fantasy. Goldeneye also examines Fleming's Jamaican friendships - his extraordinary circle included Errol Flynn, the Oliviers, international politicians, and British royalty as well as his close neighbor, Noël Coward - and traces his changing relationship with Ann Charteris (and hers with Jamaica) and the emergence of Blanche Blackwell as his Jamaican soul mate.

Goldeneye also compares the real Jamaica of the 1950s during the buildup to independence with the island's portrayal in the Bond books, to shine a light on the attitude of the likes of Fleming and Coward regarding the dramatic end of the British Empire.

©2014 Matthew Parker (P)2014 Random House Audiobooks

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Ian Fleming lead a fascinating life.

In Jennet Conant's fine book, "The Irregulars" (I heard the audio edition several years ago) she briefly mentions Ian Fleming during his "spy" days spent in the USA when Britain was trying to get us into WW2. Matthew Parker's book "Goldeneye" deals with the years after the war when Fleming decided move to Jamaica and write books. The sub-title "Where Bold was Born" is figuratively true. Every James Bond story was written during Fleming's times in Goldeneye - the name of his house on the island.
There is a much name dropping as Jamaica was the place for the wealthy and the famous to go to get away. Noel Coward had a particularly active role in Ian and Ann Fleming's life. You may be surprised at how much 'hanky-panky' was considered normal in the 50s and 60s.
The ebook was available, but the audio was not synchronized to the book, so I usually sat with the ebook and my ear buds and leafing along. The audio was wonderful, however, during those 4:00 AM waking hours that I sometimes have. I suggest getting the ebook or the printed edition just for all of the photographs. (Always a problem with audio books)
My only dilemma now is whether or not to listen/read the new versions of the James Bond books. I may have to revisit at least a couple of them: "Casino Royale' the first book and perhaps "Moonraker" the only adventure set entirely in England.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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History as it should be written

Where does Goldeneye: Where Bond Was Born: Ian Fleming's Jamaica rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

Easily at the top with both an excellent book and an excellent narrator.

What does Roy McMillan bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

McMilliam was a brilliant narrator with an ability to drive the story forward while still maintaining the nuance of the text. I'm looking forward to enjoying more of his work. He has a gift for bringing words to life.

Any additional comments?

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 chowder and fried octopus tentacles with tartar sauce, sugar and slaves, rum and Coca-Cola, grand houses and old families, alligator shooting and polo, Errol Flynn and Noel Coward, sharks and barracuda, Princess Margaret and Lord Beaverbrook, Lucien Freud and Francis Bacon, Anthony Eden and Winston Churchill. Highly recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excellent for a trip to Jamaica

I listened to this audiobook on my first trip to Jamaica. I came with my family to Negril to stay at one of the all-inclusive resorts. On the way from the airport in Montego Bay, one can’t help from reflecting on issues of colonialism, class, race and poverty. Having read the Bond novels as an adolescent in the mid-seventies, I was oblivious to the post-colonial conservatism of Fleming. This book presents a clear-eyed take on Fleming’s love for Jamaica and his complicated and retrograde observations of his adopted home where he spent two months annually following the conclusion of WWII to his death in 1964. Those not prone to romanticize this era or what Fleming represents even in the smallest regard or understand the irony of such regard should probably avoid the title.

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Fleming, Ian Fleming

If you could sum up Goldeneye: Where Bond Was Born: Ian Fleming's Jamaica in three words, what would they be?

Peek Behind Curtain

What did you like best about this story?

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.

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Interesting read on the man behind Bond

Any additional comments?

This is a great read on the man behind Bond. If you're a fan of the Bond books especially as period pieces you won't go wrong with this book.

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  • BDHumbert
  • Fort Pierce, FL, United States
  • 12-30-15

What a great discovery!

I had my doubts about this book. I am a huge Bond fan and love even the bad movies. The author does a wonderful job weaving together Bond, Fleming, Jamaica, and the Brits that entertains and informs

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Delightful look at Ian Fleming and James Bond

E xploration of Ian Fleming and the role of Jamaica in the birth and development of the James Bond persona. Good escape and succinct history of the island from British colony to independence.

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One of my favorite Bond books

This is a must read for fans of Fleming and the Bond films. Parker tells a great story and offers a host of evocative details and anecdotes about the transitional era in which Fleming wrote the Bond novels.