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Goldfinger Unknown Binding – 1961

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Product details

  • Unknown Binding: 223 pages
  • Publisher: Pan Books (1961)
  • Language: English
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)

More About the Author

Ian Fleming was born in 1908 and educated at Eton. After a brief period at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, he went abroad to further his education. In 1931, having failed to get an appointment in the Foreign Office, he joined Reuters News Agency. During the Second World War, he was personal assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence at the Admiralty, rising to the rank of Commander. His wartime experiences provided him with a first-hand knowledge of secret operations.

After the war he became Foreign Manager of Kemsley Newspapers. He built his house, Goldeneye, in Jamaica and there at the age of forty-four he wrote Casino Royale, the first of his novels featuring Commander James Bond. By the time of his death in 1964, the James Bond adventures had sold more than forty million copies. Dr No, starring Sean Connery, was released in 1962 and the Bond films continue to be huge international successes. He is also the author of the magical children's book Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

The novels of Ian Fleming were immediately recognised as classic thrillers by his contemporaries Kingsley Amis, Raymond Chandler and John Betjeman. With the invention of James Bond, Ian Fleming created the greatest British fictional icon of the late twentieth century.

(The picture is reproduced with the permission of the copyright owners, Ian Fleming Publications Limited and the Ian Fleming Will Trust)

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James Bond, with two double bourbons inside him, sat in the final departure lounge of Miami Airport and thought about life and death. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jay Lew on 28 July 2008
Format: Paperback
For any Bond afficionado this novel is a 'must read'. Fleming's descriptive knack with very few words is underestimated. The golf game is a masterpiece of its kind, breaking up the technicalities of the sport with an evocation of beautiful, peaceful England in high summer as a backdrop to the deadly intent of the game being played out against lengthening, afternoon shadows. There is plenty of depth to the plot and the background story of gold, delivered to Bond by Colonel Smithers of the Bank of England, is interesting in itself, particularly when viewed in comparison to today's money markets. The revelation that Goldfinger is not just an obsessive meglomaniac but also in thrall to the Russians is a masterly detail that gives real substance to the cold-war ploy to rob Fort Knox. The gangsters necessary for Goldfinger's purposes are deployed with a light, almost amusing, touch but none of the heroines have much empathetic appeal, not even the fabulously named Pussy Galore. The Masterton sisters are very one-dimensional. Jill is only there, really, to kickstart the second part of the story and, although Fleming tries to make Tilly interesting with her lesbianism, she comes across instead as 'neither flesh nor good, red herring'. In fairness, this is how Bond sees her when he deliberates patronisingly over her mixed up hormones. There are remarks about Japs and Koreans that would never make it into print today, but the joy of Bond is that he is so much a product of the 1940s and '50s, forever politically incorrect. I know many people love the films, but for me the books are incomparably better.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Steve Benner TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 23 Dec. 2012
Format: Audio CD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If your only experience of James Bond has come via the big screen, then Ian Fleming's original creation may come as something of a revelation. Gone are all traces of the debonair, suave and entirely self-assured silver screen version of 007; Fleming's version of the character is altogether more fallible and often haunted by self-doubt. Fleming's version is more nuanced than you'll find portrayed in the films, often at odds with the world as it is. There is also no snobbery about him, either; rather the exact opposite, as he often finds himself having more in common with the men he is sent after than for those whom he serves. And while driven by a deep sense of honour and of chivalry, he is, if anything, even more sexist, misogynistic and homophobic than his silver screen alter ego. These latter unpleasant traits really come to the fore in "Goldfinger", the seventh of the novels, dating from 1959 -- and rather showing its age, these days.

Fleming's original storylines are generally far more involved and much better structured than the bastardised versions adopted by the film franchise. This isn't so true of "Goldfinger" however, which has as somewhat rambling and unsatisfying storyline in the book -- effectively being three story episodes stitched together to make a larger narrative, in places making even less sense than the screenplay. Bond's role in the book, particularly in the later stages is more as passive observer than as action figure, giving the story an unbalanced and unsatisfying feel.

For those who would rather have books read to them than read them for themselves, AudioGo's series of complete and unexpurgated CD audio books of Ian Fleming Bond stories, released under the series title, "007 Reloaded", offer an excellent alternative to printed copy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Greshon on 1 Mar. 2008
Format: Paperback
The seventh (1959) instalment in the Bond series is up to the usual high standard (only Diamonds are Forever has disappointed so far), and is another fine adventure story. Goldfinger's focus on mind games rather than physical adventure is more From Russia With Love than Live and Let Die, Moonraker or Dr No, but Goldfinger is a little more fast-paced than From Russia With Love, and simpler in structure. The focus is on Bond all the way. In Casino Royal Fleming manages to make a game of cards very interesting, even for the non-card player. He pulls off a similar trick here with an 18-hole round of golf.

The male chauvinism, of course is in there. When Bond first meets Tilly Masterton, "Their eyes met and exchanged a flurry of masculine/feminine master/slave signals" (pg 149). On page 222 Bond laments "giving the votes to women" and argues that, as a rsult, "feminine qualities were dying out and being transferred to males", making "panises" out of both sexes, who are "not yet comletely homosexual" but are "confused" - what a theory! As in the film, Pussy Galore changes her sexual orientation when she meets Bond. The book, however, delves into the causes of her lesbianism (and, by extension, the cause of lesbianism in general in the Fleming world picture) - it stems from chillhood sexual abuse.

There is also the usual racial superiority - there is some shocking prejudice against the Koreans (of which race Oddjob is a member). At one point, Goldfinger explains to Bond how he supplies his Korean workforce with "street women" from London: "The women are not much to look at, but they are white and that is all the Koreans ask - to submit the white race to the grossest indignaties" (pg 129).
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