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Goldfinger (James Bond Novels) Paperback – August 27, 2002

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Paperback, August 27, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The allure of James Bond was best described by Raymond Chandler, who insisted that 007 is "what every man would like to be and what every woman would like to have between her sheets." Who can argue with that? This month marks the 40th anniversary of the film release of Dr. No, which was the first Bond adventure to make the big screen, and two big coffee-table books are being published to honor the occasion (LJ 10/1/02, p. 96). Shockingly, Fleming's original novels have gone out of print, but Penguin here reproduces a trio of the British secret agent's early outings, released in 1952, 1958, and 1959, respectively, sporting stylish cover art. These stories were racy for the nifty Fifties but are quite tame by today's standards. Still, they can be fun.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.


"Nobody does this sort of thing as well as Mr Fleming" Sunday Times "Highly entertaining" New York Times "Mr Fleming is the best thriller writer since Buchan" Evening Standard "Everything happens in this one - and you believe it" Saturday Review --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books; Reprint edition (August 27, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142002046
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142002049
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #890,746 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Ian Fleming was born in London on May 28, 1908. He was educated at Eton College and later spent a formative period studying languages in Europe. His first job was with Reuters News Agency where a Moscow posting gave him firsthand experience with what would become his literary bete noire--the Soviet Union. During World War II he served as Assistant to the Director of Naval Intelligence and played a key role in Allied espionage operations.

After the war he worked as foreign manager of the Sunday Times, a job that allowed him to spend two months each year in Jamaica. Here, in 1952, at his home "Goldeneye," he wrote a book called Casino Royale--and James Bond was born. The first print run sold out within a month. For the next twelve years Fleming produced a novel a year featuring Special Agent 007, the most famous spy of the century. His travels, interests, and wartime experience lent authority to everything he wrote. Raymond Chandler described him as "the most forceful and driving writer of thrillers in England." Sales soared when President Kennedy named the fifth title, From Russia With Love, one of his favorite books. The Bond novels have sold more than one hundred million copies worldwide, boosted by the hugely successful film franchise that began in 1962 with the release of Dr. No.

He married Anne Rothermere in 1952. His story about a magical car, written in 1961 for their only son Caspar, went on to become the well-loved novel and film Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Fleming died of heart failure on August 12, 1964, at the age of fifty-six.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Steve Pearl on August 29, 2002
Format: Paperback
Goldfinger has an effortless grace that is simply beyond most thriller writers. And this is the point; Fleming could really write. Yes, Goldfinger is just a potboiler fantasy, but it is suffused with beautiful writing; elegant simple sentences that contain real wit and character. It was Fleming's longest book and yet compared to a Clancy or a Ludlum it is little more than a short story. But in contrast to the turgid, plot ridden lumps that so many writers today (and in fairness, for the last thirty years) seem compelled to churn out, Fleming's brevity and clarity, his development of character, the pace and humour he injects, all shine out.
Reading again the account of the game of Canasta or, especially, the round of golf, is to feel a sense of joy and appreciation of his sheer skill with words. (In contrast, can any one really read Tom Clancy and not, by about page 400, emit a despairing cry of "get on with it!".)
And Goldfinger is a great story. It's far fetched and unlikely, but it roars along with a logic that lasts as long as the book does.
And yes of course it's dated, and Fleming's views would not hold up to much scrutiny in 2002. But are today's readers such sensitive little flowers that they cannot accept that the ideas and views of another time are totally valid when expressed in the context of that time?
Goldfinger was written by a man who had an instinctive lightness of touch, who was writing when people did not mistake information for knowledge, and who above all wrote for the sheer enjoyment of it all.
And that's what Goldfinger is...sheer pleasure and sheer enjoyment.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Roger J. Buffington TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 7, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First of all, let me disclose that I really like all of Ian Fleming's James Bond novels, and I particularly like and admire Fleming's lean, understated style of prose. Fleming is underrated as a writer, and James Bond is more than a comic book cutout character.

Goldfinger as a novel has some appealing attributes. The scene in which Bond plays a game of golf with Auric Goldfinger (with the stakes higher than they seem) is a masterpiece. Goldfinger the villain is an ingenious character. The reason I deprived this novel of two stars is first of all that the ending is tacked on almost as an afterthought. Sorry, it just didn't work, and it almost seemed like Fleming reached his page limit, and realized that he needed to wrap up the novel in the next twenty or so pages. Secondly, "Operation Grand Slam" involving a hodgpodge of criminals, seemed highly underdeveloped, and SMERSH would not have dared have a Soviet vessel upload the goal and hightail it to Russia. Nor would it have involved the sweepings of the US underworld in such a plan. It just did not work. Now mind, the idea of robbing Fort Knox is brilliant, and Fleming could have made it work. But here, in my opinion, it did not.

All these criticisms aside, I enjoyed "Goldfinger" the novel, and I recommend it, along with all of the other Bond novels, to anyone who enjoys good writing, a suspension of one's critical facilities for an afternoon, and, of course, James Bond.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S. Cooney on August 30, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book was far ahead of its time, ignored for the most part after its initial publication, but selling in the millions after the film's release almost a decade later. Give Fleming credit for enormous creative powers in dreaming up a story that, with its castrating laser beams, deadly Korean bodyguards, obese villains and beautiful women, resonated deeply in the darkness of a movie theater. But Fleming's role in helping create modern blockbuster entertainment is only part of the story. The James Bond books as a series are much darker than the films, and "Goldfinger" is no exception, but it's filled with descriptive prose that's among the best of the post-WWII era. Returning to this book after fifteen years confirms an earlier impression that one is dealing with more than a competent thriller-writer here. Though steeped in the Cold War era, and filled with fantastic plot contrivances, Fleming had a keen eye for irony, humor, and the truthful human observation. JFK, while President of the U.S., declared Ian Fleming his favorite author. In fact, as time goes on, Ian Fleming's gifts shine brighter than ever, remaining to be discovered by a new generation of readers.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Paul Rooney on January 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
I have just finished the " once every two years" read of the James Bond novels and have again come to the conclusion that Goldfinger is the best.

It has the best villain, the best story and what can you say, " Pussy Galore". To come up consistently with names of this calibre for female characters is an art in itself, remembering what a censored world these novels were born into.

Fleming can be snobbish in his writing and pedantic, as in a 1/2 page description of gear changes in a car Bond is driving but in this book we have a great story with the plan to rob Fort Knox.

This plan ( plot spoiler) is of course foiled by our hero but this is a real novel, one that has not been given the credit it deserves, probably because of its genre and the novels that proceeded it.

In my opinion this book followed by " On Her Majesty's Secret Service" were Fleming at his peak. As his health deteriorated and his dislike of writing these novels set in we were served up dross like "The Man With The Golden Gun", but with Goldfinger he nailed it.

There are many authors out there in authorland who would have liked to have written something as half as good as this.

Highly recommended for the rainy day Sunday when the bills are paid and the kids aren't stabbing each other
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