Golden Boy by Martin Booth
Memories of a Hong Kong Childhood

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At seven years old, Martin Booth found himself with all of Hong Kong at his feet. His father was posted there in 1952, and this memoir is his telling of that youth, a time when he had access to the corners of a colony normally closed to a "Gweilo," a "pale fellow" like him.

His experiences were colorful and vast. Befriending rickshaw coolies and local stallholders, he learned Cantonese, sampled delicacies such as boiled water beetles and one-hundred-year-old eggs, and participated in vibrant festivals. He even entered the forbidden Kowloon Walled City, wandered into a secret lair of Triads, and visited an opium den.

From the plink-plonk man with his dancing monkey to the Queen of Kowloon (a crazed tramp who may have been a Romanov), Martin Booth saw it all---but his memoir illustrates the deeper challenges he faced in his warring parents: a broad-minded mother who embraced all things Chinese and a bigoted father who was enraged by his family's interest in "going native."

Martin Booth's compelling memoir, the last book he completed before dying, glows with infectious curiosity and humor and is an intimate representation of the now extinct time and place of his growing up.


About Martin Booth

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Martin Booth wrote the nonfiction histories Cannabis and Opium and the novel Hiroshima Joe, among many other books. He began this memoir of his childhood after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2002 and died shortly after completing the manuscript in 2004. An internationally known, Booker Prize--shortlisted novelist and writer, Booth was considered an authority on everything from the history of Chinese organized crime syndicates to the conservation of the African rhino. Opium: A History is regarded as the definitive book on the subject, and he is the author of eight other works of nonfiction, eleven novels, and five works of children's fiction.
Published November 14, 2006 by Thomas Dunne Books. 355 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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Young Martin threw himself into the local culture, going fearlessly as far as his legs would take him—to local markets, mountainsides and even the lawless quarter run by the local mafia, where Booth was taken under the wing of a young thug who revealed their opium dens, brothels and secret meetin...

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The New York Times

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IN the early 1950's, when Martin Booth was a blond, streetwise, short-trouser-wearing 7-year-old, his father, a British Navy clerk, was posted overseas.

Apr 09 2006 | Read Full Review of Golden Boy: Memories of a Hon...

Publishers Weekly

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In this genial, absorbing memoir of life in Hong Kong during his civil servant father's three-year (1952–1955) post there, British poet, novelist and popular historian Booth (Opium ;

Oct 03 2005 | Read Full Review of Golden Boy: Memories of a Hon...


As a child in the early '50s, Martin Booth was given the run of Hong Kong: While his father, a grocery supplier attached to the British Navy, sat behind a desk, Booth and his mother explored the colony's culture (the boy befriending a character who proved to be a mobster).

Jan 23 2006 | Read Full Review of Golden Boy: Memories of a Hon...

Bookmarks Magazine

In 1952, when Booth was seven, his British civil servant father was posted in Hong Kong.

Aug 28 2007 | Read Full Review of Golden Boy: Memories of a Hon...


Rating: *** What the Stars Mean: ***** Fantastic **** Excellent *** Good ** So-So * Poor (No stars) Avoid (Jeremy Gerard is the chief U.S. drama critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News.

Dec 08 2012 | Read Full Review of Golden Boy: Memories of a Hon...

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