For Java 1.4 and earlier you can simply use Boolean.valueOf("true").booleanValue().
The trick is that Boolean.valueOf returns Boolean.TRUE or Boolean.FALSE. Not just object equal to those, but those very same objects themselves (well, references to them of course). So valueOf will not create a new Boolean object each time you use it, and therefore will be just one method call less efficient. In milliseconds, the difference will be 0, and you won't even notice it (unless perhaps you have billions of these calls ).