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Our Man in Havana (Thorndike Classics) Hardcover – Large Print, Jan 2002

91 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Thorndike Press; Lrg edition (Jan. 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078389757X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0783897578
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 17.2 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (91 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,436,232 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Graham Greene was born in 1904. He worked as a journalist and critic, and in 1940 became literary editor of the Spectator. He was later employed by the Foreign Office. As well as his many novels, Graham Greene wrote several collections of short stories, four travel books, six plays, three books of autobiography, two of biography and four books for children. He also wrote hundreds of essays, and film and book reviews. Graham Greene was a member of the Order of Merit and a Companion of Honour. He died in April 1991.

Product Description

Review

Graham Greene's new "Entertainment" offers only a questionable diversion this time, substitutes a lightminded travesty of secret service operations (the intentions are not too clearly decipherable) for the surer suspense of the earlier books in this genre. Wormold, a vacuum cleaner representative in Havana, a middle-aged man whose daughter is his prime security interest, is tapped as secret agent number 59200 stroke five by the British Secret Service. With "no accomplice except the credulity of other men", Wormold turns in bogus reports and fabulous diagrams (vacuum cleaner parts), recruits an extensive payroll of imaginary sub-agents, and rigs an elaborate deception which backfires when one of his men materializes- only to be killed, his friend Hasselbacher is a second victim, and he is a potential third... For all the occasional overtones and undercuts, this is no more than a genial form of nonsense in which Greene is not at his best. This still may be good enough for a great many people to whom the name assumes more than is this time assured. (Kirkus Reviews) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

'No serious writer of this century has more thoroughly invaded and shaped the public imagination than did Graham Greene' Time --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. Double on 21 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great cold war "spy" book. I loved it. Written over 50 years ago it is still funny and just so well written. I was expecting a light spy spoof, but this book is just so much more. At just over 200 pages it shows that good writers dont need 800+ pages to develop characters or tension. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By RichardP on 13 Feb. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Plenty of positive reviews already, nothing more to be said really. It is a short but terrific read. Are affairs such as this completely out of date? Is there any redolence of "Weapons of Mass Destruction"?, for me there certainly is.

Tony Blair was a 'honest sort of a guy' I think he said, so perhaps he too saw what he wanted.

If you enjoy this, I recommend the film (Alec Guinness in the lead). A black and white gem shot in Havana.

And then of course most of the rest of Graham Greene's work......
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By kraney51 on 6 Jan. 2012
Format: Paperback
If it were not for his spendthrift daughter, Wormold may have bumbled along in Cuba until the rise of Castro would have forced his emigration back to his native soil, but his country and his offspring unknowingly conspired together to thwart such an uneventful end to Wormold's sojourn in Havana. Thoughts he might have had of whiling away the years with his drinking pal Dr. Hasselbacher, indulging the shopaholic Milly, playing checkers and selling his vacuum cleaners were soon to be put to flight. Hawthorne from MI6 made him an offer he couldn't refuse. If its reports they want, and are willing to pay for them, reports they shall have. Wormold takes to writing fiction like a duck to water and applies his skills to his new employment.

The sinister machinations of Captain Segura and the refreshing Beatrice add to the above to create a story well worth reading.
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56 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 19 Jan. 2005
Format: Paperback
Gleefully combining the raucous humor of absurdity with slyly subtle wordplay and caustic satire, Greene entertains on every level, skewering British intelligence-gathering services during the Cold War. Setting the novel in the flamboyant atmosphere of pre-revolutionary Havana, where virtually anything can be had at a price, Greene establishes his contrasts and ironies early, creating a hilarious set piece which satirizes both the British government's never-satisfied desire for secrets about foreign political movements and their belief that the most banal of activities constitute threats to national security.
Ex-patriot James Wormold is a mild-mannered, marginal businessman and vacuum cleaner salesman, whose spoiled teenage daughter sees herself as part of the equestrian and country club set. Approached by MI6 in a public restroom, Wormold finds himself unwillingly recruited to be "our man in Havana," a role which will reward him handsomely for information and allow him some much-needed financial breathing room.
Encouraged to recruit other agents to provide more information (and earn even more money), he chooses names at random from the country club membership list and fabricates personas for them, featuring them in fictionalized little dramas which he churns out and forwards to his "handlers." Always careful to fulfill their expectations exactly, Wormold becomes a more and more important "spy," his stories become more creative, his "enemies" find him and his "agents" to be dangerous, and his friends and the real people whose names were used as fictional agents begin to turn up dead.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 9 Feb. 2002
Format: Paperback
A marvellous story about a vacuum cleaner salesman caught up in the world of espionage, purely to buy his daughter a pony for her birthday. The characters are so real that you feel that you know them personally, and the style of writing employed by Graham Greene is an example of what can be done with the English language in the hands of a truly great writer. The chapter in which the British secret service peruse the sketches sent from Havana by Wormold is one of the funniest I have ever read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jean-pierre Bardoul on 4 Oct. 2009
Format: Paperback
If you enjoy a story that makes light of Cold War politicking and secret service manoeuvering, set in Cuba in the 1950s, then "Our Man in Havana" is a must. It is certainly one of Greene's more accessible, easier-to-read books, although perhaps none of the key ingredients of other Greene books is lacking. Mr Wormold, the central character in the story, is the hero-against-his-will. He is the deeply human person, whose caring personality is presented in contrast to the self-centered careerists of the secret service (Hawthorne) and the foreign service (the British Ambassador). He is loyal -not to such vague notions like communism, capitalism or his country (Britain)- but rather to his daughter and his friends (Dr Hasselbacher). And it is when something happens to Dr Hasselbacher that our hero gets into action. Wormold's professed atheism is in contrast to the catholicism of his daughter Milly. As one would expect of Greene, references to prostitutes are not lacking, with Teresa, a striptease dancer, acting as one of Wormold's "informers". It's a happy end, with Beatrice -Wormold's secretary sent to him by MI16- giving up on the job and all it stands for and joining Wormold and his daughter.
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