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Seeds of Fiction: Graham Greene's Adventures in Haiti and Central America, 1954 - 1983 Hardcover – Illustrated, 6 Sep 2012

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 300 pages
  • Publisher: Peter Owen Ltd; First edition (6 Sept. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0720614880
  • ISBN-13: 978-0720614886
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.2 x 3.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 291,383 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Bernard Diederich was a legend at Time magazine and the trusted friend of Graham Greene, who often referred to him as his source and guide through the thicket of Central America and Haiti. His writing is the perfect introduction to the brand of adventurous reportage that made Greene the hero of so many. --Pico Iyer, from the Foreword

This is a perfect match of subject and author. Bernie Diederich has captured the passion for journalism and politics that made his friend Graham Greene such a powerful novelist --Walter Issacson, author of Steve Jobs, The Exclusive Biography

This fascinating new book about one of the most adventurous and well-travelled of all 20th-century novelists isn t by some closeted academic but a sharp-eyed fellow-adventurer. Bernard Diederich is a famous roving reporter for Time magazine who accompanied Graham Greene on many of his travels in Haiti and Central America from the 1960s onwards. Diederich is an extraordinary man. Born in New Zealand, he ran away from home at 16 to work on a four-master, served in the Pacific during the second world war, wrote journalism from Haiti under Papa Doc Duvalier (who had him imprisoned), and later from Nicaragua and El Salvador during the tormented 1980s. Now in his eighties, he has recorded his journeys with Greene for posterity, and the result is a wonderful collection of anecdotes and insights about one of our greatest and most inscrutable writers. --Christopher Hart, Sunday Times

An interesting new book --James Naughtie, BBC Radio 4 Today Programme

Diederich reveals a guarded, occasionally irascible but also endlessly inquisitive man who relished the challenges of travel (as long as there were decent rum punches involved), and whose deep empathy with suffering and sharp eye for detail suffused his novels with poignant truth --Siobhan Murphy, Metro

This is a book fifty years in the making...anyone interested in the life and work of Greene will find it full of new insights --Jon M. Sweeney, America

One of the finest books yet written on Greene a triumph of tender recollection and devotion. --Ian Thomson, The Spectator

A finely crafted reflection. . . Graham's exuberance is captured thrillingly --Publishers Weekly

In making little or no concession to literary theory, and without any pretence at extended intimacy, it is one of the best books you'll read about what makes a writer tick --Brian Morton, The Tablet

Diederich delivers a Greene with a human factor --Roger Lowenstein, Wall Street Journal

Seeds of Fiction is a great read if you are interested in Graham Greene and Central America --Nigel Potter, The Spokesman

Seeds of Fiction is a great read if you are interested in Graham Greene and Central America --Nigel Potter, The Spokesman

Seeds of Fiction provides an intimate portrayal of one of the great novelists of the twentieth century as well as a fascinating glimpse into a heretofore-obscure period of his life --World Literature Today

About the Author

Bernard Diederich was born in New Zealand and settled in Haiti in 1949. The following year he set up an English-language weekly newspaper, the Haiti Sun, and became the resident corres­pondent for the Associated Press, the New York Times, the Time-Life News Service and the Daily Telegraph. Exiled from Haiti in 1963 by Papa Doc Duvalier, he settled in the Dominican Republic and concentrated on his career in journalism. Later postings for Time magazine included Mexico City and Miami, and his close encounters with dictators and death provided an abundance of news covering coups, revolutions, invasions, earthquakes, hurricanes and volcanic eruptions as well as a wealth of material for his books about the politics and political leaders of the Caribbean and Central America. Diederich was finally allowed to return to Haiti in 1980 to interview Baby Doc Duvalier and his new wife Michèle, and he was then able to report on the popular uprising that sent them both into exile in 1986. He now splits his time between Miami and Port-au-Prince, Haiti. It was in the Haitian capital in 1954 that Diederich first met Graham Greene, and this led to a life-long friendship much of it based on a shared love of that country which only ended with Greene s death in 1991.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mervyn O. Hagger on 6 Jan. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book to learn more about Haiti during the period in question, but it seems that both Greene and his friend were limited in their knowledge of what was really going on in the government. I make this statement because events covered in the book cover the same period of time that I am investigating. However, this book seems to lack a comprehensive knowledge of events that are documented elsewhere. The author does not seem to have a journalistic nose for investigating - even though the author claims to be a journalist. It is more of a tale of some guys who happened to find themselves on an island. It had some interesting leads for me to follow up, but overall this book was a disappointment.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
A good read 23 Jan. 2013
By Bookworm - Published on
Format: Hardcover
A surprisingly insightful book. Full of nuggets and perspective. If you are a Graham Greene fan this book belongs in your collection.
Great non-fiction adventures 21 Oct. 2014
By Suzanne Martin - Published on
Format: Hardcover
SEEDS OF FICTION Graham Greene’s Adventures in Haiti and Central America 1954-1983 by Bernard Diederich is a fascinating story of the friendship between a legendary journalist and a celebrated author coupled with an eyewitness account of dictators, revolutions, and resistance fighters during times of great upheaval in Haiti and Latin America. Travelling with Diederich, Greene gathers the “seeds” for some of his future work, including the novel The Comedians, which exposed the world to Haitian dictator “Papa Doc” Duvalier’s nightmare regime.
I found Seeds of Fiction valuable not only for the “back stories” behind some of Graham Greene’s work, but also for the broader insights Diederich provides about Latin American leaders and the politics of the era. His friendship with Panamanian strongman Omar Torrijos was especially interesting to me. One has to wonder how events might have unfolded in Central America had the relatively moderate Torrijos not been killed in a plane crash….seeds of decidedly non-fictional future bloodshed can also be found in this book.
Diederich must be an inspiration to journalists today. He writes modestly about his interactions with Greene, but glimpses of his bravery, street-smarts, and determination to figure out what is going on and report on it to the larger world appear again and again in this book. Would love to read Bernard Diederich’s own story--hope he does an autobiography soon!
Rare insight into Greene's Personality 3 Jun. 2013
By peter - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The work provides an authoritative insight into the troubled times in Haiti, under the fearsome "Papa Doc" regime, which was inspiration for several of Graham Greene's subsequent works , and characters who featured in them. More interesting to me, however, was the intimate glimpse of Graham Greene, the man. This is a close up and personal view of the man, at the height of his career. I found it enlightening, and have renewed interest to revisit his tales of those people and places.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The Seeds of Fiction, an inviting glimpse of Graham Greene In Haiti and Central America 7 Jan. 2013
By Gerry Bohning - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a first rate account of Green'e's life and times in Haiti. Well written, clearly focused. I found the book's details a plus.
Five Stars 20 Jan. 2015
By Joachim Bamrud - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Excellent account of Graham Greene and his ties to Central America and the Dominican Republic.
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