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3.0 out of 5 stars Graham Greene - Rebel Without a Cause
Graham Greene was born with a silver spoon in his mouth yet managed to portray himself as a bit of a rebel with a soft spot for the less fortunate. He sided with Kim Philby ("a good and loyal friend"), a spy who passed on information to the Soviet Union which led to the deaths of a number of agents. His naivety over leftist dictators like Fidel Castro and the Panamanian...
Published on 16 Jun 2010 by John Fitzpatrick


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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 13 Aug 2014
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This review is from: Graham Greene: A Life In Letters (Paperback)
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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Graham Greene - Rebel Without a Cause, 16 Jun 2010
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John Fitzpatrick (São Paulo, Brazil) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Graham Greene: A Life In Letters (Paperback)
Graham Greene was born with a silver spoon in his mouth yet managed to portray himself as a bit of a rebel with a soft spot for the less fortunate. He sided with Kim Philby ("a good and loyal friend"), a spy who passed on information to the Soviet Union which led to the deaths of a number of agents. His naivety over leftist dictators like Fidel Castro and the Panamanian general, Omar Torrijos, is typical of a certain kind of anti-American intellectual snob. In one letter, he writes: "I had am amusing meeting with Fidel in my 24 hours in Cuba. He looked to me much younger than he had done in 1966.."

Despite his friendship with Russian spies and Latin American revolutionaries, Greene's idea of direct action was not to man the barricades but to write a letter to The Times.

He was also one of those tiresome Anglo-Catholics, like his friend Evelyn Waugh, who have nothing in common with real Catholics who are at ease with their faith and don't take it that seriously.

Much as I like some of his books - Travels with My Aunt, Our Man in Havana, Dr Fischer of Geneva, The Comedians and (bits of) The Honorary Consul - I find the soul-searching in other works like The Power and the Glory and The Human Factor off-putting and dull.

Although this collection of letters has its fair share of "dark night of the soul" material, it also has a lot more interesting and enjoyable information about Greene's confused professional and personal life. He was both a writer and a publisher, talking as a businessman one minute and as an author the next.

He was also quite selfish and determined when it suited him as seen in the letter about his attempts to win support among the members of the Nobel Prize for Literature committee. In this case, he was not a member of the Swedish Establishment and his English Old Boy network connections got him nowhere.

This book covers Greene's whole life and is better taken in small doses than at a whole. It's a pity that some of Greene's funnier letters are not included, particularly the parody of his own style which won him a New Statesman competition.
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Graham Greene: A Life In Letters
Graham Greene: A Life In Letters by Richard Greene (Paperback - 2 Oct 2008)
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