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The Quiet American by [Greene, Graham]
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The Quiet American Kindle Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 104 customer reviews

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Product Description

Review

"A master of storytelling" (The Times)

"One of the finest writers of any language" (Washington Post)

"A superb storyteller - he had a talent for depicting local colour, a keen sense of the dramatic, an eye for dialogue, and skill in pacing his prose" (New York Times)

"There has been no novel of any political scope about Vietnam since Graham Greene wrote The Quiet American" (Harper's)

"It might be nearly 60 years since The Quiet American was first published, but it still evokes the exotic promise of the Orient, and the troubled relationship Vietnam has with the West" (Wanderlust)

Review

'A great writer who spoke brilliantly to a whole generation. Prophet-like.' (Alec Guinness)

'A master of storytelling.' (The Times)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1359 KB
  • Print Length: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; Centenary Ed edition (2 Oct. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00452V1Z2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 104 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #7,781 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Greene's Quiet American is a naive young man who believes in his own inherent goodness and his country's innocence; after all, unlike the French the USA isn't a colonialist power, is it?
So he sets about helping the Vietnamese find a third way between French colonialism and communism. It takes the already jaded Fowler to see that such idealism is not only misplaced, but cannot possibly coexist with the notion that the ends will justify the means.
Writing in the 1950s, as France struggled to hold Indo-China (or leave with dignity) Greene's is a contemporary story. Yet it reads as if the author's already been through the Vietnam War and witnessed the Quiet American's greatest folly.
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Format: Paperback
This was my first Graham Greene novel, and it won't be my last. It's one of those cleverly constructed 'circular' novels that, after the initial scene, takes you right back to the beginning of the story which slowly unfolds to end with the same initial scene, but seen in a totally different light.
I picked up this novel because I imagined it to be full of the atmosphere of war-torn Vietnam in the 1950s, a historical portrait of the end of colonial Indo-China. And that is indeed one feature of the book, but it is more involving still: realistic characters, consistent only in their complexity, a moving story of a triangular relationship between two men and a woman, a stand-off between the opposing ideologies of cynicism and idealism. I was left wondering: was this a happy ending or not?
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Format: Paperback
Along with Waugh's "Decline & Fall" I read this book every year & never fail to get something new from it. Not one word is out of place, not one scene mis-judged. Greene's characters inhabit a world unfamiliar to all 21st century Western wage-slaves; a world of physical danger, intellectual doubts & moral crises. But yet their paranoias & motives render every one of them as believable as ourselves & make their world as real as our own. The hero of this book in particular fills us with the uncomfortable realisation that even despicable acts born of unashamed selfishness can sometimes not only strike a chord within ourselves, but make us favour the perpetrators of such behaviour over other more innocent players. If you find nothing in this book for you stop reading.
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Format: Audio Cassette
As a fan of Greene I couldn't wait to pick this book up. I often find this leads to disappointment, but not in this case.
This book embodies Greene's theme of man's blindness, his stumbling through life rather strolling down a chosen path. Fowler, the Foreign correspondent, who wallows through life and the American, Pyle, who is led by his naive allegance to democracy. Pyle's determination to spread the gospel of democracy to Indo-Chine bombards the ordinary Fowler with the extraordinary. In fact this highlights the true realism of Greene's writing and message of the novel: what does a Vietnamese peasant care of politics? His daily struggle is for a bowl of rice whether democratic or communist.
The colonial setting of Indo-Chine is potrayed with ease by Greene, not to mention the imagery.
All in all, this a spectacular read bringing home the absurdity, harshness and reality of the troubles in Vietnam.
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By A Customer on 20 April 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Greene's best work and the best book ever on Vietnam's twentieth century wars (French and American). Works beautifully as fiction and also as a tour of the area and the era. I have re-read this book ten or twelve times and still find something new to enjoy and appreciate with each re-reading. As an American veteran of the second war (1968-69) I find this a particularly compelling book.
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Format: Paperback
The subject line is Greene's description of Alden Pyle. Readers may speculate on the larger, metaphorical dimensions of the book's three principal characters, and impose them on their countries of origin. Pyle is the young, crew-cut American, fresh out of an Ivy League school, over-schooled and undereducated, his head stuffed full of the geo-political notions of the fictional York Harding. Fowler is the cynical, accommodating middle-aged British reporter, just "reporting the facts," not taking sides, until he finally feels he has to. And there is the lovely Ms Phuong, trying to make the best of it in a troubled landscape, a lover to both men, and perhaps a symbol of Vietnam herself.

It was January, 1994, and I was leaving the Hanoi War Museum, one of the first wave of Americans to return. Vietnam was just on the cusp of letting tourists wander the country freely; the War Museum had not been "sanitized" yet (which would happen in only two more years), to remove exhibits that might offend our "sensibilities." And over in the corner was an elderly Vietnamese lady, selling books from a small pile, only two of which were in English, this being one of them. Was it just chance, or did she know that this was the quintessential book about the American involvement in Vietnam, prescient beyond belief, having been written at the very, very beginning, in 1955? I had read it prior to my first, year-long trip there, and decided to purchase another copy.

Today the book is even more relevant, in ways that even Greene did not anticipate. It continues to merit re-reads, I've finished my third. Greene modeled the character of Pyle on the very real life Kermit Roosevelt, who led the CIA's coup that overthrew the democratically elected government of Iran, in 1953.
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