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The Quiet American (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition) [Paperback]

Graham Greene
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Quiet American Revisited March 13 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
In many respects history has made this book timeless
If the Vietnam had not occurred this book would probably be a footnote in the Greene canon. It is still a devastating critique of American foreign policy.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What People See in This Book Feb. 29 2000
What amazes me so often is how many people think of Fowler as a heroic example of British dignity. The character is reprehensible: he is cheating on his wife, a Catholic woman, trying to force her to violate her faith to divorce him. He lies to the young Vietnamese girl with whom he is having an affair. He arranges for her true love to be assassinated, and I always read that Fowler represents the best and the American the worst. Some readers have a problem with seeing what actually is happening, and separating that from the standard refrain their college professors told them. As the author of A THINKER'S DAMN, the story about the making of The Quiet American into a film, I can tell you that Greene himself was nearly as petty as Fowler. Based on misinformation, Greene condemned the motion picture, its star, and its director, without seeing a script, seeing the movie, or waiting until the project was completed. The Quiet American is a fascinating book with an unreliable narrator--and the problem is that many readers cannot differentiate Greene from Fowler.
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5.0 out of 5 stars It Leaves You In A Quandry July 12 2004
By James Gallen TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Audio Cassette
Set during the French War in Vietnam, "The Quiet American" is a multifaceted story told in the words of Thomas Fowler, a cynical British correspondent and one of the novel's two main characters. The story involves a struggle between Fowler and Pyle, an American undercover operative and Fowler's romantic rival. Pyle and Fowler hold opposing views of the war, love, God, democracy, whatever matters to man, they disagree about. Fowler, whose vision of reality stifles his belief in ideals, emerges as a romantic and ideological rival of Pyle, whose ideals blind him to reality. America's Cold War policy in Southeast Asia is critically presented in the person of Pyle. Masterfully written, Graham Greene confronts us with two flawed, stereotypical characters and leaves us to determine the hero and the villain. I still have not made up my mind. A work which can leave the reader in such a quandary is a great work of art. Read and form your own conclusions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Keep in Mind when this book was Written Feb. 17 2004
This book was published in 1955 so Graham Greene didn't have the hindsight that we have almost 40 years later; so he was very accurate and prophetic.
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3.0 out of 5 stars war story with love trouble June 16 2003
By A Customer
The story plays in the Vietnam war in 1954. A british journalist, Fowler, lives with his mistress Phuong in Saigon. Everything goes the right way until Pyle enters the story. Everybody calls him the quiet American. Fowler and Pyle become friends, but then there is a problem. Pyle falls in love with Phuong and wants to marry her...
The story contains interesting characters. It is the story about a friendship of two completely different men who love the same woman.
First I didn't like to read the story, because it's a difficult language with all the special "war expressions". At the end many things become clear. The love story I don't find very special, but interesting. I recommend the book to people who like love stories with historical background.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A intensive story June 16 2003
By A Customer
At the beginnig I didn't understand much about the story, the people and the circimstances at this time. But going on reading I suddenly understood the connections and the correlations in the story. The characteres in the book are very interesting but also unfathomable.(That`s what the title tells with "The quiet American")
Their acts and statements are not always according to their right opinion and views. Not until the end will you see the true faces of the people. The story starts with a murder, and the whole story actually deals with the preconditions of this event. While you read the book you can always guess who is the murderer. But for me the solution was very unexpected!
I also learnt a lot about the circumnsances and the war at this time in Vietnam.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Kind of Prophetic May 22 2003
Graham Greene is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors since I recently read The Power and the Glory, The End of the Affair, and now this masterpiece. The narrative is wonderfully entertaining, the characterization of Fowler is deep and insightful, and Greene's grasp of America's political outlook seems prophetic (particularly considering the recent Iraqi "war").
The story is of Fowler, a middle-aged English journalist, who is covering the civil war in Vietnam (pre-US war), and he is involved with a young Vietnamese beauty Phuong. Enter Pyle, a naive American who sets out to take Phuong and sets out to pursue naive American political interests.
The novel works on a lot of levels. For one, it is very entertaining; I can see how they wanted to make a movie out of it. It also develops an interesting moral commentary as Fowler is forced to handle a moral quandary. The reporter is forced to "take a side," is forced to grasp some type of belief structure. The political commentary Greene gives to this post-colonial world is also highly intriguing. This should be required reading for politicians (particularly in these times). The Quiet American is one of Greene's best novels and will certainly go down as one of the masterpieces of twentieth-century fiction.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars "Malpractice of Heart and Illegitimate Process"
The excerpt comes from a quote from the poet Arthur Hugh Clough that serves as one of THE QUIET AMERICAN's two epigraphs. Read more
Published on April 26 2003 by James Paris
5.0 out of 5 stars The Pitfalls of Idealism
Greene's The Quiet American is powerful and moving and anyone who desires to better understand the mindset of American policymakers at the outset of the United States' deepened... Read more
Published on Oct. 17 2002 by W. Young
5.0 out of 5 stars Set it Vietnam in the 1950s, it's a warning about the future
Graham Greene wrote this novel in 1955. It's set in the early fifties when Vietnam was still Indo-China and there was a war raging between the French and the Vietnamese. Read more
Published on May 25 2002 by Linda Linguvic
5.0 out of 5 stars The First Vietnam War Novel
Graham Greene is the sort of writer with very broad appeal. He deals with important ideas, and his fiction has real substance, but at the same time his novels are virtually... Read more
Published on Feb. 13 2002 by Samir Quntar "al-Muti"
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the master's best
This book is one of the best examples of Graham Greene's gift of weaving a personal story, usually centered around a rather ordinary and unattractive character, into the events of... Read more
Published on Aug. 29 2001 by Doug Samuelson
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant and Entertaining
A capsule summation of "The Quiet American" doesn't do justice to this tremendous novel. In brief, a young American idealist and a cynical middle-aged journalist vie for... Read more
Published on Aug. 20 2001 by Ethan Cooper
4.0 out of 5 stars End of Empire
Some people hate this book, but what they really detest is the antihero protaganist, Fowler, a jaded and decaying British journalist observing a naive American, Pyle, slowly... Read more
Published on July 19 2001 by Nichomachus
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