Penguin Classics Quiet American Paperback – 2004
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
Graham Greene's classic exploration of love, innocence, and morality in Vietnam "I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused," Graham Greene's narrator Fowler remarks of Alden Pyle, the eponymous "Quiet American" of what is perhaps the most controversial novel of his career. Pyle is the brash young idealist sent out by Washington on a mysterious mission to Saigon, where the French Army struggles against the Vietminh guerrillas. As young Pyle's well-intentioned policies blunder into bloodshed, Fowler, a seasoned and cynical British reporter, finds it impossible to stand safely aside as an observer. But Fowler's motives for intervening are suspect, both to the police and himself, for Pyle has stolen Fowler's beautiful Vietnamese mistress. Originally published in 1956 and twice adapted to film, The Quiet American remains a terrifiying and prescient portrait of innocence at large. This Graham Greene Centennial Edition includes a new introductory essay by Robert Stone. For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
Browse and search another edition of this book.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
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.
Thomas Fowler is a British journal in Saigon during the 1950s, when the French were fighting Vietnamese Communist insurgents before the United States inherited that mess after the battle of Dien Bien Phu. He comes upon Arden Pyle, the Quiet American of the title, a man almost too innocent to live. (At one point, Greene writes that "innocence is like a dumb leper who has lost his bell, wandering the world, meaning no harm.") While purporting to be an economic consultant, he is actually an American agent attempting to apply simplistic principles to a tangled situation that is beyond his understanding.
In the process, he snags Fowler's Vietnamese mistress while pretending to remain the journalist's friend. Although he seems to be invulnerable in his innocence for a while, the quagmire finally claims him as a victim. He is very like one of Conrad's "pilgrims" in THE HEART OF DARKNESS, cool and elegant in their pursuit of nefarious colonial pursuits to the very end.
The "illegitimate process" may be a good description of Pyle's work, but Graham Greene's ever-present "malpractice of heart" is seen in Fowler, the French police inspector Vigot, the mistress Phuong's sister, Fowler's fellow journalist Bill Granger, and the suspicious Mr Heng.
At one point, Fowler wonders, "Wouldn't we all do better not trying to understand, accepting the fact that no human being will ever understand another, not a wife a husband, a lover a mistress, nor a parent a child?Read more ›
A valuable bonus of the Viking Critical Library edition are the essays at the end of the book that provide additional detail to Greene's story. In addition to reviews of the book in the context of US diplomacy, espionage and counterinsurgency, of particular worth is the brief history of American military involvement in the late 1950s/early 1960s in Indochina by Frank Futrell, former Historian of the Air Force. Futrell is knowledgeable and a prolific yet very readable writer, and his 14-page essay at the end of the book serves as a stark epilogue to the novel.
Most recent customer reviews
Well written and the characters are flawed as expected. Descriptive as "Greene standard" is.Published 8 months ago by Raj H.
It's great classical writing and I am enjoying reading it. The push and pull between the world weary Fowler and the naive idealist Pyle is of particular interest to me, as is the... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Lily Lai
Even though first published in 1955, the book still rings true for today. The only thing that has changed are the geographic areas. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Don Thomas
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. Read more
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.Published on Feb. 17 2004 by BostonLady
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. Read morePublished on June 16 2003
At the beginnig I didn't understand much about the story, the people and the circimstances at this time. Read morePublished on June 16 2003
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 morePublished on May 25 2002 by Linda Linguvic