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The Power and the Glory (Folio Society)

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  16,071 ratings  ·  1,050 reviews
How does good spoil, and how can bad be redeemed? In his penetrating novel The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene explores corruption and atonement through a priest and the people he encounters. In the 1930s one Mexican state has outlawed the Church, naming it a source of greed and debauchery. The priests have been rounded up and shot by firing squad--save one, the whisky ...more
255 pages
Published 2008 by Folio Society (first published January 1st 1940)
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sckenda
Jun 14, 2014 sckenda rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those unsure of their own goodness
My childhood religious educators posed the rhetorical question, “if your religion were outlawed, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” The implication of the question, for all people, regardless of religion or lack thereof, is that our actions do not always comport with our stated values.

The nameless “whisky priest” of this book will quickly confess his own “unworthiness” because he is a sinner, guilt-ridden over his lust for women and his preference for alcohol over prayer. Though he
...more
Megha
Mar 20, 2010 Megha rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Megha by: Ben Harrison
Shelves: reviews, kickass

This little gem turned out to be quite a surprise. It is indeed powerful and it is glorious. Greene's writing seems really simple and is easy to read, and yet is so full of meaning. I am still soaking it all in.

As the lead character, the 'whiskey-priest', moves from one place to another, Greene takes us along on a journey taut with suspense and tension. However, it is really his moral journey which is the most captivating. We not only witness the priest's struggle to escape, we also get to look
...more
Paul
This is the first Greene I have read in years and it is a powerful novel. It is set in Mexico and Greene has spent some time there in research. The novel is about a priest; a whisky priest in a province of Mexico where the Catholic Church is banned and priests are shot. The unnamed protagonist is a bad priest and a drunkard who has also fathered a child. He is also a coward.
The title is taken from the end of The Lord's Prayer and there is religious imagery all over the place. The priest rides a
...more
K.D. Absolutely
Jun 17, 2014 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 and 1001 Must Read Books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kemper
One thing I know after reading this, All the Pretty Horses and Joe Lansdale’s Captains Outrageous, I ain’t going to Mexico any time soon.

Graham Greene’s classic account of a priest living on the run in a Mexican state after socialists have taken political control and are trying to abolish the Catholic Church is a grim tale of human nature at it’s best and worst. The unnamed priest is a drunk who isn’t particularly brave and has committed sins big enough to register fairly high on he Catholic G
...more
Jen
Jul 30, 2009 Jen rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Jen by: Montambo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Ben
My first Graham Greene novel was The End of the Affair and it rocked my world, and affected me in some profound ways. It was the perfect novel for me at the time, and I am forever indebted to Mr. Greene for giving me that enlightening experience.

Going into this, I knew better than to expect the same magnitude of visceral reaction that I had with The End of the Affair, but nonetheless, because the connection I had with the aforementioned was so strong, I couldn't help but have decently high expec
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Chiara Pagliochini
I migliori romanzi sono quelli che mi lasciano come sono adesso: perplessa, moralmente scossa, vagamente isterica. Sono i migliori non tanto per il piacere che suscita la loro lettura o l’affetto che si prova per un personaggio o magari una scrittura fascinosa. Sono i migliori perché agiscono come un pungolo sulla mia coscienza, perché svitano e riavvitano i miei circuiti come un cavatappi. Controversi, grotteschi, disturbanti, si insinuano a un livello che è al di sotto della coscienza psicolog ...more
Dave Russell
That was another mystery: it sometimes seemed to him that venial sins—impatience, an unimportant lie, pride, a neglected opportunity—cut off from grace more completely than the worst sins of all. Then, in his innocence, he had felt no love for anyone: now in his corruption he had learnt...

There is a key scene which takes place in a prison after The Priest is arrested for the less serious crime of possessing brandy and not the more serious crime of treason, for which he is also deemed guilty by
...more
Adam
The “whisky priest” is on the run from the law from the law in Mexico. Set in period in Mexico’s history where priests where being shot and the Catholic Church was illegal, this book plays like the New Testament mixed with an existential western. Grim and suspenseful, stocked with cinematic imagery in a gothic and decaying Mexico, this book is masterpiece from the first page on. While my personal beliefs are nearer to the nihilistic lieutenant (kind of a Miltonic devil type character) chasing th ...more
BrokenTune
"The wall of the burial-ground had fallen in: one or two crosses had been smashed by enthusiasts: an angel had lost one of its stone wings, and what gravestones were left undamaged leant at an acute angle in the long marshy grass. One image of the Mother of God had lost ears and arms and stood like a pagan Venus over the grave of some rich forgotten timber merchant. It was odd – this fury to deface, because, of course, you could never deface enough. If God had been like a toad, you could have ri ...more
Kim
3.68 stars. 3.85 stars

So, my first jaunt into book club territory. What do I bust in with? The Power and the Glory. What an idiot I am.

I have to say that this is probably not a book that I would have picked if left to my own devices. My first introduction into Greene was The End of the Affair and that’s only because I’m a sucker for a good ‘woe is me’ story. Bitterness and anger to unknown deities? Rock on! But, put into this context - in this setting - I have to admit that I felt a bit lost.
...more
matt

A little too heavy-handed on the Catholicism-as-last-beacon-of-light-in-dark-world bit (Hitchens referred to it as "clammy handed") but it's got all the things that make Greene a fine, fine writer as well...

His cinematic vividness, his supreme control of pacing, drama and characterization, his feel for place and space...I've really got to read more of his work.

It really is a pleasure to read him. His sentences go down like good scotch.
Algernon
[9/10] a great book, I could easily have given it 5 stars, but I'm trying to curb my enthusiasm a little, seeing how high my overall rating is. What can I do? I love books and I'm not that difficult to please. Although pleasing is not the first thing that comes to mind about The Power and The Glory.

Disturbing, heart wrenching, gloomy, suicidally downbeat for most of the journey - yet I feel this is a story that needed to be told, one that couldn't be sugar coated with witty remarks or beautiful
...more
C.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Stephen
The Mexican Constitution of 1917, that should ring some bells about other events in 1917, was an extreme document aimed in part to rid Mexico of the Roman Catholic Church.
Mexican Constitution of 1917 contained further anti-clerical provisions. Article 3 called for secular education in the schools and prohibited the Church from engaging in primary education; Article 5 outlawed monastic orders; Article 24 forbade public worship outside the confines of churches; and Article 27 placed restrictions
...more
Stela

At first, it seems pretty evident: the Power belongs to Mexican army in Calles’ time, which tries to usurp the Glory that belongs to God by hunting down priests all over the country, closing churches and punishing often by death those who dare express their beliefs or protect fugitive clerks.

Between men’s Power and God’s Glory, an unnamed figure stands tall even when he is knelt down by his own deficiencies.

He has all the traits that should depict an antihero: he’s a pathetic drunkard, who does
...more
Kristel
I haven't yet decided if reading this novel at the height of summer in the Philippines was supremely prescient or foolhardy. The first few chapters of this novel are alienating in their bleakness, approximating the aridity of a soul so far from grace. Graham Greene's prose sucks out all the oxygen from the story, leaving a nihilistic parable suspended in time.

The Power and the Glory is ostensibly grounded in a historical event. Set in the 1930's, it dramatizes the period when a wave of revolutio
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Anne Broyles
Even though the reader knows what is going to happen to a flawed "whiskey priest" on the run in a Mexican state (1930s) that has outlawed religion, by the end, there is so much in this rich novel. Phrases leapt out of the pages on this my second or third reading (first time, in high school)that summed up so much of life, faith, relationships, humanity. I underlined something on many pages. Little gems like:

"His conscience began automatically to work: it was like a slot machine into which any coi
...more
Emir Never
When I visited my mother on her birthday, January 1, this year, I also inspected the books below the wooden stairs of her house, the home of my youth. There, gathering dust in the wooden shelf, are several books I and my brother owned. A cursory inspection and flipping through some of the books rendered my hands grimy, a testament to the sad state of the small collection that only one of my nephews bothers to read. Among the books, two or three Graham Greene novels share the dust and despair, al ...more
Stephen
A voice from within prison says, "You believers are all the same. Christianity makes you cowards."

It is not difficult becoming one when you live in a time and a culture that is forcing you to choose who you must be, whose side you are on,

They had him on the run: he dared not enter a village in case somebody else should pay with his life: perhaps a man who was in mortal sin and unrepentant: it was impossible to say what souls might not be lost simply because he was obstinate and proud and wouldn'
...more
Kinga
Oct 01, 2010 Kinga rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of Mario Vargas Llosa
This was so sweetly twisted. I love me some moral relativism. I think religion (especially champion religion like catholicism) can do an excellent job complicating things and creating some really unnecessary moral dilemmas. In "The Power and the Glory" we have a priest who is so painfully human which was utterly inconvenient when you lived in 1930s Mexico.
I am afraid if I were in this book I would be the Lieutenant running around trigger-happy shouting "shoot'em all! The Church is the root of al
...more
Michael William West
It's almost surreal that this could have an average rating of less than 4.00. An enormously dense, beautiful, shimmering deconstruction of a religious psyche in the ideal oppressive atmosphere, the whiskey priest never quite earning your sympathy in spite of the relentless suspension of the trigger that is bound to be pulled, the narrative hangs, sweating, winking, a moist finger against the warm metal, prepared to fire throughout. It is one of the greatest masterpieces of English fiction of all ...more
Kathryn
Considering what I knew about this book, the history surrounding the setting and such, I was initially afraid that i would need a more detailed knowledge to understand the story. This turned out to not be true. Greene's writing centers on the characters and like any great story, the reader need not be familiar with the setting to enjoy the tale, though enjoy may not be the best word to describe this book. I am uncertain still as to how much I enjoyed this. I certainly appreciate the book. There ...more
Paul Bartusiak
According to an introduction by John Updike, The Power and the Glory is generally agreed to be Graham Greene's masterpiece. It was good, and I enjoyed it, but being a great fan of Greene, it was not my favorite. This review is admittedly written with hesitation: parts of the story were phenomenal and moving, and I wonder whether, upon further reflection, and perhaps even re-reading, my opinion of it would be elevated.

The opening chapter of the novel was truly mysterious and vivid: a stark, ari
...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Okay, that does it. Officially my last try with Graham Greene. I've given him many more chances than he deserves. Aside from The Quiet American, I just cannot abide his style.
M. D.  Hudson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jesse Cone


For years I’ve heard that I should read Graham Greene’s The Power and the Glory, and I finally picked it up this week. The previous week I had the pleasure of watching the BBC miniseries version of Evelyn Waugh’s “Brideshead Revisited” which left me profoundly moved yet quite unsatisfied. Waugh was a great admirer of Greene, a fellow Roman Catholic novelist, and at one time defended three of Greene’s novels (including The Power and the Glory) from a bishop’s condemnation.

The Power and The Glory
...more
Daniel Villines
If you are looking for Graham Greene, be assured that a part of him resides within The Power and the Glory. In the tradition of some of his previous works he does not hesitate to perform invasive exploratory surgery on the human condition in order to uncover more than a few basic human truths. As such, there is no sense of Hollywood within these pages.

The interesting part of this book is his protagonist. Greene all but creates the common man within his pages, complete with pitiful self attribute
...more
Ensiform
A nameless priest is on the run in an intolerant Communist Mexican state where religion has been outlawed. He is a bit of a drinker and has even fathered a child, yet he doesn’t think of renouncing his faith. He’s not exactly a hero – he is aware the police shoot hostages from the villages where he hid, but doesn’t give himself up – yet he’s not a coward either. He thinks it’s his duty to try to escape, but he doubts what good he’s doing by not fleeing the state entirely.

The book is written with
...more
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Henry Graham Greene, OM, CH was an English novelist, short story writer, playwright, screenplay writer, travel writer and critic whose works explore the ambivalent moral and political issues of the modern world. Greene combined serious literary acclaim with wide popularity.

Although Greene objected strongly to being described as a “Catholic novelist” rather than as a “novelist who happened to be Ca
...more
More about Graham Greene...
The Quiet American The End of the Affair The Heart of the Matter Our Man in Havana Brighton Rock

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“Hate is a lack of imagination.” 243 likes
“And when we love our sin then we are damned indeed.” 52 likes
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