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The Power and the Glory

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3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  17,409 ratings  ·  1,110 reviews
In a poor, remote section of Southern Mexico, the paramilitary group, the Red Shirts have taken control. God has been outlawed, and the priests have been systematically hunted down and killed. Now, the last priest is on the run. Too human for heroism, too humble for martyrdom, the nameless little worldly “whiskey priest” is nevertheless impelled toward his squalid Calvary ...more
Paperback, 222 pages
Published February 25th 2003 by Penguin Classics (first published January 1st 1940)
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The End of the Affair by Graham GreeneThe Quiet American by Graham GreeneThe Power and the Glory by Graham GreeneOur Man in Havana by Graham GreeneBrighton Rock by Graham Greene
Best Graham Greene novels
3rd out of 24 books — 132 voters
Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn WaughThe Power and the Glory by Graham GreeneThe Screwtape Letters by C.S. LewisThe Divine Comedy by Dante AlighieriThe Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
Catholic Fiction
2nd out of 363 books — 307 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Steve Sckenda
Jun 14, 2014 Steve Sckenda rated it 5 of 5 stars
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
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
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
...more
Edward
Introduction

--The Power and the Glory
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
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
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.
Petra
This is a powerful little book. It shows the best and worst of dogma, as well as the cowardice and bravery of being human and living up to a standard, whatever that standard may be.
The unnamed Whisky Priest is everything good and bad the human race. He's flawed, full of guilt & sin and still he struggles to do right and find his way. He holds mass and confessions, absolving others of guilt and sin.....but there's no one to absolve his guilt & sin. He will suffer always. Yet, he faces hi
...more
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
Alex
May 08, 2015 Alex rated it 4 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2015
Graham Greene's whisky priest is one of our better martyrs. Self-loathing, self-pitying, starving, he shambles helplessly through this parable of a book.

It gets off to a fragmented start; for the first third or so, you might not be sure who the protagonist is. Stick with it; it will gain focus, and everyone is there for a reason. Greene's structure is in fact precise. He knows what he's doing. The fat, hopeless Padre Jose, miserably married, is there to show us what the whisky priest is doing ri
...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
...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
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
Giedre
Although lately I had no time or mood for writing reviews, I can't just give three stars to "The Power and the Glory" by Graham Greene without at least leaving a comment to justify it. Please, don't get confused, Greene's writing in "The Power and the Glory" has never failed me: it's captivating, deep, and I enjoyed the book until the very last moment. The story resembled a relay-race to me, where the thread of the story was handed over from one character to another like a baton, creating a full ...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
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
Gill
I've just finish this on audio. I'm extremely glad I used audio, because it means that the parts of it that I found long winded I wasn't able to speed up through. It meant I had to take it at a steady pace, and I think the book really benefited from this. It was also very interesting to learn about the situation in Mexico that the book was based on. Andrew Sachs was a fantastic narrator . Because of him I've given the book four stars, without I would probably have given it three. It's definitely ...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
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
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
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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...
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“Hate is a lack of imagination.” 263 likes
“And when we love our sin then we are damned indeed.” 53 likes
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