Chris's Reviews > The Quiet American

The Quiet American by Graham Greene
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Jan 24, 12

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Read on January 24, 2012

While I am not a fan of Greene's so-called "Catholic" books, this book, The Quiet American, is certainly one of the greatest books of the 20th century.

Any book which has the courage to face down American self-interest and put that moralizing hyper-power in its proper place in the world is always going to get a great recommendation from me. This book does that beautifully, using intelligent prose and almost poetic drama, in dealing with America's very early secret murderous anticommunist efforts in Southeast Asia, Vietnam in this case.

But it is much more. It is remakably and eerily prescient about what actually was to happen when the Vietnam war escalated in the 1960s - recall that this book was written in 1955, well before the United States embarked on its more public and culturally destructive involvement on a people of which they knew little.

Ultimately, this an anti-war book which achieved high literary status. It doesn't get much better than that. Unfortunately such shining examples of sanity never much affect public policy.
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