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The Power and the Glory

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  36,474 ratings  ·  2,307 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, Penguin Classics, 222 pages
Published February 25th 2003 by Penguin Books (first published 1940)
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Jim Fonseca
Nov 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: british-authors
Graham Greene is known as a “Catholic novelist” even though he objected to that description. I mention that because this book is one of his four novels, which, according to Wiki, source of all wisdom, “are the gold standard of the Catholic novel.” The other three are Brighton Rock, The Heart of the Matter, and The End of the Affair.

Like many other Greene novels, this one is set in a down-and-out environment in a Third World country. (Third World at least at the time Greene visited: Mexico and Af
Jun 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
You can never go wrong with this guy—most definitely dude's on my Top Ten of All-Time favorite novelists. You cannot ask for crisper prose: the dialogue is practically in audio, the descriptions themselves cause impressive bouts with synesthesia. I cannot think of a single writer that is without flaw—the closest to that super-man would be Graham Greene.

That being said, this is my least favorite novel of his thus far; and it is interesting to note that this one is widely hailed as his masterpiece
Ahmad Sharabiani
(589 From 1001 Books) - The Labyrinthine Ways = The Power and The Glory, Graham Greene

The Power and the Glory (1940) is a novel by British author Graham Greene. The title is an allusion to the doxology often recited at the end of the Lord's Prayer: "For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever, amen."

It was initially published in the United States under the title The Labyrinthine Ways.

عنوانهای چاپ شده در ایران: «جلال و قدرت»؛ «قدرت و جلال»؛ «قدرت و افتخار»؛ «مسیحای دیگر
Jul 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Greene had an unerring eye for the sanctity of human weakness and the ominousness of human strength.

I am re-reading this book now and am amazed all over again by how Greene makes such poetry out of such mundane horror. The hunted and haunted "whiskey priest" is a compellingly tragic figure, and the idealistic fanatic policeman prefigures not only Cormac McCarthy in Blood Meridien but also so much modern wartime folly. "It became necessary to destroy the town to save it," is a line that seems to
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
W.H. Auden, In Praise of Limestone.

The Whiskey Priest is a Limestone Priest. Scrape him abrasively, and he chips and crumbles. But he is quite beyond caring about appearances.

Me too. Tonight, during a long talk with an old friend about the various total moral disasters
Paul Bryant
May 29, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
Here we have a novel which takes faith at face value which for an atheist reader is a bit of a thwack round the fizzog with a wet towel. This novel is all about the confession and all about the Mass. (And a little bit about the baptism too.) And the reality behind these rituals is that if they aren’t done properly (by a priest) YOU yes YOU could end up going to HELL because you might then die in a state of mortal sin, i.e. outside the reach of the grace of God, these are the rules, don’t look at ...more
Nov 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: english-novels
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
Feb 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Classic Parable, 1930s Mexico, Paramount Importance Today
"A tragic situation exists precisely when virtue does not triumph but when it is still felt that man is nobler than the forces which destroy him." George Orwell, "Shooting an Elephant," 1950.

Greene was driven to write this sympathetic novel about persecution of Mexican priests after visiting the Mexican province of Tabasco in 1938 at the height of the Mexican anti-clerical purge of Marxist revolutionaries. Upon returning home, Greene calle
Jason Koivu
Oct 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
The Power and the Glory is the sort of title to inspire readers to great deeds, pushing beyond the bounds of normal reading capabilities to turn pages at superhuman speed! But alas no. And why not? Afterall, the premise is promising...

A cynical, whiskey priest sneaks about the poor, rural lands of southern Mexico, evading capture for the treasonous action of being a priest. The question is whether he's on the lam to preach the word of god or to save his own neck.

I haven't read much Graham Greene
Adam Dalva
Jun 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Extraordinary, my favorite of the Greenes I’ve read, like a kinetic action scene with some slowed down sequences out of Dostoyevsky, and a touch of The Night of the Hunter. Goodness I loved this book.
The Power and the Glory is a powerful novel that is unashamed to reveal the inglorious that resides in human nature and the real struggles the best of us encounter in trying to rise above our limitations. The protagonist is an unnamed whisky priest who is all too acutely aware that he is unfit for office.

The story is set in the southern Mexican state of Tabasco in the 1930s when the Catholic Church was outlawed by the revolutionary government. It was a time of religious persecution and a capital
May 30, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene’s 1940 novel about the Mexican state of Tabasco’s virulent anti-church campaign in the 1930s is a powerful statement about courage, duty and the persistence of faith.

Greene describes the flight of the “whiskey priest” a never named survivor in the state’s operation to rid all vestiges of Catholic faith, even to the point of arresting priests, finding them guilty of treason and executing them against a wall with firing squads. Some priests were given the opp
I'm not a Christian. I most probably am an agnostic who's constantly flirting with atheism. What I feel about the Church as a constitution and the practices of the priests and their followers is contempt, to say the least. You read this, now look at my rating. OK? Read it again. Look at my rating. Get it?

This is a book that's called The Power And The Glory and it's about a priest trying to stay alive in a country where all priests are executed and faith is prohibited. The reason it appealed to
Bob Newman
Dec 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When a man with a gun meets a man with a prayer.....the man with a prayer is a dead man."

Not many people would start off a review of a Graham Greene novel with a paraphrase from a Clint Eastwood movie, but I am just a drifter on the high plains of literature. This is no doubt a powerful novel with the same theme of man's relation to God that suffuses many of Greene's other works. In a Mexico where state control had broken down, local satraps carried out projects of their own, taking national pol
Michael Perkins
Oct 01, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a re-read and, boy, no one writes this well any more.

The prison chapter, #3 in Part Two, is an utterly amazing piece of writing. You feel you're right there in the dark, crowded cell with the whiskey priest and the rest of the inmates. This book should be required reading in any college English lit class.


Truly haunting.....

"They had travelled by the sun until the black wooded bar of mountain told them where to go. They might have been the only survivors of a world which was
Steven Godin
After being received into the Roman Catholic Church Graham Greene would some years later travel to Mexico in 1938 to report and witness first hand the persecution of the clergy, this would clearly go on to have a major impact in writing 'The Power and the Glory', which sees an unnamed Priest (known to locals as the 'whisky Priest') go on the run from the authorities during a time of religious hostilities where many Priests were tried for treason and shot, with only his mule and little in the way ...more
Dave Schaafsma
“He knew now that at the end there was only one thing that counted-- to be a saint.”--Greene

I have always listed this book among the top ten novels of my life, but have not read it for many years. I agree with John Updike, who says of the book, “This is Greene’s masterpiece. The energy and grandeur of his finest novel derive from the will toward compassion, and an ideal communism even more Christian than Communist.” I just reread Greene’s The Heart of the Matter, which I found terrific, but dar
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
Jan 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Power and the Glory is a powerful and a glorious story. Set as a consequence of Cristero War, the novel revolves majorly around the journey of a whisky priest, a term coined by Graham Greene. An attempt by Mexican government to suppress the Catholic Church was in full swing. As a result, the lieutenant comes up with a plan so that he can follow the government's order.

This novel is essentially about perspectives and kindness in the face of the barren world. It is about mutual respect to diffe
Apr 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I wish I could write like Graham Greene.

Actually, I take that back. I wish I could see the world and chronicle it as Greene did. And I wish, oh how I wish, that I could believe like Greene.

'The Power And The Glory' is lauded widely (and deservedly so) as Greene's masterpiece and while some hard-nosed critics and snobs call it a 'Catholic novel' merely because its primary protagonist is a priest and it deals primarily with the said priest's struggle to keep the flag of his faith flying even in
K.D. Absolutely
Nov 13, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  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.
Mar 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A truly great book and (forgive the use of what is probably a very well –worn cliché) a novel that is without a doubt powerful and glorious on many levels.

Set in Mexico in the 1930’s against the backdrop of an attempted suppression of the Catholic Church by the authorities. Ostensibly this is the story of the fugitive, renegade ‘Whiskey Priest’ (a great creation and a believably authentic character) and his quest to escape the anti-Catholic authorities. This is a novel that confronts head-on th
Jul 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uk-irish, fiction
"The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church".
Thus Tertullian wrote in Apologeticus, chapter 50. He kind of knew what he was talking about, as he lived long before the glorious days of triumphant Christianity - long before Constantine's mother started throwing tantrums and her son realised Pope Sylvester was not merely fucking around with chalices and wafers ("In hoc signo vinces": how about that, Marshall McLuhan?).
Like it or not, Tertullian's words summarise the essence of Christianity
Jun 20, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Jen by: Montambo
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 22, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
His best, or my favorite anyway. Listened to the first half driving to St. Louis to care for my mom, the second half on the way back to my daughter’s shower. Read this back in 1998. I liked that the ‘Whiskey Priest’ was traveling as I was. I’m reading it now during my week at home and I may re-listen on my return journey ... there is so much to take in.

Do we ever learn his name? It feels so strange that he has no name. And that he cannot repent of the sin which conceived his daughter. I can und
Feb 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 16, 2020 marked it as unable-to-finish
As much as I have enjoyed Graham Greene recently, this one (his purported masterpiece) is not for me - abandoned at page 60. It is possible I'll pick it up again, but unlikely. Religion - Catholicism - is too much of a focus. ...more
During a book fair organized in my village, I was surprised to find this book by Graham Greene that I had discovered as a teenager and forgotten since.
The story takes place around 1930 in Mexico, the communist revolutionaries hunt down and shoot priests who refuse to deny their faith. A clandestine priest, the last exercising the profession, is pursued by a convinced Communist lieutenant. This hunted priest is an alcoholic, the father of a little girl he had with one of his parishioners.
A price
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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

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