The Quiet American

Ranked #15 in Vietnam War, Ranked #16 in Journalistssee more rankings.

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...

Reviews and Recommendations

We've comprehensively compiled reviews of The Quiet American from the world's leading experts.

Richard Branson Founder/Virgin GroupToday is World Book Day, a wonderful opportunity to address this #ChallengeRichard sent in by Mike Gonzalez of New Jersey: Make a list of your top 65 books to read in a lifetime. (Source)

Barack Obama Former USA President"According to the president’s Facebook page and a 2008 interview with the New York Times, these titles are among his most influential forever favorites: Moby Dick, Herman Melville Self-Reliance, Ralph Waldo Emerson Song Of Solomon, Toni Morrison Parting The Waters, Taylor Branch Gilead, Marylinne Robinson Best and the Brightest, David Halberstam The Federalist, Alexander Hamilton Souls of Black Folk, W.E.B. Du Bois The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene The Quiet American, Graham Greene Cancer Ward, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn Gandhi’s autobiography Working, Studs Terkel Wealth of Nations, Adam... (Source)

Ian Buruma The Quiet American is much more about America than it is about Indo-China. The titular character is an idealistic young man in Indo-China, probably working for the CIA, whose well-meaning actions cause havoc. That is a sort of microcosm for what has actually happened in various parts of the world because of American intervention. The Dutch and the British colonial enterprise was largely a commercial one, or in both cases it certainly began as a commercial enterprise, by traders. But the American attitude towards the non-Western world, from the late 19th century onwards, has been of a... (Source)

Charles Glass In the case of Pyle, he was Ivy League, innocent, believed that America was a force for good and should go out and do good in the world. As the French were reluctantly leaving Vietnam, he felt that someone had to go and pick up the white man’s burden and that could only be America as only America was pure and good. He then takes part in an assassination and a devious plot to plant bombs on bicycles whilst blaming the Vietminh. (Source)

Cat Barton It’s a fantastic novel, which is set in Saigon in the early 1950s and foreshadows the Vietnam War. It’s particularly nice to read when you’re in Ho Chi Minh now because Greene describes the city extraordinarily well. It’s obviously set in a very different time, but many of the buildings he writes about can still be seen today. (Source)

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