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Extended Audio Sample The Quiet American Audiobook, by Graham Greene Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (16,509 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Graham Greene Narrator: Joseph Porter Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: March 2009 ISBN: 9781455170531
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Alden Pyle, an idealistic young American, is sent to Vietnam to promote democracy amidst the intrigue and violence of the French war with the Vietminh. His friend Fowler, a cynical foreign correspondent, looks on but soon finds it difficult to remain simply an observer. Fowler’s mistress, a beautiful native girl, creates a catalyst for jealousy and competition between the men and a cultural clash resulting in bloodshed and deep misgivings.

Written in 1955 prior to the Vietnam conflict, The Quiet American foreshadows the events leading up to the war. Questions surrounding the moral ambiguity of the involvement of the United States in foreign countries are as relevant today as they were fifty years ago.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Greene is a superb storyteller. He evokes the most actual streets, the most vivid skies, and individuals who can have a lacerating reality as they search the labyrinth of their lives.”

    Newsweek

  • “A continuously intriguing piece of storytelling....Greene has brought into vivid relief...the fearful price of innocence—and has shown that behind innocence there lurk unconscious arrogance and a self-righteous streak of moral blindness.”

    Atlantic

  • “There has been no novel of any political scope about Vietnam since Graham Greene wrote The Quiet American.”

    Harper’s

  • “Greene at his best. The hand of the master is clearly revealed in the structure of the novel, which rises to a magnificent climax.”

    New Leader

  • “An intensely observed portrait of Vietnam on the eve of French defeat…Part novel of intrigue, part mystery, part love story, The Quiet American remains as powerful today as when it was first written.”

    Publishers Weekly

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Patrick McCoy | 2/11/2014

    " Probably my favorite Graham Greene novel... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anna | 1/26/2014

    " I think I should re-read this because I feel like I was too young to fully comprehend it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michael Scott | 1/26/2014

    " Background: I've re-read The Quiet American to get in touch again with the Greenesque touch before starting The End of the Affair. The Quiet American is as difficult to categorize as it was easy to read. Apparently, the book is about Mr. Fowler, the morally corrupt British reporter who will recount us the story, and Pyle, the American under-cover agent that everyone knows to be an under-cover agent; the two are involved in the French-Vietnamese war and in the personal war of getting the same Vietnamese girl. In its elusive depth, this book includes three story lines, the mystery of Pyle's murder, the psychological insights on Mr. Fowler, and the reportage on a war that involves the civilians. Each of these story lines is delicately built and presented; a description of each story line is beyond the purpose of this review. For me, the main appeal of Graham Greene comes not from his undeniably wonderful phrasing ("The hurt is in the act of possession: we are too small in mind and body to possess another person without pride or to be possessed without humiliation."), good humor ("I never like giving information to the police. It saves them trouble."), and skillful misenscene. Instead, it is his articulation of the characters that draws me: Mr. Greene thinks and speaks like Fowler, and Pyle, and several other characters, in this writ alone. On the negative side, perhaps each story line would have deserved more text in this book, or even a separate book. To conclude, a very enjoyable read, perhaps a bit too short for the three stories within. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dick | 1/16/2014

    " Exquisite story of Saigan of the French days "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Timothy | 1/8/2014

    " Both a cynical look at the follies of international intervention, and a critique on attempting to stay uninvolved. Sooner or later, we all have to pick a side, and this book provides a clear warning for not approaching it ignorantly. It's also a damn good novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Meri | 1/3/2014

    " Just read this recently. Greene was prolific and brilliant--such an enviable combo! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marvin | 1/2/2014

    " Sort of the flip side of the Greene novels I've liked best (Monsignor Quixote & The Power & the Glory). In those, deeply flawed priests become the instruments of grace. Here, an innocent, totally scrupulous American is, with the best of intentions, the instrument of evil. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Quinton Blue | 1/1/2014

    " This is a novel I'd be willing to read again. I think it's Graham Greene's best work by far. Too bad the idiots shaping America's Vietnam policy didn't read it, but they probably wouldn't have understood it had they done so. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jane | 12/27/2013

    " I've read this before, years back. Greene is an extraordinary writer, and this book is brilliant and timely (alas). "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tom Milton | 12/4/2013

    " Our leaders should have read this book before going further in Vietnam. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Chrissy | 11/23/2013

    " I'm sorry to say that this is one book that I didn't enjoy one bit. It seriously did put me to sleep. It's not MY style of writing but I beleive many others will def enjoy it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nachiappan | 11/14/2013

    " Not brilliant; OK for a school literature book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike Abraham | 11/13/2013

    " The best 1st chapter of any novel I've ever read, though, oddly, it was only on the second read that this became apparent. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lucy Tan | 11/2/2013

    " I can't believe I haven't read this book until now. It's a short but with so much depth it may as well be 400 pages long. Graham Greene is endlessly fascinating, as are his characters--he is the first journalist whose literature I've really admired. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Garry | 7/29/2013

    " First Graham Greene. Great sense of place. The "quiet American" is a scary American. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Simonewilliams2 | 4/24/2013

    " Even when we don't want to choose sides we all end up choosing sides. Who's to say one is wrong in their decision if justified with support? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rob Caroti | 1/17/2013

    " I'm glad I read this and it was a very interesting view of Vietnam before US official involvement. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jscorse | 11/26/2012

    " An almost perfect novel- my favorite Graham Greene. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Nathaniel Branch | 7/24/2012

    " The book starts a little slow but picks up about halfway through. The characters become entrancing and the dialogue becomes priceless. The nuances of the minds and attitudes are deep. A beautiful look at the expat and of Vietnam in the 50's. A must read for any traveler, physical or spiritual. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Raegan Butcher | 2/3/2012

    " Oh man did this make me want to move to Southeast Asia and devote the rest of my life to smoking opium! This was my first introduction to Graham Greene and I enjoyed it quite a bit. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jess | 5/1/2011

    " Loved the descriptions, but the characters annoyed me. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Chrissy | 4/14/2011

    " I'm sorry to say that this is one book that I didn't enjoy one bit. It seriously did put me to sleep. It's not MY style of writing but I beleive many others will def enjoy it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tony | 4/12/2011

    " Not up there with his more vigorous stuff...a bit too ruminative and vague...but still by and large a good read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lorene | 4/9/2011

    " My favorite Graham Greene novel! He's a classic. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Matthew | 4/6/2011

    " At first, I was annoyed by the haughty tone of the narrator. How bad can America fuck up in foreign wars when we didn't even draw the lines? I continued reading, to realize that everyone is clueless. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rashan | 4/6/2011

    " Luved this book. GG has a way of describing Vietnam, during such a trying time, so beautifully that I may have went! Quick read with a touch of mystery. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Dafarrell | 3/30/2011

    "
    3.5 stars.

    Started slow but got interesting. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Rachel | 3/20/2011

    " One of the few cases where the movie was more engaging than the book. "

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About the Author
Author Graham Greene

Graham Greene (1904–1991) was an English novelist, short-story writer, and playwright. He was an ardent convert to Catholicism, and all of his writings reflect his religious views. His novels are set in places in a state of seedy decay, and many of his locations, such as Vietnam in The Quiet American and Cuba in Our Man in Havana, became international crisis spots.

About the Narrator

Joseph Porter studied acting at the Moscow Art Theatre and Depaul University before graduating summa cum laude with a BFA from Wayne State University.