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Getting to Know the General: The Story of an Involvement [Hardcover]

Graham Greene
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

September 27, 1984 0370308085 978-0370308081 F First Printing
Greene's account of a five year personal involvement with Omar Torrijos, ruler of Panama from 1968-81 and Sergeant Chuchu, one of the few men in the National Guard whom the General trusted completely. It is a fascinating tribute to an inspirational politician in the vital period of his country's history, and to an unusual and enduring friendship.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: The Bodley Head Ltd; F First Printing edition (September 27, 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0370308085
  • ISBN-13: 978-0370308081
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 4.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #460,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Graham Greene's adventures in Panama February 27, 2005
This must be one to the most exciting books i have read. I was looking for a book specifically about Omar Torrijos, about who he was and what he did. The book gave me plenty of the character as seen by Graham Greene, his dear friend, but it really was mostly about the adventures that Graham had in Panama. He talks about how he was travelling the country with "Chuchu" (José de Jesús Martínez), who was probably the most trusted friend of the General. Graham gives us insight into how his friendship with the General developed and how he began to admire his cause and understand his desperate situation in Panama. The glimpses of the General sometimes seem too short, but the character described and the stories told about his savior actions towards many refugees and political exiles in South America leaves nothing but admiration for this man.

There is a lot of political thoughts from Graham given on the situation in South America, and he seems to have know a lot of powerful figures in that area. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in a short look at Omar Torrijos and the political situation in Central America during the late 70s and early 80s. The adventures of Graham are not to be missed, often quite comical and interesting.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not what he used to be May 20, 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The book is perfectly okay, but it is nowhere near the standard set by Greene's other nonfiction, especially _Journey without Maps_ and _The Lawless Roads_. The prose of _Getting to Know_ seems simple, almost childish, repetitive, and cliched. In those respects, it resembles Greene's late fiction. He was about 80 when he wrote it, and his talent had clearly faded. Still, it's worth reading as an account of a distinguished writer's foray into a political relationship with Omar Torrijos, benevolent dictator of Panama.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Rum Punch Part Two....Machinations in Panama July 14, 2011
Dear Readers

I really would like to finish this review but I'm going out to get a Rum Punch first. Bye for now.

Back again. This all goes back to The Monroe Doctrine of 1823. When America ( U.S.A.) made it plain that they The United States of America would take it as an unfriendly act if any other European Nations or anyone else for that matter were to poke their noses in Central and South Amercia and "disturb" the "sublime" protective relationship that Washington accorded to its Southern "neighbors".

Then Teddy Roosevelt led his "roughriders" to "mess up" Cuba and U.S.A constructed the Panama Canal. Which of course was under American control until President Jimmy Carter got the "big idea" to give it back.

Well the intrigue and "wheeling and dealing" of this whole negotiation process in the handing over of the canal is what this story tries to deal with.
And in fact it is a "non-fiction" novel because Graham Greene really was invited down to Panama by the then President of Panama in order "to have a look at the whole situation".

At that time Central America ( as well there was concurrent to this upheaval in South America )was rife with wars. And Panama enjoyed a certain special relationship with all powers concerned both left and right.

Could you imagine if for example Fidel Castro could have gotten control of the Canal. Wow!! That would have been wild !!
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