Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Buy Used
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Good condition with normal wear. Supplemental materials such as CDs or access codes may NOT be included regardless of title. May have bookstore stickers on cover. Expedited shipping available (2-4 day delivery)! Contact us with any questions!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

The Quiet American (Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics) Paperback – November 5, 1991

4.4 out of 5 stars 290 customer reviews

See all 61 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
New from Used from
Paperback, November 5, 1991
$4.97 $0.01
Unknown Binding
"Please retry"
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Best Books of the Year So Far
Looking for something great to read? Browse our editors' picks for the Best Books of the Year So Far in fiction, nonfiction, mysteries, children's books, and much more.
click to open popover

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This edition of Greene's novel "of sexual intrigue, savage warfare, and some mystery" (LJ 3/1/56) is the newest member of the Viking "Critical Library" series. Along with the full text of the novel, the volume includes criticism of the work plus biographical information and essays on Greene. Nice for the price.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.


"No serious writer of this century has more thoroughly invaded and shaped the public imagination than Graham Greene." —Time --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Twentieth-Century Classics
  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Reissue edition (November 5, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140185003
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140185003
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 7.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (290 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,609,899 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Andrew McCaffrey VINE VOICE on July 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
I can honestly say that I've spent more time thinking about the events of Graham Greene's THE QUIET AMERICAN than of any other book I've read in months. In short, this is the story of America's involvement in Vietnam, full stop. Astounding is the fact that this was written between 1952 and 1955, yet can serve as a metaphor for almost two further decades of US involvement in that region.
This is no simple tale, although it can be read as one. It works on many different levels. In its simplest form, this is a story about two foreigners in Indo-China: a middle-aged British reporter, and a young idealistic American. They involve themselves in two main plots: one concerning the French Army's battle with the Vietminh, and the second, concerning the two men's relationship with a native woman and the subsequent fight for her affections. On this level, THE QUIET AMERICAN works as an effective thriller. Who is the mysterious "third force" that Pyle, the American, is aiding? Why is he even there, and why is he providing aid to this group? Will Fowler, the British journalist, abandon his policy of neutrality and enter into the conflict? Who will end up with the girl at the end?
But there are all sorts of other subtexts and subtleties going on here. Pyle isn't just "the quiet American"; he is America -- at least as far as the US's involvement in Vietnam is concerned. And the difference in age between Pyle and Fowler is no random chance. Fowler is the older man; his country has already had its expansionist, colonial period. Fowler already knows what it's like to get one's fingers burnt interfering in other people's conflicts. But Pyle won't be told. He's the young inexperienced man who has to find out for himself -- to the detriment of everyone.
Read more ›
8 Comments 302 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Only the great Graham Greene could have written a story that is as wry and understated as it is prophetic. "The Quiet American" captures several different attitudes during Vietnam's transition from French colonial occupation to American "involvement". In this novel the French do what they do best, namely they undertake a hopeless struggle and experience painful defeat. The Americans enter the scene with grandiose plans, tons of money, and utterly no sense of reality. The Vietnamese are, of course, hard-edged and practical, while the lone Englishman-God bless him-is the epitome of dying yet dignified colonialism.
For those of you who haven't read the book, its both an odd love story and a metaphor for American involvement in Vietnam. The hero, Fowler is a washed up, middle aged, English war correspondent, content with his opium pipe and his Vietnamese mistress, Phuong. His world is gradually disrupted by the arrival of an American covert operative named Pyle who is both a zealous ideologue and a naïve optimist. Things get complicated when Pyle steals Phuong away from Fowler, yet attempts to remain friends with him. The normally indifferent Fowler soon becomes morally repulsed by Pyle's seemingly well intended terrorist activities, and gradually becomes politically involved. By the time Fowler helps to engineer Pyle's murder it is unclear even to him whether he is doing so to help the Vietnamese people or to win Phuong back.
"The Quite American" explores several different concepts. Like many of Greene's novels and short stories it examines the peculiar morality of love. Fowler and Phuong form a strange symbiosis. Fowler is estranged from is English wife, and is old enough to be Phuong's father.
Read more ›
8 Comments 153 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Graham Greene wrote this novel in 1955. It's set in the early fifties when Vietnam was still Indo-China and there was a war raging between the French and the Vietnamese. It's obvious he's worried about the future and American involvement, and this theme resonates throughout the book as well as gives an eerie foreshadowing of what we all know happened later. At only 188 pages, it's a seemingly simple story of mystery, adventure and love. But it's also a story of a people, a place and a time as well as a warning about the future.
Thomas Fowler, the narrator, is a hardened British war correspondent. He in a relationship young Vietnamese woman named Phuong, enjoys his opium pipes, and manages to get along with his fellow correspondents. Suddenly, a young naïve American, named Alden Pyle, arrives in Vietnam, supposedly as an aid worker. When he declares his love for Phuong, the plot thickens. But this is just one facet of the story as both men are thrust into the war, viewing the meaningless deaths around them and coming very close to death themselves. Pyle's mission to Indo-China becomes increasingly suspect, and as Fowler discovers one clue after another, the conclusion is inevitable.
I was immediately drawn into the story, which sets up a mystery and keeps the reader wondering until the very end. At the same time, the three main characters are deeply developed, not only as to their individualisms, but also as to their national character. The British correspondent takes a caustic view of the world; the American is effusive and idealistic, and the Vietnamese woman is stoic. They move around in a Vietnam where the French are fast losing their hold, and everyone knows that change is going to happen.
I loved this book. Every word reverberated with a truth that existed when it was written, and which proved to be a prophesy of things to come. It also enriched my understanding of the dark period in history that followed. Highly recommended.
Comment 93 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Pages with Related Products. See and discover other items: classic literature, classics literature