The Quiet American

Introduction

The Quiet American is a 1955 novel by English author Graham Greene which depicts French colonialism in Vietnam being uprooted by the Americans during the 1950s. The novel implicitly questions the foundations of growing American involvement in Vietnam in the 1950s and is unique in its exploration of the subject topic through the links among its three main characters – Fowler, Pyle and Phuong. The novel has received much attention due to its prediction of the outcome of the Vietnam War and subsequent American foreign policy since the 1950s. Graham Greene portrays a U.S. official named Pyle as so blinded by American exceptionalism that he cannot see the calamities he brings upon the Vietnamese. It was adapted as two different movies, one in 1958 and another in 2002. The book uses Greene's experiences as a war correspondent for The Times and Le Figaro in French Indochina 1951–1954. He was apparently inspired to write The Quiet American during October 1951 while driving back to Saigon from Ben Tre province. He was accompanied by an American aid worker who lectured him about finding a "third force in Vietnam”.


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