The Power and the Glory

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Overview

Winner of the Hawthornden Prize.

During a vicious persecution of the clergy in Mexico, the 'whisky priest' is on the run and the police are closing in. But compassion and humanity impel him toward his destiny.
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Overview

Winner of the Hawthornden Prize.

During a vicious persecution of the clergy in Mexico, the 'whisky priest' is on the run and the police are closing in. But compassion and humanity impel him toward his destiny.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Greene’s masterpiece.” –John Updike

“Graham Greene had wit and grace and character and story and a transcendent universal compassion that places him for all time in the ranks of world literature.” –John Le Carré

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670569793
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 2/22/1946
  • Pages: 276
  • Product dimensions: 20.00 (w) x 20.00 (h) x 20.00 (d)

Meet the Author


GRAHAM GREENE (1904-1991), whose long life nearly spanned the length of the twentieth century, was one of its greatest novelists. Educated at Berkhamsted School and Balliol College, Oxford, he started his career as a sub-editor of the London TimesHe began to attract notice as a novelist with his fourth book, Orient Expressin 1932. In 1935, he trekked across northern Liberia, his first experience in Africa, told in A Journey Without Maps (1936). He converted to Catholicism in 1926, an edifying decision, and reported on religious persecution in Mexico in 1938 in The Lawless Roadswhich served as a background for his famous The Power and the Glory, one of several “Catholic” novels (Brighton Rock, The Heart of the Matter, The End of the Affair). During the war he worked for the British secret service in Sierra Leone; afterward, he began wide-ranging travels as a journalist, which were reflected in novels such as The Quiet American, Our Man in Havana, The Comedians, Travels with My Aunt, The Honorary Consul, The Human Factor, Monsignor Quixoteand The Captain and the EnemyAs well as his many novels, Graham Greene wrote several collections of short stories, four travel books, six plays, two books of autobiography, A Sort of Life and Ways of Escape, two biographies, and four books for children. He also contributed hundreds of essays and film and book reviews to The Spectator and other journals, many of which appear in the late collection ReflectionsMost of his novels have been filmed, including The Third Man, which the author first wrote as a film treatment. Graham Greene was named Companion of Honour and received the Order of Merit among numerous other awards.

Biography

Known for his espionage thrillers set in exotic locales, Graham Greene is the writer who launched a thousand travel journalists. But although Greene produced some unabashedly commercial works -- he called them "entertainments," to distinguish them from his novels -- even his escapist fiction is rooted in the gritty realities he encountered around the globe. "Greeneland" is a place of seedy bars and strained loyalties, of moral dissolution and physical decay.

Greene spent his university years at Oxford "drunk and debt-ridden," and claimed to have played Russian roulette as an antidote to boredom. At age 21 he converted to Roman Catholicism, later saying, "I had to find a religion...to measure my evil against." His first published novel, The Man Within, did well enough to earn him an advance from his publishers, but though Greene quit his job as a Times subeditor to write full-time, his next two novels were unsuccessful. Finally, pressed for money, he set out to write a work of popular fiction. Stamboul Train (also published as The Orient Express) was the first of many commercial successes.

Throughout the 1930s, Greene wrote novels, reviewed books and movies for the Spectator, and traveled through eastern Europe, Liberia, and Mexico. One of his best-known works, Brighton Rock, was published during this time; The Power and the Glory, generally considered Greene's masterpiece, appeared in 1940. Along with The Heart of the Matter and The End of the Affair, they cemented Greene's reputation as a serious novelist -- though George Orwell complained about Greene's idea "that there is something rather distingué in being damned; Hell is a sort of high-class nightclub, entry to which is reserved for Catholics only."

During World War II, Greene was stationed in Sierra Leone, where he worked in an intelligence capacity for the British Foreign Office under Kim Philby, who later defected to the Soviet Union. After the war, Greene continued to write stories, plays, and novels, including The Quiet American, Travels with My Aunt, The Honorary Consul, and The Captain and the Enemy. For a time, he worked as a screenwriter for MGM, producing both original screenplays and scripts adapted from his fiction.

He also continued to travel, reporting from Vietnam, Haiti, and Panama, among other places, and he became a vocal critic of U.S. foreign policy in Central America. Some biographers have suggested that his friendships with Communist leaders were a ploy, and that he was secretly gathering intelligence for the British government. The more common view is that Greene's leftist leanings were part of his lifelong sympathy with the world's underdogs -- what John Updike called his "will to compassion, an ideal communism even more Christian than Communist. Its unit is the individual, not any class."

But if Greene's politics were sometimes difficult to decipher, his stature as a novelist has seldom been in doubt, in spite of the light fiction he produced. Kingsley Amis, Evelyn Waugh, and R. K. Narayan paid tribute to his work, and William Golding prophesied: "He will be read and remembered as the ultimate chronicler of twentieth-century man's consciousness and anxiety."

Good To Know

Greene's philandering ways were legendary; he frequently visited prostitutes and had several mistresses, including Catherine Walston, who converted to Catholicism after reading The Power and the Glory and wrote to Greene asking him to be her godfather. After a brief period of correspondence, the two met, and their relationship inspired Greene's novel The End of the Affair.

Greene was a film critic, screenwriter, and avid moviegoer, and critics have sometimes praised the cinematic quality of his style. His most famous screenplay was The Third Man, which he cowrote with director Carol Reed. Recently, new film adaptations have been made of Greene's novels The End of the Affair and The Quiet American. Greene's work has also formed the basis for an opera: Our Man in Havana, composed by Malcolm Williamson.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Henry Graham Greene (birth name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      October 2, 1904
    2. Place of Birth:
      Berkhamsted, England
    1. Date of Death:
      April 3, 1991
    2. Place of Death:
      Vevey, Switzerland

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 25 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2009

    A Masterpiece

    The Power and the Glory by Graham Green presents a fascinating and unique interpretation of religion and how it affects human nature. The most striking image presented by this interpretation is the lead character, a whisky priest with a bastard child. He stands as a paradoxical figure within himself, a highly respected official distributing confessions and baptisms to the locals, yet he is flawed inside and out grappling with his faith and to what purpose he serves. However, Green did not write this novel purely to state that priests are humans too, flawed just as they rest of us. Instead, the novel reaches deeper as if religion in its traditional, most rigid form pulls down a veil over our eyes. These poverty-stricken desperate individuals living under an oppressive Mexican government look to an equally desperate man whose only concern is his own fruitless survival. They are blind, still governed by the ways of a meaningless, irrelevant church. In the end, as the whiskey priest is finally hunted down by the authorities, he dies suddenly and without purpose or meaning. Green brilliantly contrasts his death with a mother reading to her children of the mightiest and most noble of God's followers dying triumphantly in a blaze of glory. There is no heroic battle, no glory and ultimately no power. He is simply a man and nothing more.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2005

    Interesting

    This book was interesting.It teaches a good leeson about faith and love.In a state in Mexico,the church is outlawed.The priest has to run like a criminal.In fact a bandit who killed policemen a was hunted less than him.Although the priest is a good man,his conscience can not let him forget about his past sins.His guilt lead him to deticate his life to the church untill his death.Even though the church was a aware of his past sins,they still declared him a saint.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2002

    Priests are Human too!

    I had no idea about this book until I had to read in my Honors Lit. class. The chapters are set up to where you have to keep going to remember the plot. You have to keep reading. The story is wonderful and I suggest you read it in about two days because of the story setup. This is a book worth reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2001

    Evokes unending compassion and conveys an intruiging comprehension of human nature

    This is my all time favorite book and really conveys a wonderful message about the judgements of others and the inability to attain perfection - regardless of one's role in life. The priest in this story is one of the most well developed characters of any book I've read, and forces the reader to bestow compassion towards his plea. This novel helped me re-consider the judgements I once so commonly made about people... the author takes you inside the mind of a percieved saint and allows you to realize that he too struggles with internal conflicts.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 9, 2000

    the only book i had to read in class that i actually enjoyed

    i had to read this book for my ap lit class recently, and like the headline says, i actually enjoyed it. even though i'm not catholic (to tell the truth, i'm not even mildly religious at all) i enjoyed the book. halfway through, i even wished i knew more about the bible so that i could gain more from graham greene's book. i'm grateful to my teacher for having chosen this book to read. i'd say he has pretty good taste.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 13, 2000

    One of the most meaningful books I have ever read

    The story of a man who is the truest saint and the truest sinner at the same time. A profound perspective on faith and grace and human nature. It also exposes (weaved into the story) a little known episode of Mexican History in which Catholics were actually persecuted for their faith. Many shouted as they were executed, 'Long live Christ the King!' I recommend this book for anyone, religious or not. This interesting story helped me understand human nature better. I can't wait to read another of Greene's books! (Although I'm afraid they may not measure up to this one).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 12, 2013

    Fantastic! I had to read this book for my college seminar class.

    Fantastic! I had to read this book for my college seminar class.  It was by far the best book we read all semester. I go to a catholic college and was dreading reading a book about religion because I thought that I wouldn't understand it (I'm not very familiar with Catholicism)
    However, I found my self wanting to read it again and again. It is life changing and so thought-provoking.  

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  • Posted June 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    The Power and the Glory is a well told, complex tale focused on

    The Power and the Glory is a well told, complex tale focused on a core moral dilemma. Green expertly weaves multiple stories in ways that surprise and move. It's a manhunt set in the context of the clash of differing fundamental truths, all made real by the flawed characters on both sides.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 26, 2011

    A classic!

    This was one of Greene's early novels, one that came out of his own experience in Mexico. Set there in the 1930's when the Catholic Church was outlawed by the government, it is the story of the fictional "last" priest on the run in one of the Mexican states. But the book deals with many issues, and is not to be considered just a "Catholic" book. At the heart of it is man's search for meaning. Greene's prose alone is worth the read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2009

    Interesting

    I highly recommend this book. It is very realistic. I wanted to like the priest, but nothing justifies certain actions. Good reading.

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  • Posted March 2, 2009

    You've Got The Wrong Customer!!!

    I never bought or read this book.

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2001

    The Best Book Ever Written

    The Power and the Glory is gripping from the outset, Greene is a master of mystery and suspense. Yet, as the story progresses, we see that it's not a mystery, as such. This is about a man's struggle with religion and with life. I'm not religious, but I couldn't help but relate to the poor 'Whisky Priest'. If you read this and get to the end, you will not be disappointed.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2000

    Religious

    Definitely requires knowledge of Catholism to fully understand this book and to understand the symoblism

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2000

    hypocrital...

    seems boring at first, but as you read on it becomes intriguing, and you get involved in the beautiful story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted October 25, 2008

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    Posted September 23, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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    Posted November 8, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 29, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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