Graham Greene

Easton Press Graham Greene books

Our Man in Havana
The Third Man
The Power and The Glory - 2000

Franklin Library Graham Greene books

The Human Factor - Limited First Edition Society - 1978
Stories by Graham Greene - Collected Stories of the World's Greatest Writers - 1978

Author Graham Greene

Graham Greene (1904-1991) was an English novelist, playwright, and literary critic acclaimed for his contributions to 20th-century literature. Born on October 2, 1904, in Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire, England, Greene's life and work spanned the tumultuous events of the 20th century, and his writing often reflected his keen observations of the human condition. Educated at Balliol College, Oxford, Greene began his career as a journalist before transitioning to fiction writing. His early novels, such as Stamboul Train (1932) and It's a Battlefield (1934), established his reputation as a promising literary talent. However, it was his 1938 novel, Brighton Rock, that marked a turning point in his career, gaining widespread critical acclaim for its exploration of morality, crime, and Catholicism—a recurring theme in Greene's works. Graham Greene's literary output was prolific and diverse, encompassing novels, short stories, plays, and screenplays. His works often blurred the lines between genres, incorporating elements of suspense, espionage, and political intrigue. Some of his most renowned novels include The Power and the Glory (1940), The Heart of the Matter (1948), and The Quiet American (1955).

Greene's travels to various parts of the world, including Africa, Southeast Asia, and Latin America, influenced the settings and themes of his novels. His experiences as a British intelligence officer during World War II also informed his espionage-themed works, adding an element of realism to his narratives. As a Catholic convert, Greene's exploration of faith and morality played a significant role in many of his works. His complex characters often grappled with moral dilemmas and existential questions, providing rich material for readers to contemplate.

In addition to his novels, Graham Greene's screenplays included adaptations of his own works, such as The Third Man (1949), which became one of the most acclaimed films in cinematic history.

Graham Greene's literary achievements were recognized with numerous awards, including the Hawthornden Prize and the Jerusalem Prize. His impact on literature extended beyond his own writing, as he influenced subsequent generations of writers with his distinctive narrative style and exploration of profound themes. Graham Greene passed away on April 3, 1991, leaving behind a legacy of enduring literary works that continue to captivate readers and garner critical acclaim. His ability to delve into the complexities of the human psyche and the moral dilemmas faced by his characters remains a hallmark of his contribution to 20th-century literature.

Our Man in Havana

First published in 1959, Our Man in Havana is an espionage thriller, a penetrating character study, and a political satire that still resonates to this day. Conceived as one of Graham Greene's 'entertainments,' it tells of MI6's man in Havana, Wormold, a former vacuum-cleaner salesman turned reluctant secret agent out of economic necessity. To keep his job, he files bogus reports based on Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare and dreams up military installations from vacuum-cleaner designs. Then his stories start coming disturbingly true.

James Wormold, a cash-strapped vacuum cleaner salesman in Havana, finds the answer to his prayers when British Intelligence offers him a lucrative job as an undercover agent. To keep the checks coming, Wormold must at least pretend to know what he’s doing. Soon, he’s apparently deciphering incomprehensible codes, passing along sketches of secret weapons that look suspiciously like vacuum parts, and claiming to recruit fellow operatives from his country club, all to create the perfect picture of intrigue.
But when MI6 dispatches a secretary to oversee his endeavors, Wormold fears his carelessly fabricated world will come undone. Instead, it all comes true. Somehow, he’s become the target of an assassin, and it’s going to take more than a fib to get out of Cuba alive. Her Majesty’s man in Havana may have to resort to spying.

Named one of the 20 Best Spy Novels of All Time by the Telegraph and adapted into the classic 1959 comedy starring Alec Guinness, Our Man in Havana is “high-comic mayhem . . . weirdly undated . . . and bizarrely prescient” - Christopher Buckley , New York Times bestselling author

"A hapless salesman in Cuba is recruited into Cold War spy games in Greene’s classic comical, satirical, atmospherical novel" The Daily Telegraph

"No serious writer of this century has more thoroughly invaded and shaped the public imagination than did Graham Greene." - Time

"He had a sharp nose for trouble and injustice. In Our Man In Havana a witty send-up of an agent's life it was Cuba before Castro." - Financial Times

The Third Man

Rollo Martins' usual line is the writing of cheap paperback Westerns under the name of Buck Dexter. But when his old friend Harry Lime invites him to Vienna, he jumps at the chance. With exactly five pounds in his pocket, he arrives only just in time to make it to his friend's funeral. The victim of an apparently banal street accident, the late Mr. Lime, it seems, had been the focus of a criminal investigation, suspected of nothing less than being "the worst racketeer who ever made a dirty living in this city." Martins is determined to clear his friend's name, and begins an investigation of his own...

The Third Man is one of the truly great post-war films. It's a thrilling story of black-marketeering set against a backdrop of Vienna in the immediate post-war era, when the city was divided into four zones amongst the major powers: Russia, Britain, France, and America.
Although the stars of the film, Orson Welles as Harry Lime and Joseph Cotton as Rollo (changed to "Holly" for the film) Martins were American, the two main characters in the book are quintessential Englishmen who were at the same public school.

Graham Greene wrote the novella first ("to me it is impossible to write a film play without first writing the story" Greene wrote later) and then adapted it for the screenplay.

The story is written in the first person from the point of view of the British chief of police, the part played in the film by Trevor Howard. He is investigating the death of Harry Lime when Rollo Martins, a writer of Westerns, arrives in Vienna to visit his old school friend and gets inextricably involved in the mystery.

The Power and The Glory

In a poor, remote section of southern Mexico, the paramilitary group, the Red Shirts have taken control. God has been outlawed, and the priests have been systematically hunted down and killed. Now, the last priest is on the run. Too human for heroism, too humble for martyrdom, the nameless little worldly "whiskey priest" is nevertheless impelled toward his squalid Calvary as much by his own compassion for humanity as by the efforts of his pursuers.

Too human for heroism, too humble for martyrdom, the little worldly priest is nevertheless impelled towards his squalid Calvary as much by his own compassion for humanity as by the efforts of his pursuers.

In the Mexican state of Tabasco in the 1930s, all vestiges of Catholicism are being outlawed by the government. As churches are razed, icons are banned, and the price of devotion is execution, an unnamed member of the clergy flees. He’s known only as the “whisky priest.” Beset by heretical vices, guilt, and an immoral past, he’s torn between self-destruction and self-preservation. Too modest to be a martyr, too stubborn to follow the law, and too craven to take a bullet, he now travels as one of the hunted attending, in secret, to the spiritual needs of the faithful. When a peasant begs him to return to Tabasco to hear the confessions of a dying man, the whisky priest knows it’s a trap. But it’s also his duty and possibly his salvation.

John Updike calls The Power and the Glory, "Graham Greene's masterpiece…. The energy and grandeur of his finest novel derive from the will toward compassion, an ideal communism even more Christian than Communist."

Named by Time magazine as one of the hundred best English-language novels written since 1923.

The Power and the Glory is “a violent, raw” work on “suffering, strained faith, and ultimate redemption” - The Atlantic

This prize-winning novel of a fugitive priest in Mexico is quite simply “Graham Greene’s masterpiece” - John Updike, The New York Review of Books

Seventy-five years ago, Graham Greene published The Power and the Glory, a moralist thriller that traces a line of influence back to Dostoyevsky and forward to Cormac McCarthy. Named one of the 100 best novels of the twentieth century by Time magazine, it stands today as his masterpiece.

The Human Factor

The senior officers of Britain's secret service move to plug a leak by eliminating a junior colleague, unmindful of a veteran intelligence processor whose decency, courage, and capacity for love threaten all security.

A leak is traced to a small sub-section of SIS, sparking off the inevitable security checks, tensions and suspicions. The sort of atmosphere where mistakes could be made? For Maurice Castle it is the end of the line anyway and time for him to retire with his African wife, Sarah.

Maurice Castle is a high-level operative in the British secret service during the Cold War. He is deeply in love with his African wife, who escaped apartheid South Africa with the help of his communist friend. Despite his misgivings, Castle decides to act as a double agent, passing information to the Soviets to help his in-laws in South Africa. In order to evade detection, he allows his assistant to be wrongly identified as the source of the leaks. But when suspicions remain, Castle is forced to make an even more excruciating sacrifice to save himself.

The Human Factor is Greene’s most extensive attempt to incorporate into fiction what he had learned of espionage when recruited by MI6 during World War II . . . What it offers is a veteran excursion into Greene’s imaginative world . . . Sometimes seen as a brooding prober into the dark recesses of the soul where sins and scruples alike fester, he is equally at home in sending a narrative careering along at break-neck pace . . . Raising the demarcation line between ‘serious’ fiction and fast-plotted entertainment, Greene ensures that components of both jostle energizingly together in his pages.

Originally published in 1978, The Human Factor is an exciting novel of espionage drawn from Greene's own experiences in MI6 during World War II, and ultimately a deeply humanistic examination of the very nature of loyalty.

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