Before reading The Quiet American, I knew quite a lot about Vietnam, from around the late sixties onward, however the early days of the Indo-China war with the French were a mystery. Graham Greene's book has given me a peek into the life of the Vietnamese in the early 50's and the conflicting ideologies of the Westerners who were there to help or to hinder the French in their desire to hold onto the colony.
The love story between Phuong and Fowler was played out against a background of a country fighting desperately to rid itself of the colonial masters, with the west equally desperate not to surrender it to communism.
Greene raises some valid issues about the rights of one ideology to impose their beliefs, by force if necessary, on another culture. Ultimately I found it a very satisfying read and one that has forced me to think and to ask questions - always the sign of a good novel. A "classic" for a reason.
A Quiet American well earns a solid four stars from me.
If you wanted to read The Quiet American, you can pick it up from Amazon here: