Friday, August 24, 2007

On a book that formed me 23 years ago
1984, the same year I read another formative book
In 1955, long before the United States had entered the [Vietnam] war [and right after the French lost at Dien Bien Phu], Graham Greene wrote a novel called "The Quiet American." It was set in Saigon and the main character was a young government agent named Alden Pyle. [Opposed to the other main character, a cynical, worldly-wise Englishman called Fowler.] He was a symbol of American purpose and patriotism and dangerous naivete. Another character describes Alden this way: "I never knew a man who had better motives for all the trouble he caused."
Pyle: They want FREEDOM!
Fowler: They want enough rice.

Read it.

From via The Western Confucian.

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