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The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene

The Power and the Glory (1940)

by Graham Greene

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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4,97262919 (3.93)1 / 254
  1. 10
    The Lawless Roads by Graham Greene (John_Vaughan)
    John_Vaughan: In 1938 Greene traveled throughout the south of Mexico and experienced first-hand the terror and corruption, The travel Book Lawless Roads is the basis for the novel Power and Glory.
  2. 00
    Getting to Know the General by Graham Greene (John_Vaughan)

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English (54)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (2)  Spanish (1)  Hebrew (1)  French (1)  All languages (61)
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
A priest who enjoys the sacramental wine a bit too much and a gringo who has robbed an American bank are being sought by police in Mexico during the time communists were in charge and Catholicism was outlawed. The priest accepts money from people for services such as hearing confessions or performing baptisms, but his love of strong drink is what causes the biggest problems for him. Anyone caught hiding the priest could also receive harsh treatment from officials. While Greene's writing is strong, I didn't really identify with the characters although they were well-drawn. A strong sense of place is also present in the novel. I'm certain there are layers to the story that I did not pick up in my quick read of the novel. ( )
1 vote thornton37814 | Aug 3, 2015 |
This novel was originally published in 1940. It tells the story of life in Southern Mexico where the communists ruled and Catholic religion was banned. The priests fled the country and some were prosecuted and later assassinated. The story revolves round a priest who decides not to leave the country but gradually falls into bad habits. He starts drinking and is called the "Whiskey Priest ". He leads a life in hiding and Is constantly on the run. As time passes his own grip on the religious duties fades. He is finally captured and killed.

This novel deals with the priest's struggle with the people prosecuting him as well his own struggle dealing with the gradual loss of faith and moral bindings. It would probably carry deeper meaning for a religious person but for me it was uninteresting. The pace is slow and the book goes nowhere. The language is beautiful.

A 2.5/5 read. ( )
1 vote mausergem | Jul 1, 2015 |
Why did no one tell me that priests drink whiskey? ( )
  trilliams | May 30, 2015 |
A great novel, wonderfully profound. I "read" it as an audio book, but there was so much to ponder here I believe I'll be taking up the written version to literally read it all over again. ( )
1 vote kvrfan | Apr 25, 2015 |
The first person we meet in this book is Mr. Trench, a dentist who appears to have trapped himself in this small Mexican town. We learn how he wound up here and, more importantly, we learn, in a relatively short time, his motivations as well as the character flaws which have got him caught in this rut. We are not told; we are shown. He turns out to be a supporting actor in this play – maybe no more than a bit part. And yet, he is real, he breathes, he is alive – so much so that I would have liked to have learned more about him, seen him as a central character.

Don't get me wrong; the fact that the novel does not revolve around Mr. Trench is not a problem. In fact, the book is full of these kinds of characters. At every turn there is someone equally interesting – real characters who grow in a real environment. And the result is a book which deserves its classic status.

As noted, the book is set in Mexico in an area where the socialist have taken control. Among the many changes, they have outlawed religion – effectively making it a crime punishable by death. In practicality, the success of this shut down is mixed – the people have not completely bought in to the idea. However, priests have the choice of rescinding their vows or being shot.

The main protagonist is Catholic priest on the run. He is unnamed, but often referred to as the "whiskey priest" because of how far he has fallen (including, obviously, alcoholism). All he wants is to live and to escape. However, his loyalty to his beliefs continues to draw him back in. That loyalty is best exemplified in the fact that one would think it would be quite easy for him to rescind his vows. However, no matter how far he has fallen he cannot do this. We follow him as he tries to escape and, through this journey, see his effect on other people (intended and unintended) and the effect on his own belief in himself. At its core, it is a book about how good exists within everyone, but that puts too trivial a homily on the complicated individuals contained herein.

Graham Greene spent time in the area – using his experiences in the area as research for the book. And it is evident because there is nothing that draws you out of the moment. His descriptions feel accurate. He has put the reader in a world few of us ever have experienced, but recognize the moment he describes it.

And, as noted the characters are real. Even the slightest of them refuse to be cut from cardboard, but are three-dimensional people who have motivations and lives we can glimpse. As I have indicated, any one of them is fleshed out sufficiently that you can see a separate novel being written about their lives.

Ultimately, we believe in the character of the "whisky priest" and we believe the tale that is told. And, in the process, we have been told a very good story which has depth, heart, and (an aspect so often missing in books considered classics) readability. ( )
1 vote figre | Dec 22, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 54 (next | show all)
This is the story Greene was born to tell. With this novel, Greene brings all his considerable talent, craft, and gift for suspense to bear on a story that penetrates the heart of one tortured man’s mystery. For all its darkness and intensity, it’s a thrilling, page-turning read: the story is structured essentially as an extended chase across the barren landscape of Mexico—mirroring the even vaster desert spaces in the heart of the pursued Priest. Greene evokes the heat and dust and sweat of the country and its inhabitants with cinematic immediacy. The atmosphere is stifling, almost unbearably intense, and Greene’s capacity for storytelling invention never flags.


» Add other authors (44 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Greene, Grahamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Žantovská, HanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grandfield, GeoffIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lewis, R. W. B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lewis, R. W. B.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindegren, ErikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schaap. H.W.J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Updike, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Th' inclosure narrow'd; the sagacious power
Of hounds and death drew nearer every hour
For Gervase
To Vivien with dearest love
First words
Mr. Tench went out to look for his ether cylinder, into the blazing Mexican sun and the bleaching dust.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
During a vicious persecution of the clergy in Mexico, a worldly priest, the 'whisky priest', is on the run. With the police closing in, his routes of escape are being shut off, his chances getting fewer. But compassion and humanity force him along the road to his destiny, reluctant to abandon those who need him, and those he cares for.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0142437301, Paperback)

How does good spoil, and how can bad be redeemed? In his penetrating novel The Power and the Glory, Graham Greene explores corruption and atonement through a priest and the people he encounters. In the 1930s one Mexican state has outlawed the Church, naming it a source of greed and debauchery. The priests have been rounded up and shot by firing squad--save one, the whisky priest. On the run, and in a blur of alcohol and fear, this outlaw meets a dentist, a banana farmer, and a village woman he knew six years earlier. For a while, he is accompanied by a toothless man--whom he refers to as his Judas and does his best to ditch. Always, an adamant lieutenant is only a few hours behind, determined to liberate his country from the evils of the church.

On the verge of reaching a safer region, the whisky priest is repeatedly held back by his vocation, even though he no longer feels fit to perform his rites: "When he was gone it would be as if God in all this space between the sea and the mountains ceased to exist. Wasn't it his duty to stay, even if they despised him, even if they were murdered for his sake? even if they were corrupted by his example?"

As his sins and dangers increase, the broken priest comes to confront the nature of piety and love. Still, when he is granted a reprieve, he feels himself sliding into the old arrogance, slipping it on like the black gloves he used to wear. Greene has drawn this man--and all he encounters--vividly and viscerally. He may have said The Power and the Glory was "written to a thesis," but this brilliant theological thriller has far more mysteries--and troubling ideals--than certainties. --Joannie Kervran Stangeland

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:50 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

The last priest in a poor section of North Mexico where the Red Shirts have outlawed God finds himself a hero despite himself.

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