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The Power and the Glory (Penguin Classics)…

The Power and the Glory (Penguin Classics) (original 1940; edition 2003)

by Graham Greene (Author), John Updike (Introduction)

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6,420951,075 (3.92)1 / 336
In a poor, remote section of southern Mexico, the Red Shirts have taken control, God has been outlawed, and the priests have been systematically hunted down and killed. Now, the last priest strives to overcome physical and moral cowardice in order to find redemption. 240 pp.
Title:The Power and the Glory (Penguin Classics)
Authors:Graham Greene (Author)
Other authors:John Updike (Introduction)
Info:Penguin Classics (2003), Edition: 1, 240 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Power and the Glory by Graham Greene (1940)

  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. 10
    Silence by Shūsaku Endō (longway)
  3. 00
    Getting to Know the General by Graham Greene (John_Vaughan)

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» See also 336 mentions

English (83)  Spanish (4)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  Swedish (2)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (94)
Showing 1-5 of 83 (next | show all)
Most every institution has some core of validity, its way of contributing to human welfare. Then layers get added, on the one hand some kind of comfortable complacent corruption, on the other hand a fanatic crusading partisanship. Here we have the complacent priest and the fanatic lieutenant. Greene shows us a glimmer of the humanity of the lieutenant, but here on full display is the humanity of the priest, as he reflects on the complacency, the self-righteous piety he has indulged in along with his parishioners.

I read this book right after reading about the Spanish Civil War, where the reds got crushed and the church came out on top. The sides are remarkably symmetric. Here in the USA we seem to be taking sides and taking up arms for another round of fanaticism and bloodshed. A book like this is probably good medicine for the situation, but the disease is such that a book like this is hard to read. We want simple purity, not this kind of complex mix. ( )
1 vote kukulaj | Sep 13, 2020 |
This was a bit of a struggle, being twice as long as its limited ambition requires - that ambition being to illustrate the weakness, fallability and moral confusion of a Catholic priest, tempered by a hint of hope. At least this was acheived.

The setting is a Southern State of Mexico where a deadly Catholic purge has been underway for ten years. The churches have burned and the priests have fled, or been killed, or renounced their vocations - except for one. Quite how such a stupid, vacilating character managed to evade capture for so long is beyond comprehension, but nevermind - even more frustrating is that the situation is never explained. Why is the purge happening? Why is it State-wide but not Nation-wide? What year is it, anyway? Why are distilled spirits and wine illegal when beer is legal? I don't know if ignoring all this was meant to make the story more like a parable or if Greene's obsession with Catholic angst just rendered all context unimportant to him, but for me it was a missed opportunity. ( )
  Arbieroo | Jul 17, 2020 |
Beautiful exploration of faith, suffering and redemption set in Mexico during the government persecution of Catholics (los Cristeros) -- and a compelling story of a flawed priest on the run from the police and to his encounter with mercy. I love Graham Greene's style. Highly recommended. ( )
  MMKY | Jul 3, 2020 |
Wow, this really was a brilliant book. Thought-provoking content, Greene's usual command of language and an overwhelming feeling of foreboding all contribute to its power.

In a way, it's not an easy book to read. The protagonist is more of an anti-hero than a hero, and it's easy to feel disgusted with him at times. However, by the end, one can perhaps understand him, if not ever really LIKE him.

Greene had a talent for writing in a way that produces vivid images in the reader's mind, without weighing down his story with lengthy descriptive passages, and 'The Power and the Glory' is a perfect example of this. When the rains begin, you can almost FEEL the humidity.

(Finally, a warning to those who share my own particular sensitivity - there are a couple of passages in the novel where animals are treated poorly. One in particular was a struggle to read.) ( )
  Tara_Calaby | Jun 22, 2020 |
As an aetheist I don't have much access to the forces that moved the whiskey priest, but I liked how he seemed to be at his best when he was closest to losing everything. The contrast between his confused, unhappy end and the grandiose story martyrdom that accompanied it was striking. I guess the reader is left to wonder whether all Catholic martyrs were afraid and worried when they died, rather than serene.

I read Graham Greene because I heard he does dialog well, and that seems to have been true here. ( )
  DerekCaelin | May 5, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 83 (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 (32 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Greene, Grahamprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alexander, Carolsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Žantovská, HanaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Conn, Peter J.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grandfield, GeoffIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gross, GeorgeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Heuvelmans, TonAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lewis, R. W. B.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lindegren, ErikTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lyall, DennisIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mauriac, FrançoisForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Santamaría, JuanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Schaap. H.W.J.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Springer, KätheÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Svendsen, ClaraTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Updike, JohnIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vargas Llosa, Mariosecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vittorini, ElioTranslatorsecondary 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.)
Disambiguation notice
original title of the power & the glory
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Wikipedia in English


In a poor, remote section of southern Mexico, the Red Shirts have taken control, God has been outlawed, and the priests have been systematically hunted down and killed. Now, the last priest strives to overcome physical and moral cowardice in order to find redemption. 240 pp.

No library descriptions found.

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.
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