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Graham Greene

PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:12 pm
by Kurt
I got an obscure book of Greene's letters to newspapers. Since I am a big fan of his work I buy the obscure stuff knowing it might very well suck, and parts of it do suck.

But what is interesting is that when comparing his letters that are critical of US involvement in Vietnam, Greene is so dead-on in predicting everything from 1955 until the end of the war. He called it and was rarely off.

But at the same time he predicted Cuba all wrong. One letter he taunts an editorial that suggested the Fidel Castro will switch sides to the Soviets and demands that the UK sell fighter jets to Castro (they were about to until the US objected). He also predicted that the Revolution would lead to a multi-party society with just the supporters of Battista and the Mafia purged (he did get the correct estimate of the involvement of the US Mob in Cuban affairs when no one else bothered to mention it).

It was strange because he traveled extensively to both countries. His French was pretty good so perhaps he was able to communicate with the Vietnamese better. But also I think he was charmed by Castro (whom he always called Dr. Castro) as many were, where the Viet Mihn did not charm him but rather just impressed him with their fighting ability, so he was able to look for facts about Vietnam while there but in Cuba he perhaps listened to what others told him.

Re: Graham Greene

PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 6:57 pm
by Penta
But at the same time he predicted Cuba all wrong. One letter he taunts an editorial that suggested the Fidel Castro will switch sides to the Soviets and demands that the UK sell fighter jets to Castro (they were about to until the US objected). He also predicted that the Revolution would lead to a multi-party society with just the supporters of Battista and the Mafia purged (he did get the correct estimate of the involvement of the US Mob in Cuban affairs when no one else bothered to mention it).

You don't think it's possible that if the US hadn't gone into Cold War antagonistic mode things could have turned out very differently? That's a perfectly respectable position to hold (outside the US, anyway), where US policy is thought to have driven him into the arms of the USSR, the blockade giving him little choice. Same old, same old story. They were nationalists fighting for independence from the Mafia and to overthrow a vicious dictator, not communists, in the first place.

Re: Graham Greene

PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 5:40 am
by Kurt
Yes, that is possible. But he did not predict it. He predicted Laos being driven to the communists due to the US being antagonistic (the US refused to accept Neutrality in nations surrounding Vietnam and then the Pathet Lao came, followed by US bombs). The point is that he called SEA play for play in similar circumstances and I think he did this because he was actually an observer. And it was not just the timing either, he predicted US involvement back in 1955 in Vietnam because he saw it and then continued his accurate observations on the area until 1975. But he was off on Cuba from the start.

Of course I have high regard for Greene still but even the best minds can be off and he was. The closest group in SEA that he praised were the Caodoists warlords and they were not players after Diem was overthrown. So perhaps if they became the dominant power, he would have been as inaccurate about them too.

Re: Graham Greene

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2011 9:01 pm
by kilroy
graham greene is a great author. i think why he was able to call the vietnamese situation so much better is that he could relate to and sympathize more with the cubans, and thus romanticized their situation. much easier to be objective about a culture that is completely foreign to you.

Re: Graham Greene

PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 3:31 pm
by z911hyper
whats the name of the book of letters?

Re: Graham Greene

PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 6:24 pm
by coldharvest
z911hyper wrote:whats the name of the book of letters?

....the dictionary?

Re: Graham Greene

PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 11:18 pm
by Kurt
z911hyper wrote:whats the name of the book of letters?


Yours etc.

yep that is the name of it.

Graham Greene

PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 11:33 pm
by russlits
Thank you for your observations. Ive not read anything of Graham Greenes. Sounds like I should put some on my wish list.