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Reader recommendation: The Quiet American

Monitor readers share their favorite book picks.

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The Quiet American, by Graham Greene, is an absolute masterpiece! It is a slim book, but I read it quite slowly, to savor Greene’s elegant, precise prose. This book is also a thriller, beginning with a murder. But perhaps it is better known as a devastating critique of colonialism and foreign intervention. It is set in Vietnam, a decade before American troops arrived. But you could replace “Saigon” with “Baghdad” or “Damascus,” and with very little difference be persuaded by Greene’s cynicism about oversimplification of complex conflicts.