'The Quiet American' by Graham Greene
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The Quiet American
By Graham Greene

I read this novel in college when I was trying to figure out what to do with my life. It's set in Vietnam in the 1950s, before heavy United States involvement. It features Fowler, this hard-bitten, opium-smoking British reporter who's world-weary and washed-up, and Pyle, an American secret agent who pretends to be an aid worker. Pyle is filled with simplistic notions about what needs to be done in Southeast Asia, and in trying to do good, he ends up causing deaths. At the time, I saw things in black-and-white like Pyle, but part of the book's lesson is to allow yourself, especially as a reporter, to go into a story with an open mind and heart.

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