In 1938 Graham Greene was commissioned to visit Mexico to discover the state of the country and its people in the aftermath of the brutal anti-clerical purges of President Calles. His journey took him through the tropical states of Chiapas and Tabasco, where all the churches had been destroyed or closed and the priests driven out or shot. The experiences were the inspiration for his acclaimed novel, The Power and the Glory.
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Journey Without Maps and The Lawless Roads reveal Greene's ravening spiritual hunger, a desperate need to touch rock bottom within the self and in the humanly created world - Times Higher Education Supplement
Greene's originality lay in his gifts as a traveller. He had the foreign ear and eye for the strangeness of ordinary life and its ordinary crises - Guardian
Infuses the geography of distant places with an intense understanding of individual human destiny at play under startling and oppressive social conditions - Newsday
The Lawless Roads, a masterpiece, embraces the spiritual and political conflict of the twentieth century, the cruelty of social engineers, the corruption of politicians and the wan humanity of martyrs made heroic by grace - Independent
Greene's work is a crucial link between the two most dynamic cultures of the present day, the Hispanic and the Anglo-American - Observer
Graham Greene was born in 1904. On coming down from Balliol College, Oxford, he worked for four years as sub-editor on The Times. He established his reputation with his fourth novel, Stamboul Train. In 1935 he made a journey across Liberia, described in Journey Without Maps, and on his return was appointed film critic of the Spectator. In 1926 he had been received into the Roman Catholic Church and visited Mexico in 1938 to report on the religious persecution there. As a result he wrote The Lawless Roads and, later, his famous novel The Power and the Glory. Brighton Rock was published in 1938 and in 1940 he became literary editor of the Spectator. The next year he undertook work for the Foreign Office and was stationed in Sierra Leone from 1941 to 1943. This later produced the novel The Heart of the Matter, set in West Africa.
As well as his many novels, Graham Greene wrote several collections of short stories, four travel books, six plays, three books of autobiography - A Sort of Life, Ways of Escape and A World of My Own (published posthumously) - two of biography and four books for children. He also contributed hundreds of essays, and film and book reviews, some of which appear in the collections Reflections and Mornings in the Dark. Many of his novels and short stories have been filmed and The Third Man was written as a film treatment. Graham Greene was a member of the Order of Merit and a Companion of Honour. He died in April 1991.