Von Junzt (vonjunzt) wrote in grahamgreene,
Von Junzt

The Tenth Man; Our Man in Havana predecessor

I recently finished reading The Tenth Man. It's good, though probably not one of Greene's best. As with The Third Man, watch out for spoilers in the Introduction. Greene felt The Third Man owed a lot of its characterizations to The Third Man; the character Welles plays is certainly reminiscent of Carosse.

The premise is that a group of men are held as hostages by the Germans in Occupied France, and a decimation order is issued -- one in ten are to be executed in reprisal for Resistance action. The plot bears similiarities to Doctor Fischer of Geneva. Part of it also seems like an inversion of the story of St. Maximalian Kolbe, a priest who was executed in Auschwitz after volunteering to take the place of another man following just such a decimation order. Here's his story: http://www.catholic-pages.com/saints/st_maximilian.asp I'm not sure if Greene knew of St. Max's story, but if he did, he learned of it after coming up with the plot of his story -- it was originally to be a tale of the Spanish Civil War and predated the onset of WWII.

If nothing else, people who enjoyed Our Man in Havana will want to read "Nobody to Blame," one of two sketches Greene includes in the Introduction. This (and the other, "Jim Braddon and the War Criminal") was originally going to be a film script, but instead it grew into Greene's novel.
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