Book and Movie Review


Bookand Movie Review

Bookand Movie Review

Thecentral thesis of the book TheIrony of American History isthat the interpretation of the American history is ironical in itscurrent engagements. The book claims that the actions of the Americannation do not reflect the values that formed America as a nation.According to the author, the history of America’s actions inrelation to other countries reflects a clear irony of the intentionsof the country during its formation. The book focuses the thesis onthe events of the Twentieth century in comparison to the historicalevents that America went through since independence. According toNiebuhr,the consequences of the actions of America are opposed to theintentions of the country, especially when dealing with othercountries in foreign policy1.

Neibuhrstates, “The final height of irony is reached by the fact that themost powerful nation in the alliance of free peoples is the UnitedStates”2.

Thebook relates to the film TheQuiet American interms of the themes and ideologies explored by the literature interms of American foreign policy. The central theme of the movie ispromotion of anti-war policies and actions. The film exposes thetypical American actions in foreign lands as it paints the works of acharacter, CIA agent Alden Pyle. As she implements her dutiesdisguised in the foreign aid provision, she is engaged in the Frenchwar against Vietnam,which paints the picture of the American ideology.

Themovie gives a typical example of how America gets engaged in ironicalevents that are ironical to its history. For example, the moviefocuses on the actions of America through the CIA agent in the“Frenchwar against the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.3”This illustrates the American involvement in the violent war. Themovie shows how the country uses all means necessary to get involvedin the international affairs, an irony that is against her originalintention. By doing this, the movie vindicates the arguments ofNiebuhrinthe book.


Niebuhr,R. (1952). TheIrony of American History.New York: Scribner

TheQuiet American.StaffanAhrenbergand WilliamHorberg(Producers), Film, DVD, MiramaxFilms,2002

1 Niebuhr, R. (1952). The Irony of American History. New York: Scribner

2 ibid

3 The Quiet American. Staffan Ahrenberg and William Horberg (Producers), Film, DVD, Miramax Films, 2002