Author: Mario Puzo
Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Genre: Crime Fiction
First Publication: 1969
Major Characters: Don Vito Corleone, Santino “Sonny” Corleone, Michael Corleone, Frederico “Fredo” Corleone, Constanzia “Connie” Corleone, Thomas “Tom” Hagen, Johnny Fontane, Peter “Pete” Clemenza, Salvatore “Sal” Tessio,
Setting Place: New York City and Long Beach, New York. Hollywood, California. Las Vegas, Nevada.
Theme: Crime and Justice, Power, Masculinity and Patriarchy, Family, Loyalty and Betrayal
Narration: Third person
Book Summary: The Godfather by Mario Puzo
The Godfather—the epic tale of crime and betrayal that became a global phenomenon. A modern masterpiece, The Godfather by Mario Puzo is a searing portrayal of the 1940s criminal underworld. It is also the intimate story of the Corleone family, at once drawn together and ripped apart by its unique position at the core of the American Mafia. Still shocking more than fifty years after it was first published, this compelling tale of blackmail, murder and family values is a true classic.
The seduction of power, the pitfalls of greed, and the allegiance to family—these are the themes that have resonated with millions of readers around the world and made The Godfather the definitive novel of the violent subculture that, steeped in intrigue and controversy, remains indelibly etched in our collective consciousness.
Book Review: The Godfather by Mario Puzo
Vito Corleone grew up in Sicily. His father died and he escaped with his life. They call Vito the Don, or the Godfather. If you need true help, where do you go? Nothing exists outside the laws of our land. Except the law of the Godfather, and his law of power, and money, and business.
Vito loves his sons. They mean essence of life to him. Vito grows old. He gets shot several times and lands in a hospital bed. The family strives to keep and protect in this war of mob families. Sonny Corleone, the Godfather’s eldest son takes over interim. Will they protect from losses? Will they further the family business in the time of testing and vulnerability? The plot begins here, and leads to blood, deception and the smell of gun-smoke trailing a highway for the Angel of Death.
“Friendship is everything. Friendship is more than talent. It is more than the government. It is almost the equal of family.- Don Corleone”
When a story has a villain, villains are usually more effective and enjoyable when they are three dimensional (they have good traits as well) Much of the book explains the godfathers mindset, reasoning, philosophies, and strict sense of his version of honor. It’s not done in a preachy way; in fact, interestingly no other viewpoint is ever seen, experienced, or given from opposing characters.
“Never hate your enemies. It affects your judgment.”
The slow ascension into power by Michael Corleone is powerful. Michael is realistic as the son who wishes to set apart with his own future, pulled in eventually by honor learned after tainting himself. Vito is equally fascinating with his past, his present, his philosophies. I really hold no bad thoughts toward any of the characters and when their viewpoints are used.
Vito, Sonny and Michael have much to teach us concerning strategy and tactics in a competitive economy. These characters have become icons, and the broken face of Michael Corleone reigns as the tough face, the gangster face, the scar-face. Learn much of the Italian culture, the intimacy, the passion, the love of music and art and food. Learn to stay alive when trusted allies create dissonance of uncertainty.
“Revenge is a dish that tastes best when served cold.”
It’s easy seeing why this one became such a bestseller and was made successfully into a popular movie. Even if the cultural presence isn’t a reality we all personally experience, it’s easily understood and to a point agreed with. The struggle among father and son and setting a person’s own path is an age old story always enjoyed as it DOES affect people even today and always will.
The Godfather by Mario Puzo is one of the best pieces of literature ever written. Mario Puzo paints this elaborate picture of the Sicilian mafia through the eyes of Michael Corleone, a returning Marine Corps hero who at first wants nothing to do with the elaborate crime family that his father has built. The reason that the Godfather by Mario Puzo is so good is the depth of the characters. They aren’t just evil criminals. They are real people. Mario Puzo romanticises the mafia life and that time period altogether.
Brief Biography of Mario Puzo:
Mario Puzo was one of twelve children born to Neapolitan parents who emigrated from Italy to New York. He grew up in Hell’s Kitchen, a tough neighborhood on Manhattan’s West Side with a large population of Italian and Irish immigrants. Puzo’s father abandoned the family when Mario was twelve years old, leaving his strong-willed mother to raise the family on her own.
During World War II, Puzo served in the army but saw no combat due to his poor eyesight. After the war, he returned to New York and pursued a writing career. He wrote articles for men’s magazines such as Swank and Male and published two novels: The Dark Arena (1955) and The Fortunate Pilgrim (1965). Both novels received critical praise but met with poor sales.
By the late 1960s, Puzo was a father of five in deep financial debt, so he purposely tried to write a hit novel. The result was 1969’s The Godfather by Mario Puzo, a bestselling tale of life in an Italian-American Mafia family that became a cultural phenomenon and inspired an Academy Award-winning movie trilogy from director Francis Ford Coppola. Puzo wrote several more novels and screenplays throughout the 1970s, 80s, and 90s before he died of heart failure in 1999. His last work, another Mafia epic called Omerta, was published posthumously in 2000.
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