The Godfather

The Godfather

Book - 1969
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"The Godfather is Mafia leader Vito Corleone, benevolent despot who stops at nothing to gain and hold power. The Godfather is a freindly man, a "reasonable" man, a just man--and the deadliest gang leader in the Cosa Nostra. The Godfather's comand post is a fortress on Long Island, from which he presides over a vast underground empire that encompasses the rackets, gambling, bookmaking, and unions. Tyrant, blackmailer, racketeer, murderer--he gives his friendship freely (no man dares refuse it), rights wrongs (even murder is not too great a price for "justice"). His influence runs through all levels of American society, from the cop on the beat to the nation's mighty" -- inside cover.
Publisher: New York, Putnam [1969]
ISBN: 9780399103421
Branch Call Number: Fic Puzo
Characteristics: 446 p. 22 cm.


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Jan 29, 2019

The Godfather tells the colorful story of mob boss Vito Corleone and his children - volatile eldest son Santino, gentle middle child Fredo, unfortunate daughter Connie, and rebellious youngest son Michael, who turns out to be the most ruthless of all. With the films being the cultural touchstones they are, the basic tale will be well known to most, although there are some differences between page and screen. The book includes details of Vito's rise to power that were used as the basis of his story in The Godfather Part II, but does not include any of Michael's parallel story from that film. The book fleshes out a number of supporting characters to varying degrees, notably Joey Fontane and Lucy Mancini, and although their subplots have little to do with the main narrative, they do explore the way the Corleone empire of influence operates. On the other hand, with the book ending where it does, Fredo is almost a complete nonentity.

Mario Puzo had a long and successful career as a pulp writer, and it shows here, in his crude effectiveness or effective crudity. All of the lyricism of the films is absent from the novel, replaced with a fixation on sex and genitalia, especially male genitalia. There is also a great deal of artless repetition - the narrator tells us exactly what Woltz paid for his prize racehorse, for example, only a few pages before Woltz tells us himself. If this artlessness has an unexpected positive side, it is that it strips the central themes naked. The confrontation between the values of the Family and the values of America is presented with a minimum of subtlety. Bonasera wanted to leave behind the obligations of the traditional patron-client relationships for the rootless freedom of his adopted homeland. The movie producer Woltz uncomprehendingly ponders the values of men who would destroy a six hundred thousand dollar thoroughbred just to send a message. Michael only grows to understand his father by being involuntarily immersed in Sicilian culture. The novel is, if anything, less confident that bourgeois morality will prove superior to the feudal ethic, a lack of confidence highlighted by Kay's arc.

Dec 05, 2018

misogynistic and didactic. Could not finish.

Oct 12, 2018

Love this book. One of the best books I've ever read. Mario Puzo is a great writer and story teller. I read this book after seeing the movie. It inspired me to read his "The Sicilian" which I also highly recommend.

Jun 26, 2017

Interesting to read after seeing the movie(s). The movie and book are very close for the scenes portrayed in the film, however the book contains more information on various characters that are shown briefly in the film. A good paced narrative with good characterization. Worth reading if you are interested or enjoyed the movies.

Feb 24, 2017

I'm glad I read it, but I don't think I'll ever feel compelled to read anything else by Mario Puzo. The writing is rather sparse, leading to rather one-dimensional characters. I wanted a bit more depth--although the book at nearly 600 pages was long enough! I also did not care for the Johnny Fontane chapters--they didn't really add anything to the story for me, though I can see how they connected parts of the story together. I also really wanted more stories from the perspective of the women of the Corleone empire. They were the most fascinating parts of the book, but they were few and far between.

With that said, I did find some chapters to be intriguing, leaving me wanting more. It's just unfortunate that the whole book didn't pull me in like that.

Dec 27, 2016

The movie is considered one of the best films of all time, and deservedly so. The book? As you can see, I liked it. It's a page turner, to be sure, but it never really rises above the rank of a well-written biographical potboiler. There isn't a lot of nuance here. This is one of those rare cases where the film outshines its source material.

Mar 23, 2016

This is one of my favorite books that was made into my favorite movie. Although some subplots are hard to care about. The subplot about a washed up singer shows what is probably the most bitter portrayal of the dark side of Hollywood. The author justifies the unlawful actions of his characters by simply writing about why they do what they do. It is the best character writing I have read in a very long time.

Dec 12, 2015

This was a great book. Mario Puzo told a great story, and it was a very engaging read.

Sep 10, 2015

Absolutely fantastic book. I watched the movies before reading the book (because I didn't know of the book until after), and this is one of the first times I don't regret that. The movies were wonderful depiction of the book. I found myself, while reading the book, amazed at how great the movie and the book go together. Definitely my favourite book!!!!

geezr_rdr Sep 16, 2013

One of the best works of literature, bar none. Superb writing and a cultural icon.

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Mar 23, 2016

Sexual Content: The sex scenes are more detailed than the violent ones.

Jun 07, 2008

Violence: This title contains Violence.


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May 19, 2009

Don Corleone nodded. "Revenge is a dish that tates best when it is cold," he said.

May 19, 2009

Sonny had been listening judiciously. "I want someboby very good, very safe, to plant that gun," he told Clemenza. "I don't want my brother coming out of that toilet with just his dick in his hand."


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wooknight May 05, 2011

The fictional story of the rise of a new york mafia family and the succession . The book is extremely entertaining and the violence is extremely graphic


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