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The Godfather (1969)

by Mario Puzo

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Godfather (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
8,847155609 (4.17)257
The leader, Vito Corleone, is the Godfather. He is a benevolent despot who stops at nothing to gain and hold power. His command post is a fortress on Long Island from which he presides over a vast underground empire that includes the rackets, gambling, bookmaking, and unions. His influence runs through all levels of American society, from the cop on the beat to the nation's mighty.… (more)
Recently added byArina40, AMGIV, private library, MarenPearson, TerjeT
  1. 10
    The Sicilian by Mario Puzo (longway)
  2. 10
    Gem of the prairie : an informal history of the Chicago underworld by Herbert Asbury (ashleylauren)
  3. 00
    Leopard in the Sun by Laura Restrepo (joririchardson)
    joririchardson: Colombian literature that could be described as "The Godfather" re-written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.
  4. 00
    Stiletto by Harold Robbins (ashleylauren)
  5. 01
    The Pack by C. W. Schultz (GeekyRandy)
    GeekyRandy: No real relevance. Both are about gangsters and comes from a neutral POV. "The Pack" is also obviously influenced by "The Godfather". I love both books, perhaps you will too.

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» See also 257 mentions

English (141)  Spanish (3)  German (2)  Dutch (1)  Portuguese (Brazil) (1)  Hungarian (1)  French (1)  Italian (1)  Danish (1)  Hebrew (1)  All languages (153)
Showing 1-5 of 141 (next | show all)
The United States after World War II. Vito Corleone is the head of one of the five major Italian mafia families that control New York City. When one family tries to enter the drug business and asks Don Vito Corleone for help, the Don kindly but strictly refuses on the grounds that this is not his type of business. This refusal is seen as an affront by the Tattaglia family and they attempt to kill Corleone which leads to a war of the five families. Don Corleone, however, survives and when he recovers he calls for a meeting with the other families to make peace. Not only do the other families abuse that peace to consolidate and enlarge their territories, they also kill Corleone's first-born son and likely successor to the family business. Michael, his second son, is soon about to take over from the aging Don and he plots revenge for his brother's death.

The first instalment in the series, The Godfather relates a captivating tale of the Mafia business in the mid-nineteenth century United States and also sheds a light on the Don's upbringing in New York after he had to flee the town of Corleone in Sicily, Italy. As a reader you get an insight into how decisions are made by the mafia boss who sees himself as an equal to presidents and other heads of state and hence tries to build his own empire with his own rules. What I especially liked about the novel is the way all actions are carefully explained by describing a moral framework that guides the decisions of members of the Italian mafia. The novel, a bestseller itself, has been turned into an Academy-Award-winning movie starring Marlon Brando and Al Pacino. 4 stars for a good read. ( )
  OscarWilde87 | Jul 1, 2020 |

The book is a cracking good read. The film sticks pretty closely to the parts of the original story that it wants to tell, but there are two significant (and enjoyable) sections that are not in the film - the adventures of Johnny Fontane in Hollywood, and the back story of Vito Corleone in Sicily and his early years in New York (though I think the latter thread informs the Robert de Niro sections of the sequel film). The book has space to go a bit deeper into the political economy of organised crime, in particular the role played (or not) by the police. It's also a bit better on the women characters (though this is not saying a lot), and has much more explicit sex than I remembered from reading it as a teenager. I can't pretend that it's a very deep read, but it's a very interesting juxtaposition with last year's The French Connection which also looked at organised crime in New York, from a rather different perspective. ( )
  nwhyte | Jun 9, 2020 |
Enjoyed it very much! The films (1&2) stuck very closely to the book and it was great getting more details. I think any fan of the movies will love the book. ( )
  amcheri | Apr 29, 2020 |
This was a thrilling ride. However, the first 100 pages or so were very slow and hard to get into. Nevertheless, if you get through them you are in line for a great ride that never stops once it starts. This is a fine novel and well done, through and through. The initial hurdle is the task, but it is well worth the effort.

4 stars! ( )
  DanielSTJ | Mar 28, 2020 |

Not bad, but... to overturn the old cliche...

The movie was better.

The book is marred by some pacing problems and utterly weird digressions into topics that have nothing to do with the main plot. The main plot is the thing you remember from the movie: Gangster son replaces his father, jolts you in the end with the realization that The Godfather of the title is the son, Michael, not his father, Vito.

Two examples of such digressions: The life of the singer - on whose behalf the famous horse head is placed into the movie producer's bed - is followed for dozens of pages after that scene, later in the book. But his life never re-connects to the main plot in any important way. He does have lunch with other characters a couple of times, but to no consequence. His life is simply followed, then... why were we forced to read all that?

A similar thing happens with the maid of honor from the wedding near the start of the book. Later, we get dozens of pages about her, some of it BIZARRELY telling us about an operation she has to make her vagina tighter. Yes, you read that correctly; that's really part of the book. WTF? This never has anything remotely to do with anything in the actual plot. Deeply weird.

Another problem is that the original godfather, Vito Corleone, is not "on stage" very much after the initial third or so of the book. I imagine this would make a first-time reader who hadn't seen the movie go, "Where the heck is the godfather in this book titled The Godfather!?"

A cool bit: A lot of the dialogue in the movie was grabbed verbatim from the book.

If you read this, you can skip the long divagations into the lives of the singer, Johnny Fontane, and the maid of honor, Lucy something-or-other. No, you're not missing anything entertaining or important. ( )
  Carnophile | Mar 7, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 141 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (105 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Puzo, Marioprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Bart, PeterAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bennett, HarryCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fujita, S. NeilCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Gardner, GroverNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thompson, Robert J.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Wijk, Johan vanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Canonical title
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Important events
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Awards and honors
Behind every great fortune there is a crime. - Balzac
For Anthony Cleri
First words
Amerigo Bonasera sat in New York Criminal Court No. 3 and waited for justice; vengeance on the men who had so cruelly hurt his daughter, who had tried to dishonor her.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS

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Wikipedia in English (5)

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Book description
Haiku summary
I love you, man, but
for business reasons I must
have you whacked, sorry.

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