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Fools Die Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 1979

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (October 1, 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451160193
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451160195
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.2 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (79 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #240,827 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Unforgettable... Will rivet your attention" Cosmopolitan "Corruptly compulsive" Daily Express --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Mario Puzo was born on Manhattan’s West Side in the neighborhood known as Hell’s Kitchen. His first books, The Fortunate Pilgrim (“a minor classic” New York Times) and Dark Arena, brought him critical acclaim, but it was the publication of The Godfather in March 1969 that catapulted him into the front ranks of American authors. Reviewers hailed the book as “a staggering triumph” (Saturday Review), “big, turbulent, highly entertaining” (Newsweek), “remarkable” (Look), and “a voyeur’s dream, a skillful fantasy of violent personal power” (New York Times). Winning readers by the millions, it stayed at or near the top of the New York Times bestseller lists for sixty-nine weeks. His follow-up novel, Fools Die (1978), was hailed as the publishing event of the decade. Puzo’s last novel, Omerta, was finished shortly before his death in 1999.

Customer Reviews

There is lots of boring narrative and not much action or dialog.
Amazon Customer
To read more books by Mario Puzo, read "The Godfather", and "The Last Don".
Like I said, it's a rough read but impossible to put down just because Puzo has his name on it.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 20, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Godfather is a shallow action thriller compared to Fool's Die. Don't be fooled by the superficially simple title, this tale of a mans life is a modern David Copperfield. At times I consider Fool's Die my favorite book of all time. This seems to be Puzos sleeper novel, I can't believe there are no other reviews for it. The most enjoyable aspect is the main character's realistically flawed choices in life, a man at once both honorable and improvident. This book is required reading to all intelligent men, especially aspiring writers(the main character is a writer), who should relate to the main character's dilemmas and trials.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By John Baranyai on May 27, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first read this book when it was released back in 1979 ( Ah, My Sweet Lost Youth!!!)and I was so impressed by it that I wanted to write a letter to the author teling him how much I enjoyed it. This book has it all. Lust, greed, treachery, deception, sex and violence all the way from the High Roller Gambling Rooms of Las Vegas to the Shores Of Japan. The main character is a guy named Merlyn who somehow believes that he is a type of magician who can control his destiny.Another character worth mentioning is the writer Osano who desperately seeeks refuge from his loneliness in a heady mixture of drugs, casual sex and booze. All of this is deftly handled by Mr. Puzo and the reader is in for one heck of a roller coaster ride!!!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By thomas w. rasch on November 7, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The book starts off with a bang - a distillation so to speak of the work of character in the book.
You can read the first few pages on Amazon. I did and it inspired me to go to the local bookstore and buy the paperback. Well, after the short and introspective "book 1," the scenes shifts to an introduction to the initial characters and the setting is the Xanadu in Las Vegas.
Many cool intricacies of the casino and its management are extra added info as the flow of character development builds nicely.
Of particular interest though throughout is the relationships between men and women. The thinking and vocal great author Osano, he of seven wives, gives some very interesting thoughts concerning this subject!
Gronevelt is brilliant. The tough casino operator who lives and dies by "the percentage." Countdown Cully is memorable, so slick and sharp. Jordan figures heavily in the beginning. Merlyn is mostly the narrator throughout and most things are seen through his eyes and written by his pen. Merlyn himself - a study in contrasts and surprises.
Bisexual Janelle, who loves Merlyn more than any other man is comprehensively explored. Merlyn loves her deeply.
But he also loves his wife who makes him happy. She though, in contrast with other characters, is hardly developed at all.
The hollywood crowd is vistited upon also. Not very nice people those folks, one would think after reading Fools Die!
All in all, this book has plenty of merit even in addition to the fact that it was fun to read.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Rocco B. Rubino on December 13, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Positives: Fools Die is a complicated tale of the inner workings/intertwined worlds of Hollywood and Las Vegas. Puzo is a master-story teller (this is an understatment), who develops characters to their fullest, scenes that are rich and robust so as to put the reader "right there," and writes compelling dialogue.

Negatives: Unless you have a fairly good grasp of the arcana of gambling, the novel's plot will be like swiss cheese in many places. While we are on the subject of plot, it is hard to figure out if this is a tale of degenerate gamblers lost in a miasma of winning, losing, and losing and losting..., of hookers, profligate lifestyles and intrigue; or is this a novel about writers who are comtemptuous of Hollywood; the age old argument if novels are the "true art-form" as opposed to movies?

The sex is gratuitous in the extreme, so much so as to be chauvanistic. The dialogue is raw in the extreme. Puzo's view of human nature is cynacal and a tad jaded. In retrospect, I have to question if all of this was necessary in order to tell a great story.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Ocampo on February 11, 2007
Format: Paperback
Mario Puzo's Fools Die is more than a look at the inner workings of the grand triangle of corruption, Las Vegas, New York, and Hollywood. What it really is, is a novel that USES Las Vegas, New York, and Hollywood to illustrate modern man's relationship with woman.

Each of the male characters of the book personify men with different attitudes, beliefs, and methods in their relationships with women. I am suprised that people rarely mention this material in reviews of this book. Mario Puzo explicitly introduces the reader to these themes in the introduction. For this review, I will focus on this thematic material.

General plot summary:

Main character John Merlyn gambling and meeting people in Las Vegas, engaging himself in illegal dealings working for the draft board in New York, and having one of his books turned into a movie in Hollywood. But this plot only provides a setting for the interactions that examine human relationships.

Generally, the men, despite all of their power and charm, are unable to cope with the modern woman and most of them experience some sort of downfall.

Here is a rundown of the main characters and what each of them represent:

Jordan plays the part of the hard working, monogamous puritan. In order to protect his wife and children, he becomes a powerful entreprenuer and builds a wall of power and wealth around them. Little did he know that the destruction of his family would come from within! Apparently, in his quest to safeguard his relationship, he forgot aobut the intimate details that he needed to use to keep his wife interested. His wife, though not a businessman like Jordan, is more clever.
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