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The Godfather (Signet) Paperback – September 1, 1983

962 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Godfather Series

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Editorial Reviews Review

The story of Don Vito Corleone, the head of a New York Mafia family, inspired some of the most successful movies ever. It is in Mario Puzo's The Godfather that Corleone first appears. As Corleone's desperate struggle to control the Mafia underworld unfolds, so does the story of his family. The novel is full of exquisitely detailed characters who, despite leading unconventional lifestyles within a notorious crime family, experience the triumphs and failures of the human condition. Filled with the requisite valor, love, and rancor of a great epic, The Godfather is the definitive gangster novel.

From Library Journal

Diehard Godfather fans play second banana to no other subculture in their obsession with the minutiae of Puzo's novel and Coppola's films. These dedicated fans will be most disappointed by the new audio version, although perhaps only an hour of material is missing, but casual aficionados will barely notice the abridgment. Missing are the subplot involving Sonny's mistress, Lucy Mancini, and Dr. William Kennedy and the descriptions of the regional Mafia chieftains that precede the commission meeting at which Don Corleone flushes out Don Barzini as his number one rival. Actor Joe Mantegna does a fine job throughout, largely resisting the temptation to put on voices for too many of the characters. However, this cannot be said for his Don Corleone. Perhaps it is vengeance: after all, Andy Garcia, as the late Don's nephew, Vincent Mancini, put the hit on Mantegna's Joey Zasa in Godfather III, but whatever the reason, Mantegna gives Corleone a raspy falsetto-imagine the Pillsbury Doughboy with a tracheotomy-that ranks as one of the worst Brando impressions ever. Also, Puzo's chilling ending in which Kay converts to Catholicism with the hope of saving her husband's soul is inexplicably transformed into a chamber-of-commerce-style bromide about the family's new life in Nevada. Still, the popularity of Puzo's novel 27 years after its publication makes this abridgment a must-have.
Adam Mazmanian, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Signet
  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Signet (September 1, 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780451167712
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451167712
  • ASIN: 0451167716
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.3 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (962 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,321 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

113 of 121 people found the following review helpful By Vijay Krishna on September 1, 2002
Format: Paperback
The Godfather is, in many ways, not just a novel - it is an experience, after which your life will never be the same again. I have not the least of doubts in calling it 'the best, most influential and deep-cutting that I have ever read.' In its sheer departure from being just a general, run-of-the-mill tale about idolizing a particular individual, the novel presents to us with a ringside view of the workings of the Mafia, and more importantly, the lives of the people who are involved in it, directly or indirectly.
The novel starts off with a quote from Balzac - "Behind every great fortune, there is a crime." That, in effect, sets the tone for the entire novel. Mario Puzo, the author, ruthlessly captures the travails of a New York Don, Vito Corleone, who is, to quote the words of his son, "not a crazy gunning mobster", and his family.
Puzo presents to us an entire array of different characters - be it the short-tempered Sonny, or the dreary undertaker Bonasera, or the ever-faithful Luca, the cool-headed Tom, the 'Turk' Sollozzo, or the pleasant outsider Kay Adams, each character enters our world, refusing to leave. We are impressed by most of these essentially evil people because the story is told in an entirely closed world (of crime) and so we tend to love characters whom we would, in the normal course, detest.
The novel is, basically, about just two persons, Don Vito Corleone and his son, Michael, who after refusing to accept his father's ways, finally comes to terms with the reality and takes up the 'family business'.
Puzo shows us why he is the great author he really is! The character of the Don pervades our thoughts more than most (or almost all) other fictional characters do.
Read more ›
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By chris meesey Food Czar on September 21, 2003
Format: Paperback
Not many works of fiction can claim to have significantly changed the face of American culture; Mario Puzo's classic novel The Godfather is surely one of those. Look at the evidence: This book (and the wonderful cinematic counterpart) reintroduced the gangster as an American icon. It helped to spawn entire new genres in fiction and films. (Some critics suggest there should be an entirely new designation for this genre and have dubbed it "The Eastern".) Of course, it introduced that classic catchphrase "I'll make him an offer he can't refuse." Finally, it introduced one of the great heroic criminals into literature in the person of Don Vito Corleone (a character reportedly based on Puzo's own mother). Yes, it is true that the movie and not the novel must take much of this credit, but this work is hardly the two-star pulp trash that a few misguided critics have made it to be. It's solid all the way through, particularly the fabulous portrayals of the ruthless gentleman Don Vito and his family, epecially the sons: hotheaded Sonny (whose penchant for needless violence proves fatal), cowardly Freddie (who is spooked by the Don's near-assasination and runs away to Las Vegas), and, most memorably, cool, reserved Michael (who, in the end, proves a tactical genius truly worthy to be called his father's son.) Also, don't forget the fabulous cast of supporting characters: singers Johnny Fontaine and Nino Valenti (read: Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin), and the many minor players such as Luca Brasi and Amerigo Bonserai, who literally owe their very existence to the Don's generosity. And the women!!! Such marvels of strength, tenacity and character presented in blindly obidient Connie, questioning Kay, and the Don's own wife, who knows much more than she reveals.Read more ›
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51 of 56 people found the following review helpful By D. Mikels on November 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
I first read Mario Puzo's THE GODFATHER three decades ago, and the impact it had on me was overwhelming. Here was a rare novel that hooked the reader from the very first page, a novel to be savored and absorbed by the author's grim yet masterful prose.
Through the pages of this book the reader is introduced to the shadowy world of organized crime--more importantly, to the fiercely interdependent workings of the mafia. Deeply embedded in its Italian heritage, it was a culture of unspeakable violence, but it also fostered family, honor, community, loyalty, friendship. Vengeance. If you are downtrodden, or unfairly victimized, all you need do is approach one of the "families" and request a "favor." Proclaim your devotion and friendship, the favor will be granted. And then--even though it may never happen--you must be willing to return the favor.
Or suffer the consequences.
Puzo's novel brings to life the Corleone family, headed by its aging patriarch, Don Vito Corleone. In post-World War II New York, Corleone faces a changing world, but he is still plagued by the relentless "turf wars" with the other major families. Intense pressure is brought to introduce narcotics to the list of "services" provided by his family--pressure that Corleone emphatically resists, to the bleak detriment of first himself, and to those he loves. The subsequent development of the story--of the Corleone's strategy, of the emergence of one of the Godfather's sons to perpetuate the family's power and considerable clout--is spellbinding.
Few novels of the last thirty years have had any lasting effects on our cultural lexicon. THE GODFATHER is one of them. Highly recommended.
--D. Mikels
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