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The Last Don Mass Market Paperback – January 29, 1997

165 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Mario Puzo, author of The Godfather, knows a thing or two about the Mafia and about the movie business; here he brings them together. In the prologue, a Mafia don oversees the double christening of two infant boys, Dante and Cross, into the Clericuzio family. Later, when Cross is tapped to take over as the "Hammer" of the Clericuzios, their prime hit man, he proves not cold-blooded enough for the role. Dante takes his place, and Cross moves from Las Vegas to Hollywood, which proves to be an even worse den of iniquity. When he falls for a movie star Athena Aquitaine, he exhibits the "fatal flaw" the old don always warned against: loving a beautiful woman. A taut novel of sex and money, of love and power. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Age withers some writers. Others it ripens toward an Olympian wisdom. So it is with Puzo, who at age 76 returns after a quarter century to the terrain of his greatest success, The Godfather, to tell a second masterful tale of Mafia life. Puzo's vision is broader here, and more dispassionate. Times have changed since the day of the Corleones. America has fragmented, and Puzo's new family, the Clericuzios, the shadowy power behind the Mafia, is feeling modernity's centrifugal force. Though still based in New York, the Family has also scattered to Vegas and, as the novel progresses, to Hollywood. Puzo's protagonist is Cross De Lena, nephew of Don Domenico Clericuzio, his Bruglione in Vegas, who by investing in film may fulfill the Don's wish to legitimize the Family. But in Puzo's world, the search for power and wealth demands brutality; dream factories, whether of Vegas or Hollywood, are awash in vengeance, betrayal and blood. Puzo's take on the film world is scathing, yet there are no caricatures here; his men and women can be seduced by virtue as well as by vice and will throw away a lifetime in pursuit of love. Violence slashes through the narrative, but the real cruelty that laces the plot lies in each character's byzantine manipulations of others; the story line would delight a Medici. Nearly above the fray stand two old men, the Don and a film czar. Knowing what the world is, they neither condemn it nor bless it but acknowledge its wickedness and drink of its passion and beauty. As, in this mesmerizing tale, Puzo himself does, surveying the play of humanity in its mad glory. Major ad/promo; BOMC main selection; simultaneous Random House AudioBook; film rights sold to CBS; foreign rights sold in England, France, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Brazil and Japan.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books (January 29, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345412214
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345412218
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #102,954 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Craig Daniels on August 16, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Every time I read a book by Mario Puzo, I become more and more impressed with this mans writing style. His books always have a great combination of real world brutality, goodness, sex, and all the other mixes of human experience.
His sentences are simplistic and without airs, as are the ideas of the story, and it is this simplicity that gives Puzo's books an elegance that many modern writers lack. Mario is writing about something that is interesting and tells the reader what they need to know when they need to know it. He knows his subject material and creates a world that is interesting as well as believable.
Fools die was excellent, and then I read GodFather,and I was very impressed with that book also. I wasn't sure about this book, but I picked it up, and saw that even though it was about the same subject material (I thought it would just be a recounting of the godather), the storyline is fresh, with new characters that become well developmed by the end of the book.
Puzo also creates fantastic characters in this book, there is a mold to run by, the old sicilian mafia mold, but the characters in this book are removed by a generation or 2 from this mentality, and it is very interesting to see how Puzo shows their lives as caught in the middle of the mafia life of their parents and grandparents, and the americanized life they lead apart from Quoge LI and the "family".
This book was great, and a great read. Any book written by Puzo is worth reading because of his fantastic writing style, this book is no exception.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Nick T on April 8, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Last Don is the finest Mafia novel that I have read and is comparable to great novels such as The Godfather. The Last Don is Domenico Clericuzio, a wise and ruthless old man who is determined to see his heirs become established in society. The prologue to the story is at the christening of his nephews, Cross De Lena and Dante Clericuzio. Now, thirty years later, the Clericuzio's have become the dominant mafia family in America after costly wars with other families. They have gained a hand in politics, gambling, drugs, and even Hollywood.
The setting of The Last Don is Las Vegas in 1995. The author did a very skillful job of describing Las Vegas. He pays very close attention to details. In the book, Las Vegas symbolizes the chaos and corruption in the world. The plot of The Last Don is that two cousins, Cross De Lena and Dante Clericuzio, hate each other because of a past war and must decide what to do about one another. There are also several sub-plots, such as the love between Cross and Athena and the relationship between Pippi De Lena and his daughter Claudia. Even minor characters play major roles in the story.
I enjoyed The Last Don tremendously. It was the best mafia-themed book that I have ever read. It was full of non-stop action and a twist around every corner. It also entwines love and romance into the bloody plot. I would recommend The Last Don to people who are interested in books about Mafia in America. It should, however, be read by mature audiences. The book has numerous bloody battles as well as various sexual scenes. The only bad part about the story is that the plot is not revealed until around 150 pages from the end. Definitely a great book to read on a rainy day.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on May 18, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I really liked this book. The reason I first got it was because I knew that Mario Puzo wrote the Godfather and I loved that movie. I decided to get the book, and I was not disappointed.
This book is about the workings of Cross DE Lena and the Clercuzio family. Cross and Dante are grandsons of the Don and they make a name for themselves. Cross owns a huge casino/hotel in Las Vegas, and Dante is the The number one hitman for the family. But when a family secret that the Don wants know one to know gets out, there becomes a huge war with in the Family.
This is a great book for anyone who likes action our who liked the Godfather. This book shows that after all these years Puzo can still write a great mafia story.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Roger J. Buffington TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 28, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an extraordinarily readable novel. As always when writing about the Mafia, Puzo tells a great story. This is the story of the Clericuzio crime family and the long range plan of its ruling Don to join the legitimate world and exit the Mafia, with the family wealth intact. This plan is fraught with peril and requires much bloodshed, setting the stage for the story.
The Godfather dealt with the Mafia from roughly the 1930s through the 1950s. This novel is more contemporary and appears to be set in the 1990s. Mostly, the story has an authentic quality to it, and it moves along at a very brisk pace. Puzo's prose is clear and makes the book a pleasure to read.
Some of the sub-plots in the novel are just plain unrealistic. For example, he explains how a Hollywood attorney and a "California Jury" fails to convict a murderer based on a temporary insanity defense, and a few months later the perp is walking the streets a free man.... But hey, makes a great story, anyway. And make no mistake, this is a minor quibble--this is a great story.
Puzo's portrayal of the movie business as being essentially as brutal as the Mafia is hilarious. Is it true to life? I doubt it, but it sure is entertaining.
The Last Don was made into a miniseries which is fairly faithful to the novel (Part 1 of the miniseries is, that is). If you enjoy the novel, the DVD of the miniseries is a great entertainment value.
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