Book Review on the Godfather by Mario Puzo

Submitted by Md. Jane Alam Sufian Assistant Director 29th BCS (Ansar) Ansar & VDP Academy Shafipur, Gazipur Book Review On The Godfather By Mario Puzo Submitted To: Hira Miah Course OIC Director (Training) Ansar & VDP Academy Shafipur, Gazipur Submitted by Md. Jane Alam Sufian Assistant Director 29th BCS (Ansar) Ansar & VDP Academy Shafipur, Gazipur Acknowledgement Book review is an important assignment for an officer. For the successful accomplishment all credits and praises are due to Almighty, the most merciful the most gracious Allah.
To complete this very work I had to seek guidance and help from lot of persons who helped me without any hesitation, I am really grateful to them for their patience.. I had to take notes from the internet in this case I have used wikipedia as reference and As I had submitted the book name by Mario Puzo and it wasn’t available in our library so I had to collect this book from Nilkhet, Dhaka. I would like to express my sincerest and deepest respect to my course OIC Hira Miah, Director (Training) Bangladesh Ansar & VDP Academy and CC Deputy Director Kamrun Nahar Bangladesh Ansar & VDP Academy.
Finally I would like to express my deepest sense of gratitude and heartfelt thanks to my course mates. Introduction The Godfather is a crime novel written by Italian American author Mario Puzo, originally published in 1969 by G. P. Putnam’s Sons. It details the story of a fictitious Sicilian Mafia family based in New York City (and Long Beach, New York) and headed by Don Vito Corleone, who became synonymous with the Italian Mafia. The novel covers the years 1945 to 1955, and also provides the back story of Vito Corleone from early childhood to adulthood.

The book introduced Italian criminal terms like consiglieri, caporegime, Cosa Nostra, and omerta to an English-speaking audience. It formed the basis for a 1972 film of the same name. Two film sequels, including new contributions by Puzo himself, were made in 1974 and 1990. The first and second films are widely considered to be two of the greatest films of all time. The cover was created by S. Neil Fujita whose design featured a large Gothic-style letter “G” with a long curl at the top emphasizing the first three letters of the title, accompanied by the hands of a puppeteer holding a set of strings over the “father” portion of the word.
Title Some controversy surrounds the title of the book and its underworld implications. Although it is widely reported that Puzo was inspired to use “Godfather” as a designator for a Mafia leader from his experience as a reporter, the term The Godfather was first used in connection with the Mafia during Joe Valachi’s testimony during a 1963 United States congressional hearing on organized crime. Main characters The Corleone family patriarch is Vito Corleone (The Don), whose surname (Italian for “Lionheart”) recalls the town of Corleone, Sicily.
Vito has four children: Santino “Sonny” Corleone, Frederico “Fredo” Corleone, Michael “Mikey” Corleone, and Constanzia “Connie” Corleone. He also has an informally adopted son, Tom Hagen, who became the Corleones’ consiglieri. Vito Corleone is also the godfather of singer and movie star Johnny Fontane. The godfather referred to in the title is generally taken to be Vito. However, the story’s central character is actually Michael. Its central theme follows that it is Michael’s destiny to replace his father as the head of the family, despite his determination to lead a more Americanized life with his girlfriend (and eventual wife) Kay Adams.
The Corleone family is in fact a criminal organization with national influence, notably protection, extortion, gambling and union racketeering. Serving under the Don is his oldest son Santino, who serves as underboss. The operational side of the organization is headed by two caporegimes, Peter Clemenza and Salvatore Tessio. Film adaptation Main article: The Godfather In 1972, a film adaptation of the novel was released, starring Marlon Brando as Don Vito Corleone, Al Pacino as Michael Corleone, and directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
Mario Puzo assisted with writing the screenplay and with other production tasks. The film grossed approximately $269 million worldwide and won various awards, including three Academy Awards, five Golden Globes and one Grammy and is considered to be one of the greatest films of all time. The sequel, The Godfather Part II won six Oscars, and became the first sequel to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. The film is similar to the novel in most places, but leaves out some details, such as extended back stories for some characters. Some of these details ere actually filmed, and were included in later versions such as The Godfather Saga. A subplot involving Johnny Fontane in Hollywood was not filmed. The biggest difference was that the novel included a more upbeat ending than the film, in which Kay Corleone accepts Michael’s decision to take over his father’s business. The film, in contrast, ends with Kay’s realization of Michael’s ruthlessness, a theme that would develop in the second and third films, which were largely not based on the original novel. Vito Corleone’s backstory appeared in the second film.
Other adaptations Main article: The Godfather: The Game The video game company Electronic Arts released a video game adaptation of The Godfather on March 21, 2006. The player assumes the role of a “soldier” in the Corleone family. Prior to his death, Marlon Brando provided some voice work for Vito, which was eventually deemed unusable and was dubbed over by a Brando impersonator. Francis Ford Coppola said in April 2005 that he was not informed of Paramount’s decision to allow the game to be made and he did not approve of it. 4] Al Pacino also did not participate, and his likeness was replaced with a different depiction of Michael Corleone. Sequels In 1983 Puzo’s literary sequel to The Godfather was published. Entitled The Sicilian it chronicles the life of “Guiliano” (Salvatore Giuliano) but the Corleone family is featured heavily throughout, Michael Corleone in particular. Chronologically this story sits between Michael’s exile to Sicily in 1950 to his return to the USA. Due to copyright reasons the Corleone family involvement was cut from the Michael Cimino movie adaption.
In 2004, Random House published a sequel to Puzo’s The Godfather, The Godfather Returns, by Mark Winegardner. A further sequel by Winegardner, The Godfather’s Revenge, was released in 2006. The sequel novels continue the story from Puzo’s novel. The Godfather Returns picks up the story immediately after the end of Puzo’s The Godfather. It covers the years 1955 to 1962, as well as providing significant backstory for Michael Corleone’s character prior to the events of the first novel. The events of the film The Godfather Part II all take place within the time frame of this novel, but are only mentioned in the background.
The novel contains an appendix that attempts to correlate the events of the novels with the events of the films. The Godfather’s Revenge covers the years 1963 to 1964. Continuing Puzo’s habit, as seen in The Godfather, of featuring characters who are close analogues of real life events and public figures (as Johnny Fontane is an analogue of Frank Sinatra), Winegardner features in his two Godfather novels analogues of Joseph, John, and Robert Kennedy, as well as an analogue for alleged organized crime figure Carlos Marcello (Carlo Tramonti).
In The Godfather Returns, Winegardner also dramatizes the sweep of organized crime arrests that took place in Apalachin, New York, in 1957. Winegardner uses all of the characters from the Puzo novels, and created a few of his own, most notably Nick Geraci, a Corleone soldier who plays a pivotal role in the sequel novels. Winegardner further develops characters from the original novel, such as Fredo Corleone, Tom Hagen, and Johnny Fontane. Real-life influences
Large parts of the novel are based upon reality, notably the history of the so-called ‘Five Families’, the Mafia-organization in New York and the surrounding area. The novel also includes many allusions to real-life mobsters and their associates, and Johnny Fontane is based on Frank Sinatra, Moe Greene on Bugsy Siegel, for example. Summary Ageless Books are boldly ignorant of the passage of time. The past and the future merge in the permanence of a timeless story. Years and decades pass us by, we grow up and grow old, and yet these books only become more enduring with time.
The Godfather story is insurmountable, it is beyond a classic, it is unashamedly ignorant of cultural, geographical or age boundaries – it resonates with all of us and has so ever since it first appeared in print in Mario Puzo‘s epic novel in 1969. Nino Rota‘s world famous main theme song is etched in the depth of my memory from my childhood days when the music filled my house in London. the Godfather has held a special place in my heart all my life. I knew the music many years before I watched the movie first, and that came many years before I read the novel.
Now, and only now, after reading the novel do I understand why everyone loved this story so much and why they repeatedly watched and listened to the music. Now I feel closer to one of my friend Razib and marvel at his taste in what I find to be a remarkable story. How I wish he could be here today to tell me his thoughts on the Godfather, now that I can appreciate it. We may express the gratitude we feel toward our families while we have the chance, but why is it that the true understanding of that gratitude often greets us bitterly late in life?
The ingenuous story and remarkable characters aside, the writing of Mario Puzo is of highest quality. Puzo’s novel speaks to every reader from every walk of life, and evidently through different generations. It runs through themes understood by all humans: family and brotherhood, sacrifice and justice, trust and betrayal, revenge and retribution, business and friendship – friendship that the Godfather held so tenderly and seriously, friendship that he offered openly and generously, friendship in the name of which he offered favors and collected them in due time.
In the core of this magnificent story is Mario Puzo’s writing. On the surface, it mostly appears to be a crime novel with grotesque scenes and unhappy outcomes but it is only the surface. The writing is solid, authentic, lustful and obsessive through and through – it takes your imagination into the scene, it places you inside the situation with the character and it demands that you fully partake in the intensity of every moment. The story endures and the writing of this remarkable author is the solid foundation of support which upholds t. “Amerigo Bonasera sat in New York Court Number 3 and waited for justice…. ” And so we enter the under world of Italian immigrants in New York city. We encounter characters we can never forget. The depiction of these unforgettable characters – Luca Brasi, Tom Hagen, Sonny Corleone, Kay Adams, Johnny Fontaine – while secondary to our main characters, paints a permanent picture before our eyes in the hands of Mario Puzo’s masterful prose.
Through these characters, we get to know our heroes, Don Vito Corleone as the head of the Corleone family and business, and the mastermind of the ingenious mafia world, and Michael Corleone, the Don’s favorite son, who refuses to follow in his father’s footsteps, joins the army and keeps a distance from the family, until one day in the deep countryside of Sicily, he meets his ultimate fate. Perhaps, in its essence, in its very core, the Godfather is a story about father and son and their undeniable bond, which can be weakened but not broken, in the company of family loyalty and devotion reciprocating that of the Corleone family. I will reason with him. ” – Don Corleone’s famous motto, a phrase that, when used, immediately translated to Tom Hagen, his consigliere, that the Godfather will not be persuaded otherwise, and that it would be in the best interest of the opposing party to acquiesce to Godfather’s terms because no matter what terms presented to them at this time, if they should fail to agree, it would most certainly be subject to harsher circumstances. Don Corleone is not a criminal man in his own world. He is a gracious, reasonable and honorable man.
He has earned the respect of his family, his community, his workforce, the entire immigrant population from Italy, and all who know him through his distinguished reputation. When he first came to America, for the young Vito, this was the dream land of opportunity at a time when jobs were scarce in Sicily and the government was to be feared and not trusted. He wore out his welcome quickly in America. He soon realized that the government and the authorities do not exist to protect him, to grant him justice in the face of adversity and to act in his best interest.
They exist to protect the law, which often is lacking in reason and circumstantial exceptions. The young Vito’s turning point in life comes to him in the early days in America, when recently armed with this bitter knowledge, he had to protect himself against the corrupt and feared Fanucci in New York’s Hell’s Kitchen. Vito Corleone makes the simple, logical, ingenious decision on the fate of Fanucci, and subsequently the fate of all those families and businesses from whom Fanucci extorted money for nothing in return. That marks the day when he realizes his own fate in life.
He begins to believe that every man has one fate, something Michael always remembers about his father but does not fully comprehend until his hideout in Sicily later. The obsession and the reverence of the Godfather is stunning and undeniable. He is worshiped on a massive scale, and yet by society’s measures, he is a first rate criminal. Even as he commits the most heinous crime in all of the story, that of beheading of Khartoum, the magnificent horse belonging to Hollywood hotshot Woltz and the symbol of all beauty and innocence, the Godfather stands tall and respected.
It is all understood and forgiven him as part of the business, necessary to reach certain goals and to protect certain interests. It is the legendary Marlon Brando performance engraved into a rock in our memory – standing erect and powerful, commanding his world and bringing justice where none can be achieved by society’s standard measures. The ethics of Don Corleone come to surface as he is first approached by Sollozzo, the “Turk” about the drug business. It makes perfect sense to get engaged in trafficking drugs as a guaranteed measure to long-term power and money.
Tom Hagen lays it down clearly: If we do not get into it, someone else will. If it is not a main stream of income in the families now, it will be in 5 years, 10 years down the road. We must act quick, Tom tells the Godfather. Sonny, with his short and quick temper, makes a fatal mistake during the course of these negotiations by disagreeing with his father during the meeting with Sollozzo – words that have no doubt made a proud mark on the American pop culture when the Godfather tells him never to let anyone outside the family know what you think.
Yet despite the advice of his consigliere and his most likely successor, Sonny, the Godfather stands strong if alone in refusing to engage in drug business on ethics and brilliant business vision. This decision along with Sonny’s foolishness to speak up at the Sollozzo meeting costs the Godfather 6 bullets. Even so, these bullets do not even come close to matching the merciless gunning down of Sonny that later follows. These harsh blows to the most powerful man in all of NYC at the time raise intensity among the mafia world, and yet the Don refuses to act on this with justified vengeance.
It is with unwavering belief and rock-solid ethics that the Godfather then delivers a most unforgettable speech to the five Italian families in hopes of truce on the drug business. The judges and senators that hold his friendship dear would no longer wish to be associated with him if the business graduated from the small petty crimes around importing and exporting of olive oil and other goods, gambling, prostitution – a favorite of Tattalias – to a seriously debilitating substance.
In all of this, he stands alone as visionaries often do. When all hell broke loose after Godfather’s shooting and his hospitalization, it took a mastermind planning session between Clemenza, Tom Hagen and Sonny and Michael to arrive at the perfect solution. It was risky but the only way to handle the situation and it was for Michael to kill the slimy NY cop, McClusky, and the head of drug business, Sollozzo, in a public restaurant. Michael flees overnight to a hideout in Sicily, and waits for the smoke to clear to come home.
It takes almost three years before he is able to safely return home – during which time the Godfather tells Hagen every day “Remember to use all your wits for a plan to bring Michael home. ” But it takes the genius of the Godfather’s sharp mind, even in his weakened condition, to find the only legitimate way to realize this – and that brings us to the story of Felix Bocchichio. This was omitted from the first movie but brilliantly told in the book. The Bocchichio family are the primitive borderline hostile generation who would take revenge – an eye for an eye – if anything were to happen to their clan.
For that reason, having a Bocchichio hostage or having one arrange a meeting is absolute insurance on the impartial validity of the matter. And it is through a misfortune of the Bocchichio family that Michael is able to return home. When Felix Bocchichio has his wake-up call after the ruthless way in which his colleagues betray him, he has to pay for a crime he did not commit. After he served his term and was released, he shoots his enemies dead in broad daylight, and waits to be arrested. It is impossible to find a way out of this mess for Felix Bocchichio.
The genius of Godfather arranges for Felix to confess to the murder of McCLusky and Sollozzo, for an exchange of large pension to his family for life. Felix confesses and Michael comes home at long last. The recurring theme of taking care of one’s family in exchange for a ‘favor’ to the Godfather is renewed at the turn of every page in this book. Some of the sub-plots running through the Godfather, non-central to the overall theme and missing from the movie, still make up my most cherished parts of this genius story.
The indelible, lustful, raw passion which Lucy Mancini and Sonny enjoy for a short while is on top of that list. Even the sweet brief romance of Michael Corleone and his first wife, the Italian bella Apollonia, deliciously described as it was, pales in comparison to the passages imparting the details of Sonny’s wild affair with Lucy. Mario Puzo proves no less a gifted author in his creation of the erotic love scenes between the impassioned lovers. The love making is predatory as Lucy and Sonny devour one another with voracious appetite.
When Sonny dies, Lucy’s whole physical being aches for him, a loss and a wound that Sonny’s wife is far from experiencing. With the move to Vegas, thanks to Hagan’s arrangements to take care of “extended” relations of Sonny, Lucy embarks on a new life and adventures, including the nature of her relationship with Jules. Large or small, Puzo takes the time to first develop his characters fully – even if in isolation of others – and then to carefully weave each into the central plot. There is a reason and time for each character to play their part, pay their dues, return a favor, or bestow an act of friendship to the Godfather.
The Don, the mastermind of Mario Puzo’s creation, is the only one who knows well in advance of others – and that includes the reader – how and when each chosen one will be called to action. From the wide spectrum of the compelling personalities at his finger tips, Mario Puzo affords way too much time to developing that of the wasteful, whiny, incapable Johnny Fontaine, the Godfather’s Godson. If there is a more insufferable type in all of the Godfather, I must have missed the chapter – because Johnny Fontaine is it for me. To my disappointment, we delve into Johnny and peel layer after layer into his life, his career, and his psyche.
The irony surrounding the deep love the Godfather feels for Johnny is blatant. He makes heaps of mistakes, but he also destroys the one singular value held of highest regards in the eyes of Don Corleone, that of family: He divorces and abandons his Italian wife and family in his drunken and desperate stupor of dealing with fame. Still the Don continues to love and support his Godson unconditionally. It is for the undeserving Johnny Fontaine that Jack Woltz pays dearly in the beheading of Khartoum, the finest, priciest, and rarest racehorse in the world.
All of this sacrifice for the sacred bond of the Godfather to Godson relationship – one held very high in the eye of a Sicilian man – a bond for which the Godfather murders and destroys anything and anyone in order to protect. A sacred bond ever so wasted on a man such as Johnny Fontaine. Conclusion As a novelist and a masterful story-teller, Mario Puzo is gripping in every passage, every chapter and every book (total of 9 books in The Godfather). Movies 1 and 2 are no doubt classics of our time, and tightly capture the essence of the novel.
Timeless movies as they be, with unforgettable theme music to pull us in even deeper into the elusive ways of the Italian mafia underworld, it is the writing that I prefer. It is in the riveting passages of Mario Puzo’s original book that his characters come alive in more riveting shapes and colors, although I admit that it is impossible not to associate them with the actors that have burned those names into our memories since the original Godfather movie. The Godfather is a masterpiece and a classic, and a story that once read and consumed, leaves its readers and viewers changed permanently.
About the author Mario Puzo Mario Gianluigi Puzo (October 15, 1920 – July 2, 1999) was an American author and screenwriter, known for his novels about the Mafia, including The Godfather (1969), which he later co-adapted into a film by Francis Ford Coppola. He won the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in both 1972, and 1974. Puzo was born into a poor family from Pietradefusi, Province of Avellino, Campania, Italy living in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood of New York. [1] Many of his books draw heavily on this heritage.
After graduating from the City College of New York, he joined the United States Army Air Forces in World War II. Due to his poor eyesight, the military did not let him undertake combat duties but made him a public relations officer stationed in Germany. In 1950, his first short story, The Last Christmas, was published in American Vanguard. After the war, he wrote his first book, The Dark Arena, which was published in 1955. At periods in the 1950s and early 1960s, Puzo worked as a writer/editor for publisher Martin Goodman’s Magazine Management Company.
Puzo, along with other writers like Bruce Jay Friedman, worked for the company line of men’s magazines, pulp titles like Male, True Action, and Swank. Under the pseudonym Mario Cleri, Puzo wrote World War II adventure features for True Action. Puzo’s most famous work, The Godfather, was first published in 1969 after he had heard anecdotes about Mafia organizations during his time in pulp journalism. He later said in an interview with Larry King that his principal motivation was to make money. He had already, after all, written two books that had received great reviews, yet had not amounted to much.
As a government clerk with five children, he was looking to write something that would appeal to the masses. With a number one bestseller for months on the New York Times Best Seller List, Mario Puzo had found his target audience. The book was later developed into the film The Godfather, directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The movie received 11 Academy Award nominations, winning three, including an Oscar for Puzo for Best Adapted Screenplay. Coppola and Puzo collaborated then to work on sequels to the original film, The Godfather Part II and The Godfather Part III.
Puzo wrote the first draft of the script for the 1974 disaster film Earthquake, which he was unable to continue working on due to his commitment to The Godfather Part II. Puzo also co-wrote Richard Donner’s Superman and the original draft for Superman II. He also collaborated on the stories for the 1982 film A Time to Die and the 1984 Francis Ford Coppola film The Cotton Club. Puzo never saw the publication of his penultimate book, Omerta, but the manuscript was finished before his death as was the manuscript for The Family.
However, in a review originally published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Jules Siegel, who had worked closely with Puzo at Magazine Management Company, speculated that Omerta may have been completed by “some talentless hack. ” Siegel also acknowledges the temptation to “rationalize avoiding what is probably the correct analysis – that [Puzo] wrote it and it is terrible. ” Puzo died of heart failure on Friday, July 2, 1999 at his home in Bay Shore, Long Island, New York. His family now lives in East Islip, New York. Works of Puzo
Novels •The Dark Arena (1955) •The Fortunate Pilgrim (1965) •The Runaway Summer of Davie Shaw (1966) •Six Graves to Munich (1967), as Mario Cleri •The Godfather (1969) •Fools Die (1978) •The Sicilian (1984) •The Fourth K (1991) •The Last Don (1996) •Omerta (2000) •The Family (2001) (completed by Puzo’s girlfriend Carol Gino) Non-fiction •”Test Yourself: Are You Heading for a Nervous Breakdown? ” as by Mario Cleri (1965) •The Godfather Papers and Other Confessions (1972) •Inside Las Vegas (1977) Short stories •”The Last Christmas” (1950) “John ‘Red’ Marston’s Island of Delight” as by Mario Cleri (1964) •”Big Mike’s Wild Young Sister-in-law” as by Mario Cleri (1964) •”The Six Million Killer Sharks That Terrorize Our Shores” as by Mario Cleri (1966) •”The Unkillable Six” as by Mario Cleri (1967) •”Girls of Pleasure Penthouse” as by Mario Cleri (1968) •”Order Lucy For Tonight” as by Mario Cleri (1968) •”12 Barracks of Wild Blondes” as Mario Cleri (1968) Screenplays •The Godfather (1972) •The Godfather Part II (1974) •Earthquake (1974) •Superman (1978) •Superman II (1980) •The Godfather Part III (1990) •Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992)
Summary:The book opens with the wedding of Connie Corleone, daughter of Don Vito ‘The Godfather’ Corleone, head of the most powerful of the five great Mafia clans or ‘families’ of New York. Don Corleone is shot at by a new contender for power in the city, Virgil ‘the Turk’ Solozzo, who plans to obtain power by the lure of vast profits in the drug trafficking trade. After the Don is incapacitated by his assassination attempt, the book follows the Corleone family’s progress as they must now adapt to the changing times and power dynamics and maintain the Corleone empire.
Santino ‘Sonny’ Corleone is too blunt and brash a man to ever become Don while Freddie is weak and ineffective. The book follows the journey and transformation of the youngest, and hitherto the Don’s most distant, son Michael as he realizes that though he may have tried to live by society’s norms, rejecting what his father represented, inside lives a true Sicilian who will stop at nothing to get what he wants and protect those he loves. Michael has a tough task ahead of him, he has to locate his father’s would-be assassin, crush the rival gangs and regain once more the respect that the name Corleone inspired in New York…

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