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am 4. März 2005
It becomes clear after watching the movie before reading the book that The Godfather novel is better than the movie even though I rank The Godfather movies as one of the best ever. This saga about Corleone Family, gives the best definition of the mafia genre than all the written works that may be known. The character development is unrivalled, the plot is marvelous, the pace is fast, the setting is engrossing and with the complex though fascinating lessons contained within the lines, one gets something close to a catechism. I think that is why Francis Ford Coppola did not have to alter much in the story to produce the movies.
"Behind every great fortune, there is a crime," Wrote the French novelist Balzac. This quote is the forerunner to The Godfather. It takes a short while into the novel to realize that The Godfather transcends being just a novel. Many readers have confessed that it altered their perception of life after reading it. It certainly is a classic with the most influential and deep-cutting influence on the minds of its readers. This novel presents us with the uncommon code and workings of the Mafia. It also explores the lives of the people who are directly or indirectly involved in it. Throughout the novel, one is forced to view Don Corleone as a very good bad man.
Mario Puzo's The Godfather is rich with wide-ranging characters as well. There is Don Corleone's first son-the short-tempered Sonny, Fredo the weak-minded second son, Michael the reluctant son with his father's steel-mindedness who ends up to save the family and Connie the baby sister who follows her impulses all the time. Then there is Amerigo Bonasera the dreary undertaker, the wily Genco, the ruthless capo-regimes, the psychopathic but faithful Luca, the cool-headed and loyal adopted Corleone son Tom Hagen, the women who married into the family and come to accept the reality of their new worlds, loving characters that are detestable to the real world. In the end, this novel revolves around Don Vito Corleone and his son, Michael, who like a reluctant disciple finally takes over as the head of the Corleone family.
You will not be happy when you read the last page because you will be wish for more about the lives of the Corleones and their fantastic world. For sure the character of the Don will last long in your mind, because beyond being violent, Don Corleone is portrayed as a kind, considerate, strong, reliable and reasonable, man. In his person is to be found the ideal father, husband, friend, Godfather, son, leader and business man. Fame, power, wealth and common place idealism make this book the great story it has been over the past three decades.
DISCIPLES OF FORTUNE is another novel with ingenious characters and an inspiring hero.
Also recommended: THE USURPER AND OTHERS, THE UNION MOUJIK
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am 7. September 2010
Ich habe mir die englische Ausgabe von Mario Puzo's "The Godfather" gekauft, da ich ein Buch für ein Referat im Englisch Leistungskurs benötigte. Aus dieser Schullektüre entwickelte sich für mich, nach nur kurzer Zeit, eines meiner absoluten Lieblingsbücher. Es gibt einen perfekten Einblick in die Gangster-Szene der 1940er Jahre und ist mit so vielen anspielungen auf historische Ereignisse ein einmaliger Spiegel, des New Yorker Untergrundlebens der damaligen Zeit. Jeder Fan der englischen Sprache wird sich über die detailierten Beschreibungen, die lebhaften Metaphern und die Kunstfertigkeit, mit der Puzo diesen Bestseller schrieb, freuen und sehr viel Spaß beim lesen dieses absolut spannenden Romans haben. Für mich: eines der großen litearischen Meisterwerke des 20ten Jahrhunderts.
mfG Florian R.
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am 8. März 2000
The canonization of Francis Ford Coppola's two-part adaptation of this book in the film world has made us forget that, upon its release, The Godfather (the novel) was actually considered quite pulpy, and not of the high-art status that the films have achieved.
Personally, I couldn't care less -- Mario Puzo is an entertaining storyteller, and the characters he created were marvellous -- the seemingly docile Michael Corleone; hothead Santino; Tom Hagen, the brilliant lawyer with an identity crisis; Luca Brasi (underused in the film version), the subhuman brute; Albert Neri, a man driven by circumstances into the world of crime; and of course Vito Corleone himself, the elegant mastermind, a man with a dream, a romanticization of the crimelord as a patriarch of King Lear proportions.
The novel benefits from its chosen form. A scarcely acknowledged fact about the Godfather pictures is that much-needed exposition often had to get excised because there was so much back story to each character set up in the book that the film form couldn't handle adequately. You might notice in the Godfather films how Michael's return to America is completely unexplained; Luca Brasi's power and strength are never shown onscreen (he appears at the wedding, then dies in the bar at the hands of the Tattaglias); Paulie Gatto becomes a skimpish character; Genco Abbandando disappears; and Tom Hagen's conflicts about being consigliere are minimized. Even given two three-hour films, the amount of information in the one source novel couldn't be disclosed properly, resulting in huge gaps of information. Puzo's novel does it well, with exaggeratedly elevated language, character behaviour, and third-person narrative. It works beautifully, even given its trashier inclinations (eg. commentaries on Lucy Mancini's anatomy, and the large Johnny Fontaine/Nino Valenti subplot).
Small wonder that this larger-than-life novel spawned the most famous film series of all time, the first entry of which has been called the best film ever made (I have contentions with that). The Godfather can be read as pure entertainment and, if so desired, as literature.
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am 13. Juli 2000
This is a totally engrossing novel centering on the exploits of a fictional family of gangsters, their violent lives and deaths. Puzo tells a complex story brimming over with interesting characters, and while his narrative is sometimes overly sketchy, it is always riveting. The real crime committed in my version (the 30th anniversary mass market paperback) is the horrendous proofreading. Typos abound, most of them glaring and easily corrected with even the most rudimentary spell checking. Such things pull me out of a story quickly, and it's a testament to Puzo's power as a storyteller that I still found myself enjoying the story as much as I did.
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am 24. August 1998
I was totally clueless when it came to the subject of "The Godfather" up until about one week ago. I had never seen the movies, though, truth be known, I always wanted to. I had never read the book, but it was one of my mother's favorites. Now, a week later, I have veiwed our copies of "The Godfather", parts I and II, at least 5 times each, and rented (and saw) part III. A day ago I took a walk down to the local used book store and bought the last copy they had of the book, a crappy second hand copy of "The Godfather", printed somewhere around 1971 (A book almost exactly twice as old as me) theat was all but falling apart in my hands. Today, I finished the book and am going at it for a second time. I found it informative, but don't take that the wrong way. Some people say "it was informative" as a way of saying "it was as boring as anything" less bluntly. But I don't mean it that way at all. What I mean is that it told more about the MAFIA than any other book I have ever read. And it was very, VERY interesting. I was captivated by it. If it weren't interesting, why would I read it twice? I am Italian and, at one time, some of my family had been involved with the Cosa Nostra. Not the whole family, but a few people. And so, for my thirteen years, I have been very interested in organized crime and the likes. I read history books to learn about it, but I did not expect to get so much information from a novel as I did from The Godfather. I got this book to read for pleasure, not for more info. I read it for the plotand I got much more than I expected. Well written, exciting, informative (did I mention that) and overall the most enjoyable book I ever read.
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am 23. Februar 2000
Truly a work which cries out for more than five stars. The Godfather is without peer as a story of an American family.
Vito Andolini comes to America from the town of Corleone and supports his family in the only way left open for him. His sons alternately adore and emulate him; reject and rebuke him, and cannot live up to his greatness. Inevitably, his world becomes theirs.
It would be a particular treat to those who know the story only as a movie. Don't be misled: the movie, as great as it is pales in comparison to the book. This is a book to read and re-read. Each time I have gone through it, I find more; additional layers and items to contemplate.
It will make the most boring plane ride pass more quickly, or make the most beautiful beach in the world more comfortable. After dozens of times, it is a most valued travel companion.
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am 24. November 1999
A compelling page-turner! Don't let the setting fool you; this is a story of passing-on from father to son. All else orbits this.
I've read another comment saying the characters lack emotion. In such a setting emotion is a deadly weakness as Vito and Michael learn too well and Sonny fatally doesn't. Such "lack of emotion" - more like "control of emotion" - is the tone of the story. That Vito sheds a tear for his son's massacred corpse sets the undertone of family love and loyalty.
Everything in the movies is in the book because none of these elements are wasted. The book's detours to otherwise peripheral characters are why I gave this book 4 instead of 5 stars; I would have given a 9 out of 10 if Amazon allowed it.
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am 7. Juni 2000
I first read _The Godfather_ in 1978 when I was 12 years old. I thought that it was a good book then but being a callow youth I didn't realize how brilliant it was. Recently I went on a long trip and picked this up to read on the plane. I was enthralled. Mario Puzo wrote a brilliant classic in this book, on one level _The Godfather_ is a straight crime novel about a Mafia family and can be enjoyed on that level. On another level _The Godfather_ is a brilliant rumination on the meaning of the American Dream and how it is pursued. Reading _The Godfather_ is also fun because you try to figure out who some of the characters are based on. Johnny Fontaine is supposed to be based on Frank Sinatra, who had significant mob ties. The Jewish gangster character Moe Green is supposedly based on Bugsy Siegel. If you haven't read this book then buy it right now. You won't be disappointed, and if you haven't read the book or seen the movie you should buy both of them, the movie is one of the most brilliant adaptations of a novel ever to hit the screen.
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am 12. Juni 1998
The name of the film, "The Godfather", is a strong felt presence in the movie industry. The book and the movie both present a new view of the world of organized crime. The story of Don Vito Corleone (played by Marlon Brando) and his family open up the eyes of many, showing that the Corleone are not a group of cold-blooded killers, but a Mafia that puts nothing in front of family. The classic tale of a father-son relationship exists best between Don Vito and his youngest son Michael (played by Al Pacino). The successor to the Don, Michael must make decisions that will forever change his future and his life, especially between himself and his girlfriend, Kay (played by Diane Keaton). Once again, the best Mafia story to ever exist is presented in a classic novel, written by the brilliant Mario Puzo and brought to the silver screen by the talented Francis Ford Coppola.
The Godfather, published 1969 (Movie: 1972) The Godfather Part II (Movie: 1974) The Godfather Part III (Movie: 1990)
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am 24. September 1999
The Godfather provides the reader with an understanding of friendship, love, respect, and loyalty. Most people think negatively when they think of the Italian Mafia, but Puzo managed to get across a deep and powerful message of how family and truth are the root of life. Such a point can be used to describe anyone's life. I highly recommend this book for all those who believe in respect, honor, and truth. If anyone can get a copy of Puzo's book the Sicilian it would be a great addition to the Godfather. It is connected to the Godfather, yet a new story all together. I also recommend Mario Puzo's Fortunate Pilgrim which explains the depth of family. And the book Capo (the author's name escapes me) is an excellent novel on Sicilian Mafia facing the truths of betrayal, love, and the city of New Orleans. The Godfather is a book for anyone who enjoys the tales of Italian Mafia.
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