To have not read this book is a felony indeed, to say the least. ‘The Godfather‘ by Mario Puzo, is undoubtedly the best book written on organized crime and the Mafia. This book was monumental as it introduced the English speaking audience to Italian words such as “Cosa Nostra”, “consiglieri”, “caporegime” and so on. Not only that, it introduces a fascination for the organized crime arena that is never-ending and is still ranked as the best book in that literary genre.
This book details the life of Don Corleone and his operations as the head of the Corleone family. The Corleone family is one of the Five Families in American mafia scene. Don Corleone is shown as a just and authoritative man. Well-respected by all, he is equally feared. His influential capacity is legendary, as are his policies. The Don, lovingly referred to as the Godfather, has a list of principles which he abides by, no matter what. It is these principles that make the best lines of the book.
The book follows the lives of the Don and his family, about how the least involved and aloof son, Michael Corleone goes on to take up his father’s empire. The intricacy and the twists and turns in the plot leave you stupefied every time. The overwhelming amount of detail and contemplation put in this book leaves one baffled. This book is exceptional as it makes thugs seem not like dim-witted robbers but like smart, suit-clad business men. It manages to create an entire new perception of gangsters and Italian mafia, giving them a makeover. Running from Sicily to New York, the book provides the back stories of every character, leaving no loopholes left for the people to question.
The narrative of this book is a cutting Mafia style, gritty and fast. It provides an almost romanticised view into the Corleone family and its workings. One maybe repulsed by the high amounts of violence, described gruesomely in the book. But it is nothing short of necessary. The fast paced plot of the book leaves one mesmerized, unable to put it down. One cannot escape the aura that surrounds the Godfather. Though it provides a slightly saddening account of the Don’s climb to victory, each reader is drawn to his sheer power and brilliance.
As a contrast, is Michael Corleone. An army veteran, unsure of the “family” business, but compelled to take it up due to the death of his older brother Sonny and the shooting of his father. Michael, who has just replaced the Don, is treated with contempt, seen as inferior and bumbling. Everyone bets that under him, the business will crumble. He doesn’t have the charm or the strength to retain the empire. The rest of the story unfolds as how Michael manages to bring back his father’s empire, to make not as strong but rather stronger than it ever was. He becomes as respected as the Godfather.
This book has managed to start up a legacy, a cult. The movie based on the book, with the same name is ranked as one of the best movies of all time. The book portrays the American dream of success, the very dream that brings the Don from Italy to USA, the very dream that fails. It shows the hype and madness that surrounds this notion of success in America. Amerigo Bonesera states aptly in the book, “I believe in America”. It goes on to draw a parallel between Mafia and business, showing that both are equally corrupt and their prowess is inescapable from. This insight is bluntly stated by Michael Corleone, who recommends that Italian-Americans “must learn from the philanthropists like the Rockefellers – first you rob everybody, then you give to the poor.” All the principles used by the Don make for brilliant business strategies.
As Tom Hanks says in the movie You’ve Got Mail, “The Godfather is the I-ching. The Godfather is the sum of all wisdom. The Godfather is the answer to any question.”
The sheer power of this book leaves one spellbound. This book is “an offer you can’t refuse”, if I may so, in the Don’s words.
Overall Rating: 9/10
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Chaarvi is a mixture of sugar, spice and everything nice, with just a hint of Chemical X. Or maybe more. Unsure of what to focus on, she has a foot in everything – be it music, movies or books. Or even fashion. Or cooking. Or politics. Or Economics. Well, you get the drift. She is a hater of chick lit and all the riff-raff that comes along with it. Spends too much time on the internet researching on things that will come handy nowhere in life. But in reality, she’s a ninja and you better know it.