The Godfather (1969): A Book Review


Mario Puzo’s Mafia

The extremely acclaimed The Godfather movie trilogy is based on Puzo’s 1969 masterpiece of the same name. I have not seen the movies yet but judging from the book, I can understand why the film was an international phenomenon. I found the book extremely engaging and I cannot express how hard it was for me to put the book down, especially during those action packed chapters, and trust me when I say this: there were many!

Without giving out too many spoilers, I will try my best to explain why I think everyone should get a copy of The Godfather and start reading! I was completely unfamiliar with the Mafia underworld as such topics were not of my interests, but I think the book did an extremely well job in explaining complex systems such as the mafia underworld with great description to readers who may have never even heard of the Mafia underworld. The story basically revolves around the life and death of Vito Corleone also known as Don Corleone, The Godfather: the most powerful Mafia leader in New York. His reign of power was extremely strong and people respected him instead of fearing him. Unfortunately, one fateful day, Don Corleone was shot by another Mafia gang and the whole underworld went wreak havoc as gangs were fighting amongst themselves for power and influence. The whole power structure was affected and the consequences were undeniably terrible, fatal even.

What I found endearing about the book is it was not just an action packed book with detailed fight scenes, numerous killings and gory details. It was an experience that certainly contained scenes that moved the readers’ emotion, the emotional depth of the book was certainly clever as it balances out all the violence and killing scenes in the book. For instance, Don Corleone is the most powerful man in the New York underworld, but he is considered as The Godfather due to his kind heart and generosity. He believes that the value of friendship is extremely high and he would never turn away a fellow Italian seeking for his help regardless of how big or small the help needed is. However, he is a man of wisdom and he always makes sure that his ‘offerings’ of help will benefit him one way or the other in the future. This explains how Don Corleone gets people to do ‘errands’ for him and I realized that they did not necessarily used violence to get things their way but the tactics used were certainly impressive. I would not go as far as to say Don Corleone’s attitude as being shady but he was definitely tactical, doing things that were of his best interest.

The Godfather also made me realize just how a close knit community the Italians are. They value family ties and would always maintain a good relationship between relatives regardless of how close or distant the relative is. Another interesting thing that I learned is the unwritten law of silence in Italian culture called ‘Omerta’. The Mafia gang is extremely powerful in Italy especially in Sicily, their influence is recognized as being at the same level as the authorities such as the police, even more powerful than the police force to some. Thus, whenever a Mafia gang commits a crime, it is understood by all Italians that they should never turn to the authorities even if the crime was committed onto themselves.

All in all, The Godfather is absolutely one of those books where everyone should have a go at. I was trapped in the Corleone’s world when I was reading the book and left wanting more at the end of the wonderful experience. The character development were fascinating and plot twists were those you would never expect of. I would describe the whole experience as being one of the most memorable books I have ever read.

As always, thank you so much for reading.


Don Corleone is The Godfather






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