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the novel

The Godfather
by Mario Puzo

© copyright 1969 by Mario Puzo
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 69-11465
Dedicated to: Anthony Cleri
446 pages
Composed of IX books and 32 chapters

The Hardcover edition:
USA - published by GP Putnam's Sons, New York (1969)
Canada - published by Longmans Canada Ltd, Toronto (1969)

The Paperback edition:
Fawcett Crest - first printing, March 1970
Signet - first printing, November 1978


Mario Puzo was born 10/15/21 on Manhattan's West Side in a neighborhood known for decades as Hell's Kitchen. His first books, The Fortunate Pilgrim ("a minor classic" NY Times) and Dark Arena, brought him critical acclaim, but it was the publication of The Godfather in March, 1969, that catapulted him into the front ranks of American authors. Reviewers hailed the book as "a staggering triumph" (Saturday Review), "big, turbulent, highly entertaining: (Newsweek), "remarkable" (Look), "a voyeur's dream, a skillful fantasy of violent personal power" (New York Times). Winning readers by the millions, it stayed at or near the top of the New York Times best-seller lists for sixty-nine weeks.




Connie's wedding takes place on the last Saturday of August, 1945. Michael has returned from Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, where he went after being in the Marines. Don Corleone is taking visitors, the first of whom is Nazorine (the baker) requesting that the Sicilian POW, Enzo, remain in the States for her daughter, Katherine. The second is Anthony Coppola, son of the man The Don worked with in railroad yards as a youth. He needs a loan to open a pizzeria. The third is Luca Brasi to pay his respects. He doesn't mess up his lines; in the film, the actor was actually rehearsing his lines, and Coppola filmed and kept it! The fourth was Amerigo Bonasera, the undertaker. He wants to revenge on his daughter's (Maria) boyfriend and his friend for disrespecting her. The fifth is Johnny Fontane, the old singing partner of Nino Valenti. He left his wife, Ginny, and kids to marry a tramp Hollywood star. He asks for help with movie producer Jack Woltz. The Don doesn't see Virgil Sollozzo today, so he -can- refuse any request that he may make on his daughter's wedding day. The current consiglieri, who's been with the Don for 20 years, Genco Abbandando, is dying of cancer in the hospital. Tom Hagen was an orphan at 11 years old. His mother went blind and died. His father was a drunkard. His younger sister had a foster home placement, but he was a boy and was on the street until Sonny befriended him and took him in. Tom goes out to California to speak with Woltz. Woltz' English racing horse, Khartoum, was beheaded. Paulie and two other thugs beat up the two punks, Jerry Wagner and Kevin Moonan. GLOSSARY: Putain, prostitute. Consiglieri, counselor. Rajunah, reason/rejoin. Omerta, law of silence. Infamita, strongest disapproval. Pezzonovante, typical authority figure. Finocchio, scum-bag, fag.


Tom returns from California on Tuesday evening. Woltz finds the horse's head on Thursday. The Sollozzo meeting is set for Friday. Fontane reports for work the following Monday. Sollozzo, who's backed by the Tattaglia's, wants the Don to finance $2 million for which he gets 50% for finance and legal protection. We learn that The Don's businesses include: A real estate company, olive oil importing business, a construction firm, unions, and gambling. Mike and Kay are in New York at the Hotel Pennsylvania (less than 10 blocks away from the Long Beach estate) when Vito Corleone gets shot five times. There are eight houses in the Corleone complex: One for Tom and his family, one for Sonny and his family, Don Vito lives in the smallest, three are for retired friends of the Don's who live rent-free until the properties are needed, and the last two are rented by family retainers with their own families and boarders. Because Sonny doesn't fully trust Clemenza after the shooting, he calls in Tessio, the capo in Brooklyn. Sonny has Ray Farrel check Paulie and Clemenza's phone calls for the past three months.


Sollozzo kidnaps Tom


Meeting at the estate after The Don was shot. We learn that Michael and Paulie were in the same Sixth Grade class.


Paulie became a traitor for the Turk (Sollozzo). Clemenza is told to replace him with Rocco Lampone, the guy who shoots Paulie in the car.


Luca Brasi gets garroted


Mama and Connie Corleone stay in the city with friends of the Family, so they can be near the hospital to visit the Don. Clemenza makes sauce, and Michael gets a call from Kay. Sonny calls them all in to the office. Sonny asks Clemenza, "you take care of him [Paulie]?" "You won't see him no more." Clemenza comes back into the room with Luca Brasie bullet-proof vest and the dead fish. Michael asks, "what the hell does that fish mean?" And Tom answers, "the fish means that Luca Brasi is sleeping on the bottom of the ocean. It's an old Sicilian message."


As Michael contemplates his "civilian" life in the soon-to-be warring Family, Clemenza's men drop him off into the city to visit Kay at a hotel. He plans to visit his father in the hospital when visiting hours end at 8:30pm. Michael doesn't tell Kay anything about what's really going on. Michael and Kay make love, clothed, and fall asleep. Michael wakes up at almost 10pm, and sets out for the hospital. Michael tells her he'll see her up in Hanover after the holidays. Little do they know, it'll be three years. Almost 10:30pm, Michael arrives at the deserted French Hospital. Micheal takes the service elevator to his father's fourth floor room. Michael moves the Don to a safer room after calling Sonny.


Michael meets up with Enzo at the hospital--on the street rather than inside, and they scare away Sollozzo's men. It takes 10 minutes for McCluskey to show up with three squad cars. After Michael gets punched, Family cars pull up, and Clemenza's lawyer (not Tom) tells McCluskey that they're legally there to guard the Don. Michael was taken into the hospital, his jaw wired and four teeth missing. Tom takes Michael home. Tom tells him that they hit Bruno Tattaglia, and that Luca was dead. Later, at the office, they all discuss what happened. What about Bruno Tattaglia? "The Tattaglia Family has agreed to go along with Sollozzo. They'll forget about Bruno Tattaglia. He pays for what they did to my father." After Michael explains his "we can't wait" plan, Sonny says to him "I always said you were the toughest one in the Family, tougher than the Don himself. You're a Corleone after all." At the same meeting, Sonny (not Clemenza) tells Michael what to do with the gun, etc.


To Be Continued...!

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