the Don of fiction…

‘A lawyer with his briefcase can steal more than a hundred men with guns’…‘I’ll make him an offer he can’t refuse’…..

Most of us (I’m certainly included) would have grown up in awe of the speaker of these famous lines… ‘The Godfather’ has long captivated the heart and soul of people around the world, breaking all existing barriers of language and ethnicity…

Much has been said about the Godfather saga, but surprisingly little about the author meets the eye… here are some excerpts from online resources…

Mario Puzo was born into an immigrant family in New York City in the area known as ‘Hell’s Kitchen’. His father was a railway trackman. Puzo lived with his six brothers and sisters above the railway yards. The discovery of public libraries and the world of literature led Puzo in the direction of writing. During World War II Puzo served in the US Air Force stationed in East Asia and Germany. After the war he stayed in Germany as a civilian public relations man for the Air Force. Puzo then studied at the New School for Social Research, New York, and at Columbia University. During this period he took classes in literature and creative writing. In 1946 he married Erika Broske; they had five children. His first published story, ‘The Last Christmas’, appeared in American Vanguard in 1950.Puzo worked for 20 years as an administrative assistant in government offices in New York and overseas. In 1946 he married Erika Lina Broske; they had three sons and two daughters. Puzo’s his first book, Dark arena, appeared in 1955, when he was 35.From 1963 Puzo worked as a free lance journalist and writer. He wrote for men’s magazines, among them Stag and Male, and published book reviews, stories, and articles in such journals as Redbook, Holiday, Book World, and the New York Times. In 1965

Fortunate Pilgrim appeared, which followed one family of Italian immigrants from the late 1920s through World War II. The plot centered round an Italian peasant woman, a twice-widowed matriarch Lucia, her perception of the ‘American dream’, and juxtaposed her honest and determined progress with that of a corrupt climber. Neither of Puzo’s first two books gained financial success, though both received good reviews. Both were translated among others into Finnish. Puzo’s fourth work, The Runaway Summer of David Shaw (1966), was a children’s book. After an expensive medical emergency – a gallbladder attack – Puzo decided to write a book that would also be a commercial success. While working in pulp journalism, he had heard Mafia anecdotes and he started to collect material on the East Coast branches of the Cosa Nostra.The rest, if I may add, is history…

Among other works of Mario Puzo, The Fourth K, a socio-political thriller, and The Last Don, a return to the world of Mafia, are eminent.

Puzo died from heart failure on July 1999 at his home in Long Island, after completing his latest organized crime book, Omerta, which appeared in July 2000. In the story Puzo depicts a family whose members represent the legitimate world and organized crime. Finally the right and the wrong side of the law come into conflict. In his last years, Puzo spent time collecting material and writing The Family, dealing with the Borgias, masters of intrigue and one of the most influential families in Renaissance Italy. The book was completed by his longtime companion, Carol Gino.

Mario Puzo’s legacy of power, virtues and society remains an enigma to some, but to most, it is, and it was, and will be, nothing short of a masterpiece


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