Puzo, Mario 1920-1999
PUZO, Mario 1920-1999
PERSONAL: Born October 15, 1920, in New York, NY; died of heart failure, July 2, 1999, in Bay Shore, NY; son of Antonio (a railroad trackman) and Maria (Le Conti) Puzo; married Erika Lina Broske (deceased), 1946; children: Anthony, Joey, Dorothy, Virginia, Eugene. Education: Attended New School for Social Research (now New School University) and Columbia University. Hobbies and other interests: Gambling, tennis, Italian cuisine, dieting.
CAREER: Novelist. Variously employed as messenger with New York Central Railroad, New York, NY, public relations administrator with U.S. Air Force in Europe, administrative assistant with U.S. Civil Service, New York, NY, and editor-writer with Magazine Management. Military service: U.S. Army Air Forces during World War II; served in Germany; attained rank of corporal.
AWARDS, HONORS: Academy Award for best screenplay adapted from another medium, American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and Screen Award, Writers Guild of America, West, both 1972, both for The Godfather, and 1974, for The Godfather: Part II; Golden Globe Award for best screenplay, Hollywood Foreign Press Association, 1973, for The Godfather, and 1990, for The Godfather: Part III.
The Dark Arena, Random House (New York, NY), 1955, revised edition, Bantam (New York, NY), 1985.
The Fortunate Pilgrim, Atheneum (New York, NY), 1964, reprinted, Random House (New York, NY), 1997.
The Godfather (also see below), Putnam (New York, NY), 1969, new edition, with an introduction by Robert Thompson and by Peter Bart, New American Library (New York, NY), 2002.
Fools Die, Putnam (New York, NY), 1978.
The Sicilian, Linden Press/Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 1984.
The Fourth K, Random House (New York, NY), 1991.
The Last Don, Random House (New York, NY), 1996.
Omerta, Random House (New York, NY), 2000.
The Family, completed by Carol Gino, Regan Books (New York, NY), 2001.
(With Francis Ford Coppola) The Godfather (based on Puzo's novel), Paramount, 1972.
(With Francis Ford Coppola) The Godfather: Part II, Paramount, 1974.
(With George Fox) Earthquake, Universal, 1974.
(With David Newman, Leslie Newman, and Robert Benton) Superman (based on the comic strip created by Jerry Siegel and Joel Shuster), Warner Bros., 1978.
(With David Newman and Leslie Newman) Superman II, Warner Bros., 1981.
(With Francis Ford Coppola) The Godfather: Part III, Paramount, 1990.
(With John Briley and Cary Bates) Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, Warner Bros., 1992.
The Runaway Summer of Davie Shaw (juvenile), illustrated by Stewart Sherwood, Platt & Munk (New York, NY), 1966.
"The Godfather" Papers and Other Confessions, Putnam (New York, NY), 1972.
Inside Las Vegas (nonfiction), photographs by Michael Abramson, Susan Fowler-Gallagher, and John Launois, Grosset & Dunlap (New York, NY), 1977.
Contributor to books, including The Immigrant Experience: The Anguish of Becoming an American, edited by Thomas C. Wheeler, Dial (New York, NY), 1971; contributor of articles, reviews, and stories to American Vanguard, New York, Redbook, Holiday, New York Times Magazine, and other publications.
Manuscript collection is held at Boston University, Boston, MA.
The Godfather has been translated into Russian.
ADAPTATIONS: A Time to Die, based on a story by Puzo, was adapted for film by John Goff, Matt Cimbert, and William Russel, Almi, 1983; The Cotton Club, based on a story by Puzo, Coppola, and William Kennedy, was adapted for film by Kennedy and directed by Coppola, Orion Pictures, 1984; The Fortunate Pilgrim was adapted for television as Mario Puzo's The Fortunate Pilgrim, NBC, 1988; The Sicilian was adapted for film by Steve Shagan and directed by Michael Cimino, Twentieth Century-Fox, 1989; The Last Don was adapted for television, CBS, 1997. Film rights to The Family were optioned, 2003.
SIDELIGHTS: Though some critics have dismissed his best-sellers for pandering too much to commercial tastes, Italian-American novelist and screenwriter Mario Puzo forever changed the way the world thought of the Mafia. His "Godfather" books and the films on which they were based have become undisputed classics of twentieth-century popular literature, garnering both popular and critical acclaim and setting a new standard for the fictional treatment of organized crime. As Time writer Karl Taro Greenfeld put it, Puzo's work "virtually created the Mafia as literary and cinematic subject."
Despite his eventual celebrity, Puzo's success was a long time coming. The son of immigrants who moved to the Hell's Kitchen area of New York City from their native Italy, Puzo had dreamed of being a writer since high school but had struggled for years to achieve a footing in the publishing world. After serving in the U.S. Army in World War II, he worked as a freelance writer while attending City College of New York on the G.I. Bill. During this period, he completed his first novel, Dark Arena, which was published in 1955. A second novel, The Fortunate Pilgrim, was published nine years later. Though these books received positive reviews, they were not commercial successes; Puzo earned a mere $6,500 from their combined sales. Struggling to support his wife and five children, Puzo slipped into debt; fortunately, as he told a writer for Time, an incident in 1955 convinced him to change his priorities. "It was Christmas Eve and I had a severe gall-bladder attack." Puzo explained. "I had to take a cab to the Veterans Administration Hospital on 23rd Street, got out and fell into the gutter. There I was, lying there thinking: here I am, a published writer, and I am dying like a dog. That's when I decided I would be rich and famous."
Ten years later, Puzo got his chance to act on his goal. "Late in 1965 a Putnam editor stopped in at Magazine Management's offices, overheard Puzo telling Mafia yarns and offered a $5,000 advance for a book about the Italian underworld," a writer for Time reported. The result was The Godfather, and "the rest," that writer noted, "is publishing history." In "The Godfather" Papers and Other Confessions, Puzo stated that The Godfather was written "to make money … I was forty-five years old and tired of being an artist." Nevertheless, as Robert Lasson of the Washington Post Book World contended, "Puzo sat down and produced … a novel which … had enormous force and kept you turning the pages." The Godfather became the best-selling novel of the 1970s, outselling that decade's other blockbusters—such heavyweights as The Exorcist, Love Story, and Jaws—by millions of copies. It remained on the New York Times best-seller list for sixty-seven weeks, and was also a best-seller in England, France, Germany.
The Godfather details the rise of Don Vito Corleone, the fall of his sons Sonny and Michael, the Mafia's peculiar behavior code and honor system, and the violent power struggle among rival "families." To some reviewers, Puzo's tale is a symbolic treatment of the corruption of the American dream. Although not all critics viewed the novel so seriously, most, like Polly Anderson in Library Journal, felt that "the book is well written, suspenseful and explodes in a series of dramatic climaxes." Newsweek reviewer Pete Axthelm called Puzo "an extremely talented storyteller" and stated that The Godfather "moves at breakneck speed without ever losing its balance." And a critic for the Saturday Review contended that "Puzo has achieved the definitive novel about a sinister fraternity of crime."
Several reviewers have noted the realism and believability of the book's settings and characters. "He makes his frightening cast of characters seem human and possible," maintained a Saturday Review contributor, while in the same journal Vincent Teresa praised the author for portraying the Godfather as a fair and compassionate administrator of justice: "Puzo also showed the compassion of a don, the fair way Corleone ruled. That's the way most dons are…. If you go to a don… and you've got a legitimate beef … and it proves to be the truth, you'll get justice. That's what makes the dons so important in the mob. They rule fair and square."
Such remarks led some to speculate that Puzo's knowledge of the Mafia and its people was first-hand. The author, however, always denied any personal involvement with the Mob. In "The Godfather" Papers and Other Confessions, he explains that the book was based on research and anecdotes he heard from his mother and on the streets. Still, doubts persisted. Real-life underworld figures began approaching Puzo, convinced that he had some sort of link to organized crime. "After the book became famous, I was introduced to a few gentlemen related to the material," the author stated in Time. "They were flattering. They refused to believe that I had never had the confidence of a don."
While most critics praised The Godfather for its realism, some objected to the fact that Puzo presents his subjects sympathetically. These critics contended that because Puzo consistently justifies Don Vito's violent actions and solutions, certain readers would find the criminal leader and his family worthy of compassion and esteem. "The author has chosen to portray all Godfather's victims as vermin and his henchmen as fairly sympathetic," Esquire's Barton Midwood asserted, "and in this way the book manages to glamorize both the murderer himself and the [imbalanced] economy in which he operates." In Critical Inquiry, John G. Cawelti voiced a similar complaint: "Throughout the story, the Corleone family is presented to us in a morally sympathetic light, as basically good and decent people who have had to turn to crime in order to survive and prosper in a corrupt and unjust society." Puzo was puzzled by readers' positive response to the Corleones, particularly Vito. As he put it in a Publishers Weekly interview with Thomas Weyr: "I was awfully surprised when people loved the Godfather so much. I thought I showed him as a murderer, a thief, a villain, a man who threw babies in the oven…. So I was astounded when I was attacked for glorifying the Mafia. It's a little tricky. I think it is a novelist's job not to be a moralist but to make you care about the people in the book."
Though The Godfather was Puzo's commercial breakthrough, catapulting him to fame and fortune, the author did not consider the novel to be his best work. "'I wished like hell I'd written it better,'" New York Times obituarist Mel Gussow quoted Puzo as saying. "'I wrote below my gifts in that book.'" According to Gussow, Puzo felt his best book was his second novel, The Fortunate Pilgrim, the story of an Italian-American family in New York City that is based in Puzo's own background. Puzo claimed that he had intended to write about himself, but the character of Lucia Santa, based on his mother, became so strong that he made her the novel's focus.
After The Godfather and "The Godfather" Papers and Other Confessions, Puzo focused his attention on screenwriting, first as coauthor of The Godfather and The Godfather: Part II, then as coauthor of the films Earthquake, Superman, and Superman II. Special effects, rather than story or plot, highlight the last three films. Pauline Kael of the New Yorker commented: "You go to Earthquake to see [Los Angeles] get it, and it really does…. Earthquake is a marathon of destruction effects, with stock characters spinning through it." A Time movie reviewer found that Superman, for which Puzo wrote the first draft, is "two hours and fifteen minutes of pure fun, fancy and adventure."
Garnering far more serious attention were The Godfather movie and its sequels. The first film covers the period from the mid-1940s to the mid-1950s, when Michael takes command of the "family"; the second film charts the youth and early manhood of the original Godfather, Vito, and contrasts his coming-of-age with Michael's. Vincent Canby in the New York Times remarked that "the novel is a kind of first draft—an outline of characters and an inventory of happenings—that has only now been finished as a film." In a New Yorker review, Kael deemed The Godfather "the greatest gangster picture ever made," and praised the "metaphorical overtones that took it far beyond the gangster genre." Part II, according to Kael, is even more "daring" in that "it enlarges the scope and deepens the meaning of the first film." The critic maintained that "the second film shows the consequences of the actions of the first; it's all one movie, in two great big pieces, and it comes together in your head while you watch."
Although Puzo was given coauthor credit for both screenplays, Francis Ford Coppola's direction and interpretation are credited with imbuing the films with their "epic" quality. Coppola "turns The Godfather: Part II into a statement, both highly personal and with an epic resonance, on the corruption of the American dream and on the private cost of power," Paul D. Zimmerman wrote in Newsweek. Puzo would have been the first to agree. "'Coppola fought the battle for the integrity of the movies; if it weren't for him, they would have been '30s gangster pictures,'" the novelist once told Herbert Mitgang in a New York Times Book Review interview. "'Godfather is really his movie.'" Yet, Kael noted, "there was a Promethean spark" in Puzo's novel that afforded Coppola "an epic vision of the corruption of America." Kael added, "Much of the material about Don Vito's early life which appears in Part II was in the Mario Puzo book and was left out in the first movie, but the real fecundity of Puzo's mind shows in the way this new film can take his characters further along and can expand … the implications of the book."
In October of 1978 Puzo's long-awaited fourth novel, Fools Die, was published. The headlines and cover stories surrounding its publication began in June—four months before the first hardcover edition went on sale—when New American Library paid an unprecedented $2.2 million for the paperback rights, plus $350,000 for the reprint rights to The Godfather. In spite of the hoopla concerning this record-setting price, or perhaps because of it, critical reaction to Fools Die was mixed. "It seems a publishing event rather than a novel," Roger Sale opined in the New York Review of Books. In a New Republic review, Barbara Grizzuti Harrison offered a similar appraisal, claiming that "it is a publishing event (though hardly a literary one)." In the Village Voice, James Wolcott asked: "In all this commotion, a fundamental question has gone unasked…. Has anyone at Putnam actually read this book?"
The action of Fools Die moves from Las Vegas to New York to Hollywood, purporting to provide readers with "the inside skinny" on gambling, publishing, and movie-making, according to Washington Post Book World reviewer William McPherson. Harrison commented that "the events loosely strung together in this … book are meant to dramatize ambition, power, and corruption. I say meant to, because Puzo, through the offices of his narrator, John Merlyn, keeps reminding the reader that these are his themes, as if we might otherwise forget." Geoffrey Wolff, in the New Times, expressed a corresponding complaint: "Because he won't trust a reader to remember the climaxes of a few pages earlier, he recapitulates the plot, as though Fools Die were a serial, or a television series." Wolff suggested that "perhaps Puzo doesn't trust a reader to remember what he has just written because he himself has such trouble remembering what he has just written." The critic went on to detail several contradictory descriptions given throughout the novel concerning characters' appearances, habits, and lifestyles.
Wolcott criticized the structure and syntax of Fools Die as well, noting, "The novel seems to have evolved from manuscript to book without anyone daring … to make sorely needed corrections." Wolff attacked the book's "slipshod craftsmanship," and Newsweek's Peter S. Prescott bluntly stated, "Structurally, Fools Die is a mess."
Despite such less-than-favorable reviews, the novel was a popular success due to its entertainment value and Puzo's humor. "I had a fine time reading it," Prescott admitted of Fools Die. "Its many stories, developed at varying lengths, are slickly entertaining." A Time reviewer commented: "Fools Die contains the sort of mini-dramas and surprises that keep paperback readers flipping pages; a man wins a small fortune at baccarat and blows his brains out; a straightforward love affair turns baroque with kinky sex; an extremely cautious character makes a stupid and fatal error." Moreover, Prescott found, "Puzo here reveals an unsuspected talent for gross comedy…. In [the charac ter] Osano, the most famous living American novelist, he has written an inspired caricature of our own dear Norman Mailer."
"'I wrote Fools Die for myself,'" Puzo once admitted to Mitgang. "'I wanted to say certain things about gambling, Las Vegas and the country.'" According to David Robinson of the Times Literary Supplement, the author was successful: "The first and best section of Fools Die is set in Las Vegas. Puzo's forte is the neo-documentary background; and … his portrayal of [that city] has the appearance of authenticity." The Time critic agreed: "Puzo's description of Las Vegas, its Strip, showgirls, characters, and the variety of ways one can lose money swiftly and painlessly, are carried off with brio. The green baize world of casino management has never seemed more professional, entertaining and lethal."
In 1984 Puzo, returned to the safer ground of Sicily, the Mafia, and the Corleone family with his novel The Sicilian, which Christopher Lehmann-Haupt in the New York Times claimed "might more aptly be designated The Godfather, Part I I/II." Based on actual events in the 1950s, the novel tells the story of Salvatore Giuliano, a Robin Hood-style outlaw who, with the support of the church and the Mafia, terrorized the Sicilian aristocracy. The Sicilian begins as Michael Corleone is preparing to return to America after a two-year self-imposed exile in Sicily. Shortly before departure, Michael is ordered by his father to find Giuliano and bring him to America before the authorities catch up with him. It is during Michael's search that Giuliano's history is revealed, along with the history of the Mafia itself. "[The Sicilian] gives Mr. Puzo another chance to do what he seems to do best, which is to spin a yarn of treachery, violence, sex, sadism, revenge and bloody justice," wrote Lehmann-Haupt. "But it's also a little sad that [Puzo] has felt it necessary to return to his Italian gangsters…. Though The Sicilian is fun and compelling, it seems like an admission of defeat in a way."
Author Gay Talese was impressed by the detailed and accurate account of Giuliano's life and the events that made him into a hero. Writing in the New York Times, Talese deemed The Sicilian "a fine, fast-paced novel about Sicily in the mid-1940s that is historically useful and, given events there in the mid-1980s, hardly out of date." Lehmann-Haupt, too, praised Puzo's well-researched look at the birth and evolution of the Sicilian Mafia. However, he found the characters "a little undernourished" in comparison to the strong personalities that were immortalized in the Godfather movies. "Even the familiar characters seem pale compared with their movie counterparts," the critic judged.
In 1988, Puzo was once again approached by Coppola, who had developed an idea for continuing the "Godfather" saga, and less than a year later the screenplay for The Godfather: Part III was completed. Picking up twenty years after Part II leaves off, Part III shows Michael as the head of the tremendously rich and influential Corleone family. However, their influence extends in different directions now, for Michael has taken the family fortune out of gambling and is using it for more legitimate investments. In addition, he has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to the Catholic Church in an attempt to purchase his redemption. Michael, though, is losing control of the family: frail, stricken with diabetes, and reluctant to act against his enemies, he does not command the respect he once did. Eager to replace him as don is Vincent, the illegitimate son of Michael's dead brother, Sonny. Michael struggles to regain his hold on the Corleone family, simultaneously seeking to gain influence within the Vatican; all the while, rival families plot to destroy both him and his investments. The novel culminates with an international banking scandal and the assassination of Pope John Paul I.
When The Godfather: Part III was released on Christmas Day, 1990, sixteen years had passed since the last "Godfather" movie—enough time for critics and moviegoers to build almost insurmountable expectations for this newest installment. Michael Wilmington in the Los Angeles Times found Part III to be "not quite a fitting climax to a series that ranks among the American cinema's most remarkable sustained achievements." As Stuart Klawans observed in the Nation: The Godfather: Part III "turns out to be as good as a post-sequel canbe…. [It] is less gripping than the first Godfa ther and less interesting as a narrative structure than the second." Yet these flaws become apparent only when Part III is compared to the previous "Godfather" films; when judged on its own, Klawans pointed out, "it gives and keeps giving and doesn't give out until you're sated with the hero's doom." Wilmington, too, ultimately described The Godfather: Part III as "one of the best American movies of the year—a work of high ensemble talent and intelligence, gorgeously mounted and crafted, artistically audacious in ways that most American movies don't even attempt."
Less than a month after the release of The Godfather: Part III, Puzo used the increased media attention to promote his political thriller The Fourth K. Set in the first decade of the twenty-first century, the novel details the events occurring during the presidency of Francis Xavier Kennedy, a distant cousin of John, Robert, and Edward and the fourth "K" of the novel's title. At the time of FXK's administration, terrorism is out of control: the pope is assassinated on Easter Sunday by a group of Middle Eastern radicals, and when the gunman is captured in New York, the terrorist leader—a man named Yabril—kidnaps and murders the president's daughter. Intended to demonstrate the ineffectiveness of the United States as a world power, these actions instead drive Kennedy to near-madness, prompting him to bomb the capital of Yabril's oil-rich native land. This evokes the wrath of the Socrates Club, a California-based group of billionaire investors with significant oil interests. Meanwhile, a group of ultra-left-wing intellectuals detonate a small atomic bomb in Manhattan in an attempt to illustrate the danger of nuclear proliferation. R. Z. Sheppard noted in Time, "The aggressive ways in which FXK handles foreign and domestic threats to his presidency and his life allow Puzo to pull out all the stops." Ross Thomas, in the Los Angeles Times, proclaimed The Fourth K "a witty, sometimes wise, often mordant tale about the American politics of tomorrow. And if [Puzo's] intricately plotted tale offers more insight than hope, it is still fine entertainment, which is more than can be said of today's politics."
With The Last Don, written after recovering from quadruple-bypass heart surgery and a protracted convalescence, Puzo produced another crime-family novel, this time introducing a new family—the Clericuzio. E. Z. Sheppard praised the novel in Time, citing The Last Don as "headlong entertainment, bubbling over with corruption, betrayals, assassinations, Richter-scale romance and, of course, family values." Set in Long Island, Las Vegas, and Hollywood, the novel relates the aging Don Clericuzio's wish to convert the family's vast criminal empire into legitimate enterprises, including efforts to enter the Hollywood film industry. Puzo's satiric portrayal of Hollywood is especially acerbic—revealing, as several critics noted, the author's lingering resentment over earlier experiences with the studios.
Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, in the New York Times, pointed out several obvious similarities between The Godfather and The Last Don: "Like Michael Corleone in The Godfather, the protagonist of The Last Don, Cross De Lena, tries to escape the criminal workings of his family but ends being drawn into the vortex of its malignity. Like The Godfather, The Last Don is filled with bloody warfare and shockingly sadistic acts of vengeance." As Vincent Patrick wrote in the New York Times Book Review, "It is a measure of Mario Puzo's skill that after turning the last page of his rich and ebullient new novel, I was able to remember no fewer than thirty-five characters and recall clearly their backgrounds, motivations and roles in the convoluted plot and subplots." Patrick added that The Last Don is Puzo's "most entertaining read since The Godfather."
Omerta, Puzo's final novel, can be seen as a "tying up of loose ends," according to National Review writer Victorino Matus. The critic noted that Puzo had told the Associated Press that the book would be "a life-ending book, for me and the Mafia. Then I'll be dead, the Mafia will be dead, and the public will be glad of it. They've had enough of both of us." Although the Mafia did not appropriately succumb, Puzo died shortly after completing the manuscript; Omerta was published posthumously in 2000, quickly making bestseller lists and attracting Hollywood attention. The title refers to the Sicilian code of honor that forbids revealing information about crimes that are considered private affairs; the novel, like much of Puzo's late work, shows how this code of honor is no longer respected, particularly among the new generation. The story focuses on the murder of an old don, Raymonde Aprile, whose three adult children have grown up un-aware of their father's business. Before Aprile is able to realize his dream to legitimize his operations and retire, he is killed. As his nephew, Astorre, seeks revenge, the FBI is also on the case.
While Matus found much of Omerta disappointing in that he felt the novel lacks the epic sweep of The Godfather, as well as the earlier book's saturation with religious rites and symbols, he believed the book to be "far from a failure." Among its merits, he claimed, are its ability to show how the Mafia "is not all that different from other organizations" in its exploration of the generational decline facing the Mob at the end of the twentieth century. New York Times Book Review critic Michiko Kakutani also cited the theme of decline, but had little praise for the novel. Adopting a mock-Mobster voice in reviewing Omerta, Kakutani wrote: "Fact is, the more I think about it, the more this book gives me agita. God forbid that I should criticize the author of the great 'GF,' but I gotta be honest with you: the man has lost his touch."
Time contributor R. Z. Sheppard, however, was one of several critics who praised the novel for its exciting plot and page-turning pace, commenting that Omerta "has more tasty twists than a plate of fusilli." Reviewers for Booklist, Library Journal, and Publishers Weekly also expressed great enthusiasm for the book, while Richard Dyer in the Boston Globe opined that, though parts of the novel remain relatively undeveloped and dialogue and narrative voice are not wholly satisfactory, "Omerta touches on themes that are bigger than it is and that Puzo didn't have the time or the stamina to realize. But even when he falls back on formula, it's a satisfying formula. After all, he invented it."
Before his death, Puzo was working on yet another "mob" story, this one centered on the fifteenth-century Spanish Borgia family, which, according to a Publishers Weekly reviewer, the author considered to be the "original crime family." In his attempt to make a dynasty of his family, Cardinal Rodrigo Borgia manipulates the 1492 papal election to become the new Pope Alexander. He moves into the Vatican with mistress and children, makes his son a cardinal, and marries his unwilling children to offspring of influential families. David Nudo, writing for Library Journal called the Borgia family "part Clintons, part Kennedys, part Sopranos." He noted that the historical fiction, completed by Puzo's long-time companion, Carol Gino, after Puzo's death, reads more like a "soap opera than serious treatment of the troubled dynasty that influenced the Renaissance."
Despite the shortcomings critics have found in Puzo's later work, his contributions to American culture continue to be readily acknowledged. James B. Hall, in the Dictionary of Literary Biography, commented that Puzo, like the naturalistic writers of the early twentieth century, excelled at depicting street life and "the underbelly of social institutions." Hall cited Puzo's careful attention to narrative structures and his skill at exploring human nature as evidence of the writer's craft and understanding. Puzo's achievement, Hall concluded, mirrors that of many modern American writers who, despite early critical success, had to resort to commercial formulas to find a large audience. However indirect Puzo's route to literary fame, Hall concluded, the author's place as "an authentic American literary voice" is assured.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Contemporary Literary Criticism, Gale (Detroit, MI), Volume 1, 1973, Volume 2, 1974, Volume 6, 1976, Volume 36, 1986.
Green, Rose B., The Italian-American Novel, Fairleigh Dickinson University Press (Madison, NJ), 1974.
Kilber, James E., Jr., editor, Dictionary of Literary Biography, Volume 6: American Novelists since World War II, Second Series, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1980.
Madden, David, editor, Rediscoveries, Crown (New York, NY), 1972.
Puzo, Mario, "The Godfather Papers" and Other Confessions, Putnam (New York, NY), 1972.
Wheeler, Thomas C., editor, The Immigrant Experience: The Anguish of Becoming an American, Dial Press (New York, NY), 1971.
Booklist, April 1, 2000, Danise Hoover, review of Omerta, p. 1413.
Boston Globe, August 24, 2000, Richard Dyer, review of Omerta, p. D6.
Chicago Tribune, June 19, 1981.
Commonweal, May 6, 1955; June 4, 1965.
Critical Inquiry, March, 1975, John G. Cawelti, review of The Godfather.
Esquire, February, 1971, Barton Midwood, review of The Godfather.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 1996, p. 711.
Library Journal, April 1, 1969; May 1, 2000, David Nudo, review of Omerta, p. 154; September 2001, David Nudo, review of The Family, p. 235.
Life, July 10, 1970.
Los Angeles Times, February 14, 1987; October 23, 1987.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, January 13, 1991; July 21, 1996.
Maclean's, March 18, 1991.
McCall's, May, 1971.
Nation, June 16, 1969; January 7, 1991, Stuart Klawans, review of The Godfather: Part III, p. 22.
National Review, July 31, 2000, Victorino Matus, review of Omerta.
New Republic, November 18, 1978, Barbara Grizzuti Harrison, review of Fools Die.
Newsweek, March 10, 1969, Peter Axthelm, review of The Godfather; December 23, 1974, Paul D. Zimmerman, review of The Godfather: Part II; September 18, 1978, Peter S. Prescott, review of Fools Die; January 1, 1979.
New Times, October 2, 1978, Geoffrey Wolff, review of Fools Die.
New York, March 31, 1969; July 10, 2000, Daniel Mendelsohn, review of Omerta, p. 52.
New Yorker, December 12, 1974; December 23, 1974; February 11, 1991.
New York Herald Tribune Book Review, March 6, 1955.
New York Review of Books, July 20, 1972; October 26, 1978, Roger Sale, review of Fools Die.
New York Times, February 27, 1955; March 12, 1972; March 16, 1972; June 19, 1981; November 22, 1984, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of The Sicilian, p. 21; June 5, 1986, "Puzo to Write Godfather, Part III," p. 27; May 22, 1987; January 10, 1991, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of The Fourth K, p. B2; July 25, 1996, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, review of The Last Don, p. B2.
New York Times Book Review, January 31, 1965; February 18, 1979, Herbert Mitgang, interview with Puzo; January 13, 1991, John Kenneth Galbraith, review of The Fourth K, p. 7; July 28, 1996, Vincent Patrick, review of The Last Don, p. 9; June 27, 2000, Michiko Kakutani, review of Omerta.
New York Times Magazine, January 2, 2000, Jeffrey Goldberg, "Sammy the Bull Explains How the Mob Got Made," p. 14.
People, July 3, 1978.
Publishers Weekly, May 12, 1978; June 10, 1996, p. 83; July 5, 1999, p. 17; July 24, 2000, p. 19; September 4, 2000, p. 42; July 30, 2001, review of The Family, p. 55.
Saturday Review, February 26, 1955; January 23, 1965; March 15, 1969; January 20, 1973.
Time, March 13, 1971; December 16, 1974; August 28, 1978; November 27, 1978; January 14, 1991, R. Z. Sheppard, review of The Fourth K, p. 62; July 29, 1996, R. Z. Sheppard, review of The Last Don, p. 82; July 17, 2000, R. Z. Sheppard, review of Omerta, p. 75.
Times (London, England), May 3, 1985.
Times Literary Supplement, December 1, 1978, David Robinson, review of Fools Die.
Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), January 20, 1991.
TV Guide, August 28, 1999, p. 9.
Village Voice, September 4, 1978, James Wolcott, review of Fools Die.
Wall Street Journal, January 11, 1991. Todd Buchholz, review of The Fourth K, p. A8.
Washington Post, March 12, 1970; October 23, 1987; October 24, 1987.
Washington Post Book World, March 9, 1969; April 9, 1972; September 24, 1978, William McPherson, review of Fools Die; January 20, 1991.
World & I, March, 1991.
Official Mario Puzo Library, http://www.jgeoff.com/puzo/ (April 23, 2004).
Salon.com, http://www.salon.com/ (April 24, 2004).
Entertainment Weekly, July 16, 1999, p. 46.
New York Times, July 3, 1999, p. A13.
People, July 19, 1999, p. 75.
Time, July 12, 1999, p. 21.*