The Godfather Returns: The Saga of the Family Corleone

The Godfather Returns: The Saga of the Family Corleone

by Mark Winegardner
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The Godfather Returns: The Saga of the Family Corleone by Mark Winegardner


Thirty-five years ago, Mario Puzo’s great American tale, The Godfather, was published, and popular culture was indelibly changed. Now, in The Godfather Returns, acclaimed novelist Mark Winegardner continues the story–the years not covered in Puzo’s bestselling book or in Francis Ford Coppola’s classic films.

It is 1955. Michael Corleone has won a bloody victory in the war among New York’s crime families. Now he wants to consolidate his power, save his marriage, and take his family into legitimate businesses. To do so, he must confront his most dangerous adversary yet, Nick Geraci, a former boxer who worked his way through law school as a Corleone street enforcer, and who is every bit as deadly and cunning as Michael. Their personal cold war will run from 1955 to 1962, exerting immense influence on the lives of America’s most powerful criminals and their loved ones, including

Tom Hagen, the Corleone Family’s lawyer and consigliere, who embarks on a political career in Nevada while trying to protect his brother;

Francesca Corleone, daughter of Michael’s late brother Sonny, who is suddenly learning her family’s true history and faces a difficult choice;

Don Louie Russo, head of the Chicago mob, who plays dumb but has wily ambitions for muscling in on the Corleones’ territory;

Peter Clemenza, the stalwart Corleone underboss, who knows more Family secrets than almost anyone;

Ambassador M. Corbett Shea, a former Prohibition-era bootlegger and business ally of the Corleones’, who wants to get his sonelected to the presidency–and needs some help from his old friends;

Johnny Fontane, the world’s greatest saloon singer, who ascends to new heights as a recording artist, cozying up to Washington’s power elite and maintaining a precarious relationship with notorious underworld figures;

Kay Adams Corleone, who finally discovers the truth about her husband, Michael–and must decide what it means for their marriage and their children and

Fredo Corleone, whose death has never been fully explained until now, and whose betrayal of the Family was part of a larger and more sinister chain of events.

Sweeping from New York and Washington to Las Vegas and Cuba, The Godfather Returns is the spellbinding story of America’s criminal underworld at mid-century and its intersection with the political, legal, and entertainment empires. Mark Winegardner brings an original voice and vision to Mario Puzo’s mythic characters while creating several equally unforgettable characters of his own. The Godfather Returns stands on its own as a triumph–in a tale about what we love, yearn for, and sometimes have reason to fear . . . family.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781415903643
Publisher: Books on Tape, Inc.
Publication date: 01/28/2004
Edition description: Unabridged
Product dimensions: 4.25(w) x 2.75(h) x 6.30(d)

About the Author

Mark Winegardner received a master of fine arts degree in fiction writing from George Mason University and published his first book at age twenty-six, while still in graduate school. His books have been chosen as among the best of the year by The New York Times Book Review, Chicago Sun-Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and the New York Public Library. His work has appeared in various publications including GQ, Playboy, Family Circle, American Short Fiction, Ladies' Home Journal, Parents, and The New York Times Magazine. Several of his stories have been chosen as Distinguished Stories of the Year in The Best American Short Stories. He has also served as a board member of the Associated Writing Programs. He is now a professor and director of the creative writing program at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida.


Tallahassee, Florida

Date of Birth:

November 24, 1961

Place of Birth:

Bryan, Ohio


B.A., Miami University, 1983; M.F.A., George Mason University, 1987

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Godfather Returns 2.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 55 reviews.
powerbroker110 More than 1 year ago
The Godfather returns is a lame attempt to explain the missing years of Michael Corleone. The story is weak, confusing and character build up is non existent. The difference between The Godfather and the The Godfather Return is like night and day. This attempt to link what Mario began and finished and the years in between should have been left unsaid. I do not recomment this book as a gift or even a book club selection. If possible borrow it from someone, don't waste your time or money. WEINGARDNER, PLEASE NO MORE ATTEMPTS AT EXTENDING A MASTERPIECE WITH A SO_SO MAFIA THRILLER
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am writing the same review for both "The Godfather Returns" & "The Godfather's Revenge", as I read the books back to back. First, let me explain I am a "Godfather" fan, maybe even some level of "Super-Fan". Just seeing the Corelone's name on various pages kept me interested. Here's my problem (and recommendation)... SPOILERS ahead: This should not have been a "Godfather" series of novels, but instead a Nick Geraci story. If it were titled "Nick's Retern" & "Nick's Revenge", and limited the any focus of the Corleone family to only his direct interactions with Mr. Geraci, then I would say these was a pretty good story. Or, even a first-person narrative, allowing some level of perception and even delusion from Mr. Geraci's point of view. Instead, in my humble opinion, the author create a pretty bad story of the Corelone family in between the events of the trilogy of movies. And, I am somewhat offended in the sense the author discredits all of the greatness of Michael Corleone and the major events of the second Godfather movie. For me, the scene with Kay telling Michael about the abortion in GFII is very powerful, but then we are told she lied about it and actually had a miscarriage. There are about a dozen other cases, such as Hyman Roth being a "pawn" instead of the mastermind in the events of GFII. Again, somewhat offensive that someone was allowed to discredit the events of the movie and Puzo's original works. (Yes, I know this is fiction...) Another disappointment is the lack of involving key players such as Vincent Mancini/Corelone, Frank Pentangeli, Joey Zasa, etc. Finally, I also read "The Family Corleone" (I did a back-to-back-to-back on my Nook); many of the back stories are inconsistent with regards to Sonny & Tom's youth and a few other sections. Why wouldn't the powers-that-be (the Puzo or Coppola or who ever owns the rights) do a better job of coordinating these stories? I do recommend the read for any Godfather fans, but I wish this was written as its own story. A great example of how this scenario had worked is "The Sicilian".
Guest More than 1 year ago
without reading this book i would not understand any of the other charecters in the godfather it gave great insight into charecter that i loved from the films this book was so addicting i read it in one sitting and in one day but i can not wait till mark writes the next godfather novel i heard the next title of the 3rd book will be the godfathers revenge i praise you mark praise you for your talent as an author
Anonymous 9 months ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Definitely not a bad story by any means but I believe only die hard Godfather fans will truly enjoy this one. Brings some closure for some of our favorite characters and fills in the gaps for others. Worth a read for serious Godfather fans.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read - fast moving - won't believe how it ends - caught me off guard
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I would have given it no stars if I could!!! Do not waste your money!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I felt reading this I wasted my time. The story would have been alright but it was a follow up of a masterpiece that did not do the characters justice. I also was annoyed how the author kept repeating things from the godfather, it felt like he was referencing just to prove a point he read the original. I would not recommend this book to anyone.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am just over 150 pages and want to quit reading it. There are way too many pages to go if filled with this nonsense. I quit just one book in my years of reading. What is the point of this book? It seems to just be an "up close and personal" of all the characters who did not have big roles in the Godfather Trilogy. Really, do we need to follow Sonny's twin girls through college? Someone please tell me this gets better.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So So i guess :/
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fredo with a tv show? Michael telling kaye abiut his business? This is not the way Mario Puzo wrote these characters. Don't waste your money on this trash!
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nprfan1 More than 1 year ago
Mario Puzo was no dummy by any stretch of the imagination, but his writing style was not exactly intellectual. He wrote "The Godfather" and all his other books in a style that spoke to "the common man" - he didn't use high-falutin' words, and none of his characters were sophisticated, urbane men about town. Those that on first glance appeared as that type of person proved to be either as phony as a three-dollar bill; or came from somewhat questionable backgrounds and worked very hard to conceal their true origins.

Mark Winegardner has copied Puzo's style to a T, yet has at the same time raised the level of that style to reach a wider audience. And with all that implies, he hasn't strayed from the descriptions, personalities, and emotions of the characters Puzo laid out so memorably in "The Godfather", and which Francis Ford Coppola brought to such vivid life in the first two "Godfather" movies.

With all that, however, I think that Winegardner has gone as far as anyone can go with filling out the untold history of the Corleones and their fellow-travelers. It was nice to visit with Michael and Tom and all the rest, but I think I'd like to let them rest in peace.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago