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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,626 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Mark Winegardner Narrator: Joe Grifasi Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2004 ISBN: 9780739314074
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THE MISSING YEARS FROM THE GREATEST CRIME SAGA OF ALL TIME

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 son elected 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. Download and start listening now!

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Listener Opinions

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Chaz Hudak | 2/18/2014

    " A posthumous Puzo book. What a piece of shit. Poor guy's probably rolling in his grave. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James Brandtjen | 2/13/2014

    " Good. Done in the same style as Puzo. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Connor/ Leeroy Masten/ Jenkins | 2/10/2014

    " a great sequel filled with betrayal, murder, and the drama of the mafia "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nigel Babu | 2/9/2014

    " Expect an immediate change in writing style from Mario Puzzo, the story ends with everything well for Michael but again with very different writing style "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jonny Bravo | 2/6/2014

    " boring. Doesn't have a godfather feel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mike | 1/27/2014

    " I am a bit biased. This book would have probably been like a 2.5. However, being a Godfather sucker, it was refreshing. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pedro | 1/27/2014

    " Mark does a great job picking up where Puzo left off. I read it in three days. One of the toughest books to put down I've read. It's a testosterone must read. He writes in a very similar voice to Puzo. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vincent | 1/24/2014

    " Good book, couple steps behind Puzo, obviously and more obviously not written by a true Italian. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Scott Martin | 1/22/2014

    " While this is not a bad book by itself, when compared to the original novel and the first two movies, this book just kinda has that "eh" feel. Not great, but not bad. This novel attempts to fill in the gaps between the first two (and somewhat of the third) Godfather films. Many of the key figures from the book/movies are in the novel, as well as some key additions (Nick Gerrachi as a protege of Tessio). Some of the plot twists are not exactly what you would expect or hope to read in the Godfather (Fredo engaging in homosexual acts seemed a bit of a stretch), but for what it was written for and what it was trying to do, it makes for a good paperback/airplane fiction read. Still, for a better overall reading experience, stick to the original Mario Puzo Godfather. Not for the kids, but a better book all around. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tom | 1/19/2014

    " Loved it loved it loved it. But Puzo's ability to surprise surpasses that of Weingardner. Many of the hits were obviously coming, as nearly every scene has later ramifications. Explosive and violent and worth your time. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Steve Hemmeke | 1/5/2014

    " Interesting depiction of depravity "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bobby | 12/22/2013

    " Excellent addition to the story. I was worried it would be lame or would ruin Puzo's original story, but it didn't. Excellent storytelling. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elizabeth Anderson | 12/9/2013

    " So far it's pretty good. A little..uhm...descriptive, in many ways than one. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Emma | 11/14/2013

    " Not nearly as enjoyable as the original book. The characters are piss-weak in comparison. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Valerie F | 11/11/2013

    " Interesting revisionist story - Fredo gay? For those of you still mourning the loss of Mario Puzo and the Sopranos, this should whet your appetite at least briefly. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Derek | 3/28/2013

    " Great to follow characters from the original and establish new characters. The author attempts to flesh out established characters and should focus more on the new characters that have been introduced. Not a bad read especially for Godfather lovers. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Matthew Siemers | 1/1/2013

    " I absolutely loved The Godfather. The sequel, which is not written by the original author is a little lacking. I enjoyed it, but it was a little long. Events didn't unfold very fast. But I would still say I liked the book. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Steven Law | 11/10/2012

    " Mark Winegardner has no idea who these characters were. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ramesh Retnam | 10/24/2012

    " Fills up the spaces between Puzo without a glitch.A Mafia handbook literally. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cherie | 10/12/2012

    " B Good imitation of The Godfather, but not Puzo "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lauren aka John Matthew's Girl | 3/28/2012

    " I was intially weary of reading this, as sequels written after the fact by different authors tend to run the gamut from downright bad, to excellent. The Godfather Returns I'm happy to say leans towards the latter rather than the former. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ray Gehrig | 3/11/2012

    " This book had a few good moments, but barely rates 2 stars in my opinion. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ivan | 12/23/2011

    " Nastavak cuvene sage....podjednako dobro... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Richard Robinson | 9/22/2011

    " Not nearly up to original. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cindy | 8/30/2011

    " Wonderful book, would recommend to read. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Steve Schlutow | 8/22/2011

    " I didn't much care for this book. I had higher expectations for a more interesting story--oh well. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Rhonda | 7/20/2011

    " So far not too bad and it gives an interesting look into the lives of the Corleone family. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Paul | 5/24/2011

    " This was a lot more fun then I expected... "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Nikos79 | 3/11/2011

    " I haven't read the original Godfather by Mario Puzzo so i cannot compare between them but this one comparing to the film trilogy certainly pales. I wasn't satisfied "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lars K | 1/2/2011

    " Winegardner continues the Godfather legacy from Puzo, and does a really good job. If you're into the whole The Godfather universe, this is a good place to get your next fix. But read Puzo's original first.

    Read in Danish. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 John | 12/9/2010

    " Not a terrible read however NEVER comes close to the original way too much time spent on secondary characters no one really cares about (Sonny's mom etc...) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pedro | 10/25/2010

    " Mark does a great job picking up where Puzo left off. I read it in three days. One of the toughest books to put down I've read. It's a testosterone must read. He writes in a very similar voice to Puzo. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Jonny | 8/23/2010

    " boring. Doesn't have a godfather feel. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Nicole | 4/27/2010

    " I like how Winegardner was able to continue the plot sans many of the important characters from Book 1. However, I can't doubt that Puzo would have done a bit better. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jaroslav | 4/11/2010

    " there can be only one original...all the "to be continued" suck... "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Shani | 3/17/2010

    " Just stopped half way, its a load of crap! no story line at all, don't think i want to waste my time. Mario Puzo would roll on his grave if he read this. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nigel | 2/5/2010

    " Expect an immediate change in writing style from Mario Puzzo, the story ends with everything well for Michael but again with very different writing style "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Brian | 11/29/2009

    " Absolutely horrible. Got better than half way, but couldn't finish it. "

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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.
About the Narrator

Joseph G. “Joe” Grifasi is an American actor of film, stage, and television. Grifasi briefly attended Canisius College in Buffalo before joining the US Army. He went on to study at the Yale School of Drama, where he met his future wife, the jazz soprano saxophonist Jane Ira Bloom. Grifasi has played two separate members of the Baseball Hall of Fame who played for the New York Yankees. In The Bronx Is Burning, set in 1977, he played Yogi Berra.