The Godfather Study Guide

The Godfather

The Godfather by Mario Puzo

The Corleone family and the mob war fight with the other four mafia families in New York is the central issue. After Don Vito Corleone is shot by men working for drug dealer Virgil "The Turk" Sollozzo, Corleone's two sons, Santino and Michael, must run the family business with the help of consigliere Tom Hagen and the two caporegime Peter Clemenza and Salvatore Tessio. When Michael murders Sollozzo and Captain McCluskey, an Irish police officer on the drug lord's payroll, the conflict escalates into a full-scale war which results in Santino's murder and Michael's ascension to the head of the family. Michael initially desires to legitimize the family business, but gradually becomes even more ruthless than his father, orchestrating the murder of all of the family's enemies, including his brother-in-law Carlo Rizzi, who played a part in Santino's murder. Michael then sells all the family's businesses in New York and moves the Corleones to Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

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