Don Vito Corleone is the head of an American – Italian Mafia family. His family is one of the five families in New York. These families are the most powerful crime organisations of the United States. Of those five the Corleone family has the greatest power. It's the strongest family of the US.
In NY there is a lot of competition between the five families. It has been 10 years since the last war that made up the power balance. Since then, the power of Don Corleone, also called the Godfather, was established. Since then everything staid quiet and it was business as usual, because that was in everyone's best interest. This was the case until a man named Sollozzo, nicknamed 'the Turk' came along. He came to the Corleone family with a request. He wanted to sell narcotics in the US. At that time, in the forties, non-of the crime organisations dealt in drugs so it was still a new untouched market that was very profitable. But to make it possible for Sollozzo to ship the narcotics into the states he would need money, political and legal protection. So he came to Don Corleone to make him a business offer. The Corleone family would get a part of the profits that would be made in the sale of the drugs and in return the Corleone family would have to support Sollozzo by financing part of his operation and by giving him legal and political support trough their contacts there. Don Corleone refused his help. He thought it was too risky. He wished Sollozzo good luck in his operation and said goodbye. The Don had three sons. The oldest Santino, the second Fredo and the third Michael Corleone. The Don also had some sort like a adopted child that had also grown to a man that was named Tom Hagen. He was the acting consigliori, or counsellor of the family. Santino, Sonny for short, and Fredo were both involved in the family business. The third sun Michael Corleone wasn't. Sonny was also present at the meeting with Sollozzo. When the Don rejected Sollozzo's proposition he argued with the Don. He didn't think it was a bad idea to go into drugs. The Don abruptly showed him his place and Sonny agreed with the Don. But Sollozzo saw that there was interest in his plan and above al, a disagreement in the family.
A few weeks later there happened something that no one expected. Don Vito Corleone, the Godfather, was shot in front of his office. Barely alive he was brought to the hospital. The person responsible was Sollozzo. The Don survived the shooting but was out of the game for at least a year. Fredo, who was guarding his father during the shooting, was in a deep shock. Sonny had to been the acting Don and Tom Hagen had to fulfil his role as consigliori. The family was stripped of half it's power when the Don was out. After another attempt on the Don's life that didn't succeed Sollozzo's, who was supported by the Tagtalia family and the Barzini family, wanted to make a deal with the Corleone family. He wanted Michael to meet him and a corrupt police officer to meet at a restaurant to discus the situation. Michael who new that Sollozzo would try to kill his father again decided with the family that Sollozzo had to be killed. They also agreed that he was the only one that would get the opportunity to do this. So when he had the meeting he shot Sollozzo and the police officer to dead. By also killing the police officer, that wasn't allowed in the underworld, the Corleone family started a war against the five other families of New York.
This war lasted a few years, and was bad for both sides. When the Don was almost recovered and Sonny was killed Don Corleone wanted to make peace. The peace came. After a year the sun of Don Corleone could return to the US. Michael had to flee to Sicily because he killed the police officer. In the two years that followed he was made ready to follow his father as Don of the Corleone family. Everybody thought the Corleone family had become weak and the other families were provoking the family by taking their territory and taking over the gambling facilities in NYC that belonged to the Corleone family. Than the old Don Vito Corleone died. Michael Corleone had to take over the family. Together with his father he planned for a year how to strike back to the other families. So a few days after his fathers' death the Corleone family would rise to his old level of power and even succeed it. Don Tagtalia an don Barzini and a few traitors and enemies of the family where killed. The family gave his three regimes that had one hidden regime orders to take over all the places that belonged to the Corleone family. The Barzini family was shut down and the Corleone family had come back as the most powerful family of the country. Michael Corleone was it's respected don and became known as the new 'Godfather'. The Corleone family would move to Las Vegas. The goal of the family was eventually to become legitimate. Don Michael Corleone wanted his children and grandchildren to become pezzonovante's, important people in the society. If he succeeds is the question. When the book ends his family is the most powerful family in the US.
The most important figures
Don Vito Corleone: He's the leader of the Corleone family. A wise reasonable man, that helps friends in need, gives them favours. But they have to know they're in his dept.
Michael Corleone: He's the favourite sun of the Don. He is his successor as Don. In the beginning he doesn't want to have anything to do with the family but later he will become the new Don.
Luca Brasi: He is the family's top hitman. He is very brutal. He once chopped a man into pieces and killed his own baby and his own child.
Clemenza & Tessio: They are both caporegimes. Leaders of a division soldiers in the family. Tessio becomes a traitor.
There is a godfather movie. It has some very small differences with the book but it's pretty much the same.
Other famous books The last Don Monday, 28 September 1998
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