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5 Books like The Godfather: An Honourable Syndicate

Kedar Prasana itcherIf you have just waded your way through the Italo-American world of honourable criminals and you are already feeling that sense of loss, this list of books like ‘The Godfather’ can surely help you deal with these withdrawal symptoms: ‘Black Irish’, ‘Road to Perdition’, ‘L.A. Confidential’, ‘The French Connection’, ‘Casino’. ~ Kedar Prasana

One for Irrefutable Offers

Never let anyone know what you are thinking.

One of the most iconic novels of the latter half of the 20th century, ‘The Godfather’, on its own, created a wave of immense popularity for the mafia culture in America, lasting a good three decades.

Such is the redoubtable impact of ‘The Godfather’ on pop culture that no list of most popular books can afford to omit it, while no list of the best movies can do without its movie adaptation.

The plot basically around the inner workings of the Corleone family, one among top five prominent mafia families in New York, the life struggles of its patriarch Don Vito, and the gently horrendous insertion of his only useful son Michael into the quagmire of conceited and falsely glorified world of organized crime.

With a book like ‘The Godfather’ for company, you can never afford to let yourself be off guard. So, when you are done with it, you are going to go helter-skelter for more. But worry not, we’ve got your back. Just browse through the list below and get back to reading – omertà!

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Books Similar to ‘The Godfather’…

‘Black Irish’ (Stephan Talty, 2013)

Image Source: Curious Book Fans

The bells of Jerusalem couldn’t have been louder, the hounds of hell couldn’t have been scarier. Her mind was truly a place you wouldn’t wish on your enemy.

‘Black Irish’ received moderate acclaim and popularity in 2013 and is a hidden gem that all fans of ‘The Godfather’ should read.

At the centre of the plot is Abbie Kearney, a Harvard grad with a decorated police career, and her struggles to make people in her hometown – including her family – like her.

It’s a slow-starter – but be sure that it does make up for the slow start as you grow to like the characters it presents.  

Similarity Match: 90%
‘The Godfather’ is immensely more ambitious than ‘Black Irish’. What connects both of them in many ways, however, is the constant stress on family values and pretences of misplaced Robin Hoods.

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‘Road to Perdition’ (Max Allan Collins, 1998)

Image Source: Moveora Mag

It was an easy decision. It’s much easier to sacrifice than kill.

Written by Max Allan Collins and illustrated by Richard Rayner, ‘Road to Perdition’ is a definitive tale of honesty, conspiracy, mistrust, revenge and love.

The world of this book is a small-scale Irish mob and its enforcer-in-chief Michael O’Sullivan. When an extortion mission goes wrong, the mob turns sour on the O’Sullivan family, leaving only Michael and his youngest son alive. What follows is a brutally thrilling tale of steely cold retribution.

Similarity Percentage: 85%
Both ‘The Godfather’ and ‘Road to Perdition’, in a way, are more about families than crimes. ‘Road to Perdition’ is, however, a graphic (and bloody, be advised) novel, unlike ‘The Godfather’.

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‘L.A. Confidential’ (James Ellroy, 1990)

Image Source: Better Reading

Past, present, future. What a sham. I call things as I see ‘em and right now I see bullshit in your eyes.

One of the best noirs you will ever read, ‘L.A. Confidential’ has already won the hearts of many readers – including yours truly – who prefer deep, dark underbellies of great cities over golden enticements of thin facades.

In the dreamy and hazy world of Los Angeles of the 50s, where cops and criminals don’t mind mingling at social events with Hollywood stars and starlets, everything takes a U-turn as three top-cops go on a rampage to cover their tracks of prison violence.

A beautifully brutal movie adaptation starring Kevin Spacey and Russel Crowe should be your natural follow-up to this swift epic.  

Similarity Match: 80%
While ‘The Godfather’ attempts to psychoanalyze criminals, ‘L.A. Confidential’ metes out the same treatment to cops, with the mutual connection being corruption, greed and undue loyalties.

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If You Like ‘The Godfather’, You Will Like…

Steel, lead, smoke and alcohol. Still need a stronger shot of pomp and audacity?

Let’s take a look at two all-too-real non-fiction books that are similar to ‘The Godfather’.     

‘The French Connection’ (Robert Moore, 1969)

Image Source: Goodreads

Man spends this much only when he has to get rid of his money. Burning it would be easy but he’s too greedy to do that. We’ve got a fish on the hook, son.

Robert Moore (sometimes credited as ‘Robin Moore’) documented the most high-profile narcotics operation in the history of American crime through the eyes of two of its uncredited protagonists – Detective Egan and Rosso, in ‘The French Connection’.

It is a true story that travels countries and places breezily, demanding much of your attention for all the time you are glued to it. Inner operations and hierarchy of police, mind-sets of organized mobs and various ways in which money changes hands in the world of drug trafficking are among many curious things that you will be left enlightened about after reading this.

A classic silver screen adaptation starring one of my favourite actors, Gene Hackman, was released to great acclaim in 1971.  

Both of these books have a similar underlying motive – to expose the way things operate in the underworld. Unlike ‘The Godfather’, however, ‘The French Connection’ is a real account of real events.

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‘Casino’ (Nicholas Pileggi, 1995)

Image Source: Booknode

Family is the most important thing. What reason would you have to earn money if you hadn’t any family?

‘Casino’ is a hard-hitting take on the behemoth casino industry of Las Vegas and how the mafia from all over America wield an iron grip on all the gold that grows in the desert of Nevada.

Nicholas Pileggi (the author who wrote ‘Wiseguy’ which was made into ‘Goodfellas’ by Martin Scorsese) writes in a very appealing style that’s characterized by a generous sprinkling of mafia-speak, much like Mario Puzo does in ‘The Godfather’.   

Even though both of these books put mafia families at the core of their plot, ‘Casino’ takes a greater interest in the world of money, while ‘The Godfather’ prefers to tackle emotions.

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Cosa Nostra, Here We Go!

If you happen to be an obsessive compulsive crime or mafia reader, there are many more books like ‘The Godfather’ to keep you busy. You can give other books by Mario Puzo a go (obviously), or you can choose one from the following: ‘Contact on America’, ‘To Kill the Irishman’, ‘Get Carter’ or ‘Gaspipe’.

If you’ve got more suggestions, please feel free to share them with us in the comment space below. Buona lettura!

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