Paperback Godfather

Meet Mario Puzo, the author you can't refuse

"The profession of book writing makes horse racing seem like a solid, stable business."

—John Steinbeck

It was dinnertime at the Manhattan publishing offices of G.P. Putnam's Sons. The last bag of taco chips had long since tumbled from the corridor vending machine, but Subsidiary Rights Director Irene Webb, 30, and her colleagues were not leaving their desks. June 15, 1978, was a day for executive field rations. Since 9:30 a.m. Webb's ear had been grafted to her telephone, accepting bids for what ended as the...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!