Forget for a moment The Godfather--the 21 million-selling book and the movie that virtually created the Mafia as literary and cinematic subject. Forget The Fortunate Pilgrim, The Sicilian, The Last Don and other best sellers. Forget Superman, Earthquake and the rest of the blockbusters. Forget two Academy Awards. Forget that he wrote some of the best stuff ever about the American family and the Italian-American immigrant experience. Forget that all this was done by the son of illiterate immigrant parents.

I think of MARIO PUZO this way: When I was younger, struggling for a sense of place in the world of...

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