First Edition of The Godfather; Inscribed by Mario Puzo to His Editor Bill Targ
Item Number: 17048
New York: G.P, Putnam's Sons, 1969.
First edition. Octavo, original half cloth. Inscribed by the author on the front free endpaper to his editor, William Targ and his wife Roslyn, “For Bill and Roz Who cheered this book on the from the beginning Mario.” William Targ was the editor of G.P. Putnam’s Sons where, in 1968, he bought Mario Puzo’s novel The Godfather for a $5000 advance. Puzo relates the story of The Godfather in his work The Godfather Papers & Other Confessions, “I was forty-five years old and tired of being an artist. Besides, I owed $20,000 to relatives, finance companies, banks and assorted bookmakers and shylocks. It was really time to grow up and sell out as Lenny Bruce once advised. So I told my editors OK, I’ll write a book about the Mafia. One day a writer friend dropped into my magazine office. As a natural courtesy I gave him a copy of the Fortunate Pilgrim. A week later he came back. He thought I was a great writer. I bought him a magnificent lunch. During lunch I told him some funny Mafia stories and my ten-page outline [of the Godfather]. He was enthusiastic. He arranged a meeting for me with the editors of G.P. Putnam’s Sons. The editors just sat around for an hour listening to my Mafia tales and said go ahead. They also gave me a $5,000 advance and I was on my way, just like that. As soon as I got my hands on the Putnam money, I naturally didn’t work on the book. (Luckily part of the advance was payable on the handing in of the complete manuscript or I would never have finished it.) The thing is, I didn’t want to write The Godfather. [The Godfather] took me three years to finish. I finally had to finish The Godfather in July, 1968, because I needed the final $1,200 advance payment from Putnam to take my wife and kids to Europe. When I finally got home, I owed the credit card companies $8,000. I went into New York to see my agent, Candida Donadio. She informed me that my publisher had just turned down $375,000 for the paperback rights to The Godfather. I called my editor at Putnam, Bill Targ, and he said they were holding out for $410,000 because $400,000 was some sort of record. Over coffee, he got a call. Ralph Daigh of Fawcett had bought the paperback rights for $410,000. I went up to the adventure magazine office to quit my freelance job.” According to the New York Times, “‘The Godfather turned out to be the most profitable single novel ever published by Putnam’s and the paperback rights were sold for more than $400,000.” The lightest of toning to the extremities and a small dampstain to the bottom cloth, near fine in the original dust jacket with light rubbing and wear. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. Next to the dedication copy, this present example is by far the most desirable association copy as Targ was responsible for publishing this classic novel.
A searing novel of the Mafia underworld, The Godfather introduced readers to the first family of American crime fiction, the Corleones, and the powerful legacy of tradition, blood, and honor that was passed on from father to son. "A voyeur's dream, a skillful fantasy of violent personal power" (New York Times).